Monday, October 8, 2012

September 17, 2012

I have less time than usual, so this email is going to be just about the most important things that happened this week.

As I walked away from the computer last Monday, I remembered that I had forgotten to write about the actual re-dedication. It was too late. Oops. The re-dedication was broadcast to all of the Stake Centers in Argentina. There were three sessions, but the missionaries were only allowed to assist one. We went to the first session and it was amazing. President Arnold of the Seventy, Eyering and, Ballard all spoke. They all spoke about blessings of the temple and all cried. I honestly don't remember one thing that was said that I really liked, but the feeling when they spoke was good and happy. I don't know how else to explain it. Real good. Elder Villalba and I forgot to bring white handkerchiefs to wave at the end of the ceremony. Luckily there was a member handing out toilet paper for those who had forgotten their handkerchiefs. We waved that instead. Hope its okay.....

This week had its ups and downs. Remember Malena? This week she told us that she didn't want to get baptized anymore. She told us that we could keep on passing by her house and teaching lessons, but she wasn't going to get baptized because she wasn't ready to keep all of the commandments. I was pretty bummed. A lot. I had never really help someone get so close to being baptized and then not do it. I blame the change in decisions on the month when her Mom went out of town. In that month, a lot of parties went on in the house, and I think some poor decisions were made. Afterwards, I spent the next few days trying to think what I could have done to help Malena more. I was kind of beating myself up about it until Elder Villalba sat me down and taught me two good lessons: people will feel the spirit, know the message is true, and still reject it. In those moments, you cannot be sad because you and the Spirit together have done all you can do. The other lesson: when you are about to make a big and good choice, don't delay. Don't give time to other influences to change your mind. Go and do. I am still a little sad, but I know i did all I could. 

But, like always, the good news outshines the bad. We have been teaching a couple named Eric and Liza lately. Eric is a non-member and Liza is inactive. They are both 19, unmarried, and live together. Liza is pregnant. They are both totally nice and humble. They don't have much money, but are always shoving food down our throats. We have been teaching them, more than anything about the importance of the law of chastity and the family. Eric plays soccer with us every Monday. Usually when you are teaching unmarried people who live together, its kind of a dead end. its really hard to get married, and no one wants to move out of a house especially when the couple have children together. This week, Eric and Liza told us that they decided to start doing the paperwork to get married, and in the mean time, Eric was going to move out. i couldn't believe it. That had never happened in my mission, in fact, I have never heard of it happening in our mission. Eric will be baptized this Saturday. 

Second good story this week. Different Eric. Eric is a recent convert who lives in a nasty villa. He is 21. He was baptized about 6 months ago with the Elders before me. He is one of my favorite 5 people I have met in my mission. He was formerly a robber and a drug addict/dealer. Since he was baptized, his life turned around. His girlfriend (I know I shouldn't say this because I'm a missionary, but its just something I noticed.) is very very beautiful. This last week, she was pressuring him to do things they he knew he shouldn't, so he dumped his girlfriend. After he dumper her, he called us and asked us to come over. He was kind of sad, but knew it was the right thing to do. We just tried to reinforce that thought. While we were talking, i felt the subtle prompting to ask him if he was planning to go on a mission. I did. He paused and said, "I can be a missionary?" We told him he could and started to talk about the mission. He then asked me how he could pay for it and then said, "I will sell all of the little that I have, i just want to do it." My comp and I both cried. 

These two stories made deep impressions on me. It is amazing that people are so willing to make drastic changes in their lives just because two 21 year old boys said so and they believed. So much faith, so much humility. I want to be more like them. 

As we were walking down the streets to the apartment on Saturday night, there were parties and friendly gatherings all around us. While I was listening to the loud conversations and laughing, I funny thought came to my mind. There was a huge contrast between us and the people in their houses. I don't really understand why I am so happy on the mission. I don't spend time with friends, I never see my family, I don't have anything to do with girls. It doesn't make sense. But it's what I feel. Nothing else matters. 

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