Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Hora de Poder"

That was just a joke ...I actually have several things to write about ;) bahaha :)

So I'm really becoming addicted to Mexican food. It's all I crave now. I usually make it for myself for lunch. Just cook up some beans and tortillas and BAM, glory. :) You just tear parts of the tortilla and use that to pick up some beans, all with your hands, so incredible. :) The Mexicans know what food is.

I'm a Pro
I actually had another type of hot pepper yesterday. I don't know what it was called, but it was super hot! It was just this little thing, but it packed a punch ...immediately after I ate it my mouth, throat, and tummy started to burn. It even went up to my ears! Literally, my ear was hurting....burning! It was incredible! On the bright side, peppers really clean your legit. Everything was running: ears, eyes, nose. I could breath really well once the pain stopped. ;)
We just had our P-day activity: we went ice skating! It was super fun, and after we got pizza at Tasty's Pizza! It was super good! It's only $4 a pizza for a large, and it's the best I've ever had! Bigger, better, and cheaper than Little Caesars. So I have a new love for pizza.....and Tasty's is in my area, so we can go fairly often! :)

I got the privilege to go on an exchange with Elder Herrera, a NATIVE from Columbia! We spoke only Spanish and it was super helpful. He is sooo funny and such a humble and loving guy. I hope by some miracle we get to be companions. South Americans speak much clearer than Mexicans, it was way easier to understand Elder Herrera than it was Elder Gonzalez! On this split, we worked in his area, and I've never seen so much success, his area was so incredible! We even used "family history" to set up an appointment. Somebody asked us about our family history databases.  Who would've thought! shocking I know. We also made 4 other return appointments and contacted 19 people. A super successful couple of hours. Oh and we also got to eat Mexican food at a member's house! Have I already told you:  I LOVE Mexican food! And to keep it comin', I'm very very grateful and polite :-)  Hmmm, all I really say is "thank you" because that's all I really CAN say (not really, but I do struggle still to understand what the subject is). But the members really like me because of my "thankful" appetite.
Elder Herrera is a native from Columbia!
Speaking of food.... as you can probably tell, I have never eaten so much in my life. Never. But I'm never full. I'm an empty pit that never fills ...probably because we work so hard. It's incredible. Quite astonishing to members too 'cause they see is this skinny guerro down all this spicy Mexican food ...without stopping. And....I'm losing weight. bahahaha!

So Mexicans talk a lot. Like ...a lot. Almost to the point where we are advised not to ask too many questions because they will talk about random nothingness for hours. We've had only one lesson that was under 45 min. It's just their culture, they talk. It's super nice during dinners or for chit chat, but during lessons it's such a pain. So Elder Jensen and I have become really good at explaining our purpose, that we are here to teach and convert, and that we have lots of other people we also need to teach. Once they understand our purpose, they realize that we need to teach, not just platicar, or chat. This makes our lessons so much more powerful ...because instead of having 5 random tangents, we can have a smooth lesson where the Spirit can testify to them of the point of the lesson. It's so much more powerful this way. God's house is a house of order, so I guess our lessons should be too ;)

So as a district we had an activity called "Hora de Poder" or Power Hour. We each called a member and asked to cenar (dine) with them. During dinner, we explained our purpose: bringing others to Christ. It was really powerful. Afterwords, we requested the father (in my case, Hermano Gonzalez) to accompany us for the rest of the night. We told the family that we would see miracles. We knelt with each family and asked the father to offer the prayer.  In many cases, the prayer was a miracle in itself. The Spirit was poured over us and you couldn't deny that the Lord was with us. It was so touching. Sadly, Hermano Gonzales couldn't attend our efforts that night due to work conflicts. But we were hopeful we would still see miracles. So we went out and worked.

