It's a whirlwind type of feeling when in a matter of one week you go from white walls and object lessons to:
knocking chained doors and walking the streets of trailer parks where it smells like sulfur and cat food. Where you see cacti more than trees and all your clothes hold the stench of drugs, though you have never touched them a day in your life.
It's having all your appointments cancel or not show up and deciding you'd rather street contact than eat dinner at home. It's the "random" thought to eat at a park to make up for cancellations and realizing it's a miracle when you find your investigator on the side of the road drunk.
It's fighting fatigue during your studies just so you can help your families and being told by the J. Dubbs what we're doing isn't worth our time. It's feeling the spirit so strong with a person, and seeing how people feed their doubts while we are away.
It's struggling with the language and fighting with yourself to be bold at every doorstep. It's jumping out of the car just to talk to one person about God's plan.
It's getting the impression at 8:47 at night that there is someone else you are supposed to find and to listen to anybody you run into. But when a man turns a corner you hear someone "NOT HIM" and realize as you pass he has a gun. It's knowing that somehow we are protected, when in normal circumstances, we shouldn't be. It's having the ward make jokes about how I'm the only blond white girl amongst the sea of Mexicans.
It's about finding a man living in a van, whose only desire is to give us pistachios and fall asleep and never wake up. It's hearing someone say they know it's true, but they will be disowned if they listen to us. It's leaving a house knowing they'll go back to doing exactly what they were doing before we came.
It's hearing a woman break down in tears because she wants to be baptized but can't for another year. It's trying to understand drunk Spanish and avoiding dogs in the dark. Not to mention coyotes on the street.
It's about discouragement and heart break and watching people come so close...but not yet.
It's about hearing a man's prayer, pleading for the Lord to help him, and calling us his angels.
It's about people unloading their whole life on you because their whole life-nobody would listen.
It's about seeing change, and joy. Seeing how you can fall in love with people the moment you meet them and wanting so badly for them to listen. It's realizing how grateful you are for a clean home, clean air and a reason to wake up in the morning. It's about knowing where you are going to go after this life.
It's about finding that one lost sheep
and looking for the ones that don't even know they are lost.
It's going to bed at night and praying, "what more do you need of me Lord?"
and He says, "everything."
It's about seeing miracles everyday
and it's only been a week since the days of white walls.
We have quite a few investigators who are so close to baptism...they just have a few things holding them Back. The Hoyos family (my favorite) is a couple and 4 kids. They believe it all, they have been taught for over a year, they have passed the baptism interview. They just wont pick a date. She is SO excited and ready to go, she just wants her husband to be just as ready. So we are going through all the basic lessons and hopefully they pick a date this week.
We have this one lady Eva, bless her heart. She was basically homeless and this one church said if she signed a contract with them to attend their church for three years and paid tithing she would be blessed. A week or two after, she got a trailer and a job. A little while later she ran into the missionaries and just fell in love with everything they said. She thought that was one of the blessings too. However, she doesn't feel like she can get baptized while she still has that contract with the other church, and she doesn't want to break the contract because she feels that would show she's not grateful to God.
We are teaching this family, and one of the Boys Edgar is 19 and loves it. He wants to get baptized, but his dad won't let him (even though we are teaching him too). I asked him last night if he's ever received an answer to a prayer and he said, "I pray every single night for an answer, I pray that he will change some people's hearts so I can have peace in my heart. I pray everyday for this. I hope it happens." I left that house wondering what it's going to take to not convert the boy, but get the dad to open up. We have that problem with a few of our investigators. They want it so badly, and they are ready...but their parents wont allow it.
Ramone has been great, he has a baptism date. But he all of a sudden went missing. We went up to a street and I saw two men and said "they are so drunk"...turns out one was Ramone. We pulled him aside and asked him how we could help. He prayed and broke down saying, "Dios, Ayudame. Ayudame" "God, Help me. Help me." He said his brother died from drugs and alcohol and he hates it, but he doesn't know how to stop. His own wife doesn't even believe in him. He called us his angels because we are the first ones who actually think he is worth it.
We met this man Marvin who lives in a van. After just talking to him and asking him if he wanted a pamphlet, a prayer or a friend he said "no thank you. You girls are pretty, but i've done all I can do. All I want to do is go to sleep and never ever wake up."
We are teaching a few more, and my hearts are completely devoted to them. Every time I think about them I just get this paradox of how happy I am they are allowing God in their life and they have some sort of a desire to follow him, but also leave with a sadness fall over me because I know they aren't doing the things they need to. Some little circumstance is holding them back. Then there's those people who flat out tell us to our face they don't care about anything we have to say and not to bother them. That's the less colorful version.
They don't prepare you for this. I have heard and seen more things in this week than I have in my entire life. Some people listen. Most don't. But we still go out everyday. I love it here, but it's exhausting. Not because we wake up early, or study for hours and go around the whole city. It's because you put all your thoughts and heart into people, and they turn the other way.
But with God, we can do all things, and I know I'm doing something.
Send my love to everyone!
p.s. there's a saying in Mexico "Aguas! Aguas!" and it basically means "look out! It's coming!".......so everyone always laugh when they hear my name and they say "watch out. she's coming to baptize!"