Another marvellous week full of twists, hurdles, surprises, and miracles!!!
This assignment has definitely been a test of endurance, patience, and charity. There are many people that we have been working with that have not progressed despite bold teaching, loving, and support. Yet, these are not just anyone... these are members of the church and have a lot more on the line... and despite the lack of visible results... we just couldn't leave them. Then... sunday... many of them came!! When my darling Dorothy walked in the chapel... I thought I was seeing a vision... more like a mirage... my imagination playing tricks out of overwhelming thirst and desperation for them to come.... but nope. It was VERY real. A number of our families came... there are people that have continued to return and are so happy and becoming very involved in the work and relishing the changes and blessings they're experiencing. It was a sweet sweet sunday. Perhaps the best part... was when Emma and Calbert came.
We found Emma when we went to eat lunch in the market when we first came here- 6 months ago. She is an incredible cook- I think I may have sent pictures of her gourmet presentations. We felt something so special with her, and fell in love immediately. We kept eating with here, and she started to read the Book of Mormon. I few months later, we met her husband, Calbert... and it got even better. They are a dream family. They are complete- the love each other, their kids, and the Lord. Calbert is the top chef in Belize 2 years in a row... and they are all just wonderful people. Emma's brother had come back from Costa Rica very sick and we had visited him in the hospital. The Elders gave him a beautiful blessing that promised him more time on earth to learn about the Plan of Salvation.. but shortly after he went in to a coma, the doctors told the family his brain had shrunk and that he'd never wake up and that he would die that day... but "miraculously"... he came out of it and is doing great- and all are confused and befuddled.. but us.Yet, despite 6 months of visiting and encouraging them... they hadn't yet come to church. (They live in a village out side of Belize City) Sunday, as I was sitting in Sacrament meeting, Elder Rabanales whispered in my ear, "Tenemos una supresa para usted..." and then ran off. I sat confused, wondering if I had really heard that... but when I looked back again... in walked Emma, Calbert, and their 3 beautiful children. I became very emotional... and knew without doubt that the Lord had heard and answered my prayers. They plan on coming this week again. For 6 months I had been hoping and praying for them... and it's all been totally worth it.
Speaking of families... we are working with some true jems right now. As I've said before, Belize is a seemingly impossible place for families..but the Lord has truly guided us. We continue to work with Irma and Paul... and had an AWESOME FHE with them last night. Paul was "randomly" inspired last April to marry Irma, the mother of his 4 kids. He listened to us so well last night, and the Spirit was so strong... we are very excited to watch Irma continue to return to activity and for Paul to be baptized.
We came across a family of all investigators... but they are so precious and we love them so much... we just... felt that we should continue to teach them instead of passing them to the Elders. Shenique is a superwoman and we were so impressed by her the first time we met her in the home of an inactive sister. She said her husband is very anti-church for a difficult childhood from a supposed "christian mother and diligent church-goer". So... having 2 female missionaries at their house did not impress him, and he did not want to listen to us. We prayed and sought for inspiration to be able to get to him... but when we went to do FHE last night... he wouldn't come in the house still. I kept praying and pleading that the Lord would soften his heart and allow him a chance to feel the Spirit... when all of a sudden- the electricty went completely out. :) He eventually came in, and we started talking with him... and we and his wife were stunned when he really opened up, and we realized how much he truly loves his family, and we were able to testify of the blessings of the Gospel for the families. The Spirit was so beautiful in that pitch black house... and when we got to teach him and his son how to pray... and hearing his son (that has been through a lot) pray.. I thought I would burst. He said that he will allow us to meet with them again. The Lord is SO merciful- not to mention... creative. :)
The temple in Xela, Guatamala is having it's open house and Sister Roda's family has been helping with the tours and celebrations. It's been so neat to hear all the miracles and sweet experiences they are having there. I love love love the temple. I LOVE preparing people for the temple. Brother Jex, Myvett, and Nelson came back from their temple trip... SO full of joy and the Spirit. I was so grateful for the Lord's guidance despite our oblivion to find those brothers and the inspiration given to realize their need to go to the temple. Brother Jex, who usually has a beautiful talk or testimony prepared and given... was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and left speechless. Brother Myvett, who is 84 talked about how difficult the 15 hour bus ride to Guatamala was, and how cold and shocking Guatamala was for his body... but in the end, it was all worth it and that he would be saving and scrimping EVERYTHING to be able to return next year. Big strong and masculine Brother Nolberto... wept when trying to describe the love and joy he felt there... and how precious the temple is to him. We have seen so many changes in the Valario family that we've been preparing for the temple. They have had so many obstacles with passports to be able to go to Guatamala... but these trials have caused their testimonies to blossom... and they are ever more determined to make their family eternal. Visiting their family is one my mission tops. I love them SO much.
We are happy happy happy here!! Love you all! I am so grateful this thanksgiving!!