June 10, 2013
Well, this week was great! You might be wondering about the subject of my email. Well. Some funny things happened this week and I will start with those.
1. A girl in our ward was trying to guess my name and was like, "You look like someone who would be named Sally..." Excuse me? Sally? Is that a joke?
2. That same girl later told me I looked like Aunt Jemima . . . you know the black lady from the syrup bottle? Yupp. Just call me Aunt Jemima or Sally.
3. This wasn’t this week, but a few weeks ago this guy asked us if we were from England because of the way we talked. Welcome to Gulfbank everyone! If you aren’t Latina, Moreno or have a deep southern accent, then you are probably from England.
4. We ate at a less active member’s home. She fed us chicken nuggets. We both had to eat a soliddddd 30 - 35 chicken nuggets. Every time we would finish our plate, she would fill it right back up. At least it was chicken nuggets and not something completely gross. But still, have you ever eaten 35 mickey mouse chicken nuggets in one sitting? It is not pleasant. For your own safety, I do not suggest it.
Now on to the important stuff. This week was AWESOME. Mostly because Sunday was AWESOME. Maria and F came to church for the first time <3. They LOVED it! I was standing at one of the entry doors to the chapel greeting people and in walks Maria and F. I kind of screamed a little. I jumped and "hurriedly walked" over to them and gave Maria a big hug, and then ALMOST hugged F, but caught myself and just gave him a nice handshake. But then Hna Parry hugged him, so I felt a little gipped. Sometimes you love your investigators so much, you can’t help but hug them. But, let me tell you WHY this was so exciting.
Do ya'll remember the story when I told you about our first encounter with F? How he met us at the door and started crying and asked us to come back? I left out a few details that are now rather crucial to why it was so exciting that they were at church. When F answered the door that day, he was slobbering drunk -- so drunk in fact, that he wet himself in the doorway of his house as he was talking to us. I mean, he was drunk. But, there was something about him that made us stay. We could see that when he told us he wanted to change, that he was sincere--not just drunk. In fact, we only really put together the pieces of how drunk he really was after we walked away from his door. We think that was a tender mercy because the Lord knew that we needed to be there for F. Well, in that door contact, F informed us of his drinking problem. In our next few meetings we had the Word of Wisdom always on our minds; however, our words were directed in other paths. We had several meetings with Maria during the day when F was at work and she explained how bad the problem was. In the meeting a few days before that Sunday, Maria had actually kicked F out of the house. As far as we were concerned, F was no longer even on our radar. We invited Maria to church and she was excited (she is as golden as golden can be). However, F still weighed heavily on our minds and we knew we wanted to find him and help him, even if he wasn’t with Maria. That is why when they BOTH walked into church I think I almost . . . no, not almost . . . I definitely 100% did have a heart attack.
So, they walk into church and sit down. The talks were given by Hna Gandara (A stellar older lady from our ward who is just a little spit fire) and Hno Salcero (from the High council). Needless to say, Sacrament meeting was fabulous. After Sacrament, Maria and F, on their own accorded, proceeded to introduce themselves to everyone they met. They even went out of their way to introduce themselves to people! It was amazing! One of the first things we did was bring them up to introduce them to bishop. F broke down into sobs. As he shook Bishop’s hand, he just cried and said how much he wanted to change and he needed help (he kept referring to us as his angels, which was the sweetest, cutest, most amazing thing in the world). We were all crying together as Bishop talked to him and promised him comfort and help. Then Obispo went and got Hno R, who is our Executive Secretary (and a different Hno R than the other story) and a recovered alcoholic. We left Hno R and F alone and they talked the whole second hour in the chapel. I cannot even find words to express my gratitude for Pablo and his willingness to help.
We took Maria to Gospel Principles where she participated actively! It was amazing. Hna Parry and I could not with hold out smiles. We were like proud little parents! After gospel principles she sat with Ana Rangel (a member of our ward that we go and teach every week) and taught her about the Lord and his gospel – MARIA, who isn’t even a member yet! She is going to be the next stake relief society president; I have no doubts about that. She is AMAZING. She loved relief society tambien. At the end she just hugged us with tears in her eyes and thanked us and told us how much she had loved church and how beautiful all the teachings were.
This Sunday was such a testament to the fact that we, as missionaries, are called to teach those who are prepared. Maria and F are prepared and anxiously await their baptismal date. Sometimes I think to myself, "How the heck did I get so lucky as to find these awesome prepared people?" and then I realize it isn’t me. It has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with them. They are so prepared and Hna Parry and I just happen to be the people who are lucky enough to have them placed in our path. The Lord was ready to bless them with the gospel. I am just so grateful to be one of the ones who gets to lead them down this path. Plus, their endowment and sealing will be one of the last things I get to do before I return home from my mission because they will be ready a year from now. Maria will be sure of that.
This work is so good. Being a missionary is such a blessing. People always think: "Oh missionaries are so good; they sacrifice all this time." No. I’m not sacrificing, I am gaining! Gaining so much! It truly is an experience unlike any other.
Please keep Maria and F in your prayers; I am sure the adversary will be working against them hard in these next few weeks. I love you all and pray for your continued best.
Con Amor, Hermana Alivia
P.S. This came in a second email from Alivia:
P.S. This came in a second email from Alivia:
This week I sang at a funeral. All by myself! A Cappella! It was terrifying, but I did it. I sang "Divina Luz" or "Lead Kindly Light". It was cool because we were in this huge funeral chapel and I was standing by an open casket. I was A Cappella so it was just me and my little voice, but the light came streaming through this huge stain glass window. Also, I didn't even know the lady who had died, but it was still really cool. Also, I play piano in every meeting. So, I guess thanks for making me learn piano. (Thank you Mr. Peterson, Sara Crain, and Amy Warner!)