I love my family, día 461, Semana 66, Mes 15,
This was quite the week. Each week I experience new trials and tests and receive many new things from the Lord that are helping me to be better prepared to serve Him. During the week there are many slow momentes but when Sunday night rolls around or Monday at P-day when it is time to write y'all I realize how quickly the week passed and how much got done. One of the greatest stresses that I experience as a missonary is the lack of time to get everything done. If we think in a term of weeks and months there isn't many to get all done that is expected of us. Each week ends, with time run out! The list is always too long for the short time that is given us. The more time that I get in the mission the more I understand that one day it will truly end. Two years really isn't that long and there is a necessary urgency to be able to do all possible to bring to pass this great work. I love being a missionary. But I also am glad to be in the single digits! 9!
Monday – Finally, the last day that my companion was sick! After writing you last week he went back to the house and basically crashed. We went on divisiones and I was able to get a few things done. By Tuesday he was feeling good enough to go back to work. I went out to work with Mauricio, our beloved convert. He was excited to work. We visited a family, the family of Joseph, the cousin of Steven (son of Mario and Jaky), who was recently baptized. They are an awesome family. We'll see what we can do to get them to progress. Then we went to visit Aracelia, another recent convert. We have this dream that she and Mauricio will get married, because he seems a little too interested in the younger women and she has got nothing better going on. We'll see what happems. But, just for your information, before leaving to work I whipped up the Jambalaya that Mommy sent me. Wow, that stuff rocks. I can't even remember how good the real stuff is.
Tuesday – In the morning we did a few errands for papers, etc. I've just assumed the role of legal consultant. So far I'm pretty much a lawyer. It helps to have connections. So we were able to get back to our area and start to work. While we're struggling with receiving references from the ward, our ward, we are receiving references from members of other wards. It's great! Tuesday night we went to visit a family that went to the concierto Santos y Pioneros last Sunday. The hubsand/father is the elementary school piano teacher of the recently returned missionary from another ward who brought us there. They are a very intelligent, educated family. We asked if they had questions to begin and they both said that for the lack of information they'd heard about the church there was nothing to ask. All that they know is what they saw in the concert this year and last year's concierto which was about Joseph Smith. So we gladly gave them a brief introduction of our purpose, what we teach, the restoration, eternal families. It was amazing. The Spirit was there very strongly. After talking about eternal families the wife said that it had been her dream since a little girl to have something like that. They are very committed spouses and eager to learn more. Elder Folsom and I hadn't really taught many people in this part of our area because of the money. It's much harder to find people to teacht there, but upon leaving the lesson we realized how easy it is to invite and control the Spirit there than in the poorer parts just for the reverence that is easily maintained. There were no cars speeding by, no shouting, no animals, no children screaming, etc. It was easy to focus on the lesson and the feelings generated by the testifying presence of the Holy Ghost. We like that and are going to try to find more people to teach there!
Wednesday – Most of the day was more or less. It was one of the struggling-to-get-in-waiting-
for-the-great-nighttime-cita kind of day. Again we received a reference from a member of another ward. And again it was in the San Juan, the nice part of our area. This time it was a mother, baptized in the 1970s, who's been inactive for a long time, and her son who is about to be 18 and isn't a member. It was another fantastic lesson. The mother is willing and excited to come back and we are glad to have been able to meet her. The Lord knows when we need a little boost. It'd been a while since finding a positive investigator and family. This was two days in a row!
Thursday – After district meeting we did divisiones with some other Elders. The formal procedure to approve mission funds to marry people requiere a visit from a ZL. So I went to meet the family! The cool thing about being ZL is that I get to meet and see the miracles ocurring in the entire zone (in our case 7 other areas). We get to meet the people and be a part of their conversion to the gospel of Christ. It was a long day though. Lots of walking up and down and all around because many citas fell. It is good to know that the Elders are trying. We feel that we have confidence in all of the zone. That is a comfort.
