Helloooo, my wonderful family and dear friends! I am happy to report that I am indeed still alive and walking on my own two feet. This was a triumph. This week, Elder Boren and I have been working on continually finding more people, and while some of the people we've met before have since disappeared, we've met some really, really cool people this last week!
Sadly, despite our best efforts, we have been entirely unable to find or contact Jorge again. He seems to have fallen of the face of the earth. However, we have met two really awesome new people! Their names are Lady and Juana. Juana is also a lady, but Lady is the name of a different lady. We've had a couple of really cool lessons with both of them, and they seem to be starting to get really interested in the things we're sharing with them! It's so refreshing to be able to actually start teaching people proper lessons again. I'm making a note here: huge success. As the next week unfolds, I am confident we are going to see even more miracles take place.
With Lady, we shared the message of the restoration, and she told us that she would like to get baptized, she just wants to know more and find out for herself. That's so exciting for us! It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. We are going to be going by her again tonight, when we'll get to follow up on the things she said she'd do last time. I know that as she takes the time and remembers to read and pray, she will feel that confirmation in her heart. We're not anywhere near perfect teachers, but we do what we must because we can. It's a really cool thing, being able to be out here helping people as much as our strength allows us.
With Juana, we taught her really briefly the first time, but when we returned last night, we again shared the story of the restoration. Unfortunately, as the lesson began, her husband and some of his friends were outside working on their cars and blasting really loud Mexican-type music (similar to a polka). It was really hard to feel the spirit, since it was so distracting. We tried to invite him to join us, but he declined. As a result, we were just stuck there on the porch trying to teach a lady while this really loud tuba blared in the background to a romantic Mexican polka. Inconceivable!
As we stood there talking, I just thought in my head, "This just isn't going to work. This weird Mexican polka is just way too distracting. I mean, I can hardly concentrate myself, and it's got to be impossible for Juana! Man, if only that speaker would break, or the music would somehow stop, or if only somehow, this distraction would just disappear."
It was then that I remembered some of our earlier training sessions on faith. Just earlier that week, we had had a large meeting with all of the missionaries in this area. The two Zone Leaders, who live with us, felt that they should focus the meeting on faith. I had also been studying the subject in my own time. I then realized that there was only one thing to do: pray in faith.
In that moment, with all of these nearly impossible distractions creating chaos around us, I said a small but sincere prayer. I prayed that somehow, we might teach the lesson in peace. That perhaps if the music were to stop, if the car that was playing it were to leave, or that somehow, it would be muffled completely. I prayed for that, and simply prayed with faith that if we were to continue trying to teach and not give up to try again later, God our Heavenly Father would answer that prayer.
So, we just kept teaching. We taught through the noise. We taught quite a bit about ancient prophets, about Christ and his ministry on the earth, and about how the church He established was lost. As we began to share the story of how that same church was restored, I suddenly realized that there was no music. It had stopped! Not only had it stopped, but it had stopped right as we began to share the most special and powerful part of our message. It never came back. There were no more distractions, but just ample room for the Holy Spirit to testify of the truth of the things we shared. It was a powerful experience for me, and it was also powerful for Juana. After we invited her to read the evidence of that restoration, or the Book of Mormon, she said that it actually looked familiar. As it turns out, she had one in the back of her house. We invited her to start reading it and to pray to know if all of the things we had shared were good, true, and of God. She agreed, and said she would actually like to do all of that. Finally, at the end, and with our help, she said a wonderful prayer. She told us she definitely felt something good.
She even invited us to return the next day: today. We said we might bring some friends of ours who aren't missionaries. I am so excited for this evening, when we will be able to help her understand the significance of all of what we have already shared. It's a lot to take in, for sure! Tonight, we will be passing by with two amazing and strong members of the congregation here, Xavier and Jessica. Their testimonies will affirm the amazing experiences Juana has already had.
This week has brought so many blessings, and Elder Boren and I are so excited to be able to watch the progress of these two wonderful children of God, as well as many others who are ready to hear and accept the restored Gospel. It brings me a lot of joy, principally because of the joy it brings others.
Well, those are the highlights of this week. It's been a really cool one! I love you all, and I love this wonderful mission here in Yakima. I love Wenatchee.
Ciao! Nos escribiremos!