October 21, 2011

Great things are happening!

It´s great out here: I have a great companion, the weather is nice, I´m learning more Spanish than I thought possible, and the work is coming. So I don´t have hot water and I have to learn how to wash clothes by hand, big deal; I get to meet amazing people, I get to try amazing food (including an authentic Oaxacan Dominoes Pizza!), and I get to serve. I love serving. I´ve drawn water from wells, I´ve soldered railings, I´ve washed dishes, I might even get to use a Machete soon. We´ll see. But serving is seriously my favorite part of life right now, and that´s saying something.

This week, six amazing things happened. First, we went to teach German, our 16 yr old investigator who we have pegged to be our next baptism. Now, I don´t know if I´ve mentioned this, but, for someone with only 2 weeks, I can speak Spanish rather well. The problem is, I cannot understand a word anybody says. I was kind of feeling down on the beginning of this day (Wednesday) and, to make manners worse, for the first time, my comp turned to me as we waited for a bus and said, "no tengo ganas de trabajar" how. Usted necesita estar emocionado para mi" which means that he didn´t feel much like working because he was super tired and kind of down as well. Me, terrible at being enthusiastic in Spanish, decided to refocus myself. I spent the entire bus ride reading 3 Nephi 11. As it turns out, the lesson we had with German that day was 3 Nephi 11. And I had no idea. Not only that, but we did a little activity where each person would explain a part and all the parts I had to explain were parts that I had prepared for on the bus. At the end of the lesson, we extended the baptismal challenge and he accepted. Day changed.

Second amazing thing: That very same day, we stopped by a reference´s house who we had not been able to get a hold of for a very long time. They were not there, but, as we were about to leave, a 13 year old boy, Luis, walked into the yard. Luis (the son of the reference) is the coolest kid ever. He´s super, super excited about scriptures stories, from Adam and Eve to Peter cutting off an ear. We taught him the doctrine of Christ and he just gobbled it up. He practically lept at the chance to be baptized. We just need to talk to his parents and it´s a go.

Next four amazing things: On Friday, we went to teach this awesome family we had met. They were super interested and the nicest people I´ve met to date. We cannot stop by without receiving at least 3 glasses of juice, a small meal, and 30 minutes of conversation. We taught them the doctrine of Christ and lo and behold, they accepted baptism, after we assured them that we were not, in fact, a cult. The dad is super family oriented, Monica loves to read the scriptures with us, the mom studies the Book of Mormon like it´s nobody´s business, and Eduardo is just cool. So, in one week, we got 6 baptismal dates. The previous week, our entire district had zero.

The moral of this story is that the Lord is preparing people and, as often as not, the investigators help the missionaries more than the missionaries help the investigators. We needed these blessings and I am thankful that the Lord provided them to a slothful, unable to understand missionary and his patient companion. The only problem is that none of them went to church on Sunday. Oops. Guess what we´ll be focusing on this week?

Here´s my moral lesson for the week, but first some explanation: I have an hour of personal study everday. During that time, I read lessons, read book of Mormon chapters that pertain to my investigators, and read Bible chapters that pertain to the lessons I study. It is an hour of hard work. But when I have extra time, I just read the Scriptures. Like a book. Without pencil, without notebook, without lessons. And I´ve been reading the Old Testament. Thus far, I have read Samuel and Kings. Here´s a lesson from Samuel: So, David was on the run from Saul. He and his small army stopped on the lands of a very rich person. Now, the law of hospitality at the time demanded that the rich person bring food and water to the King´s son in law. David, being the good person that he was, decided to also defend the rich person´s flocks. So now the rich person doubly owed David. But the rich person instead insulted David and David, naturally, got so angry that he went to kill him. But the man´s wife intervened and stayed the future king´s wrath, saying that the Lord will punish the rich person in His own due time. And the Lord did. The point of this is that sometimes, we just have to let things go, whether it´s a stubborn investigator who won´t progress, an ornery neighbor, or a teacher who just likes to be mean. Its not our job to control other people. The Lord has His plans and whether it happens in this life or the next, people will get what they deserve, good or bad. So stop complaining, stop worrying, stop fretting, stop, stop, stop trying to control things that you can´t and just go about your days doing good. There is no greater blessing and no greater piece of advice than that. Do good within your sphere. This is what the Lord wants.

Well, I love you all. I´m having a great time in Oaxaca and I´m adjusting. I´ll do my best with the box. I´m beginning to understand people now. I´m about at the level of Elder Monson, a 6 ft 10 U of U center who has one more transfer than I do. So I´m ahead of my class. Anywho, look forward to hearing from you next week and I hope all the pictures upload in time.


Elder Johnson (Riley)

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