Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 13, 2011

Jordan, Elder Stokes, Patricia and Gustavo

Elder Stokes, Patricia, Elder Lewis

Three Sundays ago, Elder Stokes and I were in a little food shop, where we are teaching the owner, when this really drunk guy grabbed my arm and asked us if we were from Amsterdam. I don't know why, but we said yes. haha! He told us that he loved to talk about other cultures and languages. We then told him that we could pass by his house and talk about cultures a little more. His name is Gustavo. We went to his house the next day and met his wife Patricia. After teaching them just once, we found out that Gustavo is an alcoholic like I have never heard of, and Patricia wants to be baptized. They didn't really ever DO anything, and were really looking for something. As we taught them more and more, their house became cleaner and cleaner and they both looked happier and happier. You could literally see a change in their countenances taking place. She even quit smoking in one day. They started to call us their hijos (children) and love us so much. The first time Patricia went to church,  it was a fast Sunday. As people started to go up, she leaned over and asked me if she could go up and say something. I was so surprised and told her to go for it. She bore a sweet testimony about how she felt so peaceful whenever we come to her house and about how she wanted to do everything she could to feel more of that peace. We couldn't believe it and were so happy.  Yesterday, we baptized Patricia and it was so..... good. I don't know how else to say it.  She was so happy and cried so much. Right after the baptism, I had the distinct feeling that all the rejection and disappointment I have as a missionary is worth it if you can help someone as much as Patricia and Gustavo. If I had to come home tomorrow, i would feel successful. Gustavo now has to quit smoking and drinking and then he is going to be baptized too.

The other day, Jessi (sister) sent me a quote that says the most amazing miracles aren't miracles of healing, or physical miracles, but when someone has a change of heart. I saw a change of heart in the past few weeks and now I know for myself that the change of heart that the gospel can bring into one's life is the biggest miracle of all. Three weeks ago, Patricia and Gustavo didn't really have a purpose to their lives. But now, they are both so happy and progressing and DOING things.  The work is oh so good.

June 6, 2011

"Last week I gave a talk in sacrament about the Joseph Smith story and how we can ask Heavenly Father for the truth of all things and receive answers. At the beginning of the talk I said "Sorry in advance for my Spanish, I am still learning" In the back of the chapel, one of the young men stood up and shouted, "IT DOESNT MATTER! We love you!" I started awkwardly laughing and couldnt stop for a little bit. Everybody in the congregation laughed too.

Things are just different in Church here. Sunday School with the adults is pretty much a who can talk loudest and interrupt the most competition. I laugh so hard every Sunday. All the people are SO nice, they just get really excited and have a lot to say. This Sunday, all the missionaries in our mission had to give a lesson about how important members are in the missionary work. Elder Stokes and I worked out a whole lesson plan and were really excited about it. We started the lesson with a question to the adults "Why is missionary work important to members as well as missionaries?" It was such a bad choice. An old lady in the front row with one eye shouted "BECAUSE SOCIETY ROBS THE CHILDREN!" Then everyone started to shout and fight and we did not get another word in. It was so funny.

I love the mission and am so happy."