Tuesday, March 25, 2014
A Broken Heart... and A Contrite Spirit
Ive have never had my heart broken before. An accomplishment that I am quite proud of. No hombre has ever caused me to experience such a pain.... until I met Juan.
As a missionary, it is inevitable to love the people you teach. If you dont love them, it means youre not doing your job. But Juan made it easy. We started teaching Juan the first week I arrived in Mexico... yeah, three months ago. We didnt know where he lived so we taught him at his TostiLocos stand. He was very shy, quiet, and I could hardly understand him then. He hardly said anything and combined with little eye contact, I had the impression that he didnt really want us there. We were taking up valuable customer time. But just when it seemed like we were about to start making progress we found out that he didnt live in our area. So with much regret, we handed him over to the Elders in that area to teach.
Two months later I had nearly forgotten about Juan. But one day we were contacting some references with Hno. Montes when he told us that Juan had moved back into our area. Score! So we passed by once again to say Hi to our old friend. He seemed the same. Kind of figity and not super willing to listen, but we made an appointment to come back anyways.
This time we made sure that we were sitting at the table and chairs outside of his stand, instead of standing with him behind the counter. And although there were cars driving by and customers walking up to interrupt, we got all the way through lesson 1, The Restoration. We challenged him to read the Book of Mormon, to pray if it and our message was true, and accept a date for baptism. The typical first lesson. Then we made another appointment to come back.
Prayer works people.
We came back when we said we would, but we came back to a different man. He was excited to see us. He was talkative. He was smiling! Hola hermanas! Que mas cosas hermosas tienen para mi? I was confused I wont lie. So we asked him. Followed up as some would say. Ha preguntado Dios acerca de nuestra mensaje? Yes he had, and he told us that something beautiful happened. He prayed to ask if the Book of Mormon was true and felt something he couldnt describe, but something hermosa. So he continued, and asked God if the right path for him to take was baptism. And once again, the feeling came, even stronger. More beautiful that he couldnt put into words but it filled him up. And he knew that this was true. Hna. Torres and I just looked at each other with shocked smiles on our faces and responded that, yes, it is true. And so we began to teach Juan. REALLY teach Juan.
He ate up everything we taught. Wanting to know more and more and more de la palabra de Dios. He told us that he wanted to leave all of his old life behind him. He wanted all of his friends to be members of the church. He wanted to be someone IMPORTANT in the church. The only problem was his smoking. But we were working with him every day to help him stop. He was ready. He wanted to be baptized. He kept asking us if we could move up his date.
One week before his scheduled baptism date Hna. Torres y yo had plans to stop by and talk with him. But as we walked up to his house, we saw him swigging a big ole bottle of Tecate beer. His eye got wide as he recognized us and quickly removed it from his lips and wiped his mouth clean.
There are no words to describe how I felt in that moment. At first I refused to believe that it was true. They just happened to run out of clean glasses in the house and so he just filled up the empty bottle with milk....yeah... that was it. But no. That was not it. He came up to us, said that we had caught him in the act. We said that we would see him tomorrow (knowing that we couldnt talk to him drunk) and had to walk away.
I was of no use the rest of the day. My heart had broken inside. There is no other way to describe it. He was so close!!!! Just one more week! Stupid Satan!!! When we went back to our apartment at the end of the day all I could do was curl up on my bed and try to convince myself that it really was just milk... or mango juice perhaps.
But life goes on. We have these problems and they help us grow. We chatted with Juan the next day. Reminded him of the power of the Atonement, and scheduled for him and new fecha bautizmal two weeks from the day. And everyday for the past two weeks we have stopped by his house or TostiLocos stand to help him, teach him, support him. Lots of work. But totally worth it. Last Friday
I love my job. I love this people. And I will have a thousand more heartbreaks if it means that I can see the change that happened for Juan happen for others. He said he is content. So am I.