Oh wow... I don´t even know how to begin to describe all the wonderful things I`ve seen, heard, and experienced this week. As this change comes to an end... as I again pack my bags and prepare to leave people that were so quick to love me, and that I have fallen SO in love with..... that familiar dull throbbing pain in my heart creeps up again. This change has been so beautiful. We weren`t perfect, not all of our plans and aspirations came through as planned... but upon reflection... it has been SO beautiful. Even in this last week... so many ready people are popping out of nowhere, and many others are just on the brink of baptism!
The other day... we were booking it down the road, when we heard behind us, ¨What do you guys talk about?¨- the Spirit hit us both and we came to and we hit an immidiate halt.... and turned around to see and guy in his 20s leaning against a wall smoking with a bitter expression on his face. As we started to talk to him... he claimed to believe that there is no God (I really can`t believe that it is possible for a child of God to sincerely and wholly believe that they don`t have an Eternal Father... it`s such an innate and natural part of us... I struggle to believe that no matter how strong Satan seems to be, or what experiences one may have in life.... there has to always be some particle of every child in this earth that still knows their Father. )... and as we started telling him about the plan of Salvation... his face and total being completely changed. He stopped looking and acting liking a angry joven... and within moments, he transformed into a sad, hurt, and hungry soul that sincerely wanted to know his purpose in this life. He told us he had seen us walking many times and had always wanted to talk to us.. and that especially that day... he felt something really crazy but good when we passed by... and without even thinking... he yelled out to us. We are SO excited to visit Fernando again!
Earlier this week... we were again walking down the road... when I saw up ahead a middle aged women that had worry and heartbreak written all over her face. As we got closer, she yelled out, ¨Sister!!!¨.. I was a little confused... knowing that I had never met her... but she hurried up to meet us and started explaining that her scitzofrenic (oops.. I CANNOT spell anymore, have ya noticed??) daughter that we had sung and prayed with in the street many times before..... had been kicked out of the house with by her other children and husband.. and that she couldn`t find her and asked us where there was a homeless center for them both. I didn`t know exactly what to say... but suddenly found myself grabbing this little old woman in my arms as she began to weep. .... Elisa her daughter ended up showing up the next day, and we`ve been teaching Marie, her mom, and turns out that she studied theology and knows the bible SO well and is SO full of faith........... and is now just eating the Book of Mormon up!
Hermana G and I were contacting... and with little success. We stopped and prayed... wanting so badly to be guided. We passed by a little dirt road.. and a neighborhood that looked kind of sketchy... but when Hermana Guevara said, THIS ROAD!- we went. We were met by a group of little girls that asked us, ¨Where are you going?¨... and I asked, ¨Where do you think we should go?¨... and without a word... they all pointed to the left. So... we went. Trying so hard to listen to the Spirit... we kept walking... and found a little house with an open door... full of adults. When I stopped at the door without saying a word.., almost all at once they said, ¨Pasen!!¨- as if they were waiting for us! Turns out that two of the men there were baptized in the 80`s... but when they moved... they lost contact with the church, and started attending other churches... and were then really confused. As we started teaching the others adults about the restoration... the SPirit was so strong... and the members both said, ¨Oh! I`m remembering! Oh that makes sense! Oh YA! ¨... and by the end... those 5 adults said that they didn`t have any doubts it was the truth... and the 3 others accepted the invitation to be baptized. They live in different areas... so we`re waiting to hear what will happen with them! This last sunday Rey and Luis, the inactive members, came to church, and of COURSE they loved it! We`re trying to teach Rey`s wife and kids... but it`s a little difficult with how full they are with false doctrine from other experiences... but they have such good questions, and really want to understand. I can see them all in white... and I have SO much hope and excitement for this family!!!
