Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 29: The Most Spiritual Experience of My Mission thus Far

Unfortunately, our area is being whitewashed. I think my companion and I are headed for different parts of the capital. I am sad that we won’t be together for another exchange. I was looking forward to celebrating his 22nd birthday with him the 14th of August. I hope that his next companion does something special for him. Anyway so today I am all packed and ready to go.

We celebrated a birthday with one of our less active families this last week. This sweet little girl turned 9 and she is our biggest fan. We even have a best friends special handshake! Her and her sisters are new members of the church so we often visit with them in review of the lessons they learned before baptism. There family is very sad to hear that both Elder T and I are leaving and so we are planning on going over there tonight. I am almost certain that more then a few tears will be shed by both these little girls, the family, as well as from Elder T and I. I recently received through mail several "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlets from church headquarters. I was happy they arrived since I asked for them awhile ago. Anyway tonight we are planning on teaching this pamphlet and saying our goodbyes. I love this message in particular because I read "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet often as a teenager and it really pulled me through a lot of those tough times. I am hoping this will do the same for these three sisters.

As for my day to day contacts, I have a few fun stories to tell. I have really been working at talking more with others on the bus, in the street, and door to door. It is not always the easiest thing when your accent screams foreigner, but people have been courteous and gracious to me none the less. So one day in particular about a week and a half ago I was having a really bad day. One of those days that makes you doubt. Here I was, the last appointment of the evening, waiting outside the door of a member home. We had knocked several times with no answer. As I sat on a near by bench waiting for the family to come to the door, a drunk man walked up to me looking pretty trashed from what I can only assume was a few days of heavy drinking. He, trying to speak a mix of mumbled Spanish and a word or two in English, asked me if I was a missionary. I said yes and handed him a card with our number. I said call us if you need something. I then took two more steps to the door we were waiting at, hoping that he would leave. To my dismay this man continued to talk to me, and by this time our member was at the door. Whether by his persistence or perhaps due to the tears in his eyes I listened to him. He asked if I would pray for him. I said yes I will remember you in my prayers. He then, right there on the spot knelt down and with begging eyes looked up at me. I knelt down, asked his name, and offered a prayer on his behalf. At that very moment, my heart changed. I knew that there was no were else I was supposed to be at that moment than kneeling down on the sidewalk with a brother and child of God pleading for help. I can honestly say that this was the most spiritual experience of my mission thus far, and it brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it. The man left after the prayer, and all I have is his name. But I will never forget the rallying cry I felt within my soul as I realized that I am not here for myself, but for them.

A few days later in a district meeting I was censured in front of the other missionaries by one of the Elders in a embarrassing way for something I was doing. I knew that this missionary was correct in telling me I was in the wrong, but I could not get over the fact that he had done in such a demeaning way. I brooded for most of the meeting and my answers to our district leaders questions were quick and unfeeling. Wisely my district leader did not give up in trying to bring back the spirit. He was persistent with his questions to the class and asked us each to share a personal experience of contacting (which was the topic of the lesson). Each shared their story, and at last it came time for me to share. This experience of just a few days earlier came to my mind and I told it with tears in my eyes. I felt at peace after that and was no longer offended or angry. After the class, the Elder who had censured me stood in front of everyone and shared one last story about some struggles back home. After this he turned to me and said, If I offended you in anyway I am truly sorry. It was not my intention and I ask your pardon. I was stunned. This was the last thing I expected. I accepted his apology and offered mine about what I had done wrong during the meeting. I have the highest respect for him because of this. To be so humble and insightful truly touched me.

Guess that's all I can share for today. I love you so very much mom. Dad says you and him have been hard at work. I am super happy for your desire to build up the business. 

Ha,ha,ha! Lexie, I read your email and totally thought it was mom! You are a natural mother I just felt as if I had received a sweet extra email from mom! Truly I see our mother in how you write and more so in how you care, love, and serve. 

Much love and hugs for the little ones and everyone!
Elder Perez
"Birthday girl on her special day. 
We had pizza for dinner with the family"

Elder T and Elder Perez letting the pizza settle in.

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