We were in a house the other day and the TV was on in the background. All of the sudden I heard Colorado Springs ,Colorado in a bad Argentine accent. The forest fire made it onto Argentine news! It must be real bad. Shoot. Poor poor mountains.
This week was fairly normal. On Friday and Saturday, I had an intercambio (when you trade companions with another missionary for 24 hours) with Elder Borgersen, (Tim Tebow) my old companion. It was real real good to reminisce with him; getting chased by guys with guns, fighting drunk men, receiving protection from the neighborhood mob, teaching the gospel, and so on. It's weird that we were companions almost a year ago. Elder Borgersen is great.
The other day, we were walking down the street and saw one of the ladies form the ward chatting with a few other women in front of a house. We stopped to chat and introduced ourselves to the ladies. When the member lady saw us, her eyes got real big and she looked a little scared. I just ignored it. All the women were all totally nice. We decided to share a little message with all of them and then say a prayer. As we were talking, more and more girls kept on coming out of the house until there were about 8 girls listening to us. They were totally receptive. We finished the lesson, said a prayer, set up a day and time to come back, and started walking away with the member lady. Once we had turned the corner, and were out of the view of all the girls we had just taught, the member lady told us to stop and that she had something to tell us. She then told us that the women we had just talked to aren't good girls. She was kind of stumbling with her words, but I was kind of starting to understand. I asked, "Hermana, are they prostitutes?" She just nodded. And then I asked, "Was that a brothel?" She nodded again. hahaha I couldn't believe it. We told her that we still wanted to teach the girls, but we just couldn't go back to that place anymore. We organized to meet in the hermanas house this coming Wednesday. We will see how it goes.....everyone deserves a chance at the gospel.
It is till pretty find to find people who will progress here in Avellaneda. Generally, the people are either super wealthy and don't come out of their houses, or live in the villa and don't have any ambitions whatsoever. I for sure feel like I was put in this area for a very specific reason. Up until now in my mission, it has been fairly easy to find, teach, and baptize. My faith has never really been tried that much. I definitely feel like I am here in Avellenda to be humbled. This work isn't about me or my personal skills, it is about my humility and willingness to let the Lord work through me. I am just trying to do my best to tune into the spirit, and be humble in front of God and my companion. Just need to trust.
This week, amidst self-humbling, we had a few mini-miracles. We were just walking down the street the other day in a pretty nasty part of town when I noticed that a man was stumbling towards us, specifically toward us. My villa instincts told me to cross to the other side of the street and walk faster and I did. The man also crossed the street, walked faster, and started shouting at us to wait for him. I was nearly sure that we was trying to rob us until he shouted, "Elders! Please! I need you!" Those words don't usually come out of the mouth of your run of the mill robber, so Elder Ruvalcaba and I turned around and asked him what he wanted. It was only then that I realized that he was stumbling not because he was drunk or high, but because he had a really bad limp. He told us that his name was Urbano and explained to us that he had just moved here from Peru. He had had a stroke and a half body paralysis, and that the Elders in Peru had found him and helped him out a lot. He paralysis is now improving and he can walk with the help of a cane. He told us that he wants to talk and have us over for dinner. We were about to finish our convo when I felt the distinct impression to ask him if he knew anyone else that we could visit. He replied, "I will tell you on Sunday when you come over." I suspected that he was snaking out of the question and gave up. Yesterday we went to his house to visit. As we were at his door, ready to walk into his house, he stopped me and said "Remember how you asked me if I know anyone else that you can teach?" I nodded and he opened the door to the house. There, sitting in chairs, on the floor, on the beds were about 20 people, mostly kids. Missionary gold mine. Urbano has five kids and about 20 grandchildren, and he wants us to teach all of them. We shared a message of Christ and the Atonement, and there was a sweet spirit present.
I know that there are people ready and waiting for Elder Ruvalcaba and I. We just have to obey the Spirit in order to find them. I will do my best to be willing. All is well. Life is good.