Another great week out here in the mission field. Been
working hard and sweating a ton. Let's see what I can remember from the
past week. So much happens in just one day that it is crazy to try and
think back that far.
(Don't know if I'll keep up with the following format, but I'll try it once and see if I like it.)
Highlights from the week.
that morning we were able to help one of our neighbors, an older man,
load up his truck. He is moving at the end of the month.
During study time we got a phone call from a member to let us know
that one of her friends from work had been in a car accident and was at
the hospital. She wanted to see if we could go over, visit him, and give
him a blessing. The hospital is in our area, so we were happy to
oblige. So we did. We went over, had to come back because he wasn't
available, and then later that afternoon got to get in to see him. When
we arrived he was in a lot of pain and had difficulty talking. His wife
and daughter were there with them. We shared a brief message about faith
and were able to offer him a blessing of healing and comfort. By the
time he left he had relaxed a bit. It was great to be able to offer them
that simple service.
Later that afternoon we were knocking a new street and met a bunch
of very nice people. One older lady was out taking care of her yard. We
asked her if there was anything we could help with. She replied, "not
without getting your hands dirty". I told her we would love to do just
that and after talking for a few more minutes she told us how her front
gate wouldn't open because this metal trellis thing had been installed
too closely. So we got a shovel, dug it up (it ended up being a little
more work than I initially estimated) and got it moved so the gate would
open. It was awesome. Honestly, working/serving is my favorite thing. I
love to talk to people and tell them about Christ, but I would much
rather show them through service if I can. So we were able to do that
for her and then we had to take off to make our dinner appointment. Her
name was Lydia.
We had two more great lessons that evening.
That morning while Elder Green and I were studying and planning for the day we
got a phone call from the mission office. The car that we had been
driving had been hit a couple months earlier and the parts to fix it had
come in. The area were are in right now is usually a bike area, but
since the Elder that was here before me was injured, they had had a car
for the past while. So that morning we got to drive across town and drop
it off at the mechanic. So now we are back on the bikes. When the car
is fixed there is probably a 85% chance that it goes elsewhere and we
remain on bikes. So that was a big game-changer.
But honestly, I almost prefer bikes. It doesn't hurt that I love the
exercise, but it also means we are much more visible and can stop and
talk to people easily on the street. Also, when we come up to someone's
door and they see that we are willing to ride our bike 4 or 5 miles in
the middle of the day just to bring them this message about how they can
be happier and how their family can be strengthened, they begin to see
how important we really know this message is. So really, I like the
bikes. One of these days I'll take a picture of myself right after I get
home. I'm am almost always soaked through. Last night as I wrote in my
journal, I kneeled on the ground so that I didn't ruin my chair with the
sweat. Yep, it's awesome.
We spent rest of that day visiting
members of the church that haven't been able to make it out in a while.
We visited one lady who has had health problems and is just getting
better and looking for work again. We found out how she is doing and
shared an uplifting message. We made an appointment to return Friday to
cut her yard, it was getting pretty long.
We then visited an 82 year old widow who also hasn't been able to
come for a while. She can no longer drive, although she is very sharp
and pretty active. She had been raising her great-granddaughter for the
past 6 years. And then just a couple weeks ago her mother was able to
put her life back together enough to get her child back. So it has been
really hard on this good sister (note: in the church, we refer to each
other all as brother and sister, so that's usually what it means when
you read it here. Don't want there to be any confusion!). So we stop by a
couple times a week to talk to her and make sure she is doing all
right. She is a great lady and has done amazing things in her life.
Then finally we stopped by a brother who has been having to work on
the weekends to support his family. His sons come out each week, so
were just wanted to see if there was anything we could do for them. He
just asked us to pray that he could find work, so we have been doing
that. It was a good visit and we taught the boys how to tie a tie. So
that was fun. We got a call from the father the next day saying he had a
job interview lined up, and then we learned yesterday that he got the
job. So we are stopping by tonight to learn more about it. Hopefully it
all works out nicely and he can come to church again. He has been out of
work for several years, so that would be awesome.
Thursday we had interviews with the mission
president. They happen once every 3 months, but the way I have been
moved around it has just so happened that I have had one both weeks I've
been here. We also received some good training that day. It was very
inspiring and just reminded us to be sure we are doing our best. The
tempo has definitely increased since that meeting. That consumed most of
the day. We had to travel to the meeting by the city train and buses,
so I really enjoyed that and we were able to meet and talk to a ton of
people on the way there and back.
That evening we had a lesson with a lady that has been meeting with
the missionaries for a while. She is a wonderful lady and is planning on
getting married the 25th of August and baptized the 1st of September.
Her finance met with us for the first time and it was a great lesson. We
talked about families and the role of mothers and fathers. She is close
to 50 and he is 30, so a little different, but they have a great
relationship and are looking forward to their marriage at the end of the
month of August. He committed to meeting with us so that they can work
to be baptized and begin this new life together.
