Saturday, May 31, 2014
I love you all. (Sent: May 19, 2014)
That was a rough round of emails. But I´m incredibly humbled by your examples. Thank you so much for having the kinds of character to push forward doing good despite all the trials that occur. You´re all inspiring to me as I watch you remain faithful, happy, and considerate towards others despite the chaotic trials that are thrown at you. Thank you for teaching me humility and perseverance. I´m keeping you all in my prayers.
I had a little personal funeral for Izzy in this Ciber. I don´t care how weird I look crying in an internet cafe over a dog 7,000 miles away with 80´s music in the background; it was cool. Heavenly Father assured me of the immense love that He has for all of His creations. Even our dumb, old, overweight beagle with arthrytis, cataracts, and a broken tail. Even though I don´t really understand well how the Plan of Salvation applies to animals, the Spirit told me that she´s in a good place. Descansá en paz, Izzy. :)
Okay, to change the subject, I´ll tell you a crazy story. River and Boca are the two giant soccer clubs here, and we´re right smack dab in the middle of the two stadiums. Last night, River won the national championships without our knowing it. While waiting for the bus at the end of the day, we saw a bunch of River fans celebrating, and one of them told us they won 6-0 against Quilmes. Thinking it was all chill, we watched them chant and wave their flags around, wondering where the bus was. Finally we decided to go over to the subway to see if we could get home that way, and saw that it was all closed down. All the while, more and more River fans came pouring out of the train station. We got a little nervous as we realized that we were late for curfew and would have to walk home 45 minutes. We called the Zone Leaders, and they suggested that we pay a little extra for a taxi. We stopped one, and told him where we wanted to go, and he looked at us like we were insane, and said that he couldn´t cross 9 de Julio, the famous intersection with the giant white obelisk. And we soon found out why. It was filled with fans in white and red, in their cars, taxis, on top of moving busses, yelling, chanting, shooting fireworks, and all sorts of mayhem. The assistants suggested we stay at a members house until it calmed down, but there was no one that we knew of nearby. Finally we realized that there was no choice but to walk right through the middle of them, because there was no other alternative, and the mob was growing fast. I said a prayer that we could walk through invisibly, and we crossed the 15 lanes of stopped traffic, and we only had one drunk fan growl at us from his car. :) Soccer is crazy.
I did divisions with Élder McRory from Brigham City in an area called Chacarita. They have a little villa in their area, which is laughably small compared to Villa 31. I felt like a celebrity telling people that I normally proselyte in 31. But this little villa was fun. Ryan, practically everyone in it was from Chiclayo, Perú! You´re going to love it there. They are such awesome people.
We had a baptism lined up for this last Sunday, but the young woman that we were going to baptize disappeared, and we´re still trying to contact her. It was a huge disappointment, and we´re getting a little worried for her, but we´ll keep praying that we can find her when she´s not at her new job and keep progressing. But we found and awesome stud named Alfredo. While teaching him, we asked him why he was so interested. He told us: ¨I always watch the Jehova´s Witnesses and Evangelists walking, asking people questions, and knocking on every door in sight, but you guys walked differently. You seemed to have a purpose, and I thought that your message was classified or something. So I wanted to know why it was different.¨ I almost started laughing at the unexpected answer. That street is one of the streets we contact the most on. But then President Ayre´s words from the mission meeting with Elder Gonzalez came back to my mind. ¨We´re not a tracting mission. We´re a working with the members mission, and an abrir la boca mission.¨ There´s a new kind of meaning to that to me now. I´m going to be sure to go about my responsibilities efficiently now, seeking the elect, and giving the best opportunity to everyone I meet to accept the Gospel, trying not to just throw it in their face.
Another interesting experience. We met this lady who made us the most INCREDIBLE chipabarrero (cheese bread from Paraguay), but who is solidly Catholic. The member that we were with seemed a little frustrated that she wasn´t willing to understand something that he held so sacred, and began to argue with her. I felt extremely awkward, with Doctrine and Covenants running through my head ¨If ye have not the Spirit, ye shall not teach.¨ Finally wished her well and broke away for the appointment we had. The man we met with insisted that nobody could take away his faith by telling him that he had to read the scriptures or attend church to show his faith. While calmly testifying to him that faith must lead to actions to truely be the Faith that Christ mentions in the Bible, I felt the Spirit incredibly strong.
I was talking to E´ Adamson about it, thinking it was a little weird that the Spirit was so strong while teaching such a small principle. In the blunt way that he does he told me ¨it´s because you felt the opposite just before.¨ And he was right. It doesn´t make any sense to try and teach the Gospel without the Spirit. Because two 19 year-olds who just barely learned Spanish are terrible at teaching the Eternal Gospel of a Perfect, All-powerful Being. But when the Spirit´s there, It does Its job slendidly and powerfully.
I love you all so much. Thanks for your honesty, for your love, your examples, and your faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don´t ever lose your faith, and always remember the everlasting love that I, but even more, God has for you. You will be blessed on an enormous scale for your faithfulness and selflessness that you are showing in these times. I love you, and I´ll be praying and fasting for you all this week.
Hasta la próxima semana. ¡Hurra por Israel!
P.S. I have some more bad news for you too. I left my camera in Chacarita when I was doing a division. They´re going to give it back to me today, but I can´t send you all the cool pictures of this old military boat that we toured last week on P-day. I´ll be sure to send them next week. Love you!