Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tender mercies

My companion and I bought some new suits for $180.  Pretty good quality, and very inexpensive!! :D

Just FYI, this week was transfers. But nothing changed in the entire zone ...except my district received another pair of missionaries.  I am still the District Leader.

So after 6 long weeks without assistants (editor: investigators) at church, we finally had 2!!!! Vanina's family (the Romeros). Vanina is a young member who will soon be going on a mission.  Her family aren't members yet, so we have been working hard with them to get them to go to church.

We had a super powerful lesson with them on Friday. We went with Vanina and taught lesson one -- The Restoration -- which went very smoothly. We felt impressed to also focus this lesson on the family. As we did so, the mom, Sandra, kinda' opened up and talked about some hard childhood experiences she has had and how her family has been affected. We then testified about how Christ came to suffer those very pains, and that He is the one that can help us overcome them. Luckily, Vanina had her computer, so we were able to show the video "He lives." Now I have seen this video well over 50 times, but watching it in this environment, with these people, was completely different. The spirit was undeniably present and overwhelmingly powerful. I immediately felt God's love and comfort enter the room, and I could sense that Sandra did as well. We bore powerful testimony after the video that God loves her and that Christ is her Savior. All we need to do is ask for our Heavenly Father's help.

It was a very touching, simple moment. I often feel that the simple moments in life are the most spiritual, as was this one. The video, combined with our testimonies and the testimony of Vanina, was enough to get Sandra and her son to go to church ...even in the rain. Now that's what I call a miracle and tender mercy.

Now there's two hansome missionaries!!
We also had another incredible lesson with the Romero family. They are a family of 5. The mom Lorena, son Gaston, daughter Luz with her boyfriend Juan, and the youngest daughter Oriana. The kids have different schedules from the mom, so we teach the mom separately, and sometimes even share different messages with her based on her needs.

The lesson we had with the kids was on prayer, and we brought their cousin Aldana (who is a member) with us. They love it when we come over and everything, but they haven't taken the initiative to actually pray! On the other hand, they do read the scriptures that we ask them to read; so that's good. The last time we visited them, we really wanted to emphasize the power of prayer. So we read with them the Book of Enos and used it to testify that God will answer prayers ...of course, you have to put in some genuine time and real effort. We then shared Moroni 10:3-5 to show them what God expects us to do before we can receive answers to our prayers. I then shared with them a personal experience I had had about receiving a real answer about leaving on my mission, and Aldana shared an experience about how she came to know the Church was true. (I don't know why, but I feel like the testimonies of members are always more powerful than ours ...like they're more simple, pure, and personal.) Aldana bore a tender testimony that really touched everyone in the room. I think the lesson was a great success, and really helped the Romero kids understand the importance of prayer and the reality of a loving, personal, and attentive Father in Heaven.

On Saturday we taught the mom the Word of Wisdom. Kind of a tough lesson since she smokes about 10 cigarettes a day. Her situation is a little different than most of our investigators: she reads the scriptures and pamphlets consistently, and she already knows the church is true. But she hasn't gone to church (we're hoping next week she'll go, si o si!!!), and of course she smokes. So on our last visit with her, we explained that everything we teach her is to help her family. Thar our purpose as missionaries throughout the world was to bring whole families to Christ, and that sometimes things in our lives prevent us from doing that. She took it really well and admitted that she always knew smoking was bad; she'd just never taken the initiative to try to stop. So we encouraged and helped her to create a plan to do so ...her goal is to stop smoking by June 6.

Unfortunately, the family wasn't able to make it to church because it rained all through the night :-( :-( And it's especially hard for them to get to church because they live in a pure dirt area of the city, and when it rains it's super muddy.  So now we're hoping for NEXT WEEK!

Please pray for these 2 families. Pray that they will receive and recognize the answers to their prayers strong enough that the experience encourages them to accept and live the commandments. It's sad that I've only got 6 weeks left ...please pray that they get baptized before then!

The Micheli family is totally boss!!
Today's p-day was a lot of fun!  The zone got together, and we played some good old basketball! We haven't played in a looooong time ...well, I haven't por lo menos (editor: "at least").  We decided to play District against District. My District against the Zone Leader's district.  And yup, we won both games! Of course, we all played like crap (keep in mind that as missionaries we haven't played real basketball in nearly 2 years; so we were all super bad).  But igual, it was fun.  Wow, I sweated so much; but winning made it all worth while. We played for about two hours, at which point we were pretty much dead.  A super good p-day!

So here's a little tender mercy that happened to me this week.  It was so simple, but it still just makes me smile to know that God is always near, and it was clear evidence that He works though many small and simple means. It was Saturday night, and my companion and I were in a grocery store grabbing a couple things to eat for Sunday (because obviously you can't shop on Sunday).  I grabbed a few things -- bananas, oatmeal, milk -- and waited in the cash-register line to pay.  When I got to the front, lo and behold, I had forgotten my credit card and was unable to buy any food!  All I had in my pocket was about 30 pesos in cash. So I bought what I could with that (which turned out to be just the plain oatmeal), and walked out of the store back to our apartment. Suddenly, we heard from behind us, "Elder!! ¿Como va a comer avena sin leche?" (editor: "How are you going to eat oatmeal without milk?). This random guy ran up to me and gave me the milk I wasn't able to buy. What a sweet, simple act of kindness. I had never met him before.  But he had noticed that I wasn't able to buy the milk, and so out of the kindness of his heart, he bought it for me ...and chased me down just to give it to me. It's just a simple testimony to me that God is always aware of his children and is always sending us simple messages saying that He is there and cares for us.

I know God lives and I know He loves us. The more we look for Him, the more we'll notice Him in our lives ...the more He answers our prayers with tender mercies.

I love the mission and love what I do!