This week has absolutely been a joyful one! I am learning so much and learning the process in which the Lord truly changes us. It's a lot simpler than I have thought my whole life, but I am so grateful for His hand that I am actively seeing in my life.
Last Wednesday - One thing I've notice is it's so hard to stay strong here... especially for those we teach. You feel opposition in every situation here. You feel like a warrior for the Lord. It's a war. Temptation comes everywhere. This place here too is full of evil, as is everywhere but I think it appears here a little more than some other places.
We went into a store last Wednesday (I wanted to get what they call "Bronx pants"...haha. [I’ll attach a picture of what "Bronx pants" look like]) and some woman said excuse me to this man as she walked by and the guy got all mad, and complained to his girlfriend, and the girlfriend said she was going to go take care of her in a very demeaning manner. So they go over and start yelling, and the woman and the other woman start fighting and then the crazy woman grabs a hanger and starts thrusting it into the other woman's eye and into her face and they were going at it knocking down all the clothes. Then the guy started beating the lady too. Everyone was running and screaming and then it was just me and my companion watching, sitting there. Haha. The girl’s face was bleeding all over and she had scars from the hanger. All because this lady said "excuse me."
A lot of these people here are full of evil or plain crazy. Sometimes when we talk of the word "evil" it may seem a little funny or it seems non-existent, but when you’re in situations like this, that is the time you truly feel the darkness feeling in the world. A lot of the people who are lost are filled with it. You see it in their eyes, in their countenance. Sometimes I really feel alone and the only hope I have is grasping onto the Lord. I sometimes feel a little bit how Moroni felt...being the only person left who wanted to follow God with some part of the Lord’s spirit, while everyone else was evil doing evil deeds amongst murderers and secret combinations. I have days like this where I see some of this kind of stuff happen, and I feel a sense of lost hope for some of these people. It's a very dark feeling and I know with all my heart the life I want now. I want none of this. It's hard because being surrounded by all this...you begin to lose hope for society. I was standing outside watching all these crazy people running around Wednesday and thought to myself, "I wonder what God thinks about all of his children here that are so lost"..."I wonder how sad and angry He must feel because of the deep love he has for them and the vision He has of their divine potential."
Anyways it put a damper on the day, but it's truly in those moments you come to understand opposition, or the true depth of right and wrong, good and evil. It's during those moments you truly feel how miserable you can be, which allows you to see how beautiful and eternally happy and loving you feel when you embrace God's spirit and His way of truth and light.
Thursday - Thursday at the church, we think someone else got shot again. There were tons of cops and there was a helicopter looking over the area. It was an intense scene. But we are all good :)
Everyone seems to progressing well that we are teaching.
I am learning so much from this experience. I'm trying to read the Book of Mormon once a cycle which means 13 pages a day. I've seen a huge difference in my life since I've been doing this. I feel more positive, I've been learning a lot about life, and I've felt the Spirit more in my life. Reading that book and applying its teachings really does have a power in it that surpasses all words.
We have been tracting a lot...most parts of the day...which I'm starting to really like. It's fun because my companion and I just start talking and we have a great time doing it. It doesn't feel like we are tracting and we get to grow closer and next thing you know, it's time to go to the next appointment. We've been able to find some awesome people for the English Sisters.
Frankie - So Frankie I talked a little about before. He is a Dominican guy who is 32 who has 4 kids under 12 years old. He is such a great guy. We found him by doing a previous investigator look up. So apparently there were missionaries who came by before us and tracted into them. They never came back so we decided to go look them up. Well two weeks ago we were able to teach him about what we do as missionaries and how the message we share can improve your life. Then, this week we shared the restoration. Frankie is truly an example to me with his faith. He is a very fit guy and used to lift weights a lot. He showed us pictures of him back in the day and he was gigantic. He's always taken good care of his body, but this Wednesday he went into the doctors. Turns out he has brain cancer. He told us that he is now going to go into the hospital to take chemotherapy for 30 minutes to an hour each day. He was telling us all about what he found out and after he finished talking, I replied to him, "Wow, that's a very hard situation you are in." He quickly replied and said, "No, I am ok with it. I'm not scared at all. God takes things that we can't handle, and he handles them for us when we truly put our faith in him." He then started saying the following, "You know, I'm 32 and if I live until I'm 33 then I will thank God with my whole heart that he's allowed me to live that old...If I live until 33, then that's great! If I live to 40, then that will of course be better but I'm not scared because I'm going to go back into God's will. He knows when He is supposed to take me, and I know He loves me more than anyone or anything here, so I don't fear. I'm not afraid. I just want my kids to know the same if the time comes that I leave this earth on time in God’s eyes, but pre-mature in man's". What an example of faith! Who more at any moment needs the knowledge of The Plan Of Salvation at that very moment?
We are on a time limit because we are not sure how much longer he has to live. There is a deep impression on my soul to be able to show him God’s plan before he may go and meet God again. He has true faith and I admire his perspective. He knows God. He knows He loves him. He trusts him. He is a great example to me and I'm truly learning that we will one day all fall back into God's hands whether we lived lives doing bad things or lives going about doing God. How is it that you want to meet God?
I love you all. Search for God. He's there just waiting for you to find him. I promise.