Monday, November 18, 2013

Pizza for Mother's Day

Querida familia,                                        5 de Noviembre 2013

So we've been working with this girl named Gisel who is twenty-five years old whose mom was baptized just a few months ago and her grandpa a few years ago. Well in order to help her feel more comfortable in the church and to know more members besides her mom, we started asking the young women to accompany us in our visits to go and teach Gisel. So far it has been really great; the one lesson that we've had with her with another member was great and Monica was a big help. So for the next lesson we asked Monica's sister, Abigail, to come with us and she said that she would be happy to come. So then we told her that we would be teaching the law of chastity and the next thing she said was, "actually I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it; maybe Monica could go with you." She was totally joking, but the next day she did send us a message saying that she wouldn't be able to make it.

The lesson with Gisel went well anyway. We explained why it is that she can't live with her boyfriend if she is going to be baptized on how living the law of chastity will prepare her for marriage and will allow her to also marry in the temple after a year of being a member. She seems like she really wants to be baptized based on the questions that she asks us. She had a concern that maybe her boyfriend would brake up with her if she told him that she wanted to live separate, so we told her that if that's the case then maybe he isn't the guy for her. She didn't like the idea to much at first, but as she thought about it become more and more clear that it was actually a good idea.

That was the last time that we were able to talk to Gisel however, so it's been almost a week since we've seen her. We're going to be going over on Thursday to keep teaching and see how she is progressing.

As far as Omar and Marta are concerned, they've been doing really well. We taught them about the temples and the work that we do there. They both really want to go so that they can be sealed, but Marta especially wants to go because she has a brother that died young and she wants to be baptized for him. Omar asked if he could baptized Javier, his one year old son, in the temple when is eight years old, but we explained that the baptisms that we do there are only for the dead, but that when Javier is twelve then they can go and do baptisms for the dead together.

On Thursday, Marta and Omar had their baptismal interview with Elder Marilaf and they did really well. There was only one problem, Omar has been having more trouble giving up smoking and had smoked one cigarette on Wednesday night. So on Saturday afternoon we talked to Omar about quiting smoking, but it wasn't the usual fun and happy conversation that we usually, but was rather serious. We talked about how his smoking hurts him physically and spiritually, but more than affecting him it also damages the people around him in the same way: emotionally, physically, and spiritually. During our conversation, Marta began to cry and started telling us how she was had arrived at the point of leaving from the relationship because Omar was such a different person after having smoked; that he was short tempered and angry and would yell at everyone, including their one year old, Javier. So the real hard part about trying to teach and be supportive at the same time was making sure that Marta felt comforted and had hope while at the same time supporting and encouraging Omar to be better without making him feel horrible. A seemingly impossible task, but we did it. The key was what Elder Holland taught, "he was charitable with both his sons and his expressions of love towards one did not require a withdrawal of love for the other."  

So we made plans with Omar; we talked about his weaknesses and what caused him to fall. Then, we made plans on what he is going to do, where he is going to go, and who he is going to be with so that he can avoid and protect himself from that evil at all times. As part of the plan, Omar has new employment and has already started working there in order to avoid the people who had previously invited him to do things that he didn't have to do.

The next Sunday Omar and Marta both came to church and stayed for the classes for the first time. So we got them the books that they needed and helped them get to where they needed to be and they really enjoyed it. Javier even went to the primary, even though he doesn't have the age to be there. He didn't cause problems though, but rather just played and colored.

With Hugo and Belquis things have been interesting, but not bad. Well, kind of bad, but not because of them. The letter that we sent about a month ago to request the forms we needed for Hugo to get married was returned to us because it never actually arrived at it's destination. So now we're not really sure what's going to happen. They people in the courthouse said that we should just deliver it personally, but that's kind of impossible for us to do and very difficult for anyone else to do it. We're looking at our options to see what we can possibly do.

Other than that, we've been teaching them things outside of the normal lessons because we've already taught them everything that they need to learn from missionaries. So we taught them about family home evening and the purpose that it carries. We also gave them a huge book called "the Manual of Suggestions For Family Home Evening." It looks like a book that the Church put out thirty years ago, but nevertheless it should be helpful for them to start teaching their kids the Gospel.

On Wednesday night, while Elder Marilaf was with my companion doing the baptismal interviews, Elder Beach and I went to do some service for Hugo and Belquis. They have an oven made of bricks and glued together with mud that they wanted to move so that they could add a bathroom onto their house. So we took it apart brick by brick (so that it can be rebuilt in another location) and got rid of the extra dirt. Of that occasion, Elder Marilaf said,"I never thought I'd see that day that I'd see two Americans working physical labor." He thinks everyone just works indoors in the United States at a computer.

On Sunday night, as part of our continuation of teachings outside of the missionary lessons, we watched the movie "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration" with Hugo, Belquis, Omar, and Marta. They all really liked it, but I think Omar payed the most attention; afterwards he said that the movie was very emotional for him.

On Saturday night, we had an activity in the Church for Mother's Day, which is in October here. It was simple enough, all the sisters wanted was basically a pizza party. So we got everything together and made and ended up with some sixteen pizzas and tons of sandwiches. The next day in church the youth and primary had pizza for a snack between classes and we had lunch for Sunday and Monday.
It was during this activity that one of the young women said that she wanted to have an interview the next day on Sunday. I really wasn't sure what she wanted to talk about, but the next day we met together in my office to talk. When we first sat down I asked her what was on her mind and she asked if we had a copy of the Liahona because she wanted to talk to me about an article that she had read. I figured that maybe she had a doctrinal question about something she had read and maybe didn't understand, but that wasn't the case. She opened up to an article entitled, "Confessing to lift burdens." She then began to tell me about something that had happened almost two years ago just after she had been baptized. So we talked about it and the efforts that she has made in order to correct her mistakes. On my part, I was so unsure of what I needed to say and fervently asked that the answer would come, but as we approached the end of our interview I was able to tell her that she had been forgiven for what had happened and that now it was required of her to continue in righteousness and sin no more. I felt like that was what I needed to tell her, but even as I started to say I was still unsure, but after I had told her the Spirit filled the room and there could be no doubt that her repentance was sincere and complete. Afterwards she said that she could feel a heavy burden that she didn't even realize that she was carrying be lifted away.

os amo,
Elder Burt

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