Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcoming in the New Year

Hey all!

This week was definitely super busy. We had to go searching all over again for new investigators 'cause our old ones fell through again. But, we worked diligently and with fervent prayer. This week, we came across two positive families.

The first had actually been visited by missionaries about a year ago, but they forgot to write their information down while they taught them. So, when both of the missionaries suddenly changed areas, nobody knew about this one family. Now, here we are a year later teaching them. They'd already received a copy of the Book of Mormon and some of the pamphlets, and are really positive about the lessons. I guess you could say we are seeing the fruits of seeds planted over a year ago.

The second family is super evangelical (entrenched in their own faith), but we've invited them to pray and ask Heavenly Father if our message to them is true. They have, and as promised by prophets and apostles they've received a witness by the Holy Ghost that it is indeed true. Now they're more interested, as many of the things we've taught (that there is a living prophet on the earth today, that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, etc), they've never heard before. It's nice to see the Holy Spirit touch people's hearts.

So, last Thursday Lawrence and I were walking from one part of our área to another when we came across a large crowd of people. As we passed by, we noticed that all of them were gathered around this one drunk lady. They were making fun of here, pushing her around, and even dumping buckets of wáter on her. As drunk as she was, she could do little more than stagger around confusedly and scream.

When we walked by, she immediately noticed us two and shoved through the crowd just to be at our side. She clung to Lawrence's arm (who looked really flustered) lke it was a lifeboat in a sea of confusion.

Technically, it was.

Anyway, she kept begging us to help her and praying to God. They way the non-member Nicas pray here is by raising their voices and shouting to God. This lady kept screaming "ALABA A DIOS!" (Praise be to God!) over and over again. Then she fell to her knees and started sobbing. Everybody else was still making fun of her.

An old man came up to me and told me not to help the lady because she was drunk and couldn't think straight. I took a knee in front of the lady and tried to get her attention. She just kept sobbing and repeating those same words and "Perdóname, Jesús" (Forgive me, Jesus) as well.

The whole thing reminded me of when the people brought the woman taken in adultery before Jesus in the temple. I saw pure fear in those woman's eyes.

I was immediately inspired to call a passing taxi, and paid him for the journey of the woman. I instructed him to "take her where she tells you to go," (i.e. her house), "or to the hospital if she doesn't." Then we hepled the still-sobbing woman into the taxi, which left soon after.

The people dispersed.

The look in the lady's eyes reminded me of the "pains of the soul" that Alma the Younger spoke of to his son. He had mentioned that they were "most exquisite." I saw fear, confusion, and guilt in that woman's eyes.

The whole experience, which was slightly surreal, taught me a few lessons.

First, we as missionaries are actual representatives of Jesus Christ. As such, we are meant to be noticeable with our white shirts and ties, which often stand out in a casually-dressed crowd.

Second, it is part of our duty to not only teach and baptize, but to give service to others in any way we can, as Christ did.

"Helping the Poor" was actually a repeated theme in October's General Conference.

I love you all. I love you Mom, Dad, Alex, and Bree.

-Zach

P.S. Bree, I love all the little emails you send. Please don't get discouraged; I notice and enjoy every one of your messages. They really mean a lot to me.

Alex, thank you for your messages as well. It's nice to get little updates on life from your perspective.


 QUESTIONS

1) I never got to ask you what you did during Christmas day. Did you get to sleep in? Or did you go to members’ homes and visit? Or did you go tracting?

* We did not sleep in, sadly. We still had to work and stuff. It was basically a "normal work day" except for the fact that we got to call our families. A bunch of the misioneros partied, though. We didn't. We visited member's houses, gave candy and church invitations out to kids and adults, and wore Santa hats around everywhere. It was still pretty fun.

2) Did you survive New Years? How was that? Noisy? Any problems with drunks?

* I am so grateful I packed earplugs. Both for Christmas Day and for New Year's. Without 'em, I don't know if I'd have been able to sleep with all the fireworks and shouting going on outside.

3)  How was the post-Christmas conference with the mission prez?

* It was super fun! Except for the parts where we had to get flu shots. THAT wasn't fun. But the rest was. We watched the Maze Runner and How to Train Your Dragon 2 (both dubbed in Spanish, with English subtitles). Then we went to dinner (glazed ham and pasta salad! NOT rice and beans!), and afterwards we had a zone-wide talent show. I sang a few times. Overall, it was super fun.

4) Tell us how your hand and toe are doing. Healing? Still having issues?

* Hand is fine. It's all closed up and scarred over now. Foot is doing better. I'm soaking it every day and taking 2 Doxycycline pills daily too. And taping it with duct tape.


 
5) I’m giving advice to other Missionary Moms. Would you have any suggestions of stuff to bring that you’ve discovered you can’t live without? I’ve told them about the shoe dryers and steripen.

* Duct tape. And a Leatherman. And a little tiny blank notebook or two.

7) We will mail out your package this week. Just waiting on the garment tops to pack in there, then it will be on its way!

* Hey, if you could, could you guys please send a little camp pillow too? I left my old one back in Managua and I'm pretty sure it's long gone by now. I've been using my towel folded up as a pillow for the past couple months.

-Zach

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