June 16, 2014

Week Twenty-Six: i am trying ...

Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana De León

Dear familia,

This week was a week ... it wasn't actually that bad, but it sure felt like a little eternity. It has been sooooo much harder for me recently to be at peace with the work I am doing. I have been feeling a lot of frustration ... mostly because Hermana De León and I have been working soooo hard and so diligently to talk to everyone and to find people to teach, but we haven't been too successful. I have been studying a lot about faith, and I leave the house every day CONFIDENT that Heavenly Father is preparing people for us to teach ... only to have people be super rude to us in the streets and from their homes. Oh, well. Something that I am learning is that I just have to get out and do it anyways. No matter how rude the person I talk to is, I always try to put as much enthusiasm into the next contact that I do. It is a fun test against myself to see how disciplined I can be with my emotions.

First of all, THE MUNDIAL. I sure hope that you guys are rooting for Chile!! We didn't go out to work on Friday because there was NO WAY on this planet that a Chilean would let us into their house during this sacred time of Futból. It was super fun to be in our house for that night. We could kind of hear the game through our paper thin walls while we were planning and we could definitely hear the ruckus in the streets when Chile won. It really wasn't important in that moment that it was raining and super windy (like pretty much every day this week) ... every Chilean and their dog ran out of their house, playing their blow horns and screaming at the top of their lungs. "What do you know," I said to Hermana De León, "Chile won." It is so fun to be in a country where everyone cares about soccer during the Mundial. You can't help but feel excited.

I said a prayer this week that was really an incredible experience. Basically, I asked Heavenly Father what were the most important things that I needed to know. I very distinctly felt:

1. I love you.
2. I have got everything under control.

This answer was something that sustained me through this week, even though it could have been super easy to lose sight of. We worked really, really, really hard to find people (like I mentioned before). We planned better than I have in my whole mission. We wasted no time walking. We knocked on every door. We offered to sing a song and say a prayer. But at every turn, there was rejection. The dogs seemed to bark more than ever (I am sick of dogs. I had a dream that I killed a dog last night). We really tried ... but nothing happened. There was one day that the wind was blowing harder than I have ever felt it before. The other days were super cold and super rainy. I know that we were working diligently, but it just breaks my heart that it doesn't show in our numbers. We hardly taught at all this week.

But, from my prayer, I was certain that Heavenly Father loved me and that He had a grand purpose in these trials that I have been facing. I still don't know what that grand purpose is ... but I know that He wants me to grow ... and so I am humbly trying to take life by the punches. If Heavenly Father has all power ... and I am doing all that I can to work my hardest ... and nothing happens still ... that must mean that this is something that I was meant to pass through, right?

Saturday was especially hard for me. I woke up and got ready. I studied (again about faith in Jesus Christ) and I pumped myself to leave. "You wanna know why I am excited to leave?" I asked Hermana De León, "I am excited to work some miracles today. I am excited to find people. I am just really excited." I packed up all of my stuff, minus the keys to the church, and we knelt to pray before we left the house. "You've got the keys, right?" asked Hermana De León. "Mhmmmm." And so we left. Our first item on the list of things to do was to tell a family that we weren't going to be able to make it to lunch that day because we had been double booked. We went to their house relatively early ... and it broke my heart to see that they had already prepared the lunch for us. Ahhh, I felt horrible. I begged a thousand pardons and they kindly forgave us, but I still felt like junk. It started to rain.

We talked to some people on the way to the boondocks of Frutillares where we had lunch that day. All of them were really rude and not that interested in what we had to say. We knocked on doors but nobody let us in. We went to one of our investigators' house and she had a pamphlet of an Evangelical church opened on her sofa. I took some deep breaths to beat down the sorrow that I was beginning to feel. A person called us from the church and asked us to bring him the keys so that he could get into the church ... and I had left them in the house. Not only had I left the keys to the church in the house, but also the keys to the house. I felt soooo stupid. Set back in our plans by an hour and a half, we finally started to get some real work done. We made our way back down the road the the boondocks. From the contacts that we have made in the past weeks, we started eliminating the ones that didn't exist. Finally, we found the house of a really promising girl that we had contacted earlier in the week.

When we knocked on the door, a little old lady looked at us for a grand total of three seconds and said, "Come right on in! We wouldn't want you to catch a cold! (the Chileans are very concerned that I don't always wear boots and pantyhose)." I thought to myself, "Yaaaaahoooo, someone that finally let us in that is NICE! Maybe we can get a lesson in before lunch!" This little old lady began rifling through her things to find something for us to wipe our wet hands with. After finding a couple of old baby wipes, we settled in a bit. "I don't know if you have shared with the missionaries before ..." I began. To my disappointment, she said, "Yes, I have talked to many missionaries. I just want to let you know that I am a Catholic and I am never going to change." Ahhhhh, man ... "But," she continued, "That does not give me any right to reject you from my home and to help you in any way that I can. That is what Jesus would do, right?" I felt a warmth of love for this lady wash over my soul. "Yeah," I said, "that is what he would do."

She chatted a little bit about her life. Her husband entered and she introduced us, "Hey, honey, the sisters of Christ are here!" We sang her a hymn and got ready to leave her house, grateful for the little moment that we could spend with her. Before we left, she began rifiling through her drawer again. "I can't give you lunch," she said regretfully and sincerely, "but I think I will give this to you. You need it more than I do." She pulled out the biggest Chilean chocolate bar that I have ever seen and placed it in my hands. With tears in my eyes, I thanked this woman for her kindness. We didn't get the chance to share a lesson with her, but I sure learned a lesson ... Christian kindness knows no bounds. There are a lot of people here that profess to believe in Christ and to be devoted disciples of him ... they preach it from the corners and try to Bible Bash with us in the streets ... But I knew that this little old lady believed in Christ, even though she barely raised her voice above a whisper to talk to us. It was a wonderful experience.

I am amazed by Chilean kindness, even with all of the rudeness. Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting, I cried and I cried. "I am trying," I thought over and over in my head. I am doing the best that I know how. After crying all of my frustration and my pain out, I felt much better. I felt so close to the Savior in this week ... I know he was helping me and bolstering me up, even in the tough experiences. I was also amazed to feel the love of the members of the branch as they came up to me and hugged me after Sacrament. "Why are you hurting?" they asked me over and over again. "Are you okay?" I blinked a couple of times and felt sooo much charity for these people that I am serving. I LOVE Frutillares. I LOVE the people here. Very soon, we are going to be seeing miracles ... very, very soon. But until then, I am going to keep working as hard as I can. I know that in the end, that is what will matter to me.

I love you all sooo much! Please have a wonderful, summery week! :) I am praying for each and every one of you!!

Chao until next week,

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