I assume many of you are wondering about the title of this email. And I hope none of you take it offensive because that was not the intention at all. I will explain it later in the email.
So last week, I wasn't able to really send out an email because of transfers and I apologize for that. I will give you an update on everything now. So last week, like I said, I was very sick. They put me on an antibiotic but it wasn't working. I was on the floor almost in tears because of how bad my throat hurt and I was there for around three hours in the apartment. The elders that we live with walked in and found me on the floor, called the mission presidents wife, and she said to go into urgent care the next morning. I went in and they put me on a heavier antibiotic called augmentin. I started to take it, and it killed my system. It really felt like I was on some form of Chemo and everyone was telling me that it was normal because it was also killing the good in my body, but little did I know I was allergic to the medication. I felt like I was dying taking it. I woke up (day 4 of taking the antibiotics) and my entire body was covered from head to toe in the biggest rash, and everything was swollen. I took a picture, but I am saving it until I go home to show anyone because I really don't want you all to worry more than you need too. It looks funny now. So we went upstairs to the Senior Couple who used to be a nurse and she told me to immediately call Sister Morgan. I did, and she said to go to urgent care again right now. So, I went to urgent care again, and they said it was an allergic reaction to the penicillin in the antibiotic. Which kind of makes me frustrated because I told the mission doctor that I was allergic to penicillin and he claimed that I wasn't allergic but I just was sensitive to it. Every 3 to 4 hours I would get these terrible itch attacks where my entire body would swell up and started to itch and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I would take Benadryl and it would not work. My body was so done with taking pills. Haha. I have been on two antibiotics, I was taking advil like I've never taken it, Tums, and Benadryl. My body was dead.
So It's day 6 since I had the allergic reaction and the rash is just barely now going away. I'm so happy though because I am finally feeling better, physically, mentally and emotionally. I lost now 25 pounds being sick. I lost so much weight. I had my first meal yesterday where I could actually eat. It was complete heaven. I am so thankful now just to be able to swallow and to breathe and to enjoy the little things in life we ignore sometimes. Anyways, I am finally feeling better, and I plan to get all the weight back. My roommates and I put together a workout plan and an eating plan. Monday we start!
So transfers were last Wednesday. We got a new elder in our apartment. It was much needed. He is lively and likes to talk a lot and is so much more fun. The vibe in our apartment has totally changed for the better. On transfer day, I also was really drugged, and one of the side effects was that I would be really drowsy and forget things. Well, I ended up losing my iPad and I couldn't even remember losing it. I was totally out of it and I felt so bad. I was able to get a new one last night thankfully because it is literally impossible to do missionary work here without one. We do everything from our iPads. This week I haven't been able to go out much at all. I've been in bed for over two weeks now and I am so done with it. I'm hoping the rash will be all gone by Monday so we can start to go to work Monday.
On Friday, we were all able to see the movie "Meet The Mormons" which is in theaters as I write this. It was such an amazing movie. It really put clear to the public what and who we are as the world calls us "Mormons" and as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have never been more proud to be in this church. I loved the movie because it really put clear and destroyed a lot of the rumors you hear about us that many people believe. We watched it as a mission and there is a part in there where you see a story about a missionary leaving his family. Now all 280 of us missionaries have gone through that exact experience, and as he was saying goodbye to his family in the airport for two years, everyone was tearing up. I know as I watched that, it automatically switched me back to walking into security as I said goodbye to my family, as I kept looking back trying to take one last mental shot of the people I love most. Overall, it was great. Mormon, or not, go see it! It is a great movie. I challenge you to take some of your friends to go see it. You will see why we are the way we truly are and why we love what we call "The Gospel."
I want to talk of a miracle that happened this week. My dad always tells me, you have to find the one diamond buried in the dirt. Well, this week as we were at church, a man walked in, and we had no idea who he was. Nobody did. Turns out he wanted to talk to the bishop because he wanted to figure out how to turn his life around. We ended up talking to him and he said that his aunt is a member of the church in Honduras, and she told him that if he wants to change his life, that he needs to go to our church, so she looked up the churches in his area in yonkers and it happened to be our chapel, so he showed up this past Sunday. He is in the military and works as a construction worker. He gets sent on two year missions around the world. He hasn't seen his kids in seven years because his wife won't let him and he really is just finished with the way he was living. He needed something more. He really told us he wanted to change his life and was willing to do whatever to be truly happy. It was so awesome to see someone who was so humbled and prepared by God, and I was able to stand there and testify to him that I can promise him if he truly wants to change his life, there is no other way, and I told him from my experience, that out of anything in the world, this is what would make him the most happy. He wanted to know more, so we exchanged numbers and we will be teaching him next week hopefully. God truly does prepare people. It's in their own time too. At one day, we will all be in a humble state where we realize we need Christ, and his atonement, because He did something for us, that we or anyone else could never do. Be patient with those who want nothing to do with the Gospel right now. With time, everyone will know. I love this gospel. There literally is no better way to find one's self. I know many of you have been praying for me to be able to find the Lords elect and I have been praying for the same, and this truly was a direct answer to that prayer - someone walking in, begging to help him change his life. God truly is mindful of all of his children.
