Monday, December 19, 2016

"Direct, bold, but kind"

October 17, 2016

This week we had several awesome experiences.  Tuesday I did an exchange with Elder Manacho, he’s from Peru.  He’s new, and being trained by one of the district leaders.  I went to their area.  It was really cool, because I got to go see a lot of people I know from there.  The ward is really awesome.  They remembered me.  I got to talk with the Bishop, and several leaders in the ward.  We went to visit several people that needed help.  They have a family of less actives. The Dad was really struggling the most.  One of their sons became addicted to drugs and was doing crazy things.  He was out in the streets running around, and the family couldn’t do anything to help him.  They didn’t have enough money to pay for him to go to the drug clinic.  So the Bishop said, you’ve got to take him there.  It is a rehab center, where you take them there, and they are locked in to help them come off of their addictions.  So the Bishop said, just do it, and we’ll help you through it.  So the family did it, they went and found him, they literally tackled him, put him in a taxi, and took him to the hospital.  He’s there now, and has been getting a lot better.  The Dad, Gustavo, sadly interpreted it like the Bishop was going to help pay financially for the clinic.  But the Bishop has not followed through with his promise.  The Dad got really mad.  He resented the leaders.  He was so angry, he said that the church was true, but that the leaders are not.  He felt like he didn’t get the help he needed, and now he has this big debt to pay.  So he refuses to go back to church anymore, and he didn’t want to listen to the missionaries.  He didn’t want to do anything.  So his son is getting better, but he’s now spiritually troubled.  

We went to see him.  He didn’t really want to listen to us.  But we sat down on the porch, and it was just us and him.  We decided the best thing to do would be to listen.  So that’s what we did, for a long time.  When he paused, we started asking questions.  I asked him if he was going to let the errors of other people impede his salvation.  We also asked him other things.  When we felt it was right, we taught him about repentance, and forgiveness.  And we were pretty direct.  We told him, that if he was the one having bad feelings in his heart, that it was only a danger for him. He was risking his own salvation for the cause of other people’s errors.  Elder Munacho, was pretty quiet the whole time.  But then he asked him a really good question.   He said, “Miguel, if the Savior came right now, and asked you why you weren’t going to church, what would you tell him?”  “Would you tell him that someone made you mad and that’s why you refuse to take His sacrament? That’s why you’re not doing what the Savior taught you to do?”  We then talked to him about the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  It was super, super powerful.  The whole lesson really touched me.  The spirit was so strong.  By the end of our discussion, he was a changed person.  He was so humbled.  We were direct, bold, but kind.  At the end he offered a sweet prayer, and asked the Lord to bless him, and help him to forgive the Bishop so this Sunday he could go to church.  It was really incredible.

Later we visited another inactive that has gone through a lot of things in life.  We taught him about the Atonement.  He has four kinds. His name was Bro Hernandez.  His four children just got baptized.  He lost his Mom and his right leg, and has resented the bad things that have happened to him.  He feels like his life is pretty crappy.  And that everyone else around him has a great life.  So we talked to him, and talked a lot about the temple.  We gave him to good reasons to go back to church.  He’s been talking to the missionaries for a long time, but has never committed to being baptized.  Most of it is because he’s lazy.  We told him that he needs to go to the temple so he could be sealed to his Mom, and be promised to see her again.   We talked to him about the blessings of the temple, and specifically about Family History work.  And if he would repent, and change, he could see his Mom, wife and family again. 

We also were able to go out with the Elder’s Quorum President in San Martin, which was pretty awesome.  He came with us, out into the rain.  We worked through the storm and found a less active to visit, and were able to help him out a lot.

San Martin is a really great ward.  I would love to serve there.  I have been there a lot in several exchanges with other missionaries, so I know several of the members. They are all really cool. There is this place called the Torres.  It’s an apartment complex that is really weird.  It’s like going to a whole different world.  It gives the appearance like it’s some super rich place, but when you get inside, it’s like gangster’s paradise.  There is spray paint all over the wall, people riding around on their motorcycles between buildings, everyone has tattoos, there are huge speakers blaring music everywhere.  It’s super weird.  And it’s outside the city.  However, it’s a great place to find lots of families.  So we went to work there.  I would love to go back and work in that ward.

Friday—The President came down and attended a combined Zone Conference with Santa Marta.  We had to coordinate everything here, since it was in our area, get the chapel, take care of all of the food, we ordered Chinese food for everybody and my Companion and I taught a lesson on references, and how to use the ward members to work.  And how to work more efficiently.  The President taught the entire Preach My Gospel in 2 hours. It was awesome.  He’s made a lot of changes in our mission, and I’m seeing now how good they are.  Our mission is working a lot more in line with what is taught in Preach My Gospel.  And to the general standards for missionaries. 

Saturday—We had a lot of baptismal interviews.  We interviewed an Indian family from San Martin.  They were all ready to get baptized.  The kids were super great, but sadly, the Mom had not yet read the Book of Mormon.  So she was rejected.  The missionaries were a little bit upset.  But we reminded them that it was their job to help her finish the Book of Mormon.  The big problem, is that she actually can’t read.  Which is a dilemma.  She doesn’t know how.  So what she’s going to have to do is read with her family, or listen to the audio version of the Book of Mormon.  They will work on that with her, and then the whole family can get baptized together. 

Yesterday we had a really cool experience.  We went to teach a reference that we were given.  It was a young man named Luis.  He came to church.  We went to his house and had a great experience.  The spirit was really strong.  He had looked into a lot of churches, and really wanted to know what this church was about.  He’s 18 and lives with his sister, and her two kids.  We all felt the spirit.  At the end, he offered the prayer.  It was so genuine.  During the prayer, I felt an impression that was so strong, that he had real intention, and that he really did want to know.  It was such a good lesson.

Monday—we went to visit a very cool river with Melvin Lance, for our pday activity.  It’s an hour away from Valledupar. We rented a bus and all went together.  We each paid like $4.  It was such a unique place, we took a lot of pictures. 

Elder Javier update—he’s doing better.  He had a lot of stomach problems, and became very weak.  He was so sick he couldn’t proselyte.  He even fainted.  So we took him to the hospital and learned that it was his appendix.  So he’s had to have surgery.  He was able to talk with his family.  He’ll probably move to Barranquilla to recover with the President.   We’re glad he gets to stay in the mission.  We know he will recover and be fine.

Have a great week.  Love you!
Elder Burk

Melvin Lance took us to see this very cool river for P-day.

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