I´m trying to decide whether to start with the spiritual or the dorky highlights of my week. I think I´d rather leave on a good note... so I´ll confess some of the most awkward moments of my week.
So... remember how I am really directionally impared... super awkward... still don´t the area... and am determined to be relentlessly obedient? Ya... so when I jumped off the bus at our stop and turned back to see my companions still in the bus trying to make their way though a crowd of people... when the bus started to gas it, leaving me in the street ALONE..... without really thinking logically.... I just started sprinting............. and dove into the bus. - ridiculously desperate not to be seperated from my companions! hahaha... it still makes me laugh out loud to replay in my mind the gasps, screams, and faces of shock from everyone in the bus when I looked up. I was just a little bruised, embarrassed... but unseperated from my companion.
I have a lot of faith and trust in the mission rules- and love to testify of the blessings that obedience brings. SO... when I started talking to a woman in the seat next to me in the bus (on another trip)... when she imediately started saying, ¨Aren´t you so afraid here? It´s so dangerous! I´m afraid for myself...but it´s way more dangerous for you here!!!¨- I could confidently testify that we have the protection of the Lord when we are obedient! I explained that I always have my companion with me... that we have very strict regulations....but as we are strictly obedient...we are blessed! We started talking about the gospel... and I was so engrossed and stoked on telling this woman about the Restoration... that when the three other sisters got off the bus... I was totally oblivious. 15 minutes later... in another part of town... as I went to get off the bus right by our next appointment... I looked back to tell Hermana Guevara to get off here.........but she wasn´t there. -it kind of made an awkward moment with my new investigator to explain that I was currently breaking a REALLY important role... and that I was alone for the first time in 7 months.. and if she wouldn´t mind being with while I waited for the next bus. hahaha.... ooooooooooo she railed me for putting myself in such a dangerous situation... that I should at least have a PHONE...and so on and so forth... and all I could think about is how worried the sisters would be. haha... I took another bus... and returned to our little gated street to find an extremely distressed Hermana Guevara, and even the guard was on the phone with his boss asking for permission to leave to look for me because, as he said, ¨We lost our Gringita!!¨ hahaha.... I guess when the sisters realized I didn´t get off the bus, they started running behind the bus screaming... and jumped on the next bus to look for me... because they were sure that Hermana Clark couldn´t possibly find her way back.... and wouldn´t be safe. They even called the President to admit they lost the white girl! Hahaha.... the whole neighborhood was alerted and worried...because such a silly girl should not be here alone! haha... but I´m good! Again... embarrassed...but safe!
It probably didn´t help much with the President´s trust in me when I was finishing an emergency call with a sick elder at 11 at night... and accidently called President, but our phone has a lot of buttons or something... so when I heard his voice... I thought he was calling ME... and he was sleepy and confused... and I was confused... and it was a really awkward moment. Kind of like my life.
Then... the other night... we were almost late to an appointment... so we started booking it.... but running in the dark with these really broken streets... is not a good idea for such a clutz as me. So... thank you Aunt Marcie for the bandaids- especially the really big ones- because they don´t exist here! Women keep trying to give me really suspicious and scary lotions and potions for my leg.... but I´ll be fine with neosporin, thanks.
And... that´s about as all as I wanna admit for now.
We had such a sweet baptism for kids of Sandra. 2 weeks before... Sandra´s mom started having ¨cults¨ in the house- that´s what they call the Evangelical gatherings where they chant and pray. One of the women started telling 9 year old Carlos lies and wacked out junk about Joseph Smith and the church... and Carlos was really upset. This kid is SO special- his Spirit is so much more mature than 9 years old. We invited him to pray to his Heavenly Father and really ask Him if Joseph Smith was a real prophet and if God restored His church. A member gave him a liahona to read the words of prophets in this day. The next day... Carlos was SO excited to say, ¨I got an answer!! I feel SO good! I can´t wait to get baptized!!! ¨Carlos and Brian were so excited... and the Spirit was present and sweet during all of their baptism. Yet... the best moment was when Carlos got up to bear his testimony... and he told everyone how good he felt. He said it felt just like when he got an answer from God that the church is true. He began to get really emotional... and the Spirit settled upon everyone so strong.. and Carlos couldn´t talk for a few moments, and finally cried, ¨I´ve never been so happy... it makes me want to cry!¨. It was so sweet, simple, pure, and true. His father was really touched, and he even gave a brief talk on baptism!!
Speaking of his father... he had an interview with the President... and has been cleared for baptism! He walked out of the interview BEAMING... and it was so clear that the Atonement is REAL. This family is really changing... and they are so happy. They are praying and reading together and doing family home evening... and we are seeing miracles wtih them! They´re getting married this friday and he´s getting baptized this saturday!!
Elsy continues to be such a sweet kindred spirit.. and my love for her just grows more and more. She didn´t go to church this sunday... because the family of her ¨esposo¨ came into town, and didn´t leave until late. We had a really great lesson with her again... and she said that she read and prayed... and felt the Spirit again so strong- and knows it´s true. We always feel the Spirit with her. Yet, this week, we came at night to have a lesson with her... and she came out crying and said that she couldn´t recieve us and asked us to come back the next day. She wouldn´t say what was wrong...and when we asked if we could just hug her... she opened her gate looking up and down the street with such fear and anxiety. When we came back... she had a huge black eye... and told us that he boyfriend had hit her and left. We spent some good time with her, playing with the kids, cleaning the house, making lunch... and I really feel like she is my sister. It´s such a hard situation...because the next time we came back... she answered the door fearfully again, whispering that he came back and that we should come back tomorrow when he´s at work. We are praying and fasting to know what to do and how to help. We are bringing a member that works and a women´s abuse hospital... and are hoping that she will receive advice.
Jorge is so hard to get ahold of because he is ALWAYS working...but we have started teaching his ¨spouse¨- again, they´re not married. Rosa is so sweet and wonderful and they have three beautiful children. She can´t read, but definately felt the Spirit and is coming to conference tomorrow and we are thrilled! We just found out last night that Jorge isn´t legally divorced from his last wife... and that is a really long and expensive process.... and though I feel so good that they will be baptized... I´m aware that I won´t be here to see it.
The other day we contacted into this guy that had spent 30 years in the States... so we ended up talking in english and spanish. Yet.. Hermana Guevara doesn´t speak english.. but he was so much more comfortable with english... so we spoke a lot of english. He was so interested and excited about the restoration... and when he asked so purely in ENGLISH, ¨I want to know something. Hermana Clark, Hermana Guevara..... what do I need to do to be good with God?¨- I was so shocked when Hermana Guevara quickly replied, ¨fe, arrepentimiento, bautismo, recepción del Don del Espiritu Santo, y perseverar hasta el Fin¨. When we talked about it later... she didn´t believe that he said it in english- because she understood him perfectly. I KNOW he was speaking in english... just like I KNOW the gift of tongues is real... and was so powerfully evident in that lesson.
I thought to myself the other day... how many times now have I taught the Restoration? How many times have I testified of Joseph Smith? What is the number of times that I have explained the purpose and validity and power of the Book of Mormon? I have no idea.... and it doesn´t matter.... but it feels like the first time every time. I am still SO stoked that we have the gospel in PLENTITUD. The false doctrine I keep hearing here is another story to tell.... but it just makes me more and more grateful that we know that God has never changed... and that He truly uses a prophet and 12 apostles in THIS DAY to teach us. I am even MORE excited for General Conference. I feel like I´ve watched the calendar and counted the days for conference more than any kid could for Christmas. Oh how I love this gospel.... I don´t think it could ever become too repetative or an old story for me. How great is this life???