Monday, February 11, 2013

Spiders in the church

11 de Febrero 2013

Querido familia,      
Right now, there is a guy who is watching some Catholic propaganda or something like that next to me. He has the volume loud enough that everyone in the room can hear, but all it is is just a guy yelling things like, "I'm catholic! I'm catholic to the bones! The Bible is the word of God and nothing else!" We actually talked to a guy kind of like the one in the video my neighbor is watching right now. We were walking around looking out for people we could teach when we saw some brothers sitting outside with their dad. So we walked up to them and introduced ourselves and the dad went inside and brought some chairs out for us, but then he went back inside and didn't come out (he must not have wanted to talk to us). So we started talking with these four guys and we find out that they are three brothers and a friend who all play in the band at the evangelist church a couple blocks away. Well we started getting into a discussion about the Church and why there are so many churches in the world. Well at this, the dad came back outside and started telling us all about his church and how much he knows about the Bible. He then made the very common move in that he quoted a verse from the Bible that the Evangelists use in an effort to disprove the Book of Mormon. So I told him I knew exactly what verse he was talking about, told him about a similar verse the Old Testament, and then explained a couple things. I never told him he was wrong, but he got the point that he didn't really know what he was talking about. So he never gave us a chance to teach and his sons weren't really sure what to do in that situation as they watched their dad act like a zealot who was being corrected by two people their own age.

Earlier in the week, we sat down with a man and his three grandsons who were sitting down together outside. The guy's name is Antonio and he had some interesting things to say. He mostly just had questions about America and what missionaries do. He thought that the reason Americans serve missions is because it exempts them from the mandatory military service that the U.S. government requires from each citizen. Needless to say, we cleared a couple things up for him. He wasn't really to up to changing his church though, mostly because he didn't even go to his own. So we left them with a pamphlet about the Restoration and the invitation to read and pray and then decide if he wants to start coming to church. So, we passed by a couple days later and he hadn't read nor prayed, but his grandson, also named Antonio, read the pamphlet and told him about it. He had a couple questions about life after death, but he got uncomfortable once we started teaching him and so he said that, "I won't be going to your church." So again, we left him with the invitation to read and pray and then decide.

We spent one afternoon with the senior missionaries, Elder and Sister Brimhall from Mesa, Arizona. We already had everything planned so that they could meet some of the members in our ward. Obviously we had to take the bus to our area because they wouldn't be able to walk that far, but we had never used the bus before and had no idea what to expect. Nothing went wrong with our trip, but the driver basically drives two routes, so it took an hour to get there by bus. We were also concerned about what would happen if they missed the last bus out of our area (we walked back because we had more people to visit once the senior missionaries left) because the buses just come and go as they please basically. The bus came ten minutes late, but we were there ten minutes early, so we didn't have any issues there. So Elder Brimhall served a mission fifty years ago in Peru and still remembers some Spanish, but Sister Brimhall is learning for the first time. 

So our visits all went pretty much the same. Elder Brimhall would ask the same questions to every single person and then at the end he would say, "Well I think my wife would love to give the prayer to finish." Sister Brimhall ended up praying at the end of every visit and after the second time she would look her husband and in English would say, "but I gave the last one; why don't you do it?" They're just a funny couple; they always call each other by their first names.

So before each visit we would tell them about the family we were about to visit and what they have going on and then whatever else they wanted to know. So if there was something that they needed to change in their lives to live more in harmony with the Gospel, Elder Brimhall would immediately bring it up. For example, we visited a girl who is about twenty-two years old, has two kids, and isn't married to her boyfriend (who isn't a member). So the first question Elder Brimhall asked her is how  long she has been a member of the church and then how long she has been married. Then when she said that they weren't married he acted surprised and then said, "Well you ought to do that because we want to see you in the Celestial Kingdom with us." That is about how every visit went with them - Elder Brimhall calling all the members out for what they weren't doing.
On Friday we had an activity with the branch which was cleaning the chapel and then eating rice with milk after (rice boiled in milk and mixed with sugar). Only a few members came, so it took a lot longer than we planned on being there, but it needed to be done. As the Sisters were dusting behind the curtains they would find spiders and scream every time. Once we got things wrapped up, Elder Waldron and I went outside and shot goals with the kids who were using the soccer field the church has. All the kids are really good here; I kicked the ball so hard and had it go as high as it possibly could without going over the top of the post and the kids were still stopping it. Granted, it was a smaller goal than normal, but still.
While we were walking home on Saturday night, a guy driving down the road pulled his car over and started to walk over to us. When he got a little closer he said, "Hey, I have a question for you," in English. He started talking to us and then asked if we could speak Spanish, so we switched to that. He just wanted to know if we were teaching English and we told him that for the moment we weren't, but he gave us his contact information just in case we ever started up. The thing is, we were going to teach English in the chapel, but we have to have a list of twenty names of people that are going to attend or else we can't start the class and the branch members never got a list together for us, but they always wanted to know when we were starting.

But I'm out of time until next week,
os amo,
Elder Burt

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