Friday, September 19, 2014

Spiritual Experiences & Creepers

So my last few weeks were pretty crazy and I never had the chance to write what was happening. First of all, the investigator that we found that hadnt been able to listen to the missionaries before because of the restrictions on elders teaching women, was absolutely phenomenal! The spirit was super strong every time we taught her and she kept the commitments we left her. She even came to church, which if you didn't know that is a BIG DEAL! :) We had quite a few more visits, and one time was especially spiritual. We were explaining temples and at the end asked her if she had asked if the Book of Mormon is true or if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She said that she had but felt that she was lacking in something. As we reviewed the pattern established in Moroni 10:4, she said she probably lacked real intent. We talked to her and could see her faith. She was scared of doing it by herself, but Heavenly Father would help her, of that we were certain. We asked if we could pray with her and the room filled with the spirit as we knelt down to pray. She began and I know we all felt her sincerity and desire to know. She asked if it was true and as the spirit swept over all of us time and time again, tears streamed down her cheeks. When she finished her prayer, none of us dared move for fear of interrupting the peace and joy that we felt. She continued to shed tears and as I gave her a hug, she held onto me like I was the evidence that this was real: she received an answer from God and could not deny it. It was one of the more precious experiences in my mission and I treasure the love I felt from Heavenly Father that day. Not only the love I felt He has for me, but also Silvina. My love for her grew in those moments, which only made it that much harder to accept that a couple days later she told us she couldn't meet with us anymore. Her boyfriend/husband had told her that she couldn't meet with us in their house and her daughter didn't want to come to church anymore either. I'm not sure exactly what happened but a week later we stopped by because we were worried about her and even though she was home, she wouldn't talk to us. She had her daughter shake her hands at us and close the curtains. Honestly, I don't think I have ever had my heart break so much. I could see the potential she had and the eternal family within her reach, but it came crashing to the floor as that curtain dropped in front of us at her house. She was one of the main reasons that my last two weeks in Bariloche were so hard. She dropped us and because the lack of progression of other investigators we were struggling finding people to teach. The less active members even seemed to be avoiding us and I reached a point of absolute discouragement after that continued for a while.

Beautiful scenery of Bariloche

The Dwarf Waterfall (la cascada de los duendes)

When I was told that my accent was too strong by this lady, and very kindly added that she couldn't understand me, I kind of lost it. I just shut down a little and sat down on a log in front of some random house. After venting to my companion for a couple minutes a man came out and asked us if we wanted to come in. Blown away at the invitation, knowing that Heavenly Father was answering my prayer for at least the moment, we accepted, but determined we had to come back in an hour when his wife was home and we had the member with us that we needed to go meet. My companion left him with our number and we left to go find the member. This man's name was Aldo and his house number was 614. A few minutes after leaving his street to go find the member, we received a text saying that a man named Marcelo wanted to hire us to paint his house and that the missionaries had past by that day. We didnt remember contacting any Marcelo so we were a little bit confused but asked him where he lived. He said he lived in house number 617, which would be a few houses down from Aldo. We were confused because we hadn't contacted anyone that could have been this Marcelo guy. Longer story shorter: even after asking Aldo if he knew who this Marcelo was and him responding no, we found out that Aldo was texting us as Marcelo and himself. It was creepy and we asked the Elders to continue passing by.

THIS NEXT STORY is actually a super weird one. In Argentina there are stores called kioskos. They are little stores that pretty much have everything you want, and my companion and I had stopped by to get some snacks. After my companion made her purchase this man walks in COVERED in blood. He had blood matted on his head and a deep gash on his forehead that was still bleeding a little. His shirt was covered in blood and he could barely walk straight. I stared open mouth as he walked past me, thinking that we needed to call someone or do something. My companion gets scared super easy and I knew that she was worried. When he walked up to the counter I could see that she was staring at the space between him and the counter behind him to see if she had enough space to leave. I was personally hoping a little that she wouldnt leave because I had wanted to buy some alfajores. He supported himself on the counter talking to the owner of the kiosk. I couldnt hear anything, but my companion heard what he said. He said that some guys had beat him up for his box of wine and then left him. He came asking for more wine and only after the owner gave it to him did he ask for a band-aid or something to help him. She told him that she didnt have anything so he should leave. He walked out the store and began to drink the carton of wine that she had just given him, leaving his wound unattended.

The last story is of a little puppy we found. We named her Frutti because we found her in the part of our area called Frutillar (pronounced fruit ee shar). We looked everywhere for her owner and then looked everywhere for someone to take her in. The thing is that in Argentina there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE and EVERYONE has at least two dogs already. No one wants a little puppy, which is just another mouth to feed. We did end up finding a member who took her in, but it was sad for us to give her up to someone who didnt really want her but was willing to take care of her.

Anyway, the mission was the most amazing experience of my life. I learned how to get through trials in the way that Heavenly Father would have me do it and more importantly, how to be happy during my trials. Heavenly Father really does love us more than we can understand and doesnt want us to suffer. As we keep His commandments even when it is super hard, we find that we have peace and love that dominate our life. The spirit will accompany us as we try to progress and grow in the way that He would have us live our lives. I have learned that I really know nothing in the grand scheme of things but I can constantly learn and grow. Jesus Christ is my Savior, Redeemer, and loving Brother. God is my literal Father in Heaven who created this plan for us to be able to return to Him and have the joy of eternal life that He experiences.

This was how we washed our laundry and this was one of the BEST washers I had

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