This week was my birthday and it was super fun. I woke up to my companion tickling my feet and shouting, ´I'm going to turn on the light! Look there!´ She'd made me a sparkly purple birthday poster and attached some chocolates. :) Then we opened the package Mom sent me and ate Reese's Cups. Woo!
The best part, though, was definitely that everyone gave me hugs. And said God bless you to have lots more cumpleanos. But not, like, cheesy and fake. They looked in my eyes and really meant it. People are genuine here. With great big hearts. We should learn to be more like that more often in the States.
Challenge for the week: if you can, when you're making small talk with someone sometime this week, make them stop and feel the moment. Look in their eyes and don't think about anything else in the world except what they're saying to you or what you're saying to them. That's how I felt when people throughout the day were wishing me happy birthday. And that's how I hope all our investigators feel when I'm teaching them.
At night, we went to the church where three of our investigators were at a youth activity to eat cake and celebrate with them. They put me in the middle of a circle and sang to me, and then everyone gave me a hug or a handshake. My companion almost stuffed my face in the cake but did not get away with it! I shared with them my testimony of missionary work and of letting God work miracles in your life and it was just a beautiful, peaceful moment. I would have more birthdays in Guatemala if I could.
The major amazing awesome miracle of this week is Yosselin (Jocelyn - I'm still getting used to Spanish spelling). She's one of the five children of the man Hoel (spelled Joel) I told you about last week. She's 17 and super active in her Evangelical church. She's read the Bible and studied it a lot, and loves everything to do with God.
And doesn't reject us.
Sometimes people get so learned they think they are wise, as the scriptures said, and refuse to believe that the message we're sharing can help them. But something I've learned is the people who've studied the most are the most able to accept this message IF they're humble. Because they already know much about how God works and how to feel the Holy Spirit and how to recognize truth - they can easily recognize that what we're sharing isn't a lie and isn't just pretty words... it comes from God.
What's hard is to change. Because no matter how humble we are, admitting everything we've known for all the time before in our lives isn't everything - and admitting this by changing your religion (a big part of who you are and how your life is) in front of friends and family, who often judge a little more freely than maybe they ought, to put it nicely... it's difficult. But Yosselin can do it, I know she can.
This week we marched through the pouring rain and six inches of rain and mud to get to her street, where we're visiting two households. We knocked and knocked at both doors, but nobody answered, including at hers. We turned around and marched back through all the mud in the pouring rain to another investigator's house, thoroughly drenched (which is the norm, but I point it out now to add drama to the story.)
Ten minutes later, we're about to knock on the door of the other investigator, and I look up: waving us down, the only person in the empty river-street, wearing an over-sized yellow raincoat, is Yosselin.
Her brother had gotten home and said he'd seen us walking away. She'd ran out and followed us all this way, ¨because you're going to answer my questions,¨ she said.
I don't think I'd ever smiled wider in my life. This week we've had some incredible lessons with Yosselin, not just about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, but a lot about faith. Whatever disappointment I've felt in this mission, the love and joy and strength of the Holy Spirit I feel watching her conversion wipes it all out. These are the moments that make the mission.
These are the moments that make this life.
I invite you all to step outside your comfort zone like Yosselin is doing. She is an example to me, and should be to everyone of us. If it's the gospel you need to explore, or something else, just do it. And let God help you with it.
You're all wonderful. I miss and love you. And I love being a missionary.