Tuesday, October 9, 2012

She is a diamond in the rough!

I thought that last week flew by....this week was lightning speed, and I am pretty sure that next week will be too.
I think that I have mentioned before that there are many challenges in Bela Vista and that we have slowly but surely working to overcome them. Well, there are weeks where it seems that we have overcome the challenges, and there are other weeks where stuff just kind of blows up in your face and the difficulties come back. That is kind of how things work in missionary work...but it’s all good.

So I said last week on how we have been focusing all our forces on Odete and her family. Things are going pretty good up to a certain point. It’s interesting that things have been kind of going the same way with many investigators that we’re working with. As I pointed out before, Onze drinks and smokes and Odete drinks coffee. We have taught them about the Word of Wisdom and invited them to live it. Interesting that this is where most people have the most struggles. Well Onze hasn’t been drinking for almost three weeks now, and Odete doesn’t drink coffee anymore. Onze used to smoke about 20 cigarettes a day and is now smoking 2. This is incredible progress...yet when it comes to going to church, this is where they struggle. They’re completing the hardest steps in converting to the Gospel, yet they have missed church for a few weeks now. Odete came this past Sunday, but Onze could not make it. We would like to get them to baptism, and I have all the faith that the Lord will make things work out...it’s just sometimes the natural man in me that gets a bit frustrated when things don’t happen as expected. I know all this is the Lord teaching me patience and longsuffering. I love this family very much; thus it breaks my heart when they don’t do what they need to do to receive all the blessings they deserve. The biggest concern is that Onze is trying to find a way to get this surgery to happen with the means that he has. Obviously this is something that the whole family is concerned about, so focusing on this and our lessons can be quite difficult at times. We’re trying to teach them to make the connection that obedience to God’s commandments entitles any of his children to the divine help and miracles that they need in their lives. I have a pure testimony of this because I have seen it so many times in my life and in the lives of all the people we have helped get over their problems. Well, obviously we will keep working with them, and I hope that this week we can make a major progress with them.

Another person we’re working with has made a huge step in improvement, and she is now our top priority. A while back we were working with a woman named Firmina and some weeks after her baptism, we started kind of having side conversations with her mom Maria. She started sitting in on our lessons with Firmina, and one night at the end of a lesson, she asked if she could have a copy of the Book of Mormon. This threw us off… Maria is an older woman, probably somewhere in her late 50s, and most people her age here can’t read or write, or are just "too old for a new religion" as they put it. So we got her the book of Mormon as soon as possible and started marking appointments just for her. Well the first few times we thought that this was going to go nowhere. She complained so much when we had our appointments to teach her, and she would make excuses such as "there is too much wind" or "it’s too hot" These excuses would drive us a bit crazy ha-ha. I’m sure that Satan was trying to distract us from the true potential that she has as an investigator. Well, we kept persisting because she’s the mom of two of our recent converts. We thought we would teach her the Word of Wisdom to see if she would be able to progress. We came back two days later to see her in a really bad mood. We asked how everything was going. She replied "I’m not drinking coffee, are you guys happy?! We laughed and encouraged her to go to church this weekend. She grumbled a bit more and then said that she would be there. Well, there she was this weekend in the first session of general conference at the church. This was huge, and she told us that she’ll never drink coffee again. To make a long story short, we went to visit her at her house yesterday and had a long talk about why she was doing all this. We also taught her the law of chastity because she lives with a man...as so many people do here.
Right there, she told us everything. She told us that she was living with this man for 3 years and that it was the biggest mistake of her life. She told us on how she longs to be by herself and that she’s sick of all the arguments and problems that this man has been causing. He drinks and gets in these moods where he makes the atmosphere of the home impossible. She said that when she started going to church, and started reading the Book of Mormon she felt at peace, something she had not felt in three years. She said that she’s the happiest that she’s ever been since moving in that house. She had been thinking for the longest time in separating from her companion and all this confirmed her desire. Now that we brought the law of chastity into all this, she will now make a choice on what she wants to do next. All she knows is that she wants to get baptized. She is a miracle investigator, a diamond in the rough!!

Abilio and Sandra are again stuck...well it turns out that Sandra has to make a choice between migrating to another place due to some papers that her sister was able to put in, or stay and get married.  We’re talking with them this week to see where she is at. It’s just kind of sad that she would leave her family and children just to migrate...it’s nothing out of the ordinary here. We just need to have tons of patience with her.

Elder Fogelberg and I are doing extremely well. He’s growing and changing so much. Every week he makes major improvements on his teaching and his desire to be on the mission. He’s a brother to me, and I’m going to miss him so much when I leave. We have talked about this several times. I love this guy to death, and I know that the Lord has called us to be together. I would say that he has kept me in line these last two transfers, so that I can continue working my heart out.
Elder Cuestas

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