Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thank goodness we're promised his protection!

The Lord performed a series of miracles one by one these past few days. Even though, we are preparing Jocyleida and her family for baptism on the 2nd of August, and that we had a few other baptisms, our area was running out of investigators. We had been having an extremely hard time finding new investigators these past weeks.
So we were working on Friday, and really not having much success in finding anyone. I was praying in my head the whole time, pleading the Lord that we could find someone interested in the Gospel.
When nothing happened that day, we went to our Correlation meeting with the Branch Mission leader around 8p, when the phone rang. It was one of the Elders from Mont Sossego (Another area). The elders there had talked to two people who lived in our area, and they said that they were interested in getting to meet us. At the same time, a branch missionary passed us a reference of another person that we contacted later in the week.  Finally, some new investigators to work with…!
But the following two miracles are just amazing  
Last Saturday, we did not have a baptism, so we were trying to find investigators to come and see the other missionaries' baptism. No one was home. We entered the chapel, thinking of what to do. We were in the chapel about 10 minutes, when a man we had never seen before walked in the chapel. He was a skinny man, about 22 years old and very tall. We went up to him and asked him who he was, and what was his interest in coming to the chapel. He responded "My name is Hernany, and I just felt in my heart that I needed to come here and find you".
I had never in my mission heard anyone say that before. The Lord clearly turned him in to us for help. He started explaining more about his life, which made his first impression to come here a lot more sense. He told us that his mother died a year ago, and he had not been able to cope well with that. He had been drinking, smoking, and using drugs for a very long time now. He said he felt lost and alone and that he wanted and needed help from us. He said that that morning he woke up feeling in his heart that he needed to find the Elders. We started explaining on how God Loves us and that he made a way, so that he could see his mother again and be with her again.
His eyes opened wide with tears forming. His whole countenance changed. He brightened up and instantly was filled with hope. He said that he couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, and that he had to drop out of school because of how hard it has been to cope with his mother's death. Also, he has a daughter, and the daughter's mother had been making it really difficult for him to see her. This was a broken hearted child of God looking for help. We were filled with compassion, and we went with him afterwards to see where his house was. We told him that we would be there to take him to church with us the next morning.
The next morning he was not at home, and we found out that it was because he had arrived at church much earlier than it actually started. At the end of the meetings, he came up to us and gave us really firm hugs and thank us. He knew right then and there that the Gospel was true. Now we just have to teach him.
The other incredible miracle happened Sunday night.

On Friday, before going to Correlation meeting, we were not having much success in finding people, as I mentioned earlier. We were close to Aldina's house, an investigator we had stopped teaching some time ago. We felt that we had to go by her house. We found her outside her home. We asked how she was doing, and she said that she was still praying and that she was thinking of leaving her boyfriend. We asked if we could visit her on Sunday, and she said yes.

Sunday night comes around, and we head over there. Aldina lives in a very dangerous area of Mindelo. Her zone is called Impena and is about 60 feet away from the most dangerous part of the city called Ilha de Madeira. This zone is full of drunks, gangs, fights, thieves, and violence. The Cape Verdian SWAT team has had to come in that zone many times over the years. The only people in that zone that are spared...are the Elders. No one touches us. No one. Gangs swarm the area with knives, stones, and other stuff in their hands. We have to work in the zone frequently. Everyone there knows us. Most people aren’t very interested in talking to us because of their lifestyle, but they make sure that nothing happens to us, or that we are not involved in anything.

Interesting isn’t it.
Anyway, as we were walking through Ilha de Madeira to get to Aldina's house, the zone was pretty agitated. Some party was going on, and EVERYONE in the street was drunk, and there were a few fights going on...ugh. Anyway, one fight was right in front of Aldina's house, and I was wondering why. We made our way through to the front door. Aldina was there and looking extremely upset. I asked her what was wrong, and she pointed to the screaming drunks. One of them was her son. I had seen him a few times, but I had never had the opportunity to really talk to him. She had told us before that he had serious problems with drinking and that he hung out often in Ilha de Madeira.
Here he was, drunk as drunk could be and just about ready to start throwing fists at his opponent. I asked Fernandes "What do we do" He said that we should leave, but neither of us started walking. I then said that we should leave, but again, neither of us started walking. Fernandes then grabbed Emmerson (Aldina’s son) and started dragging him inside the house. I immediately started to help him. We dragged him over to the living room and threw him on the couch. He was so drunk that he could hardly speak, but he was raging mad and wanted to go back outside. Aldina was crying in the doorway.
Fernandes got up to take Emmerson into his room where we could talk to him and calm him down a bit. I went after Aldina, who was broken hearted and gave her a blessing and that immediately helped her to help us take care of her son. She got him clothes, a towel, food and water, so that we could help him. We had spent almost 2 hours in their house calming things down. He had been out in the streets for over two days and had not eaten anything.
In the midst of all his blabbering, he finally calmed down and revealed some information to us. He said that he had wanted to talk to us for a long time and that he wanted to stop drinking because it was hurting his family and himself. He said that he was disgusted with himself and that he needed help. This was another broken hearted child of God that the Lord sought conveniently to deliver into our hands. With this act, Aldina and Emmerson are once again investigators, and we will continue helping them to overcome their troubles. It was the most intense way the Lord has ever brought us an investigator, but the Lord places us where he needs us, even if it means being in the middle of screaming drunks. Thank goodness we’re promised his protection.

Elder Cuestas 

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