Adolfo is a YSA in our ward that returned from his mission about a year ago and has about 4 years as a member of the church. He's basically the new Mohamed (a helpful member in a previous area), and wants to help us with everything with the extra added bonus that he knows how to do missionary work and knows everyone in all of Chilpo. Basically, he's a huge help to two very lost missionaries who still can't figure out the labyrinth of streets that make up the 40 colonies in our area. Long story short, this week we were a little ill (if you want to know how ill you can remember back to the story about the lady who didn't have a bathroom that lived on a hill....basically that ill) and when you combine ill and lost it doesn't always make the greatest combination. As we were trying to make our way to an appointment, we found ourselves walking ovals and I thought I was going to pass out right there in the street. I was trying to keep cool (as I was sweating bullets) but in my heart I was praying so super hard that there was a member who lived nearby who would miraculously open their door, see us, and invite us in. In the midst of my agony, who else do we see then Adolfo walking down the street with a huge smile on his face. We were slightly confused because he doesn't live anywhere close nearby, but I was just about ready to let out the Hallelujah chorus because he knows where every member in the ward lives. He told us that he had been returning home when he randomly decided to try and find a faster route cutting through the colonies instead of taking the avenida (Yes, I believe in miracles). I'm soooo thankful that Heavenly Father hears and ANSWERS prayers....especially those of a "dying" missionary. We began walking up the street with him to see the closest member, all under the pretext that that was who we were looking for, but then they weren't home (NOOOO!!!!). Adolfo, the RM that he is, gets all excited and asks if we want to contact their neighbors. At this point I'm grasping a car and trying not to show that IMO in pain. After contacting three neighbors I just burst out, "I need a bathroom, NOW!" and Adolfo runs us to his aunt's house where both me and my comp die for an hour and then feel amazing! The whole rest of the day he took us everywhere and kept asking us how we were feeling (we got some quite delectable home remedies). We went to visit a MA family that gave us the greatest agua of all time and as I was enjoying myself, eating the left over pieces of guanabana in the bottom I hear, "NEU, what are you doing!?" The whole room gets really silent and I look at Adolfo super confused. "Why are your fingers in your mouth, Neu I can't cure a patient that's trying to kill herself! Can someone get the poor thing a spoon, please?" The whole room bursts into laughter and I went super red, but holy cow I just love the people here and am so thankful for everyone of them!
Two other funny things that happened this week in short form:
We were really excited as we were walking home one night that there was a light on in the house of a reference. So we ran around the corner to contact the reference in the five seconds we had before dark. First off the door was wide open. Second, there were a ton of people around the kitchen table. Third (and easily the best part), the dinner was for the pastor of the church that she currently attends. If I can just say . . . awkward moment;)
Yesterday, we forgot to answer the elders' question about what we were going to do today and then we went to an appointment so our phone was on silent. During the entire lesson I just felt the phone ringing nonstop. I was so stressed I couldn't even focus by the end of the lesson, by which point every member of the bishop's family had called us. We finally got out of the lesson and called the bishop back. "oh hey hermanas, the elders just wanted me to tell you guys that you need to call them" Really elders, you called our bishop?! So I gave my favorite elder a ring (the Mexican LZ is my favorite because he's already laughing when I answer the phone just waiting for my jokes) "bueno" "Elder, what on earth is going on?! Is the world ending tomorrow?! Will President Monson be giving a fireside?! Is President Kusch here and wanting to talk to us?!" "No hermana we just wanted to make sure you guys were okay...." and that sums up the elders! The bishop's family thought it was the funniest thing ever and laughed about it all through dinner. It was only made better when the LZ actually showed up at the bishop's house to give him something and the whole family was trying to hide their smiles. If I haven't said it enough already, GOSH I LOVE THIS WARD!!!!
Which brings me to one of the greatest miracles of the week! The people here just seem to get it. They understand how great a blessing the gospel is in their lives and they are so ready, so willing, and so forward in sharing it. In my mission I've experienced wards that never give references, people who give them, but don't want you to say their names, but I have never experienced members who want to take us to meet all their neighbors or when were walking with them in the street just start pointing at 30 houses and rattling off names of people we should see. It's truly a miracle and such a testimony builder to me! Recently we went with a sister to talk to her neighbor who didn't want anything to do with the church, as we were walking back to her house she wasn't depressed at all, as usually the members are, instead she had a huge smile on her face and said, "well at least we planted a seed!" She then went on to give us two more references. The way the ward here works truly makes me think about my own life, the one outside the mission, of what I've been failing to do. Do we all look at everyone of our neighbors, family, friends, associates, and random people on the street and think "they need the blessings of the gospel, I'm gonna go talk to them so I can give their information to the missionaries" because that's how this ward thinks! How many are perishing in unbelief because I was too embarrassed, scared, or worried to give their names as a reference to the missionaries? How many people would have accepted? I guess those are things that I will never know, but I do know now the power of member missionaries. It is truly only through our actions and are personal desires that we can accomplish our goals. We cannot sit around hoping that someday, by some chance a pair of missionaries will run into or knock on our friend's door and they'll accept the gospel. We don't need to wish because we can give them that gift first hand! The next time the missionaries pass by your house, don't leave them hanging when they ask for a reference, start listing off everyone you know, because here is the real question: Who doesn't need the gospel? And who are you to judge if someone is ready or not? The Lord knows their hearts. They are children of God and He wants them also, not just you, to return to His presence once again one day.
In the words of my fabulous bishop (who entered the RS room agitated that there were very few people in church), "Where are those who you visit teach? Are they here? If they aren't here, why not? Vacation isn't a good enough answer! If you don't know their every need, you're not doing your job! This is where they need to be and they need to know that this is where you want them to be! It's not difficult, were asking for three hours of your time in the course of month at the minimum. But it's not me that's asking, this is your Heavenly Father that's asking! And I wouldn't be surprised that if on the day of judgement He looks at you and says, "well I'm glad you made it back, but I'd like to ask you something, where is so and so, why aren't they here too? Was it too much to ask for you to go and see them?!" Think about that sisters. What are you going to say to the Lord?! Repent!!!! And go find them that are lost!" May we all heed my bishop's call. This isn't the work of a few, it's the work of many, and it's the work of God!!
Love you all soooo much,
Happy Neu Year ;)
May we all try, and not just try, but be a little better this year!!!