Every single appointment we had cancelled. Every one. WHAT!? We assumed there was a reason for this, and we acted with faith. We went to every other investigator we had, but no one was home. Grrrrrrr. But we still didn't doubt. Surely someone needed our message that night. We contacted everyone we crossed paths with, no one was interested. Humf. What's going on? But finally, at 8:30 we decided to try Jorge's again ...for the 3rd time. Success! He was there! And he had an unopened 24oz Budweiser that he was about the drink! He told us he had gone the whole weekend without drinking and was about to drink just that one can. NAH UH! We got him to stop. And this was the first time we'd ever actually caught him sober.  We took full advantage of the opportunity to testify with the Spirit to his clear heart and mind. And boy was it powerful! We taught La Palabra de Sabiduria (D&C 89 / Word of Wisdom). It was so strong, The Spirit was taking advantage of Jorge's soberness to testify to him of the need to change. It was just pouring out of us. We also used lots of scriptures, but the most powerful one was in 1 Corinthians 10:13

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God never permits a temptation beyond our ability. This really impacted him and gave him HOPE! And hope is power ...the power to act. Jorge has a REAL desire to change. And he is such a good man; but he also has such a strong addiction. I know the Spirit touched him and he can't deny it. It's entirely possible he might actually make his date :-)

And another milagro (miracle), we received a reference for a woman who had ALREADY read the Libro de Mormon and wanted to know more! :D  Cool huh!? :) We contacted her that same night before Jorge. As the night wound down, we reported back to the Gonzalez family -- over some milk and donates :) -- that we had in fact witnessed miracles that night.  It was really touching, and they appreciated that our prayers had been answered. :) We testified to them that sometimes God has to break things down before he can build them up. We were down and discouraged that all of our appointments canceled.  But God has His own plan, and it involved us demonstrating our faith throughout the whole night -- and with much disappointment -- before the miracle was shown unto us.

But the miracles didn't end there ...we just had to wait one more day. ;) We were kinda' worried about Jorge's wife Daniela. Their family is suffering because of Jorge's addiction. We hadn't seen her in 1 1/2 weeks since she works so much. She also hadn't been answering our texts. We wanted to make sure she was ok, so we decided to drop by again....and woot! she was there! finally!! Everything was fine. She was still firm in the gospel and was continually reading -- she's now in Jacob :)  And guess what! ...Jorge was helping her clean the house! This is unheard of in Mexican culture! He did the dishes, took out the trash, and did the laundry!!! No way!  ...the Gospel surely changes people!! She was so happy :) This is undoubtedly just their first step into becoming a stronger family. :) The gospel does change people. :)

We taught her the 1st lesson since she had not yet had it. She literally knew everything! We had nothing to fear! She had already read Jorge's Restoration pamphlet! We finished our lesson and then watch the Restoration movie. She was so touched. She told us that she couldn't explain what she felt, she couldn't put it into words, she just said that it felt true. She is the driving force behind their conversion. She's been trying to come to church for the past 3 weeks, but hasn't made it because Jorge leaves the house and she won't go unless he does. We testified to the two of them of the importance of attending Church, and she was super pumped! Then Jorge said he couldn't go because he didn't have proper "church attire", but then - bam - Daniela pulls a brand new outfit out of nowhere! BAHAHA, she had literally bought him an outfit so he had no excuse! :D It was super hilarious....but also touching to see Daniela so determined. They committed to coming to Church. :)

And they did. We sat next to them both. :) And Jorge was again sober ;) After Church we briefly visited with them just to discuss the experience. They loved it.  ...And guess what, they asked for Tarea!! or homework! :D Who does that!? So tight! Elder Jensen and I were pretty surprised and didn't quite know how to react. But we assigned them Alma 42 to help them prepare for our next lesson on the Plan of Salvation. :)

Everyday I'm growing in knowledge and in happiness. I have no doubt it's the Spirit of the Lord working within me. This is the Lord's work. I don't care how many people cuss at me, slam doors in my face, spit, or laugh. Just as Joseph Smith said,
...I know it, and I know that God knows it, and I cannot deny it.

Nothing will bring me down because God is constantly raising me higher. :) The Church is true, and anyone that has a sincere desire to know can find that out for themselves. Our invitation is so simple: pray to know, and God will answer. Our invitation isn't to join our church, it's to come closer to Christ.  And as people read the Book of Mormon and pray about it, they will come closer to Christ and join HIS Church. This Church. The Book of Mormon is True.  It was translated by a prophet of God: Joseph Smith.  Christ restored His true church again to the earth through Joseph Smith: The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints is the true church. I know it, I shall never deny it.

I love you all so much! Miss you tons!

- Elder Clemons

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