Saturday, October 4, 2014

Gun shots, absurd facial hair growth, and Tanner's testimony of Christ

Valentina is doing well. She has a testimony of the restoration and believes that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Every time we have met with her we have met in the "house" of a member. Having a member present is so vital. People see that, oh wow, these Mormons are actually normal. Hermana Mora and Hermano Sanchez have been excellent in helping Valentina grow spiritually. Her baptism is set for September 27th, but attending church is difficult for her because of work. Things may have to be pushed back a bit, but conversion is a process and the Lord will always welcome his children into the fold. I really enjoy teaching Valentina.
I probably have told you this already, but everyone here loves my name. They find it so funny that my name is similar to Mel Gibson. Everyone always asks me if my dad is Mel Gibson, and they are serious. When it was announced that I would be giving a talk at the beginning of sacrament meeting, the counselor referred to me as Elder Mel. The 60ish members died. People have even referred to me as Elder William Wallace. I just have to chuckle. It is always funny.

 Andres is doing well. He is honestly a great person. He comes to every class, choir practice, and "thing" we put on for the church. He is active in Sunday school and bears his testimony often. He took the tithing lesson well, which always scares me, and has been progressing towards baptism like an exemplary investigator. I cannot wait for this Saturday. It will be a marvelous day.

In regards to other investigators, we are working on turning our somewhat progressing investigators into serious investigators. We are working with a bunch of people that are interested, but not seriously interested. It is frustrating, but people have their own agency and can choose to progress or not. We are just here to help.

 I am unsure if I have told you this already, but every Saturday we teach an English class at17:00. Elder Brito is a great teacher, and I am the go to reference for proper pronunciation. This is great because for 1 hour I am the one that gets to teach language and not be taught. We have a good crowd of roughly 15 to 20 each week. Mostly members and the children of members. I really enjoy it. Hermano Sanchez came up to me after the class was over and said, "Thank you for your efforts." However, his "efforts" sounded like "I farts." It took all of my strength to not bust up laughing. It still makes me chuckle thinking about it.

Funny story: Many people here wear clothing with English words. We were walking past the largest Catholic chapel in Barbosa the other day when mass was being let out. Some man sauntered out with a hat that read, "I´m the king of sex" in big bold letters. I just cracked up. I am sure he wouldn´t have worn that hat to church if he had known what it meant. People also wear clothing that references NYC. I´ll ask them if they have ever been to NYC and they won´t know what I am talking about.

This week I have been pretty much sick the entire time. Nothing too serious, just a head cold. I am able to function fine; it is just annoying. Nyquil has been super handy. Also, lucky I have only woken up once in the night this week due to a cat on our ceiling.

Funny note: I feel like my facial hair is growing at an absurd rate. It is like my rate of growth went from fast to Sean Rowe status. I have my thick five o’clock shadow at 1 in the afternoon. Sometimes I have to shave twice a day! Ridiculous. I don´t know why this is happening, all I know is that it is crazy.

 I was also asked to give another talk this last Sunday. Having a couple days’ notice was nice. President Ramírez, the branch president, asked me to prepare an 8 minute long talk about a topic that would rally the members. I choose to talk about faith. I used a general conference talk to guide my thoughts. As I was standing up to give the talk, President Ramírez informed me that I need to speak for 10 minutes. No worries, I had a back up scripture, Alma 26:12, in my back pocket. I personally think the talk went really well. I thought my thoughts were on point and gave the members confidence and courage. Miracles are capable when we have faith. That is not a thought; that is a fact.
 During church the roof just started pouring water. I couldn´t help myself but chuckle. Water just poured into the chapel. We spent the majority of church mopping water and trying to figure out what was going on. It is a good thing that literally half the people in Barbosa work with their hands. We got the water stopped during the middle of third hour.

Every Saturday morning we play Mirco with the members. Micro is just miniature soccer. Really fun, but too bad I am horrible. I just wish we could throw on some football pads and play a little American fútbol.

 We did some service this week. Some girls that Elder Brito and Elder G have been teaching needed help on their school project. They wanted to turn a really run down dune buggy into a Volkswagen Beetle. We couldn´t really help much, but Elder Brito told us to try our best because the father of one of the girls pulls a lot of weight in this town. Here’s a pic (above).

The water and power here is very temperamental. The water will just shut off out of nowhere and the same thing with the power. I was mid shower the other day, fully covered is soap when the water shut off. I felt weird/unusually sticky the entire day as I was still covered in soap. Whatever.

 After sacrament meeting I was asked to talk for 7 minutes in English about the Law of Chastity to the youth. I honestly have no idea why they wanted me to speak in English, considering none of them understand a word of English; however, I did as I was told. I thought I did a good job, but then again, it doesn´t matter since I could have talked about tithing and they would have never known the difference.

We also teach a mission prep class every Sunday. It feels so weird to be teaching and not being taught. It still has not dawned on me that I am a real missionary. I doubt it will until I get on the plane to come home. It is fun to teach the things I learned in the CCM to the older youth of the ward. I really enjoy it, and I really hope they all serve missions.

I heard gun shots for the first time the other day. I get to cross that off the missionary bucket list. We were waiting to teach a recent covert and out of nowhere we heard 2 shots and then a third. The kids in the street stopped for maybe a second in their soccer game. Cool experience and I know mom will love it...

We play a lot of UNO. Almost every night after planning we sit and play a bunch of rounds. It is fun and a nice way to relax after a stressful day.
Everything else is really good. The work is not easy. Elder Holland once said that the reason why missionary work is not easy is because it was never easy for Christ. Christ suffered for my sins. The least I can do is give 2 years of my life to help others find the joy and happiness that I have.

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