Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 19, 2012 (Perth Amboy)

Oh man oh man do I have a story for you guys.

This happened about 2 and a half weeks ago and I was planning on telling you guys earlier but I kept forgetting. Here we go. Scary story for elders.
Elder Giglio and I went to visit an old lady (84), from Honduras, that lives a couple of blocks away from us. We hadn't seen her in a while, and we figured why not pay her a visit and teach her about the doctrine of Jesus Christ. She was there, as well has her daughter (about 50) and her grandson (9). We sat down on the porch with them and started teaching them about the doctrine. They all understood pretty well and asked pretty good questions. The only problem is, the daughter is Catholic, and although she doesn't assist church, she's pretty hard hearted and doesn't really want to have anything to do with us. As we finished the lesson, she and her son left us and went inside.
I learned very quickly, why there is a rule concerning Elders. It is: in order to ENTER a house, there has to be one other male INSIDE the house. We didn't break any rules, because we were on the porch but LISTEN:
We finished the lesson, prayed, she kept talking and talking (Latina + 80 years old = bound to talk for eternity) and finally we said something like "Alright we're going to take off, ok?" She had been talking about some hospital experience a few years back when she had bad sores over her body (which we didn't really want to know in the first place). Then she was like, "Elderes mire mire..!" (Elders look look) and she whipped out her LEFT BREAST showed us a gross sore on it! We were horrified, didn't know what to do. Luckily, she quickly put it away, we said bye, and walked away quite rapidly.
Now, guess where tons of our jokes come from? Oh it was the worst.
Friends who are going Spanish speaking: look what you have to look forward to.

On the spiritual side of things....

We have this investigator who has been investigating for quite a while now, about a year. She usually bails when we try to set up appointments and she hardly ever answers our phone calls. My faith was increased substantially this week as we had a really cool experience with her.
We had set up an appointment with her Wednesday night for around 7. We went over there at 7 and her cheery Puerto Rican mother let us in. Very friendly, very nice, just not interested. We sat down, she came out and we made small talk for about a minute. She then told us that she had talked to our branch president about getting food for people that were affected by the hurricane, and he had apologetically told her that members were priority and there were already lots of them that needed food as well. Elder Gilgio jokingly said, "Entonces, cuando va a bautizarse? Jaja.." (So when are you getting baptized?). She got pretty serious and then started speaking to us in really good english. I kind of took over, as Elder Giglio doesn't really speak it a whole lot. Very solemnly, she told us that she had been actually hoping and praying for a few weeks now over "that question". She then related to us several sublime experiences concerning the Book of Mormon, the Plan of Salvation, and several visions she had had over the past year that she had seen the missionaries. I'm not sure why, but I feel like I have a particularly hard time FEELING the spirit. I can tell when it's there, but it's difficult for me to really feel it. But could I feel it there. I knew the things she was telling me were true, her experiences, and I strangely enough knew what they meant. I felt like Joseph interpreting Pharaoh's dreams. it was a really intense discussion and the spirit was there the whole time. After, we invited her to be baptized and we prayed with her that night about a date that would be good for her. It was to our surprise and delight, that the very next morning (we were planning on passing by that night) she called us and told us specifically that she would be baptized on December 9th.
God answers prayers. He sends his spirit to those who need it most. And he has given us his word in the form of books to lead and guide us every day that we need him. All we need is the faith to know that he's there.

Carlos is still progressing but he didn't go to church yesterday so we're going to have to move his date back a week. He's still great though, and he keeps all his commitments, except for church. He's reading the Book or Mormon and retaining the information. This week we felt inspired to bear our personal baptism experiences to him. I told him of being in the water with my father and coming out of the water completely clean, and knowing that I was a son of the most High God. Carlos was smiling the entire time. It was awesome.

We did more service on Saturday in Union Beach and Freehold. There was a tree that fell on an old lady's house in Freehold. President Jeppson gave us a chainsaw and we went to work. 9 twenty-year-olds with a chainsaw and axes trying to remove a massive tree from a house = sketchy, but so much fun. After helping her with all that, we headed out to Union Beach again to help people with clearing out garbage and tearing up a wood floor. More and more devastation, we saw. We went into an area that was practically an island that jutted out pretty far into the ocean that had only been opened two days before because of how dangerous the area still was with powerlines and downed houses and whatnot. It was insane. I've never seen anything like it before. Entire houses were just crushed by the wind and water. Pieces were strewn all around for miles, hanging in trees, out on the beach, everywhere. There were boats smashed into the sides of houses, 2 miles away from the water. We talked to one guy, and he said that the water was over twelve feet in his kitchen, which happened to be how tall the ceiling was. I got lots of pictures. I'll send them next week.

Last week, I got two old school board games: UNO and Battleship. HOWEVER, Battleship was from 1981 and UNO from 1978. Elder Giglio and I play them in our apartment sometimes, after nightly planning.

The focus for this month has been the Book of Mormon. President Jeppson challenged all the missionaries to start it and finish it again by the end of the year. He also wanted all of us to have some sort of focus. I chose the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as well as his ministry and his divine calling as the Messiah. It's been really cool for me to study the Book of Mormon and see how it truly is ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST. There are so many prophetic chapters, simply testifying of His divinity and goodness to man.

The Book of Mormon is true and has more power than you know. Read it. I love you all.


PS - Got letters from Verina and mom... I think that was it.

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