Monday, January 13, 2014

Ryan, how dare you be knocked out Snowboarding without me! (Sent January 6, 2014)


Is Ryan okay!? I saw the picture of on the Ski Patrol sled before I even read that there was an accident. Has he had any after effects? Are you ever going to let us Snowboard again? Pobrecito. I´m praying my heart out for him.

I´m so glad that you finished our crazy New Year´s tradition so faithfully. That´s one of my favorite childhood memories, and something I love trying to explain to people here. They laugh about it, or maybe at me, or maybe my Spanish. I´m not sure. But it makes me so happy. Thanks for the 8 balloons with confetti too. My companion was so confused, but we blew them up and popped them at 10 on New Year´s Eve! (We can´t be up at midnight, but it was midnight somewhere in the world. :P)

Here´s a quick story. One lady came up to us on the street, excitedly telling us about this ¨beautiful movie¨ that she saw about our Church, about the struggles of the 19th wife of ¨the prophet¨ as her husband was murdered, and the other wives cut her hair, and a bunch of other obviously un-LDS related things. My companion and I couldn´t help but start to laugh, which offended her, and she assured us that it wasn´t mocking ¨our religion¨ and that it was beautiful. We tried a more humble way to teach her that it was a fictional story made by someone who mistakenly called the characters ¨Mormons¨ though they were infact a breakoff, and now unrelated group, but she wouldn´t listen, insisting that it was about us. Finally, we just smiled, and thanked her for her misdirected compliment- though I wanted to say ¨oh, I´m sorry, I forgot that you´re an expert about the religion that I´ve actively practiced for 19 years because you watched I pirated version of a 90 minute fictional film made by someone who knows nothing about the subject.¨ But I still don´t know how to say that in Spanish. Also, latinos don´t understand direct sarcasm. And finally, Christ wouldn´t have done so, so as His representative I should never do so either. So I didn´t, and now I only have to repent of the desire to do so. :)

This poor little branch is struggling a lot. Each week, attendance drops by 10, and it started this transfer with 56. This last Sunday was 36. The Branch President says that it´s at risk of closure because this has been going for a while. Everyone has their reasons for inactivation, and every single one makes absolutely no sense to me. I don´t understand how someone feels justified saying that they don´t want to dedicate a little bit of time to remember their Savior because it´s too early, or a member 30 years ago did something rude, or whatever the case may be. Even the passing of a family member doesn´t make a whole lot of sense when I remember that Christ is the one who made the entire plan of our Salvation possible.

Despite all this, I´ve tried to keep see things through their eyes, trying to figure out how to touch their needs in a language that I´ve only recently begun to understand. Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by the love I have for them that I can´t adequately describe what I feel for them through my shaking voice. Don´t think I´m a big whimp. The Spirit´s powerful, okay? :) One of the greatest feelings is hearing a once hard-hearted person sincerely say ¨I think I´m going to go to the Church this Sunday.¨ I want to tackle them when I see them in the Chapel. Compared to all the Argentine pride and arrogance that I associate with so often, a humble person willing to change for the Lord is the strongest, and most admirable thing that I´ve seen.

One of these occasions was when we were teaching about 5 rowdy and inactive brothers and sisters. I was feeling kind of frustrated by their smoking, drinking, swearing, hitting, ignoring, and mocking while we were trying to teach them about the Gospel of Christ. I was looking forward to the end of the lesson when we could go find someone who would appreciate it, and so we half-heartedly asked if they had any questions. The oldest suddenly looked at us in the eyes and asked a few sincere questions, expressing that he really wanted to change. My companion tells me that he´s the heaviest smoker and drinker of all of them, and when he and other Elders tried to talk to them in the past, he was interested the least of all. I was really humbled by this, and many other experiences like it, learning, and relearning that no one is excluded to the message of the Atonement. Never. I love my God, and I´m so grateful for the honor to be one of His missionaries.

Hurrah for Isreal!

See you next week!

P.S. The gas stove doesn´t work, so we cook everything in the microwave: eggs, hotdogs, pancakes, etc. My companion is convinced that it works like a charm. But it doesn´t. It´s kinda gross. Haha it´s an adventure, but atleast I´m not eating chicken feet like other South American missionaries! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment