Another week has passed in the quiet town of Negritos here in the mission! Really hard to believe how long I have been here! It feels like home now. The brick buildings that are falling apart with the roofs that leak. I´ve talked to practically everyone who walks passed me on the street, and they recognize me as well! Then again, how could you not recognize the very tall white missionary that´s always knocking on your door?
This week was a little harder for us. We didn´t have much success in finding new people to teach, and a lot of our appointments fell through. When we did knock doors, a lot of the people either didn´t bother coming to the door or they just yelled from their sofa that they´re either busy or about to leave. Haha, Elder Ramirez and I always joke that we´ve never known people that were so busy! I guess they feel like they have to lie instead of telling us that they just don´t want to listen. That´s ok, it´s just kinda funny because sometimes we catch them in their lies and then they get all flustered.
We did have some success with our investigators, and I think we were also able to help some of our recent converts this week. On Tuesday last week we went to visit Maria and her husband, and we caught them just as they were about to leave together. We could tell something was going on because they just had something in their eyes, so we set up another appointment for the following day. When we got there Wednesday evening, we found out what had happened. I guess Sunday Daniel, the husband, had been working on one of the platforms in the ocean. To get down from a second level, he jumped and landed on a board. Well, the board broke, and he was barely able to catch himself with his arms on some metal pipes, saving himself from a very gruesome death admist some of the drills below. It truly is a miracle that he´s alive. However, the company is now going into an investigation about what has happened. They´re really worried about him losing his job because they do have two kids that need money for school and food. Jobs are impossible to come by here.
During the lesson, I really just felt the pain they were feeling. You could see the fear and worry in both of their eyes. We shared the Book of Mormon with them and how it can strengthen us during times of trial. How it really shows us what we need to do in the moment that we need to do it. We left them Mosiah 24 to read, about how the people of Alma were forced into a hard situation and had to find a way out of it by relying on the Lord. I´m hoping that they are able to read and apply that story to their lives, and that it will help them a lot.
I think I´m really beginning to fall in love with the people. It´s something I´ve been praying for from day one here. This past Sunday, we had another experience that just really broke my heart, honestly. We´ve always passed through all of the people drinking and smoking and fighting and it´s never really effected me. However, for some reason this Sunday I was really focusing on trying to find someone to teach. Someone that the Lord had prepared. As we walked away from a fallen through appointment I said a prayer that Heavenly Father would lead us to someone that was willing to listen to us and ready for the gospel.
As we walked, the first thing I saw was a sixteen year old girl with a 24 year old guy, drinking beer together. Furthur along, I saw a mother arguing with her neighbor, beer in hand, as her little girl about 3 years old was playing in the dirt behind her. The next door we passed I heard a little boy screaming as his dad was trying to control him by yelling. It seemed like in every street there was a party going on where everyone was drinking and just carrying on. Finally we saw one group that didn´t seem to have beer, and they began hollering at us and making fun of us for being missionaries and even worse, mormons. We just smiled and walked by.
Really, it just makes me sad. It makes me sad to see so many people not caring about their health and breaking the commandments. They all know that drinking is bad. They all know that they shouldn´t do it, shouldn´t have sex outside of marriage, and everything else. However, they deliberately choose to disobey. It makes me sad to know that they just don´t care about religion anymore, many have thrown in the towel and just have decided to live the wicked life that brings them happiness for a few moments. It reminded me of Jacob and how he talked about the wickedness of the Lamanites and how he truly felt that their sins were upon his head if he didn´t preach them the gospel. I felt that same thing, and how much I wanted to them to taste of the true happiness that comes from the gospel. However, they need to let me in the door if anything is going to happen. They need to have some sort of a desire to change. Hopefully, this week will see that.
I really am so grateful for our Father in Heaven. Even in all of this, with the people choosing not to follow and to take the easy way out, He is blessing my life. I have really never felt His love more for me. I know that I have a long way to go to be the man and missionary that He wants me to be, but I know He´s going to help me get there. I pray that I will have the strength to face the challenges, and I trust that He will be there every step of the way. This week we´re going to work a lot more with the less active members, and I have a feeling that He has prepared them to come back. We´re going to see some success with them, and I hope that in this way we´ll be able to find more people to teach as well. God truly works in many different manners, and we´re going to try a different way this week.
Thank you for all of your prayers on my behalf! I look forward to every letter I receive! Keep it up!
I love you all!