Monday, November 10, 2014

Discipleship is Hard

November 10, 2014

Hello my dear loving family and friends, do you guys know how much I love and adore each of you?  Well I hope so ;) 

This week honestly went by so quickly, I JUST WISH TIME WOULD SLOW DOWN!!!  But truly we had such an edifying and spiritually filled week that I hope I can recount everything we did in this short letter...

So this week we finally got the chance to share with CARLOS OTIZ.  We were beyond excited to share with the man that also forgot to pay his water bill.  I just kept saying, "God’s Plan is perfect.  We were meant to meet him, He NEEDS this message of hope."  Turns out that Satan is an ugly man that is working SO hard to not let others be happy. :(  Our visit went as follows...

I am not a religious person.
Our message is for everyone - religious or not.
I don’t believe that God knows me personally.
Well he does.  He sent us here as witnesses that He does.
I have nothing to live for, my wife is far away, my kids are far away, I can’t even see far away.
Our message is of HOPE.  You do have a purpose. 
I can believe in HIM from afar.
But he is calling to you... "COME FOLLOW ME." 
I don’t believe that He calls prophets today.
But God is the same yesterday and today.
I will not promise to go to church tomorrow.
But you WILL feel his love, because it is HIS house. 
Why would you leave your families to come HERE?
We are here to HELP YOU.  Our message is of HOPE.
You two are persistent.
Yes we are because this is more than just selling AGUA de COCO [coconut water] on the street.
Ok you win, I will go to church tomorrow.
YOU will feel the HIS love for you tomorrow.
We will see.
Can we sing you a song, or maybe 3? ;) 

Later at night our phone said CARLOS OTIZ esta llamando [is calling].  I answered with such HOPE that he wanted to express his excitement to come to church. 
I am truly sorry to have wasted your time...but I will not be going to church tomorrow.
Why? What changed your mind?
(With a video playing loudly in the background) I have spent all day on the internet watching videos about your church. Not many other churches like you guys. 
Yeah hermano, Satan doesn’t want for others to attend the true church. (In my head I’m thinking, "Freaking Satan, why?") These things you have seen are not true.
NO, I have seen enough.  I don’t ever want to attend your church, especially not tomorrow.
I tried to get a word in that he needs to ask GOD and to share my testimony one last time...but he was not willing to listen. He had made his decision.
I passed the phone to my comp who had no luck either, but said sweetly "When you change your mind call us, and we will happily come share with you this message of HOPE."

WHY?  Why don’t people see the GREAT value of this message?  

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.”

The following day we met with Pricilia Torres and her family.  She said "NO! NO! NO!  I like being Catholic and will die a Catholic.  Don’t waste your time with me.  I am not going to change. 

Sometimes it is hard to accept that people have their agency to choose.  That even though I want everyone to experience this incredible happiness that I have experienced, WE ALL MUST MAKE A CHOICE.  This week I learned firsthand, as Elder Jeffery R. Holland said, “Discipleship is HARD”.  There are "haters" of the LDS church, but we must ALWAYS respond with LOVE just as the Savior would. 

I know that one day, Carlos and Pricilia WILL accept the gospel.  WHY?  Because we told them we will continue to pray for them, because WE LOVE THEM.  As a representative of Christ we can feel the pure love of Christ for them, or in other words that we BELIEVE the atonement of Christ CAN and WILL help them change.  I LOVE being a missionary, but to be honest it is hard at times to accept that people don’t always want to experience the blessings of this gospel.  But I am learning how to truly become like Christ and SAY and ACT as he would with those who are investigating this church.  

But...GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!  We have made a calendar for each of our investigators with info on when we are going to visit them, with whom, what time, and most importantly when they will make their special convent with the Savior.  Brayan Franco and Liliam Baca and her husband Enrique are those who are EXCITED and desiring to learn more, que bendicion [what a blessing]!!!!

I LOVE being a missionary, como de verdad!!!!  I hope you all have a wonderful week, and we will chat more next week! 

Hermana Bartholomew 

Quote of the week.... Our taxi driver asked us as North Americans, if we know how to dance.  And I told him that, “Yes people there know how to dance.”  He said, "Are you sure?  Because you Americans are FREE so you can just dance however you like."    I died laughing, I am assuming he has seen a video of a college dance to dumb step when everyone just jumps up and down and is pushing into each other.  Haha ´'MERICA! 

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