Tuesday, April 21, 2015
This life is New York City, New York. The Big Apple.
There are lots of people, all going to different places, doing different things, different choices, clothes, hair, habits, jobs, words, beliefs, etc... Some only focused on work, others on the disco clubs. Some have a lot, others have a little.
The church is like a Taxi.
There are lots of different taxis, and different drivers. Some pass by the Statue of Liberty, and others by Yankee Stadium. Depending on where you want to go, you choose your cab. Out of all the different taxis to choose from, only a certain company will take you home. Pass by your house and drop you off with a friendly wave.
What so many people don´t understand is that the gospel works the same way. There are lots of good churches. All talk about God, how He loves us, that we should have faith, serve others, be good people. But not every taxi has the same route. Even though a church is good, doesn´t mean it will drive you to the golden gates.
We need the right taxi. We need the power of God, His authority, the priesthood. Not every chauffeur has that. And after spending a good chunk of time trying to convince some stubborn headed Mexicans this very fact, I´m even more sure that it´s true.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
It is quite incredible how the Lord works sometimes.
My whole mission I´ve said to myself: I don´t want to be a good missionary, not even a great one. I want to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands. I want to be His tool. Be where He needs me to be in the moment He needs me to be there. And most often missionaries want to see it happen in the very moment. Feel the impression and know exactly where the Lord wants them to be or do. But to be honest, I´ve never seen it happen that way. I´ve never felt it that way before. But that doesn´t mean that it doesn´t happen.
Saturday we had a day full of lesson appointments. Literally every hour was planned with an investigator. Leaving the apartment in the morning I felt so good and sure that we were going to have incredible lessons and help everyone go to church the next day. ... Big shocker that that did not happen. ALL of our plans fell through, as well as plan B, C, D.... So we started contacting, knocking doors, and looking for references. TWO HOURS LATER we found ourselves without results and itching to teach somebody. Desperate, we walked over to where a sister lived so my companion could get to know her and we could share a message.
It wasn´t until we were siting there with the sister when I realized why we had walked so much with what seemed to us for no purpose whatsoever. If we had gotten there just moments sooner, she wouldn´t have been there and we wouldnt have been able to listen and help her. She needed us in THAT moment. And so the Lord made sure we were there in THAT moment.
There is no other feeling like it.
....but are you ready for this?
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Last Monday was the beginning of my last transfer. I received Hna. Jimenez (yeah, my same companion from Aguacaliente) as my new/old/last companion here in Ensenada. The only difference is that I´m now training her to be a Sister Training Leader before I go.
In the movie "Monty Python and the Search of the Holy Grail" there is a quite... pointless scene that always makes me laugh. Walking around with a wheelbarrow a man yells out, "bring out your dead!" Another walks out, with whom we can only assume is his grandfather on his shoulders. His mind intent on throwing him into the wheelbarrow. "But I´m not dead yet!" The old man cried. "Actually, I feel like going for a walk!"
The members of my Ward and my fellow missionaries are trying to toss me into the wheelbarrow. The moment that Hna. Jimenez stepped off the bus and saw me she said, "Hna. Lance, ya se va!" ...Gracias hna, good to see you too... Everyone feels the need to remind me that I´m leaving soon, or warn me from getting trunky. Even when complementing me. The other day Hna. Jimenez told me, "Sentí tanto el espiritu cuando testificó Hna. ¿Por que tiene que ir?!" Uhh, thanks sister, but I´m not dead yet!
This week we´ve been promoting the new church video, Because He lives. So we started by talking to our neighbors and inviting them to watch the video. One of them, an elderly man, thanked us for the invitation, but warned us that he didn´t believe in God, Christ, or Religion. With faith, we told him that we would like to visit him anyways and made an appointment for the next day.
Arriving and entering into his little home I noticed that his walls were covered with paintings and immediately felt a connection with my artistic brother. Sitting down, I said a prayer in my heart, hoping that as we taught about who our Heavenly Father is, he would be able to feel the spirit testify that He is real... Sadly, we barely finished the opening prayer when he began with his negative comments. Now I don´t want to go into details. That would take too much time and be rather depressing. Just know that this child of God has a lot of pent up anger against his Heavenly Father. "He abandoned me, so I abandoned Him." If there is so much injustice in the world, how can He be a just God? If there is a God, He is an irresponsible God. He (our neighbor) gave us every example of injustice from the history of the world that you can think of, the majority attacking the U.S.A. (uh, hello... American gal sitting right here... thanks). God never helped him. Never helped anyone. Religion destroyed his family. Religion is business; using good, innocent people like ourselves and manipulation us with our faith. The cherry on top being that the Mormon church is one of the two "mas ricas" churches in the world.
Contention is of the devil, and there was a lot of it. Don't get me wrong. He wasn´t rude in anyway towards us. Just made his feelings plain and clear. But I could also tell, that after nearly an hour of trying to explain our message, he wasn´t going to let us get a word in. All I could do was testify. That´s what I came out here for isn´t it? Open my mouth and share what I know. As did my companion, and the members who were joining us in the lesson. We didn´t say anything special, but the Spirit filled the room.
The next day, while watching G.C. and looking at the general authorities, I couldn´t help but think, "and if it really is all a sham?" Just for a sliver of a second I remembered all that our neighbor had to say. Then, during the 2 hour break, a few Mormon messages came on. I believe it was called "the Hope of Gods light." And the spirit hit me again.
It HAS to be true. I know it is. It´s the only thing that makes sense. I love it, and I´ll testify it until the end.
(and if you guys didn´t catch it, my old mission prez, Armando Carreon, just got called as a new member of the 70!!!)