Hna Llavilla and I are working on improving our tracting skills, so we have put the goal to talk to at least two people on the way to every appointment. We have met some pretty interesting folks ha ha and also, we are getting more new investigators! So that's awesome.
We started teaching Leny this week. He is the nephew of a couple in the ward, the Zumayetas. He has come to church the last two weeks, and the young single adults have already taken him in, which is really cool! He asked if we could come visit him after church, so of COURSE we went. He had already read the first 14 chapters of the Book of Mormon. When we asked him what he thought about it, he said that there is a lot of good counsel in it, and that it's really interesting. He's just really thirsting for the truth, and now we get the opportunity to help him along (but really, he's doing it mostly on his own). We invited him to be baptized the 9th of Febuary. He said. "Well first, i need to read the Book of Mormon, meditate about it, and then i'll need to pray to God about it." (see: the second to last paragraph of the introduction of the Book of Mormon, which says exactly that). But he said that of course he would be baptized if he found the Book of Mormon to be true. We have a lot of high hopes for this hermano.
We are also on the lookout for any less actives that we can find. The other day, we went to the house of a less active whose mom was receiving the missionaries before. The house is actually connected to a store that the family owns, so we entered in through the store. There was a woman working at the counter, and she asked us, "What do you want?" so we asked, "Is Maria (the mom) home?" This woman looked at us and said, "She left." We then tried to see if she would be interested in hearing our message. "What's your name?" we asked. She answered, "Ilda." She then said she was too busy to talk to us. All of the sudden, another girl appeared and said, "Hermanas, how are you?!" She was Carol, the daughter who is a less active member. We greeted her and said, "Hey! When can we come talk to your mom?" She looked at us a little confused, and then said, "My mom is right here..." pointing at "Ilda." and, here comes the best part... Her mom glared at her daughter and growled, "No. MARIA left." and then the three of us (my companion, me and Carol) just started laughing awkwardly. ha ha. we haven't had a single follow-up with maria/ilda.
And then, yesterday, we had a pretty profound experience, at least for me. We were running like crazy to meet Antony at the church for a lesson. When we got there, we waited for half an hour, and he didn't show up. I remembered something a sister from my MTC district told us. She said that her older sister had learned on her mission that the majority of times that we go to appointments, people aren't going to be there. She said that God knows that as well, and that he is always putting people in our paths that we need to talk to. Her advice was that whenever we go to an appointment and they aren't home, to look around for people to talk to. As we left the church, I thought of that advice and saw a man sitting on the grass. I told my companion to contact him (ha ha I'm the worst trainer ever). As soon as we started to talk, he said, "please, i do not want to talk to anyone." We sat silent for a minute, not really knowing what to say, and he started to talk again. "Two months ago, my baby girl died. Right now i am fighting with God. How could he do this to us? I see families all the time celebrating and having a good time with all their children and aunts and uncles, and God took my baby from me." Again, we sat silent for a minute. All i could think to say is that "I know that families can be together, even after death." My companion asked if he would like to talk to someone, and he said no. I testified that I know that God loves this man, and he said to me, "Don't tell me that. How can God love me if he took my baby from me?" I asked if i could leave him a picture of Christ. He said, "ok." I happened to have a pass along card with a picture of Christ smiling with a group of little children. on the back was a message about the family. I gave it to him, and he said, "Thank you." And then, we left. I was dying inside. I think i maybe felt a little bit of the pain Heavenly Father feels when he sees his children suffering, even to the point where they question His love for them. I also thought, "What was I supposed to say to this man? Why didn't i have the words to comfort him?" I thought that this was the man we were supposed to find and help, but in the end, all we could do was give him a picture. I felt so...terrible. And then, it slowly started raining. In perú. in the middle of summer. I honestly felt as if it was a moment for me, that our Heavenly Father was in reality crying for this man, His son, in this painful time of his life. I was also given the assurance that our short conversation with him was enough, was what we were there to do for him at that point in time. Who knows what will happen in the future. I pray that something we said will help him realize that God is very aware of him, especially in these heartbreaking moments.
The mission is changing me. I am becoming a more sensitive person, and I am learning the beauty of humility. I am learning patience and brotherly kindness. Maybe someday, i will even learn how to love my enemies. Through all of this, i am learning more about our Savior and Heavenly Father. I know they are real and that they live.