We went over and mowed Juanita's lawn after finishing
our morning preparations. It was good work and I enjoyed it. We then
joined her and her neighbor for lunch. Later that day we went back and
met with Lydia, whose gate we had fixed earlier in the week. We had a
nice lesson and we began to develop a good relationship. It was a long
day with several other appointments and work. Enjoyed every minute. (At
least looking back. That's the way it goes. I don't remember all the
hard times, just the good ones.)
Whew. Long, productive day. In my journal I wrote
at the end of the day that I was, "very full, very tired, a little
burned, and extremely satisfied".
We had been fed a couple of
times that evening (I didn't mind of course!), been riding around all
day (got up to 106 that day), and had met and talked to some great
people. As a side note, I am definitely getting back to my usual dark
skinned self. After a year down at Rice with most of my time spent
inside working or studying I had gotten pretty white. But I'm closer to
those summers as a lifeguard again (as miserable as they were). Anyways,
satisfied because we met a new family, and had a great, albeit short,
lesson with them. We invited them to church the next day and they seemed
interested in coming. We also returned to the apartment of a man we had
met on my first day in the area. We had been knocking when we saw him
carrying groceries up the 3rd floor. He is an older man, so we quickly
ran over and carried the cases of water and other things up the stairs.
He was grateful and we left him with our number. We decided to stop by
that night to see how he was doing. We had a great lesson and he was
very engaged. He wants to learn more, and we are going to begin teaching
One thing I learned pretty quickly is that although
people say they are going to come to church, or they are going to read,
or going to do something with or for us, they usually don't, or can't or
something comes up. So when I tell you that yesterday we had 11 people
visit the church that we talked to, let me tell you that was incredible.
Lydia came, the Banos family came, Lilly came, and the new family we
had met and talked to for just a few minutes came. It was great.
Yesterday in church I got the chance to talk (it was very short, so I
may type it up and have my mother post it as a separate blog post). It
went well and I know it was well received. Then when I sat down, the
lady that does the Spanish translation (the members that speak Spanish
have headphones they can wear in this ward. A little different than most
areas, but actually really cool) got up to speak. She spoke with the
bishop for a minute, then he looked over at me and nodded toward the
translation equipment. I signaled back okay and went up. So yep, less
than three weeks out and I was translating during Sacrament meeting, the
main one. It was hard of course, but I was so surprised. As I opened my
mouth, it was filled with the words. It wasn't perfect by any means,
and there were certainly some words I didn't know. But I was very
surprised with how I was able to do it. I know I was getting a lot of
help with that one. I went up to some of the Spanish members after to
apologize and and ask how it went. They said it went well and that they
could understand just fine. What a blessing!
The rest of church went well. I translated again for the last hour
for the men. By the end of the day my mind was pretty beaten up from
trying to process so fast. Listening and talking at the same time is
difficult. Throw in a language and limited experience and you have found
yourself a mighty opportunity to stretch yourself. I'm so glad for
those opportunities to put myself out there. I'm learning faster than I
would have thought possible. And still, sometimes I get frustrated that I
can't understand or can't say everything I want. Surely after almost 3
weeks I should be perfectly fluent right!?! (These sorts of statements
help me to remember that I am doing well and that it will come with
time). But it takes work, and I can do that.
So that pretty much brings us to today.
Last night as we
were calling to report how our week had gone we got a suggestion from
our Zone Leaders. Because this has been a week of miracles, finding
wonderful families to teach, the real miracle that we need now is that
they will be able to learn for themselves that what we are teaching is
true. So we started a fast last night as a companionship that theses
families can learn and progress together. That is our biggest goal as
missionaries. To teach families together and see them as they grow
closer and increase in love for each other. So we are fasting today that
they will be able to progress together. A fast typically means going
without food and water for a period of 24 hours or two meals. So we
started it last night and will break it this evening with dinner. Today
is the best day because we are not out riding around as much. We will
probably only travel 10 or 15 miles on our bike today as opposed to 30
or 40. So that makes it much better. Fasting is pretty meaningless
without a purpose and without prayer. So we've been praying a lot to
know what it is we can do to help these families with their specific
needs. I know it will all work out in the best way, and we will
certainly do our part.
We'll I've certainly given you a lot to read. Hope it is interesting
and uplifting. Hope to hear from you all soon. No word yet on Mexico,
so just focusing on the work here. Also, pictures were a no-go last
week, sorry. Couldn't get them working on this computer.
Well my time is running short, so I'll leave it at that and hope to
receive your letters soon. My promise remains. All letters will receive a
response. If you haven't received one and you mailed me, I'm very
sorry. I believe that any mail that went to the MTC after I left was
forwarded to Mexico, so I'll get it eventually. At this point, (or by
the end of today) I will have answered all letters that I have received.
So that's where that is.
Well, I love you all a bunch and (yes, once again) look forward to hearing from you.