This week we were coming back from a multizona and had to take a number of buses... which is SO great for contacting! I got on the first bus, and looked into the eyes of this guy...and was SO BLOWN AWAY by the light he had.... and it hit me so undeniably strong... that he was sitting there ready. I started to talk to him as Hermana Woods sat down next to me, and I told, ¨He`s ready.¨- so on that bus ride, we got his information... and he was so positive and receptive. Then... on the next bus... he was magically there too... and HErmana Woods sat next to him... and taught him the first 3 lessons... and he accepted the invitation to be baptized. We`re waiting to hear from the missionaries in his area what day! :)
There are so many countless miracles and answers to prayers every single day. I feel SO unworthy of all of these blessings... and every time I begin to count them... I feel lower than the dust, but of more worth than all the money in the world... to know that the Lord has heard my prayers... and is so willing to use and bless me. Just thinking of my cries to have the change to be with someone that would inspire and motive me... someone with the passion and drive to be obedient and work harder than we could imagine possible.... and the Lord blessed me more than I could have imagined to be able to be with Hermana Guevara AND Sister Woods, AND sister Allen. I couldn`t be richer.
Last week we taught Rosa and Jorge about fasting... and as he is still searching for a job... we all started fasting together. Kneeling with these spiritual giants... some of the most humble and beautiful I have ever known... and listening to Jorge offer such a sweet and pure prayer flowing over with faith and love for our Heavenly Father.... I found myself weepy AGAIN. Jorge gives some of the BEST prayers- I love them much like I loved the prayers of Rigoberto Martinez in Candelaria- they`re just SO honest and beautiful. Jorge always starts out by saying, ¨Diosito Lindo....¨... which makes me almost giggle in adoration... but he begins to plead for more understanding of the gospel, for his divorcement to go through so that they can make sacred convenants with God and eventually go to the temple to be a family for eternity. - Jorge totally gets it. Did I mention he started studying to be a Priest... but stopped because he knew it wasn`t right? He is SO spiritually in tune... and spends hours now reading the scriptures out load wtih Rosa with his broken fragment of a magnifying glass because his eyes are so bad. (Yes... I will be looking for glasses today.) When Hermana Ariceli, their member neighbor, asked me how they were and I told her how the read and study with such hunger... she asked if Rosa could read... Ariceli`s face lit up and she said, ¨I will teach her to read! SHE WILL READ! I will fast to know how to teach her... and she will read!!¨- I was so touched by such love and charity for a woman that she hardly knew... that again.. the weepy thing happened again.
My testimony and appreciation for the church welfare system is totally blossoming too. As we`ve tried to help the ward be aware of the great needs of Rosa and Jorge and other families... it`s been so touching to enter their homes and see their cabinets full of food from the bishop`s storehouse. I don`t know what this family would have done this week without it. It`s just another manifestation of the Lord`s love and willingness to bless and provide for His children when they are trying to be obedient.
In this time of financial uncertainly... and almost complete deprevation with Jorge and his family.... I was so excited to teach tithing. When they are so worried about how to feed their kids and make ends meet.... to help them know about the most SURE way to call the blessings of the Lord for their family and ensure food on their table through paying tithing... was such a sweet lesson to teach. They have such faith, and when Jorge starts working...they are so excited to obey this commandment. WHAT FAITH! When they fasted... I was so touched to see them give their fast offerings to bishop... seeing their reliance on the Lord no matter their fear and struggles to find the next meal... they so willing gave their last pennies and nickles... trusting that the Lord would not leave them alone. He has not... and certainly will not.
As for Sandra and her family... they have had to pass through SO MANY refining fires... but just as Sandra was promised in her blessing... that her husband would change and come to the truth as she remained steadfast and dilligent... FINALLY... despite all the crazy legal complications, drug dealers knocking their door every day... temptations like crazy from every nook and cranny imaginable...................... the power of the Atonement has over ridden everything... and they are getting married and baptized on monday. The miracles and tender mercies in this family are just out of control wonderful!
- both the family of Jorge and Rosa and Sandra... were references from Hermana Vargas. She herself has so many trials and obstacles... but since she was baptized 2 years ago... her fire and desire to serve and share the gospel has just grown. I just hope she sees what an angel she is. These two families are now focused on and headed towards the temple... all because Hermana Vargas followed the Spirit and randomly knocked on Sandra`s door with teh missionaries when she hardly knew her.... and because she followed the prompting to give this random bus driver a book of mormon. ... she is a true missionary and saint.
I`ve attached a picture of Jorge and his family. Can`t you just see them in white? Ya.. me too.