Tuesday, February 22, 2011

While our Famly was snowboarding in Lake Tahoe...

Okay so this week was soo nuts! First things first, lake tahoe sounds like a blast. My old companion elder puertas is down there inmedford and his zone covers a touch of california so if you come up you can at least see him :P
I was jealous of the skiing and stuff hah this week i feel like there were some worldy temptations coming my way haha i had the thought of you guys snowboarding, last night we were at a house visiting a recent convert and on the tv comes the music video or 30 seconds to mars, "from yesterday" and i was like ahh man i love this song and had to walk out of the room with my hands on my ears. I think it was the first time i was bummed to hear a song i love ha. But things are great and i miss you guys a ton. This week was craazzy!
So we were meeting a lot with this guy named shane. He is in our Brush hills ward which is the english ward here and rather, he will be when he is baptized. But we were teaching him every day this past week and he is really starting to understand things. He is a little slower but is starting to get it. he came to churhc last week too which was the major obstacle and now he is giving up tobacco and cofee and tea. He was just like yeah ill do it, so he is pretty down. BUT, this week we met with him and then helped him get a ride to the hospital for some check up thing and it turns out he has pink eye and the doctors said he can't meet with anyone for 2 weeks!!! We were soo bummed and it was just so dang frustrating. There must have been a reason for it or something because he would have been ready to be baptized this next coming weekend. So we havent' seen him for like 4 days now and he said he slipped once with tobacco because he is just home all day with no visitors or anything. That was a downer.

BUT here is the more crazy stuff. So we have been working with a man named Ruben. He is honestly the most awesome humble guy we have ever taught. He is always studying the book of mormon and has known it is true from week 1. He comes to every activity, church every sunday, EVERYTHING. We have had some really touching experiences with him. He has this sickness where he shakes all the time and it was caused by a work accident that it seems like no one is willing to help him out with (lawyers and stuff). He cant work now, and has to support his whole family of like 6 or 8 kids that live in mexico! yeah talk about a tough one. So we meet with ruben on tuesday and start getting him excited for his baptism on saturday. Things are great. We couldn't meet wednesday and then thursdaymorning we get a phone call from Ruben. "hey elders, this is ruben chavez. I don't know how to tell you but i won't be able to move forward meeting with you guys."

.....WHAT?! he was like i don't want to tell you why over the phone, and then we set up a return appointment on friday morning. Ah man my heart just sankk and we didn't know what to do. it was at our lunch break and we just lost all life. We decided to fast and just started our fast right there. Then we went out. We had a meeting with our Ward mission leader which was fine and then we taught a new investigator zacharias, and then another namd Diego. Diego was awesome!! He is an amazing drawer and has truly been prepared. He asked us the first day when we were talking. He was like yeah i like the aztecs and you know ther was this thing that said a white man came to them and they honored him and praised him and stuff and i was just wondering if jesus christ ever came to the americas? HA we were like yeah here is a book all about that! It was pretty funny and really cool to see how heavenly Father had prepared him in a unique way. We had alejandro with us too the recent convert which was good and the lesson went really well.
That lifted our spirits a little bit and then we left for independence. We get there and are supposed to meet with Miguel and Maria. They also are supposed to be baptized this weekend (2/20). So we go and they call us right as we pull up to their house and say they are in corvalis and won't be back for an hour. So fine, we leave and are driving and Elder Gomez is like, let's go see Ruben. We say lets do it. So we head up to monmouth which is 10 minutes farther and we are walking up to his door and he walks out before we even knock. And says, "are we ready to go to the church" we say yeah. And then he says "should i grab my Book?" (book of mormon) and we say YEAH!! So he comes and we go to the church to have our lesson where we normally do. We just talked to him and he vented about his family and how he can't work and no lawyers are helping him with his sickness and he can't get ANY money for his family in mexico and how everything was just coming down on him all at once, and now he feels like meeting with us was just another thing to worry about. We explained that things should be the opposite. With all of these things to worry about and stress, as he "seeks the kingdom of God first, all other things will be added unto him". We just talked and basically reminded him of the promised blessings that he would receive for following the commandments and being baptized. He felt way better at the end and was joking around with us again and smiling. It was the best thing that could have happened! I'm serious the Lord touched his heart so much to prepare him for this weekend. We handled it all so bad too, at the first sign of struggle we practically gave up hope and it was just a lesson to us about keeping faith. We will not let such obstacles get in the way again.

