Monday, May 29, 2017

Buffest Pitbulls, Fiestas, & Importance of Family

So, I feel like this week was awesome! I'm finally getting into the swing of all the Spanish stuff. I'm glad I am a Spanish missionary. We have been to three fiestas in the last 9 days... yesterday was Daniel's birthday party (Daniel is getting baptized this Saturday at 5:30!) and lots of the Hispanic members came and family friends came as well! It was sweet! We were biking along and someone honked at us, and pulled over to the side of the street. It was one of the members, and she invited us over to her father in laws house for a dinner they were having. She said her father in law and sister in law are not members, and have been taught by the missionaries before. We went, ate some good food, and established relationships! It was sweet!

The ward is really strong! We have lots of member help in whatever we do. We are starting English classes here and we hope to get it as big as it was in Charleston! When I first got to Charleston in February of 2016, we had like 3 or 4 people showing up every class. By the time I left, in July, we had 30-35 every week and had 2 separate classes! We found some really solid people from it, and many of those people who came to class, also were curious about the church and came. It was a great opportunity to make friendships, and one of the students came and visited me one Sunday in the Spanish branch in West Columbia! It was cool! We will see what happens. The spanish group is pretty strong. They love to help out with la obra misional.

We did service at a botanical garden, sang at a senior home, (learned some baptist hymns) and served at a soup kitchen! The soup kitchen got hundreds of free pizza from Little Caesars, and they were going bad, so they told us to take a, while running out of food, pizza was what sustained us! Haha. We moved our next door neighbors, and they gave us a nice dresser and some other stuff for our apartment! We needed a dresser and for sure that was a tender mercy! 

I don't recall ever being chased by dogs on my mission until this week. We biked a lot and talked to a ton of people, and while doing so, were were chased by two pitbulls. We had been riding casually down the street and out of the corner of my eye I saw two things running towards me. I glanced and then turned on my nitro and out biked those pits. Scariest thing ever! Elder Willardson almost had a heart attack- he is afraid of dogs. We were knocking around a former investigator and htis wild pitbull- buffest dog I have ever seen- comes out from under a trailer, and stares us down in some power stance. When I knocked on the door I was at that thing became vicious... Elder Willardson was pinned against the wall of the trailer. I said a silent prayer, then walked towards it to go to the car and it ran off...oh man!

In Elders Quorum in Sunday, we realized that the only two people who couldn't speak Spanish were the zone leaders. We had some Hispanic members and some former Spanish missionaries... so we decided to have the lesson taught in Spanish, and the zone leaders got salty and left to go with the young was pretty funny. That shows how many people know Spanish... and all of them are willing to help us out!

Sunday afternoon we went to another senior center to give the sacrament to a lady in the ward. We blessed the bread, and then gave it to her. She held it in her hand and forgot she had it, and why we were there. She began to talk to us about the most random things like types of foods, and asked us what we were doing. It was pretty funny. We had to coach her how to take the sacrament. We then blessed the water 10 minutes later.

We found three people who want to investigate the church this week. Sergio, Freddie, and Gabriel. We also met a former investigator named Nancy who was so stoked that we came by. She told us that she and her son want to work towards baptism. I cannot wait to help them on this path! We knocked around a former investigator and that is how we found Sergio's wife. They have 3 small kids. We asked her if we could share more of a message about families with them, after sharing a brief thing. She said her husband would be home in 40 minutes from the time we talked with her. After leaving, we didn't know where we could go for 40 minutes and within a few seconds, I'm not kidding, a teenage kid ran up to us and asked us to watch his car. He had locked his keys in the trunk and needed to run home to get a spare. So we sat there and car-sat for a while, and when he came back we taught him. 

After we shared the restoration with him, Sergio showed up top the house. Perfect timing! We met him and taught the restoration as well! He is friends with a lot of the members in the group apparently! We have a return appointment this week! We found Freddie by street contacting in a trailer park. He seemed very interested in learning about prophets when we taught him last night. He wants to learn more, and so we will go back next week, which will be our third time seeing him. We met Gabriel last Sunday and had a lesson last night with him. We were on splits, so I taught him with a recently returned missionary in the group! It was a great restoration lesson, and the guy legit taught us about prophets and there being an apostasy. We invited him to church and will see him again this week!

Last Sunday the 21st of May, we got a call from a young lady who was in the psych ward of the hospital. She had tried to commit suicude and wanted someone to talk to. We took a member with us and found out her story a little. She is a member of the church, and she was less-active because she felt pushed away by her ward. She made some bad choices and was judged because of them. She lost her kids in a court case, and has just gone down hill. She was so depressed and decided to slice her wrists. You could see the terrible scars on her left was so sad. I couldn't imagine how heavenly father must feel when we struggle like this to the point of wanting to leave our bodies and all of the pain and trials we have. I imagined the devil mocking and laughing at all of this. This is what he wants. We did our best to comfort her, and we gave her a blessing. 

A few days ago, we went looking for a potential investigator and talked to another lady who just the night before, was talked out of committing suicide. No doubt in my mind that we were at the right place at the right time. This lady had a nasty divorce, is an alcoholic, and involved with drugs and prostitution. She said that she lost all her faith and all hope. She lost her kids in the divorce, and people see her as a piece of junk. She feels that every time she tries to change, crap just happens to her. She told us that someone said that God eventually gives up on people. She said she has gone too far and there is no way back. Because she lost her kids, there was no point in life anymore. She told us that she continues to drink and do drugs because it dulls all the pain she has. I felt love for her. We testified of the Savior and the power of his atoning sacrifice. Satan wants us to feel like we have gone too far, and cannot make it back. We testified that the only way to relieve these feelings of sadness and of lost hope, and of darkensss is through the Savior. I know Jesus Christ died for us. I know he knows us perfectly. I know that through him we can have lasting peace, not just temporary peace. I know this because I have sinned and felt the burden of guilt, and have felt the joy that comes from true repentance. I also know this because when I struggle, Heavenly Father comforts me through verses of scripture. One thing I noticed in all of this, is the importance of family. Neither woman had any contact with their family, and their only family were there kids. Since there kids were gone, it was like the straw that broke the camels back. Family is so important. Love each other and get rid of any influence that will destroy your families. I'm grateful for my family and for the principles they have taught me and for the love they have shown to me.

Poop from Shayla McLaughlin on Vimeo.

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