Monday, July 15, 2013

Return of the Prodigal Son

Querido familia,                                15 de Julio 2013

This Tuesday, we were walking down the road on our way to go find some people when a man, who was sitting on the curb with his family, called over to us from a half a block away. We had no idea who it was, but he called us "Elders" so we went over to him to see what was going on. We started talking to him and he told us that he is a member who had recently moved from Córdoba and that they were looking for a place to stay. I was a little suspicious, wanting to help them, but I had remembered what the district president had just told us a few weeks ago: that there are people who go around trying to deceive the elders into giving them lots of stuff and they always say that they are members of the church and they know all the words that we use that other people wouldn't know what they mean.

So we talked to him for a while and we found out that his wife wasn't a member still, but she wanted her husband to prepare himself so that he could baptize her. So we talked to them for a bit about repentance and then we invited his wife, Maria, to be baptized (his name is Walter Nieto). We she said that she would most definitely be baptized, we told her that we want to set a goal with hew that she gets baptized on the tenth of August and she said no because she wants to get baptized on April sixth because that was the day that Christ was born. So that's kind of a tricky date to work with seeing as it's next year, but we'll see what we can do with her.

It's kind of a tough situation for us though because they are homeless for the time being (we think they have a place now because we haven't seen them in the spot where they have been hanging out) because we really can't do much to help them as missionaries; we can only inform people who can help them and then share with them the Gospel. We gave them all the contact information they needed to find an apartment and we've been keeping our eyes open and working with other people to see what can be done.

I requested his church records from the general offices of the church and we just got them a little bit later on last week and it had a message that just seemed powerful for some reason. It said, "Dear President/Bishop, The church has not been able to find this member for some time and as a result they have most likely not received the blessings of the church or the blessings of being fellow shipped by other members. Please do everything appropriate to fellowship this member into your branch/ward." As I read it, it made me think of the story of the prodigal son; even though the son had wasted his father's fortune and a good chunk of his own life, when he returned with desires to actually make something of himself his father received him and gave him the very best of everything that he had.

We've been teaching a lady named Maria Soto that is the friend of a sister in the branch and she has been progressing really well. Just the other day, one of the members was telling us that after every lesson with have with Maria, her friend Sandra (the sister in the branch) takes her inside to watch a bunch of church videos and share more with her.  When she came to church yesterday she even brought with her her mom that is deaf and she was signing the talks to her during the meeting. But we're really excited for her because she is definitely going to get baptized and then the rest of the members will hopefully start to have the desires to invite their friends to church so that they can get baptized as well.

On Sunday there was a homeless lady sitting across the street from the chapel that we've seen around town before, but today we decided that we'd try inviting her to church. So we went to go drop some things off in the chapel before coming back outside to go talk to her and as we did so she started to yell at us and I had no idea what she was saying; I was convinced that it was Portuguese. But we came back outside to talk to her and saw that she had started to get up to leave, so we kind of had to chase her down just a little, but when we invited her to come to church her faced brightened up and she started walking with us to the chapel.

When we got to the chapel she said that she wanted to leave her things there for a bit while she went to do some things. I wasn't sure that I had understood her well because she said, "I need to go to the butcher shop to get sugar before the manager closes down the sales." So we asked for the help of the members to understand what she was trying to tell us and it turns out that she is actually just a little crazy in the head. So she left her stuff while she went to go buy her sugar and then never came back during the church meetings. So, we put all her stuff in plastic bags and carried them with us until we found her and gave her stuff back.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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