Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Mis Salvadores"

Pres wants us all to part our hair on the side ...yuck!!
Hey Everyone!

Sorry for the delay in the email.  Yesterday was Labor Day ...a prime day to work. :) So P-day was left for today.

Everyone is blind :-)  We need to buy 4 large-print Books of Mormon in Spanish for our investigators! And that's the only edition the church won't pay for :p  ;(

You will not believe how badly I want Kneaders French toast bread and a Café Rio burrito. So if you could send those, that'd be awesome. ;) bahahaha. Not likely I know, but I really want some Kneaders bread.

So biggest change, on Saturday, Gonzalez was emergency transferred to another area ...and English speaking!! What!?! He doesn't speak English at all -- except some swear words ;-) -- so this will be a challenge for him. He just left this morning; seems he was transferred into a rich white area. Phew, that'll be fun.

Good-bye Elder Gonzalez. I'm wearing a tie he gave me :-)
So remember our 2 fechas for baptism? Well now it's 5 ;)  Jorge, Daniela, Florencio, Dimetrio, and a new investigator Ovelia. The progress feels awesome, but I know that the hard part is keeping them dedicated and determined we'll see how many stay determined. ;)

Ovelia is in her 40's, and she's already a grandmother ...babysits constantly. She knows a lot about Christ, and has a ton of faith. She even told us that she fasted -- no food or water -- for 14 days. The first lesson was really powerful, and she did accept a date to leer y orar (editor's note: read and pray). But we had another appointment yesterday which fell through. We found her later that day, and she was too busy to read and pray with us them :p we'll need to work on that.

Dimetrio is a jefe (note: manager). He's about 40 with 3 kids. He REALLY wants to learn about the BoM. He initially expected the book would be totally new doctrines, but he loves that it's the pure doctrines of Christ. So it really interests him. He says he wants to understand EVERYTHING before baptism ...but he did accept a date.

Florencio is older, like 60's. He plays guitar, loves talking with us, and isn't afraid to ask honest questions. Unfortunately, he can't read, the print is too small.  So he will also need a "grande" Libro de Mormon. He says he's been baptized 2 times already, and he struggles to understand that you need to have the proper authority to baptize. But he does have a fecha (note: date) set. :)

Daniela is boss ...within 3 days, she'd already read up to 2 Nephi 3!!!! And that was over a week ago! Who knows where she is at now. She definitely wants to be baptized! She just loves everything about the church. She feels peace there. She even walked around the temple by herself ...and was convinced yet again of the church. It's just hard to meet with her because she always works. She also doesn't want to be baptized without Jorge, which is our problem. :p

Jorge is 45, but he acts younger. He has such a loving heart, but doesn't himself feel loved. Unfortunately, Jorge has been an alcoholic for a whopping 23 years. :p  We're fairly certain he hasn't been sober since he started. He even drinks DURING our lessons!!! :p  What?!? He had a heart attack 2 years ago supposedly because of his addiction...and he hasn't told his family!!!! WHAT!!! He faints weekly at work! WHAT!!!!! :(  It's so sad. Obviously, it's hard to work with a constantly drunk man, it goes solidly against the will of the Spirit. It's weird though, we can have these super spiritual experiences, yet he is drunk, so its weird. :p  But I love him, you can't help but love him.

So here's a story to help understand Jorge. We had a baptism recently in the ward, so we invited him to join us. Three hours later we knocked his door to confirm the invitation, and he was completely wasted. But he was used to being drunk and decided to come. He tried to get us into his car, but we decided to walk, and he somehow managed to walk with us about 1.5 miles to the church. We watched the baptism together, and he said he loved it. He hung around afterwards and talked with members and ate and introduced himself to lots of people. He functioned surprisingly well ...even though he was tomando (drunk).

Anyway, we returned to his house and taught a lesson. At this point, many hours had passed, so he was normal again. We decided to read the story of Ammon cutting the arms off of the Lamanites. You know, just to get him interested in the book. He loved it. In our previous visits he couldn't read because of his poor eyesight; so we got him a big print edition too.  We testified how he could be like Ammon -- and "cut" his addiction down one can at a time. It was great. The Spirit was super strong. He was crying ...and had a sincere desire to change. He wants to so bad. We were all so pumped and filled with the Spirit. We said a prayer, and he accompanied us out the door.

Now (as we all know) Satan is just as real as God, and I learned quickly of his power on my mission. Jorge wanted to give us a ride back to our apartment, but we refused since we were already close to home, only about a 10 minute walk. He then got super offended, and eventually convinced us to ride with him.  Everything was fine until we got to our apartment complex. Then, instead of turning into our complex, he drove past it and said he needed to go to the store. We were a bit concerned because the time was approaching 9:30, when rules state we should get back to our apartment. He got mad again and said if we were his friends we would wait, "shouldn't take more than 5 minutes." As he came out of the store, he had a beer in his hand, cursed Jesus for not helping him, got in the car, and started to drink!!!

We reminded him about his commitment to change. He started to put it down...paused...then said..."Who are you to tell me what to do." and then finished it. WHAT THE HECK JORGE!!!! We were all shocked and depressed.  We went from a super spiritual experience to sin within a mere 5 minutes. Satan's power to tempt is real. Jorge went from praising God, to cursing Jesus. It was sad.

But where Satan has power, Christ has more. We were inspired to walk over to Jorge's house late last night, around 8:30. He was pulling out of his driveway with a friend just as we showed up. He jumped out of the passenger seat, hugged us all, and called us his saviors. :) He was on his way to go drinking with a buddy, but instead went inside with us ...and we had an opportunity for another lesson. It was super spiritual. During the lesson he pulled out a beer to drink, but we got him to switch it with water :)

It's very inspiring to see the Lord would send His young emissaries at just the right place and time to help a man in need. :) It was very touching to hear the words "Mis Salvadores" and know and feel that we were servants of God. God does help his children, He never lets us go.

On a different topic, we had one of those "sweet tender mercies" happen to us the other day! We had just gotten Subway sandwiches and were walking back to our apartment. We really wanted some ice-cream since is was 98 degrees!!!!, but didn't have the funds for it. On our "hot" and long way home, a random lady pulled up along side us and gave us 3 Frosty's from Wendy's!!! Now this was most assuredly a tender mercy since missionaries are usually in 2's! So cool!! :D

Well, that's all I really have to say. The work is picking up. :)

I'm constantly hot. Constantly sweaty. Constantly tired. And Constantly happy.

The gospel is true, and it was restored through Joseph Smith --an important fact the world all-too-easily overlooks. The Lord has always sent out His disciples (young missionaries) to change lives, and we're have fun doing it! ;) I'm super happy! Love the work! :D

I love you! :D

Elder Travis Clemons

First thing I saw in my new apartment.  Missionaries are not particularly clean :-(