When you come to start to know God, you start to see the DIVINE potential of others. There are moments in life where you feel comfortable and think you do not need God. But there are moments in life that are deep and extreme reminders that we indeed do need Him.
I feel like my life right now is surrounded by addicts and their struggles. It's been crazy. In this area I’m in we are teaching a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics. In fact, out of all the people we are teaching, only one isn't an addict. It's so sad to see the craziness it causes. One of the people we are teaching was in a coma for four days in the hospital because he overdosed on Morphine. He did it again the other day, but didn't end up in the hospital. We were over there when he did it and we had to deal with that, trying to save the guy's life. We have been trying to get him off of it.
We are teaching this other guy who was in the military. Decided one day to take on his captain in a fight. The captain beat him to a pulp. Doctors gave him pain meds and he got hooked. Got to a point where he was taking 6 vicodin a day, 5 morphine, and 4 other medications (8 each) that were pain meds, but his biggest drug of choice was heroin. Nuts right? He was homeless for 10 years living on the street that has the highest murder rate in the entire nation here in NY. Well, he has been clean of heroin for two years. We are working getting him off alcohol and cigarettes now.
We are teaching another guy who used to be a crack addict and a hard core liquor drinker. He has to have a bottle in his hand every second of the day or he physically cannot handle the way his body rejects being sober. We got him off liquor and he’s just drinking beer (about four a day). He has a wife, two kids (16 and 9), and grew up in Yonkers. He's a grown man, but calls us whenever he needs help. We went over there the other day and he took us into this laundry mat where his wife works. He cried his soul out to us, saying he felt like there was no way out and that he wasn't a man anymore.
These are just a few people we are teaching. I don't know why all we teach are people with suicidal thoughts and drug habits, but it's teaching me a lot. Like a ton. I have learned not to judge anybody. In fact, when we were teaching this guy, he said, "I feel like I have failed, have no potential, and that I am not a man anymore." I looked at him in his eyes as he was sobbing, a little confused about what I was feeling. I felt an overwhelming love for him. A love like I have never felt before. And I sat there for a minute as he cried, looked up at him and said, "Pat, I don't know why, but I feel an overwhelming love for you, so intense I have never experienced anything like this. I barely even know you. I don't think what I am feeling is the love that I have for you, but just a small piece of the love that God has for you." It was such a cool experience to feel that. I've seen, as I’ve prayed for it, God giving me a little bit of a vision of how he sees these struggling people...their divine potential. It has been amazing.
I never would have thought two years ago this would be my life. It gives you a different perspective than you can get anywhere else because you are 100% disconnected from the world.There is no TV, no news, no phone, no internet, no calling friends ... all you are left with is yourself and the promptings of God. It truly gives you a vision of HOW THINGS REALLY ARE.
A bit of bad news... we got in an accident two days ago. It was snowing a lot, and we slid across the road and hit the curb really hard. I hit my head on the top of the window, but luckily neither of us were hurt. We destroyed the wheel and the rim. We had to take in our car all day yesterday to get it fixed. It's like new now, though :) I guess that is what you get by giving two California boys a car in snow. Believe me, I know how to drive in snow—the members ALWAYS teach me because they know I’m from southern California. There was just nothing I could do in the situation that we were in. It could have been a lot worse.
Ugh, it was negative 5 degrees here on Sunday, 10 degrees on Monday, and 59 on Tuesday. Makes no sense, right? It was snowing super hard 2 days ago… we woke up and it’s 59 degrees! Haha, gotta love this weird weather.
I hope you are all doing alright.
- Elder Celaya
Zone Conference Feb 2016