Stealing Bases: A different kind of P-day Activity
Somebody found a kids' baseball bat in the MegaPaca (like a giant, epic, Goodwill - Google it) and the mission office randomly has a set of baseball mitts, so this P-day, instead of playing soccer, we did something really American. We found some old cardboard boxes and a beat-up pillow for bases and started in. It was hard to explain how to play in Spanish to the sisters that didn't know, but we went at it.
I think it must have looked funny to the handful of Guatemalan people who gathered to watch us: a bunch of tall youth, some of them still in their white shirts and dress pants, playing a strange sport in the drizzle in a soccer field. Hope it makes them curious enough to open their doors to the missionaries when we knock... :) And it made me content to see, all of us missionaries from different countries with different interests and life stories, but united in the gospel and in this silly game. I love the diversity that comes with being a member of the church on a mission.
But my favorite part of all of this was when somebody hit a foul ball, it went over the fence of the soccer field and into a neighbor's yard... where a horse was grazing. One of the zone leaders was brave enough to hop that fence and fetch it. Dad will be happy to know that I hit a home run. And fought off the elder that didn't believe I could play first base. (¨I'm going to throw it hard,¨ he said. ¨And.... so?¨ I responded. :) Thanks, Dad, for teaching me well.)
And, Happy Birthday this week to Dad and to Robert! They are awesome birthday buddies. I will be eating cake today to celebrate with them in spirit. ....And to have an excuse to buy cake :)
Jorge: A Lesson in Answered Prayers
Maybe the most beautiful thing that happened this week is that Jorge got baptized. He is an 18 year-old kid who grew up without a Dad and whose Mom died 3 years ago. He lives with his 82-year-old Grandpa who always has a cowboy hat, his good-natured but very sassy aunt Heidi, whom I love, and some cousins, one of whom is 10-years-old and a member of the church named Darvin.
On Thursday before his baptism on Saturday we had a testimony meeting in his house with all of those people I just mentioned, plus their awesome dog Sheena, who has two different colored eyes and is my pet amiga. We all took turns bearing our testimonies (except the aunt, who's not a member and makes clear that she's not quite ready to be, but who's eyes filled up to hear everyone's thoughts.)
(Oh, and for not-Mormons reading this, we say we bear our testimonies when we say the things we have felt to be true by the Holy Spirit, like that God lives and loves us and answers prayers and the church is true, or whatever fills our heart in that minute.)
Anyway, we had never heard Jorge bear his testimony and didn't know what he was going to say. He went last, and when it was his turn we all stopped laughing at the joke his aunt had made and waited with bated breath. He looked at us like he didn't know what to do... we just smiled back, nodding encouragingly at him. After a pause, he opened his mouth.
¨The first time after you guys came here, when you asked me to pray, later that night, I did it. And it was like you said, Nefi (his member friend who was also there and bore his testimony), at first I didn't feel anything. But the next night I did it, and that time... I felt, like, a pressure in my heart.¨
The Spirit in that room was so strong. Here was a very precious child of God, expressing for the first time in his life, what he felt when God talked to him. With his friend, we helped him recognize that it was the Holy Ghost. We let him know that as he continues going to church, praying and reading his scriptures he will get better and better at recognizing that feeling.
I have come to realize that God is always trying to communicate with us, but that we have to perfect ourselves, fine tune ourselves, to be able to recognize when he's talking and what it is he's saying. That's why we, normal people, just get feelings in our heart or thoughts in our mind, and people that God, throughout history, has prepared and purified to be his prophets and apostles get to see and talk to him.
So my challenge, for me and all of us, is that we look harder for what God is trying to say to us. We turn off the TV for a while and stop texting, and just go for a walk in the woods and direct our thoughts to him. Whatever inspiration, whatever peace we receive, comes from him.
I love you all, and wish us luck in this. Ready, set, go.