Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Three Miracles!

Things here in Mindelo are going good. This week was both extremely hard, but with great miracles at the end that shows that Heavenly Father is truly watching over us here as his servants.

It was a challenging week to say the least. We tried so hard, but it was appointment after appointment falling through. We would be stuck with two or three hours straight of not finding anyone to teach. Like I said, Mindelo is not Fogo, and being that the people are more "Modern" they are less interested in things of God. We fight here to help people gain interest in the Gospel. So that being said, we had to drop a bunch of investigators this week that were not progressing or showing any interest. Dropping investigators is not the best feeling in the world, because you do everything in your power to help them understand how important the Gospel is, and they just keep going in their ways. That being said, you can’t teach them forever, so you just have to move on. The members did not really do their part this week either, and we had no support. We found no new investigators which is extremely rare, and we just ended up walking around and around trying to find people. 

It’s frustrating, no doubt, but I was expecting it. They don’t call Mindelo the hardest area for nothing. Of all the areas in Mindelo, ours is the nicest because it is right in the middle of the city, thus being the nicest houses and the wealthiest people (Not that they’re really wealthy at all, but generally a little better off than the rest, which is a big cause of pride).

So just when we thought that we were not able to accomplish anything this week, a series of three miracles in a row happened. 

We had been working with Aldina for some time and things have been very difficult for her. She does not have much confidence in herself, and it leads to her wanting to give up easily on the Gospel and so on... We even had a lesson on Friday, where she was crying and telling us how much pain she was going through. We gave her a blessing that day, and I promised her that if she would be obedient to God’s commandments, she would feel peace and joy in her heart, starting with going to church on Sunday. She said that she didn’t know if she was going or not. This was very disheartening to hear because it is crucial for her to go to church, so that she could be baptized one day.

Later on that week, it was Saturday night and Elder Josephson called me from Mont Sossego (Another area of Mindelo) he told us that they had been teaching someone and her friend stepped in the room and sat down with them. She then said that she lives in Morada (Our area). Josephson immediately after the lesson called us and passed us her contact info. We called and said that we would be in that area around 7 that evening. I had been expecting that 7p would come around and we would call and she would not answer the phone. With the way that things had been going that week, I was not expecting what actually happened.

Seven o clock came around, and we went to that part of the city to call her. We stood on a street corner and dialed the phone. Ring...no answer. We tried one more time....no answer. Fernandes had the phone. He put it back in his pocket, and let out a big sigh and looked at the ground. 

Another appointment that has fallen through. Another investigator with no interest…

We just stood there for a few seconds, when we realized that someone had been shouting at us a few blocks away. Sure enough it was her. She did not answer because she already saw us as she was standing outside her house waiting for us. We practically ran up to her with these huge smiles on our faces. Our intent was just to contact her and set up a time another day to teach her. We talked for a few minutes and marked a time. Just about as we said that we had to go, she goes "Wait”. Would you like to come in the house and meet my family?"

Meet your family?? No one in this country EVER says that.

"Of course we would like to meet your family!!"

We walked in the house and there was standing a husband and 5 little children, two twins, another boy and two girls. All the children under the age of 10 and all of them staring at us like we were the strangest people they have ever seen. We probably were...

The husband did something unusual. Instead of shaking our hand and then running away like most people, he started creating conversation with us. He told us that he had been looking for work on 3 of the islands to support his family. When his efforts were in vain, he came back home because he did not want to be away from his children anymore. They had been living together for 8 years, and they’re poor as poor can be. The house is in such bad condition that it was abandoned. They moved in and did not have to pay rent. I felt this feeling of intense happiness as we talked those few minutes. Right before leaving, we left them an invite to come to church. The husband was quiet for a few seconds and then replied

"...yes I think we’ll all go. We need to go"

I had never heard such sweet words up until this point in my mission.

Sunday rolls around and we spent that whole morning looking for our investigators. Most of them we could not find in their houses…

We arrived at church and discovered that Aldina was not home because she already left to go to church. Gualdino was already there as well as two inactive people we taught this past week.

First Miracle

We were overjoyed to see them there. Aldina had changed completely. There she was with a huge smile on her face as she sat in Relief Society. Gualdino had now been free from alcohol for over two weeks. His countenance had changed as well. He’s much more calm and eager to participate in church.

Second Miracle

Just as we were finishing up first hour, I stepped out of class for a minute and went to look out the window and drink some water. I looked a little harder to see a woman, a man and 5 little boys and girls all dressed up and walking towards the building.

Could it really be?? We haven’t even taught them once yet!

Yes, there was our beautiful family coming to church. I ran and got the Branch President, Relief Society President, and several other members to receive them and show them around. The little ones were taken away into primary with all the other little kids, and the couple was shown into Gospel Principles class. By the end of the church, a few members came up to us asking if they could come along to our appointments. I had a conversation with the Husband and he said that he felt this peace and that he loved it. He said that he wants to keep coming back and would like to come to church earlier next time.

Fernandes and I were with so much joy in our hearts. Our joy was full and we looked at each other knowing whole heartedly that God performed another miracle. We’ll start teaching them tomorrow. The woman’s name is Jocyleida and the Husband is Adirson.

Third Miracle

We had been teaching Valdevino and his family for some time. His non-member wife and step daughter had been coming to church for over three weeks, and they seemed very interested, just that Margarida was always very quiet. As much as they had been coming to church, Valdevino, the inactive member kept saying that he would come; only he never did. This last Sunday was no different. Sunday night we had an appointment to teach all three, and we were ready with our lesson plan...until we started the lesson. Valdevino was not home, just Margarida and her daughter. A bit disappointed, but we decided to teach them two anyway. We asked who wanted to offer the first prayer. Margarida said she wanted to. Ten seconds into the prayer she started bawling and could almost not finish the prayer. She opened up for the first time to us telling us how frustrated she was. She said she had never been so sure about anything in her life. She discovered that the Gospel is true and that it made her so sad that she was going to church with her daughter, and her husband who is already a member was not going. She wants so badly for her husband to go back to church, and she said that she wants nothing more now in her life than to follow the Gospel

What a miracle!! We have to work twice as hard with them now. I had no idea that she felt so strong about the church. We have so much work to do, and it’s awesome!

So yes indeed, I think the miracles were so worth the struggles that we went through this week!

Elder Cuestas

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