Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 61! "Coincidences..."

From 3/9/15

Hola Family and Friends!!

I'll just jump right into this week. It had its highs and a few lows. Some days we simply could not find people home and/or find others willing to hear from us, BUT we were able to see many many miracles that were so special for us. One that is absolutely the best was meeting a guy named G this week!

We got on a bus nice and early one morning to go to our next appointment only to realize that we were in fact, a little too early. We had planned to see someone specifically, but decided to walk down another street and visit a less active member of the church. I remember that we didn't really hesitate to go with our new plan, even though we had no real idea if this sister would be home or not. We took off down the street when a young man in a wheel chair passed by us and said (in English) "Good Mornin'!!" and wheeled off.

Hermana C and I looked at each other and just thought, "No we HAVE to go back to talk with him."

All we said was "HEY you speak English! Did you live in the U.S. before?"

"Yeah, I'm from California, I'm actually Mexican but I came back to live here about six years ago...."

Then from there, this complete stranger just opened up his life to us. It was the neatest thing. I can't explain it. It felt like we already knew him. Like when you awkwardly run into someone that you know--but you can't remember their name or from where you've met them. It's like a familiar frustration, you know? haha.

He shared a few very difficult experiences that he's passed through in his life - a few from bad choices he's made in his life, and others that are natural trials. About 5 months ago his mom became very six with cancer and passed away. His family has also pushed him out of their lives and have offered little to no support.

G used to be in a gang in Los Angeles and became involved with the vices that accompany that kind of lifestyle. One day, he was caught in the middle of a gun shooting--where he was shot and the bullet passed through his arm to his back and spinal cord, which left him paralyzed. Since then, he has been in a wheel chair.

Came back to Mexico and tried to get by. He works with his roommate on a highway in our neighborhood where they fix motorcycles and other bikes. Wow, and he has stories!! He shared with us that of all that he has gone through and seen and experienced--his greatest worry has always been for his own family. He really misses his mom. He's funny. He told us, "Now hey, I'm not a momma's boy, but I just miss my momma, that's all." :)

He's really just feeling the need for change and to be someone better. He has already made so many changes in his life. He's abandoned a lot of his old habits and actions. The best part about being a missionary sometimes is being able to share the antidote to guilt or pain through the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. All that he expressed to us was his sincere desire to start over. To begin again.

We invited him to be baptized and he said, "but I've already been baptized" (we're thinking that it was in another church, right?) and so he accepted right there in the street without hesitation.

We scheduled an appointment to come back and see him and his friend. As we left, Hermana C and I talked about how we could see him as an active Priesthood holder already. We pictured him serving in the Church and having his own eternal family one day too. Later in the week when we went and invited him to church he said, "Sure I'll go, but with me in the wheel chair, how?"

A member of our branch offered to pick him up with us on Sunday and we took him to church. There, the members were all over it. They helped him get to the bathroom, up the stairs, down the stairs, into the classrooms out of the classrooms and back home. He was SO nervous, but he was SO AWESOME. He said that he LOVED church. It was really cool to see how the members helped him feel comfortable there.

Later again on Sunday, we passed by to visit him. And we made a discovery...he's already a member! Remember when he said he was already baptized? Well he says that it was in this church!! :) He told us that he was baptized when he was about 8 or 9 years old. He said, "I remember that my mom was baptized also."

WHAT? So super cool!! We want to help him to understand the gospel and be an active Priesthood holder soon too. :) We have been working hard to find more men in our branch with the priesthood so that they can strengthen this area and that we can become a ward soon! And here G is! We told him too, "Hey, you know that if we can't find your baptismal record, you're gonna have to get dipped in the water again." :D

"IMMA GET DIPPED!!" hahaha.

We are so excited!

Speaking of SUPER EXCITEMENT, Ao was ordained to the office of Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood this Sunday! Ahhh! :') He's made the biggest changes in his life and is just progressing so so well! We're hoping that next week he will bless and pass the sacrament. He told us that he is excited and also humbled because of the responsibilities and duties of the Priesthood. We are also on the hunt for a wifey. Soooo, if ya'll know of a cute Mormon girl for him--preferably one that can speak Spanish haha--that'd be great!

Another super awesome experience was in teaching an investigator this week. It was last Sunday with a member of our ward with D. We've taught D occasionally since November. It had been difficult to find them home or available. At the time that we taught them, we also felt like we were missing something. We could never figure out why, until one lesson a little while ago.

D had been participating in a practice of worshipping something called the Santa Muerte. We didn't know this was going on while we taught him and so we invited him to live the commandments and only worship God. The Santa Muerte is a practice that is pretty serious around here and is frowned upon--we called our leaders to know what the standards of the mission are regarding teaching investigators who practice such beliefs. We were counseled to teach him clearly the first great commandment and to invite him to make the necessary changes in his life to live the gospel more fully.

Then, we saw him last Sunday. We had invited D to be baptized just about every visit, but he never could say yes. This time, we invited him to truly pray to know, to truly ask in faith if he should be baptized and that if he received an answer--that he would. He accepted the invitation. We asked him if he was still practicing la santa muerte. He's said "No, I'm done I haven't done any of that, and I'm praying now!"


A few days later, we were in the street and decided to knock on a door to look for a future investigator, when down the road came D with a big smile on his face. He said hi, walked past us, came back to shake our hands and this lady too and then walked away. :) He was happy for sure! And that was all!

We saw him on Thursday afternoon to confirm our Friday appointment. He hurriedly took out chairs onto his patio so that we could talk, he said "I have been meaning to talk to you two! I'm thinking that I need to get baptized!"

What? How? or...what did you just say?

"Yesterday as I was walking down the street, I decided to pray in my heart and ask God if I should get baptized and that I needed an answer or a sign or something. Then, almost immediately, I ran into you two on the street. I was thinking, wow that was pretty clear. But as I kept walking and turned the corner, I ran into two more missionaries that were coming up the road. I know that was and answer. I need to get baptized".

Ahhhhhh!! He was so happy! We asked him how he felt.

"Good, I really feel happy!"

So cool. We have just seen so many 'coincidences' this week of running into people, or finding new investigators or meeting less actives. It was all just really special. It makes the sometimes difficult moments understandable and worth it.

Our mission President has invited us to pray more fervently and with more faith for miracles and to work for them. We have been encouraged to raise our vision and goal of what we can do and who we can become so that we might be able to be a part of real growth in this beautiful country. We are definitely witnesses of the promises he extended to us.

"Ask and ye shall receive."

If we ask for that which is righteous in faith, believing that we will receive, the Lord will help and bless us. And there were days when those prayers have been directly answered. It's taught me a lot more about the power of God and His love for us.

And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. 
[Mormon 9:19]
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Fernelius
P.S. One of our investigators told us that when he told his dad that we are teaching him his dad says, "They've gotten to you too?" His dad thinks that the Mormon missionaries are 'invadiendo la colonia', or invading the colony/neighborhood. -_-

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