He arrived at his baptism before us. A lot before us. We arrived, panting, hair falling out, but with investigators in tow, and he was sitting there calmly chatting with the other members, light in his eyes, awaiting the moment.
His name is Gaspar, he's 25, and he's pretty much going to be a bishop.
Between his baptism on Friday night (which was a beautiful service, the whole ward came out to support with a lot of less actives and recent converts there too) and his confirmation Sunday morning, he went to the temple to support two couples from the ward who got sealed, and he want to a YSA dance. It's his second weekend in a row dedicated solely to church things. He's the already converted convert that every missionary dreams to have.
He was sitting in institute class on Sunday night when we arrived looking for priesthood holders. A wild-eyed crooked-handed old man accompanied by three silent children had come up to us asking for a prayer for his sick wife. We thought a blessing would be better.
So after institute, Gaspar, the teacher, and four other youth came with us to the house of the old man, whose name is Adan. He goes to another church but was desperate because his wife, who's 30 years younger than him, had been sick for six days and nobody from his church had come to prayer for her. He'd taken her to the hospital but they just have her a shot and sent her home.
The members came in and took action. Gaspar, who's a certified nurse, started checking the woman's symptoms, while my companion pulled medicine out of her backpack and another sister looked for a towel to cool her fever. The woman was very, very sick - and what's worse - had gotten to the point of hopelessness and was crying and coughing and gagging. The brothers gave her a blessing and ended up calling the Red Cross to come and get her in an ambulance.
The old man watched helplessly. His kids huddled in a corner, running away if anyone tried to approach them. Their level of poverty isn't uncommon in Guatemala, but somehow it felt different - worse - than any other house I'd been in. When all was taken care of and we left, the institute teacher told us why it had been so hard to feel the Spirit there: the old man's wife is also his niece.
I don't know how God can stand all the sins his children can commit. I don't know how he can look down on things like this without being repulsed, but I know that last night he let us feel and borrow a little bit of his love. Because instead of wanting to run away and throw up, all I wanted to do is wrap those children up in a big blanket and take them to a place with lots of light and give them stuffed animals and tell them stories of Jesus. Even the poor desperate old man merited a bit of pity.
The point is, I don't know why people make horrible decisions. Or why God sends innocent spirits to broken homes. But I do know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ covers everything.
The Reflection of the Week
The suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is something so big, so incomprehensible, that I always shy away from writing about it.
But the fact of the matter is: a God descended from heaven.
¨And the angel said unto me again: Look and behold thea condescension of God!That's from 1 Nephi 11: 26-33 in the Book of Mormon. And I know it's true.
And I looked and a beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken;...
And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in a power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them.
And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again,saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was a taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.¨
It was not a perfect man who suffered for our sins. It was a perfect GOD.
Who still lives. Who loves us.
Everything unfair in this life is made right by the Atonement. The next life is made possible by the Atonement.
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.