I have learned a TON from this area. I can`t even begin to count the many challenges that I have overcome here personally. I have learned how to really focus on my weaknesses and help them to become my strengths. I have learned to follow the councel that my President and other leaders give me in order to improve, among many other things!
This last week we worked hard. We`ve been trying hard to work with members to get referrals. This week, it paid off! We didn`t actually get a referral from one of the members we`ve been working with...but we`ve received 3 from other members out of the blue! Not only are they referrals, but they`re really great! I feel like God has seen our efforts and has blessed us because of that. Hopefully we can continue to work with members and have success that way.
Sunday was also super cool! We trained ALL of the members in the 3rd hour of church. We taught them how to give away a Book of Mormon to a friend. Basically, we had every single person practice it! It was pretty awesome. At the end, we asked how many of them wanted a Book of Mormon to be able to give it away to someone. In our little group alone, there were 10 who accepted! Hopefully they`re going to do it and we`ll get some great referrals from them.
The other thing I saw this week was very inspiring, yet at the same time, very sad.
We`ve been working with a less active family for a while. It`s a family of four with Mother, Father, Sister, and brother. The father was a bishop before and is SUPER GREAT! However, due to health issues, it`s super hard to get to church alone. He still makes the effort and has been going regularly. His son, Spencer, is also super active and goes every Sunday, usually helping his dad as well. However...his wife and daughter don`t help at all.
Recently, Luis (the dad) had eye surgery. He can`t see hardly anything, and he needs his wife to come with him to his appointments, because his diet is also affecting him and she needs to know what to cook. However, she simply REFUSES to go. She is so upset with the church because of a few rumors that have gone on that she refuses to help her own husband! He may be a bit forward with his invitations to church, but it honestly shocked me to hear that she refuses to go with him.
Sunday, he broke down crying, telling us all of this and asking for a blessing. With the help of his brother, who is 1st councellor, we gave him a blessing. I really hope that things get better...the blessing was a great experience. He also asked us to come by to visit his wife and daughter to help get them to come to church again.
When we got there, his wife and daughter immediately just went into their rooms and wouldn`t come out. They said that `they were asleep` even after we had seen them BOTH watching TV just moments before.
What really impressed me about this experience is Hermano Luis. We talked with him, mostly trying to console him in this VERY difficult part of his life. However, instead of being overly selfish and pitying himself, he offered to help us! He`s still teaching at an elementary school, and is a very well known professor. He offered to invite all of the parents of his students to a fireside that we could put on.
Words cannot describe how I felt when he said that...
Here`s a man that cannot see. He`s blind. His wife has chosen to stop supporting him, along with his daughter. He recently had surgery, and continues to suffer from diabeties. However, he is willing, even happy, to go out of his way to carry this wonderful message of the gospel to others! People like him inspire me.
Sometimes, I feel like I can`t do any more. Before the mission, I would say that I was sick and I simply couldn`t do more. However, Luis has changed my opinion. If he can organize a fireside with all of these things going on...then I can continue to magnify my calling and assignment. If any of you out there are having a tough time trying to do all the things you have to, just think about the many people out there that sacrifice themselves every day in order to help other people. Luis is just one of them!
Well...I don`t know that I can write as well as I used to be able to. :) I hope you all can feel the spirit I feel. This work is amazing. I am constantly amazed by the sacrifices that people are willing to make in order to help other people find the truth. We leave behind homes, families, girls, studies, scholarships, and many other things. People here are also making many sacrifices, and all that just to help maybe ONE or TWO people to find the truth, to know the joy that comes from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
I want you all to know that it`s worth it! The sacrifice is all worth it, and I hope and pray that you all can find the strength to do your part. When was the last time that YOU shared your testimony with someone? When was the last time that YOU invited someone to hear about this message? We always talk about the wonderful blessings that come from missionary work and how many things we learn from making this sacrifice, but are we really a part of it? I would invite you to simply open up your mouth, or your facebook page, or your cellphone, and share the gospel. Who knows how your friends will respond?
Love you all...and I`ll write you next week from somewhere else in Piura or Tumbes! Who knows where God will send me? :)