Friday – We met back up early, because we, Elder Folsom and I, had an appointment at 09:00 with another new, positive family. The father is a shoe makes and repairer and the wife sells things in the street. They live very humbly. I was excited in part because I found someone to do a little needed repair work on the shoes (which are still in great condition, don't worry, I don't need new ones). But there are many desafíos there. The hubsand smokes weed and cigarettes but is willing to stop. The wife has some garbage in her head about us that was put there by her pastors. But she is also willing to listen. It is a great opportunity to teach people how they gan use the Atonement of Christ to better and change. That is what makes this church different. We apply the Atonement of Christ to be better people everyday. The rest of Friday was very difficult. The errands in the later morning ended and in the afternoon we were left with nothing to do. My comp was feelling sickish and it was raining and we had nowhere to go. It was tough. So the best thing that happened that night was a member, from another ward, stake, and mission, contacted us as he saw us on the corner and said that the guy he just dropped off was interested. We put a time for this week to go. Also before going back to the house we contacted a few men in the street. We visited one's family Saturday. It was long day.
Saturday – The day wasn't as eventful as we'd want it to have been but nevertheless we got a few things done. We had to help out with a baptismal service from some other Elders and then it was back to contacting for a bit. The family of the man we contacted the previous night was a pretty good visit. The wife assits to another church but was willing to read and pray and she very well understood the clearly taught message of the Restoration. While going to a visit we got a call from some frantic sister missionaries needing and interview for their baptism. Their DL hadn't arrived and transport to the area was already gone and so we started to run to get ready to go but right before we started going down the hill they called and said that he was there all along! False alarm! That saved us lots of energy and from getting soaking wet. Phew. Sisters always freak out. In the end though, we did get soaked. It started to POUR, and by the time the day was over we had water dripping everywhere and we were drenched. Hot showers are nice ways to end days.
Sunday – The sabbath brough lots of heartbreaks for us, also several good things, but... So it started with some baptisms falling because the family didn't go to church because they were celebrating a useless Honduran holiday – el día del niño. Church was alright. We had a surprise show up from the nephew of Mauricio who hadn't really shown too much initiative in listening. The best part of the day was giving a priesthood blessing to the dying father of our beloved familia Zuniga and having Mauricio, Dasael, and Alfredo (convert from Elder Cotton). Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. That was amazing. OK, so the sad stuff. Who we thought was the most rock solid of all, Armando, turned out not to be the most rock solid. We passed to visit him and it turns out that our teaching him the law of chastity for about three weeks with him begging to be baptized the whole time served for naught. He made it about a month and a half. About Thursday or Friday of this week he had a woman move in with him. When he told us that it felt like a ton of bricks hit me. I wasn't mad but hurt and sad. The worst is that he understands the law of chasity. The worst is that he hasn't been paid by his job and is about to get kicked out of his apartment which means he'll go back south. The worst is that he's actually legally married to someone else and divorces are long and expensive. We don't know what to do. We hope she just leaves but most of all we hope that he doesn't go south because we need to help him. I know that the gospel is a growing and learning process and that it takes lots of time to change human nature, but it is hard to watch him fall so soon after his baptism. The Lord has His plan. Then upon going to a dinner appointment with the family of the hubsand that Elder Cotton baptized, we heard from the precious six year old girl that their father was the reason they couldn't be an eternal family. Hearing those words from her hurt. He hasn't been to church since April and drank a little while ago. He completes one year of baptism at the end of October. The dream of this family is to go to the temple. The worst was hearing it from the cute girl.
I remember Dad's words he sent me a year ago, probably almost exactly, saying to not ride the emotional rollercoaster too close because there are lots of ups and downs but this is the hard part of the mission. The joys out weigh all this but it hurts to watch families and children suffer for their parent's stupidity. I am bitter, frustrated, devasted and heart broken to watch families, mostly the small children be punished and suffer for their parents serious mistakes. Some don't eat, some don't know how to read or go to school, some have to work all day everyday to be able to eat – as six year olds. The church and the gospel of Christ are the only things that can change this. I just hate watching the suffering of the innocent.
I love you so much and am grateful for the blessing to have a sealed family. Sometimes I take that for granted. You are the best. Time is flying.
I miss you,
Sorry about the lack of pics....I failed this week!
Letters from Johnathan Hebert - love the look of the piece, and Alicia Brighton!