I don't think I'll have time to write by hand today, so I'll try to get as much as I can into this email:
We've been teaching Eugene and Patricia more this week. Patricia is progressing really well in the lessons and she already knows that she needs to be baptized, so now it's just a matter of teaching her everything she needs to know. The only problem we have right now is that she and Eugene are living together, so she can't get baptized until either they get married or she moves out. Euegene says that they'll get married, but not anytime soon. He really wants her to get baptized though and he is coming back to church. They both came to church yesterday though. When they showed up, Eugene comes up to us and gives us the the side-ways high five to a fist bump and says, "Hey, what's up gangsters?"
We had dinner at their apartment with them and Eugene's brother, Paul, and while we were waiting for dinner to come out, he looks over at us and goes, "So... you guys wanna play some video games?" He's a pretty fun guy; he also just slides little things in randomly.
We've started teaching these two older ladies from Columbia. Hermana Belez is the mother, and Amparra is the aunt of a member in the Spanish ward, Hermana Quinones. We started teaching them because Hermana Quinones invited us over to eat and after dinner we sat down to have a brief message. Well, Hermana Quinones invited her aunt and grandma to come sit down with us, so we ended up teaching about the Spirit and baptism. At the end of the lesson we invited the two sisters to be baptized and they accepted. So we've taught them twice and they're progressing pretty well. Amparra has been to church once already and Hermana Belez has been twice so far. We hit kind of a snag though. The husband of Hermana Quinones doesn't know that we've been teaching and she is scared that he won't like it, so she is trying to hide us from him... Just yesterday afternoon (about five days after our first visit and after two lessons) she told us that we're putting too much pressure on them to be baptized and that our job as missionaries is just to plant seeds. Really what it ended up coming down to is that she is just scared to tell her husband that her aunt and grandma want to be baptized. We tried explaining to her that the prophet has said that we are supposed to invite people to be baptized in the first lesson, but she just lacks faith. She wants us to just put the idea of baptism in their minds and then wait for them to ask us to be baptized. The other problem is that they're going back to Columbia in a month, so we don't want them to progress really far and then never end up getting baptized if they move.
Church was a little different this week. We ended up going to our ward and then leaving right before Sacrament meeting ended so that we could go to the Spanish ward to be with Amparra, Sister Belez, and Patricia. Hermana Quinones actually is the one who teaches the Sunday School class, and ironically her lesson was on Samuel the Lamanite and following the prophet and not being the people that mock the prophet and don't believe.his words.
We got a call from someone we've never met the other day (turns out his parents are members, but he isn't) that said he had a friend who needs the missionaries to go visit her. We had a little hesitation about it because he said that she was having financial troubles and that she needed help, but we don't have any money to give people and we can't dump that responsibility on the bishop. But we went to meet her and she was obviously in distress. We sat down with her and told her very plainly that we can't provide financial aid, but we're called to teach the Gospel of Christ. So we started teaching her about faith, repentance, the Holy Ghost, baptism, and how being obedient to God's commandments will bring blessings. When we asked if she wanted to be baptized, she almost started to cry and just said, yes, and smiled. At the end of the lesson, we wanted her to pray, but she is Catholic and only knew how to do memorized prayers. We taught her how to really pray, but she wanted to tell us one of the prayers (not to say, just to tell us what it is), but she couldn't remember the words. After a minute she just said, "I guess we're not supposed to pray that way." So that was really cool that the Spirit wouldn't let her say an apostate prayer. So we taught her on Saturday and she came to church the next day. We introduced her to some people and she had a really good experience, even though she was a little nervous to be there.
We went to go check up on a family that lived in an apartment complex, but they weren't there. Normally we don't knock doors because that isn't an effective way to find people, but Elder Dustin wanted to try knocking in that complex. So we were walking around and while we were waiting this door, a car pulled up in behind us. He got out and started to walk to his apartment in the opposite direction. I told Elder Dustin and Anderson that we needed to go talk to that guy. So we knocked a few more doors and then ended up at that guy's door. We had a good conversation with him and he said something that we thought was pretty funny. He said, "Yeah, I've been Catholic my whole life, but then I read the Bible and found out for mysellf that the Catholic church isn't true."
P.S. I'm no leaving on the 17th of September, my address below will be good until then.
Elder Joshua Covington Burt
5757 S. Staples Street
Corpus Cristi, TX 78413
[Current Until September 16]