Well this week has literally just sped by. I honestly feel like every day was only one minute long. I don´t know how I´m going to keep up with what´s happening! I´m trying really hard to keep a good journal so that one day I can go back and read what happened because I don´t have time to really realize what´s going on! Time is simply insane on a mission.
So this past Tuesday, God really sent me a great message. :) I am supposed to be here in Negritos. On Tuesday, we found 3 new people that were interested in our message! It´s been a while since we found someone that actually wanted to listen to us, and we found three in one day! I was really so very thankful for that, and it was a great testimony builder that I am supposed to be here for a fourth change. We are going to continue working with these people, as they still have not accepted baptismal dates. However, I know that Heavenly Father guided us specifically to them and that things are going to go out well.
I wanted to tell you about one of the new investigators we met, and a little experience we had. Her name is Maria Bennites Vargas, and she has two children that are both in the equivilant of elementary school. When we knocked on her door she immediately just let us in. Normally when people do that it´s because they listen to everyone. Well, it was the same case with her! However, when we started the lesson, I think both Elder Ramirez and I both felt the spirit directing us as to what message she needed that day. It was one of the best lessons I´ve had because we were able to keep a conversation going the entire time. A lot of times it is difficult to do that because people don´t understand different points to the lesson. Maria understood. We taught her the plan of salvation, and she was able to understand all of it very well.
At the time, we didn´t understand the reason why we taught that lesson. We just knew that was what we needed to teach her. When we went back for the second lesson, she told us why. Her mom died just a few months ago, and she has talked to multiple religions about where her mom has gone. She´s been unsatisfied with every response. She said when we came in and just taught her without her having to ask, she just felt it was true. What a great feeling! At that moment I felt so grateful for the influence of the Holy Ghost in our work. We then began talking a little more about her family, and she said her husband, who is normally anti-religious, has taken the pamphlet we left her and is also interested in our message! She said she had also talked to him about our message, and he seemed really interested!
I´m so excited for this family. The second lesson was something of a miracle too. Her kids were there, running around the entire time, and even screaming a lot. Trying to teach about the Restoration with screaming kids is NOT easy. We got to where I was relating the first vision, something that is very sacred to us, when the dog just started barking REALLY LOUD, right in front of us! Maria got super upset with the kids who were bothering the dog, and for a few minutes we just had to wait. Thankfully, the spirit waited as well. When we finally were able to get back to the lesson, we finished without any other interruptions. I know that God had a hand in that. We gave her two pamphlets this time and set up an appointment to meet with her and her husband. I hope that things go well!
Another great experience we had this week was with Hermano Pedro. When we first showed up to his house, we ended up helping his son with some of his religious homework. It really amazes me how the Catholic high school is having them do this work! The questions were about Acts and the orginal church that Christ organized here on Earth. It simply doesn´t make sense to me that they study the church that Christ organized, with a prophet and apostles, living the commandments of tithing, baptism, confirmation, and even talking about the authority, yet they can still say the Catholic church is true today. Simply astounds me. When we helped him with his homework, we told him exactly what the Bible says! The church needs to have authority like the apostles had, and we need to be baptised and confirmed by the laying on of hands. However, he still doesn´t want to accept what we´re teaching. That´s ok!
After that little experience, we taught Pedro about Lehi´s Dream. It really was a great lesson where we talked about how he could take the first step, he could be the first to be baptised and his family would follow. We also talked about how he has received his answer. He agreed with us that he feels like he has received an answer, but when I tried to set a baptismal date he said he wanted another answer, this time as a strong feeling, something he couldn´t deny. Well...try as we might, we can´t change that desire. He wants that strong sign from God before taking this step. We told him that he could receive confirmation of the answer, but he has to do his part: read, pray, and attend church. However, he didn´t attend church yesterday. :( Not sure what happened because on Saturday he and his wife both said they would come. Oh well, we´ll keep following up with them!
My third experience this week really made me quite sad. It started Sunday afternoon when we went to visit Doraliza. She wasn´t there, but on our way back she flagged us down from a moto and we followed her back to her house. After a quick lesson, her non member friend came in, and we also talked to her for a while. I think it was all timing for what happened next. When we did leave, and were walking down a main street to go back towards our pensionista for dinner, I saw a SUPER drunk guy trying to walk home. When I say trying, I mean it. He could not tell his right from his left, and I could barely believe he was making any progress at all. At a certain point in the sidewalk, there are about four steps up, and they´re pretty high steps! He was on the other side of the street, and we were a little behind him when I saw him try them for the first time. He got about halfway and then fell back down, but managed to catch himself. Something inside me told me he was not going to make it the second time, and I was right. The second time he tried he tripped and ended up falling back and hitting his head, HARD on the pavement, where he stopped moving. We ran over, and he was out cold. When we started to try to see if we could get him to sit up, we noticed that he had cracked the back of his head open and was bleeding.
My companion ended up getting blood all over his white shirt as we leaned him up against a concrete wall. The man came too and began telling us to go away, that he was catholic and would always be catholic. (funny how they still have that line even when they are completely hammered) We tried to tell him multiple times that his head was cracked open but he couldn´t tell and just wanted us to leave him to walk home, which was probably about 3/4 of a mile away. We refused, and showed him the blood that was all over his shirt.
While we were arguing with him, trying to get him to realize that he was hurt and needed to get a car or something to his house, people just kept passing us by. We finally got a moto to stop, and they even told us they knew the man. They said they would run and get someone real quick but they left and didn´t come back. Finally I told my companion, look no one is going to come. By that point the man had stood up and we were still fighting him to try to get him to wait for a car. He was just too stubborn. Finally, another moto passed by, this time an empty one. We flagged it down, and took the man to his house. However, his sister was not home, so we ended up having to leave him by himself there. His neighbor was kind enough to tell us, ¨ya, he lives there. Just let him be.¨ as blood was still coming from his head.
It really makes me sad to think that someone would drink so much that their mind just is not there at all. It makes me even more sad that a man can fall like that, in the middle of a street, and no one even tries to help him. I know that Heavenly Father put us there at that time so that we could help him, even if all we could do is make sure he gets to his house ok. The problem is that this is just NORMAL for everyone. People get hammered every weekend, so seeing someone like that walk down the street just isn´t a big deal at all. It makes me sad, and makes it so much more important to me to try to give people the gift of the gospel in their lives, so they don´t have to wake up every Monday with a gash in the back of their head and a huge headache.
So anyway, that´s what I was up to this week! Oh! I also had an AWESOME suprise! Elder Foutz sent me a package this week full of candies!!! Thank you!! It was an awesome!! Kinda crazy to think that from the original 4 that were here in Negritos, I´m the last one here! Changes sure happen quickly on the mission!
I hope you all know that I love you! Thank you all for your continued support and love. I am so grateful for all the letters and prayers I get from you all! I know that I am so blessed to have a great family behind me. I look forward to talking to you in another month! I´m pretty sure it will be the second Sunday of May, and I will be able to use Skype again. :) I look forward to it!
Love you all!