One thing I've also realized is how much I have not truly appreciated my parents and what my Mom and Dad have done for me to raise me. Nobody here has mothers or fathers that stick around, and being sick this week, I have felt so alone. My companion is such a great guy, but he is extremely quiet and won't do anything unless you ask him to, so I had to take care of myself alone this week and I had a lot of time to think about what everyone has ever done to help me in my life, especially the character of my mom and many of you and your mothers.
My whole life my mom has always put others in front of her own wants and desires. In a way that is extremely Christlike. Christ always put others in front of himself. He put all of us first, while he asked God to take away the pain he was going through as He suffered for all of our mistakes. I want to share this video. This video is of a mother who sacrificed what she wanted to do, to help others throughout her day. Notice while her little son is praying at the end of the day, what he thanks God for, and especially focus on what he says about what God wanted. This truly made me appreciate my family and all of you, and truly also inspired me to put off my desires and to become lost in helping others with what they need. Just imagine if we all focused on what others needed. We would never be worried about what we needed, because everyone else would be. We would be a united family, always caring for one another. Unfortunately we don't live in a world like that, but in this church, that's truly how it is. Enjoy this video.
You Never Know
I love you all, and I truly appreciate all your prayers. I have felt them more than I ever have this week. God puts us in situations we don't want to be put in so he can shape us into what he wants us to become - and that is perfect. Nothing less. He doesn't want less. It's a beautiful thing. I don't think this is a normal mission. Many have told me how this is one of the most difficult missions, but I think it's good for me. No matter where I go from this point in life after the mission, I will be grateful for anything. I feel like we are CIA agents and we plan where we are going to teach, we figure out how to safely get in the house, teach the lesson, and get out as fast as possible. When I look at it kind of like a game, it helps to relieve the stress.
So now about the subject of this message. Last night, we were driving home from getting a new ipad and we turned down a "wrong street." It was filled with black people and we were driving our very white roommate elders home and they had their windows down. Elder Paiz was driving and he drives sometimes really hesitantly, and he slowly rolled up to a stop sign. Now picture it. A car rolling up really slowly, with its windows down, filled with white people in shirts and ties, rolling up in an all-black drug dealing area. One of the Elders nodded his head at one of the guys and that was a mistake. The street apparently was a one way, and we turned down the wrong way. Right as we turned down the wrong way, a couple of the guys on the street started yelling, "These N*****S AIN'T FROM HERE!!! These N******S GOING THE ONE WAY!!!!!" Right as he said that, literally around 30-50 black guys popped up off the curb and started yelling at us saying it was a one way and they acted like it was the end of the world! My companion wanted to turn around, but that would have been a terrible idea. There were NO street lights and the street was filled with black people really upset because we were going the one way! Haha. I just thought it was hilarious because they knew we weren't from there because we were going the one way. It was the highlight of my night. Scary, but hilarious because they were so upset about us going the one way. haha. There is never a dull day here. Every day is an extreme, but it's very interesting. Literally, the mission can only get better from here and I'm looking at it with a positive attitude.
One last thing. We were able to go into a hospital this week and were able to give a blessing to a homeless lady who had a stroke and the spirit was so strong as we gave the blessing. She was not in the church, but her friend mentioned about blessings, and she wanted one, so we gave one to her and she was crying the whole time and kept saying how thankful she was. At that moment I felt very humbled to be able to have the opportunity to be a representative of Jesus Christ. The good moments here are few, but they are golden when they happen. I live for those moments.
I love you all so much. Do something nice for someone today. Be happy. Why be sad? If you are, change something in your life to make you happy. One thing I have learned is that if I want to be happy, I need to forget myself and help others. Have a great week! =}
- Elder Celaya