Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Week 41: Let Her Eat Cake

Announcement Number 1: Wedding Number 2!!! :)

Because nobody on this planet gets married anymore, lots of times missionaries have to organize weddings, or supervise to make sure they get organized. (Because nobody can get baptized if they're breaking the law of chastity. Otherwise termed living in sin. Or, maybe best said, still afraid of making commitments. As if having children together wasn't enough of a commitment. Sigh. Anyway...)

The wedding we are currently organizing for this Saturday is for a lady named Lola (or Teodora) who is the mom of the girl, Gabi, I talked about last week. I am basically in love with the whole family, all 11 members of it, except the dad, who has never talked to us. He got really mad when two of his older kids got baptized five years ago. As in, threatening to throw their stuff out in the yard and not let them back in. He does not like our church, and didn't tolerate the missionaries around. But one day we came by to see if we could teach Gabi, because her older brother had mentioned her to us, and it was starting to rain. Her dad let us in!! He left as soon as we entered the house, but at least we got to shake his hand!

That was how we started teaching 10-year-old Gabi, with her Dad's permission. But that's not where the story ends.

Gabi's mom, Lola, is awesome. She's really good at being happy, she laughs at everything worth smiling about. Her favorite hymn is, ¨There is Sunshine in My Soul Today¨ and she loves every single one of her nine children. She tolerates her husband with patience and care, but is quick to put him in line when necessary. The day she told us she would leave him if he didn't want to get married so she could get baptized, I almost cried. An independent woman in Guatemala.

She understands her role as a mother and a wife, and I loved seeing the peace on her faith when she went to the stake conference and heard the talks on the family that the General Authorities gave. She has faith that if her family isn't perfect, it can be, and has the energy and faith to work toward that goal. What's more, she's recognizing that the gospel is what will help her in that journey. Her testimony has come so fast. We asked her this week if she'd prayed about the Book of Mormon, and she told us, with such love and her traditional smile,¨From the very first day, sisters. And I feel that it's right. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have had you come back, now would I?¨ We invited her to ask her husband (of 25 years) if he would marry her so she could get baptized. Everybody (her, us, the members with us, her kids) was nervous about it, because of how her husband has felt about the church. But in the end, without even a struggle, he said....... YES!

We still haven't spoken with her husband more than to say ¨buenos dias¨ in passing, but have hopes that he'll feel the Spirit in his wife's baptism and want to know more for himself. He gave Lola the necessary paperwork for the wedding and she turned it into us this morning, giddy. We asked her if there was sunshine in her soul this morning, and she responded, content in a way that words can't even express, Yes.

Announcement Number 2: Thanksgiving in San Martín!

Changes came and went, and I'm still here in my second area, with my daughter, who has now finished her training and is, as she always was, a spectacular companion.

I´ll get to pass Christmas and New Year's in this area, and after this transfer I'll have been almost six months here. Way excited :)

This was an incredible Thanksgiving week for me in the mission. They don't really do Thanksgiving here in Guatemala, people just kind of vaguely mention it to the white missionaries when they get reminded on the news that it's being celebrated, but my companion and I celebrated all month writing every night things that were thankful for that had happened that day. It was a great experience to live a holiday on a diet, to put it one way.

Ooh, that was a pun, or ironic, and I didn't even realize it. Here, I will tell you the story, and you will see why, and also how God takes such good care of his children:

Last P-day I didn't buy any food, because it seemed like I was going to get transferred, so I still had stuff in the house to last two days. I also took out all the money that was left for that month in my debit card, to use during the week, and getting to my new area, if I went. That night, before we went home and I could my wallet in the house, we had a family home evening with some investigators and awesome members. When it got done, I had to use a payphone to call a tuc-tuc (taxi) to come get us and take us home, because it was late and we were far away.

We left, dropped the investigators off in their house, and coming back, I couldn't find my wallet to pay for the taxi. But I didn't think anything of it, because it was dark, and I had a lot of stuff in my backpack, and I figured I'd left it in the house. My companion pays the taxi, we go inside to plan, and start talking about all our awesome plans for the next day, laughing, and getting ready for bed. I forget about my wallet....until the ward mission leader shows up on our steps at 10 o´clock at night..... holding my driver's license and the debit card the mission gave us.

One of Gabi's older brothers had found those two items discarded on the street close to the payphone I'd used to call the taxi. He turned them into Hermano Rony, who turned them into me. Blessing number 1.

But a blessing that is really easy to overlook when your temple recommend and debit card from home and everything else that lives in a wallet is missing. I thanked the brother, who was just happy we hadn't been robbed, and set to work trying to figure out how in the world I could have forgotten something as important as my wallet. It was a stressful night, and in my efforts to call the company to cancel the debit card, we did not go to sleep at 10:30.

But, before I went to sleep, I prayed to my Heavenly Father to help me handle this big mistake like a missionary, like a disciple of Christ. That's when I began to see the blessings, and there are so many of them. I can't write them all, because I'm already being disobedient going over the time limit in writing this paragraph, but there were so many little miracles that God worked, even amid my stupid error. The biggest has to be that, even though I had absolutely no money (and my companion hardly had any because it was the end of the month) and no food the last half of this week, Heavenly Father provided for me. I did not go hungry. Thinking about it, he even blessed me enough that, during the week, I was fed a total of 5 slices of cake, an absolute anomaly for Guatemala.

So, it was an incredible week, and an awesome Thanksgiving. I know God lives and that he takes care of every single one of us. We should just make sure we look for the blessings, instead of focusing on the sad things.

Love you all lots,


P.S. Yes, President Burdett, I am getting the letters! Thanks for including me, and for sending pictures of the Indy temple construction! I looooove seeing that. Keep up the great member-missionary work in the Muncie stake! :)

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