It´s getting to become summer here so the days are getting hotter and hotter. Especially between 3-5 which is when we are always working. Out in the streets. With a stomach full of food. And usually no one is home at this time. But we keep on working! I want to tell you about two crazy experiences that happened this week.
1. While walking on the street one day, a man ran up to us and told us he was a member of the church. He really wanted us to pass by his house, therefore we wrote down his address and then were on our way. We thought nothing of it once we´d left. The day comes that we had the appointment with Reuben (the man). He lived on practically the outer edge of our area which meant that we had to climb up and down a few hills to get to his house. When we arrived in his neighborhood, we tried finding his house but became lost. Then when saw a man running to us. It was Reuben and he had been worried about us because we were a few minutes late. It´s a good thing he ran out to us or we would never have found his house. We entered his house and he offered us some food. Guess what it was! Bread... Delicious but soooo addicting. Anyway, he started telling us about himself. Let me tell you what he told us. He used to be in the Chile National Guard (pretty much the FBI of Chile). He told us these crazy stories about how he had been shot by a priest who had been stealing drugs, or how he had to sneak some priests across town because they were drunk and they didn´t want the public seeing them. He´s pretty much the Jack Bauer of Chile!! He told about his conversion story, which is awesome. At his old work, they were only allowed to be Catholic or Atheist. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints along with his friend from work. Neither of them told anyone at work about their baptisms. One day, one of his officers found a Book of Mormon in Reuben´s locker. Reuben told us that this officer ripped up the book and then punished Reuben. He didn´t go into detail about the punishment, but I´m sure it wasn´t pleasant. At all. Since that day Reuben hasn´t been able to attend church because he wasn´t allowed to. Due to his scars from being shot, Reuben was let go from his job in the National Guard. They told him that he shouldn´t have a job the rest of his life due to his scars, but that didn´t stop him. Right now he is a bus driver that has a shift of 20 days driving to 5 days resting at home. He told us that he is quitting this job in the next few months. Ok enough about his past. While we were there, we discussed The Restoration with him. He remembered everything about it. He also told us about his partner from work that I mentioned earlier (the one who was baptized too). His partner had drowned while working on an assignment in a well. We had a really spiritual moment when he told us this because we felt prompted to tell him about the temple work that he could do for his friend. That he would be able to see his friend again. Tears came to Reuben´s eyes when we told him this and a huge smile came across his face. He really wants to come back to the church, but he has to wait till he quits his job. What a great example he is for me. I know that the Lord has a lot in store for Reuben. He will impact many in the future.
2. The second experience is about Gerardo, a man who started taking discussions because his polola (girlfriend), who is the daughter of the president of our branch, wanted him to. At first he only took the lessons for her, but overtime he started really wanting to know if the church was true. The missionaries had been working with Gerardo many months before I came to Limarí. He has come to church every Sunday that I´ve been here, but has always been unsure about baptism. Two Saturdays ago was district conference (the same as stake conference). We stopped by the house of our president the night of the adult session. We had no idea why we were going there, but we felt like we needed to go. When we were let in, we saw that it was only Nicole (the girlfriend) and Gerardo. The air in the room seemed tense and we could tell that Nicole had been crying. We walked in and asked how they were doing. We weren´t getting much out of either of them, but we decided to share a few scriptures of comfort. I read a scripture in Ether 12 about how if you turn to Christ with your weakness´, he will turn them into strengths. Gerardo seemed really interested in this scripture. We invited him to church that would happen the next morning, but he told us no because he didn´t want to go.... We offered a prayer of comfort and then left. The next morning we saw Gerardo and Nicole at the church meeting. They looked completely different than they did the night before. Happy and cheerful. He came over to us and told us that our visit had changed everything. That we were the reason he came to church that morning. We didn´t see Gerardo again until just two days ago. We had an appointment with him and Nicole and during the lesson he said ¨Quiero bautizarme¨. Ï want to be baptized!¨He told us that our visit had really helped him find the urge to see if the church was true or not. He had been diligently praying and reading the Book of Mormon during the week, and had received an answer that he needed to be baptized. That the church was true. WOW! He is going to be baptized this coming Sunday. Not because we convinced him to be. Not because his girlfriend wants him to be. Because he diligently sought the truth, and the Spirit confirmed to him that this church is the true church of Jesus Christ. I love how he made it his own responsibility to find out if the church was true. I´m so excited for him.
There are the highlights of the week for you all! Sorry if my English is starting to become sloppy. I´ve realized that the more I speak Spanish, the less English I remember. Especially grammar wise. These two languages are SO different. Have a great Thanksgiving this week! I´m thankful for all of you! Even if it didn´t seem like it when I was younger.... Especially with Danny. I couldn´t ask for better parents, brothers, sister, sister in law, soon to be sister in law, nieces, nephew, and little unknown baby.I pray for each of you everyday. Including you Sam.