So friday we are feeling way better. We had combined district meeting with our whole zone and it was really spiritual. it was cool too becuase the sister missionaries in my district have been having a really hard time lately. THey have just faced a lot of opposition and have been getting sooo discouraged and stuff. So the zone leaders were talking with them and then called me to come and i got to give them each a blessing and it was really cool! it was awesome to know that we have the power and authority of God on the earth to do such blessings. It was a really spiritual experience and i just felt really good from doing it. I don't know how to explain it otherwise.

Then saturday comes. We taught some good lessons and then we got everything ready for Ruben. The baptism went amazing! He kept telling us how good he felt inside and afterward he came and thanked me personally and it was kind of a prideful moment i know, but at the same time made me feel good and i told him it wasn't us, it was the spirit. It was soo good to see him in white and take those steps into the font. Man it was such a good feeling.

We also saw Miguel and Maria, on saturday and got everything reaady for their baptism on sunday. They had to do their interviews sunday morning before church and then come to church because miguel had to come to church one more time beore he could be baptized. So sunday morning, we are about having a heart attack because the baptisms just stress us OUT! We try to make sure everything is perfect and we just psych ourselves out, cause we want everything to go right. They called us while we were in our english sacrament meeting and my heart sinks. Elder Gomez goes and talks to them and thye just say they are on their way. PHEW that was close. So they get there and have their interviews. Things are good. Maria comes out and she is happy. Then after a while Miguel comes out looking not quite so happy. So they are talking to each other for a second in the hall, while classes are going on and we went over to see what's up. Miguel and Maria need some financial help for rent, for one month. They happened to ask president murray during their baptismal interview and i from my understanding President murray kind of said, "are you just getting baptized because you want financial help?" and whether it was the way he phrased it or somehting, it really offended miguel. He talked about it with maria too but just said it in a different way or something cause she wasn't offended at all but miguel was like no i just felt kind of hurt. We have been teaching them for like 2 and a half months and they honestly are legit. They never needed financial help before and the only time that they had brought it up was saturday, the day before their baptism, after they had already decided to be baptized, so they didn't even use it as incentive. But nonethe less, miguel was hurt. Maria starts crying, and we go into one of the empty rooms of the church, while priesthood is going on, and have a little lesson. We talked about baptism and WHY we do it. It's not for president murray, it's not for the missionaries, it's between you and Heavenly Father. Maria is just crying telling her husband that this is what they need to do but he was not having it. He wasn't being rude or aggressive, he just said, i'll do it eventually but just not today. I just don't feel it today. We bore testimony as best we could hoping the spirit would soften his heart, and then we even prayed and had him pray to know, and he said he felt good inside but didn't want to do it today. I'm like on the edge of tears as he is telling us this and we turn to maria and say well, would you still like to do it?......and she says "No tengo ninguna duda" meaning, I have no doubt, and she said yes she still wanted to.

Man as much of a bummer as it was to see miguel not take the step with his wife, it was so cool to see Maria's testimony. When we very first started teaching them, she was money, and then they kind of switched where she was turned off to everything and he was in. And then we were able to see the fruits of her testimony as she had no doubt that this was the right thing. You could honestly tell that she was bummed that her husband wasn't there, even during her baptism. And president murry even came up to him later and said hey i have been thinking about you and received revelation that you are ready to be baptized if that is what you want. And miguel still said no. All the way up until maria was baptized she was just telling her husband this was what he needed to do. And i truly think he felt it. I think he felt that he needed to do that on sunday, but didn't want to go back on what he said. He will be baptized though, i have no doubt. And i think this might be a blessing in disguise because now we have truly seen maria's testimony and i think it will hit home when we are teaching over there and she can now bare that testimony to her husband and her daughter Itzel who has actually gotten all the lessons. So we'll see how things play out. It was truly a bittersweet day but we were soo glad to see Maria take that step. It just makes everything worth it! Man we have worked with them soo long and finally things clicked. Miguel will be baptized soon.

But man, two more people are a step closer to their Heavenly Father. What an amazinlgy stressful, exciteing, worthwhile weekend.
I love this work man, it doesn't get better than this.

We are going to the coast today as a zone and are leaving pretty soon so i gotta run but i'm gona try and send some pictures real quick. I love you guys soo much and pray that everything is going well and that tahoe is a blast! I know the church is true, we have a living prophet, and the Book of Mormon really is the word of God

Love Elder Edwards

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