Yikes, y´know what just happened? One member started talking about how in two months we get to call our families, and it just hit me really hard that it will be my last call home! Anyway, that's a little ways off still. BUT STILL. Time is flying so fast!
Time is flying so fast, that last week when I wrote you guys I didn't even realize that Dad's birthday was coming up! I thought it was still farther in the future! I honestly haven't been paying much attention to the date anymore. When you start your mission, you're painfully aware of how many days you've been away from home, and the calendar sometimes becomes your worst enemy. Now, I just keep getting surprised when I notice what the date is and realize how fast the time is going by! Mega fast. Anyway, I hope you had a good birthday Dad! I didn't mean to forget it! Just sorta taking this one day at a time, and didn't realize that March 9th was going to happen before the next time I e-mailed home. Oops.
Anyway, wanna know something weird and honestly kind of scary that I learned about Picsi the other day? Doctors here don't work on Saturday or Sunday. They get weekends off. That probably sounds pretty nice to Dad, but for the rest of us, that's scary! What if you get really sick on a weekend?! Too bad, gotta wait until Monday. Hopefully you don't die before then! Yikes. We have an investigator who got sick on Saturday. We asked him if he had gone to the doctor, and he broke the news to us that he has to wait until Monday because the doctors here don't work Saturdays or Sundays. I assume (or, I hope) that doctors in Chiclayo still work on those days. Chiclayo's like ten minutes away from here.
This week was... also pretty tough honestly. People are just failing us all over the place, not being home when we have appointments scheduled with them. It's been sort of ridiculous. Let's turn to my journal to see what it was like:
Wow, these past few days I just feel like I've been let down so much more than usual. The work is tough!
Appointments are falling through all over the place. Kind of discouraging.
Its ridiculous how many appointments are falling through. I don't know what's happening. We've had to result to make people promise us they'll be at home when we set an appointment. We set a time, and they're like "yeah, see you then." And we have to be like "do you promise us you'll be there at that time?!" and they're like "yeah, yeah I promise." And then they're not there still! It’s frustrating.
Gah!! The people here make me crazy!!
Basically, that was how the week went. Haha. Man, I dunno what's up with the people of Picsi, but they just have no idea how to stay true to their word. Although, its not really just Picsi. This has happened in all my areas.
So, the teaching wasn't so great this week. Though, we did have some good moments. Probably the best parts of this week for me were our study time. Seriously. Teaching wasn’t good, but at least I was learning some good stuff from the ol' scriptures. One day Elder Arèvalo and I started studying and looking up scriptures to help us teach about tithing. There really aren't that many scriptures that mention tithing, so it’s not always the easiest thing to teach to people who are like "if it's not in the Bible, it's not true" (classic reason for not believing in Joseph Smith...). But, we actually ended up finding a ton of scriptures to use to teach the principle. Pretty neat. Tithing is a cool principle for me. It’s one of the things that God promises a very clear, very specific, and very amazing blessing for those who are willing to keep it. One of my favorite scriptures, Malachi 3:10. But, its a principle that a whole heck of a lot of people have issues with. Especially here in Peru. If you thought there were a lot of different churches in the United States, that's nothing compared to Peru. There are so many different Christian churches here it's ridiculous. Some of the more common ones that you might have heard of like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but on top of those, there are tons more!! Anyway, lots of the people we talk to have problems with the law of tithing, because of their past or current experience with how their church uses tithing. So many people tell us about how in "the church they used to go to" the tithing went straight to the pastor for him to use on whatever he liked for his own personal benefit. When I was with Elder Choc, he told me about how back in Guatemala he had a friend who's dad was a pastor of some Christian church. Elder Choc asked his friend what her dad with the tithing that the members paid, and she said that the family uses it to go on vacations and stuff. Are you kidding me?! That's an even more literal application of a man robbing God of His tithing than members who don't pay tithing! "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings." But, that's how the vast majority of churches work here. The people don't like that, and they assume it’s just the same in The Church of Jesus Christ. Wrong! Anyway, now that I'm loaded up with some sw33t biblical scriptures on the subject (the BoM really doesn't talk that much about tithing...) I am much better equipped to tackle this issue. Kewl. Plus, this week I've been continuing reading Jesus the Christ, and I've almost finished it for the second time. So good!! And I've been reading the Book of Mormon again in English. I sure love that language a lot.
As for the good teaching moments of the week, they were few, but they were sweet. First, that Adventist couple I told you about before. Their names are Mardokeo and Anita. They are both so receptive to our message! Especially Anita. She is always saying "yes, I know that what you're telling me is the truth." They're both way great. Like I said, they aren't married (nobody in this country is married!!), but they're already making serious plans to get married! We're teaching like four unmarried couples (who all have children) right now. All four of them know that they have to get married, but the only ones who are actively doing anything about it are these Adventists. And, in part, because the Adventist church also taught them that they have to get married. However, it's not a requirement for baptism in that church. Anyway, this couple is progressing fast! They came to church on Sunday and we had a real good Gospel Principles class with them and some other investigators who showed up (much better church attendance than last week. Six investigators came!). They so readily accept all that we say, and you can just tell that they know in their hearts that it's the truth. Really cool to see them progress like this. We're excited for them.
Probably my favorite visit of the week was with Victor Mendoza, the inactive member. He had promised us that he was going to come to church this week, because he wasn't able to last week because he was caught by surprise and had to go to work (he has no solid work schedule. When his boss tells him he has to work, he has to work.). Well, we went to visit him on Saturday. The first thing he said to us (in English...) was "Bad news... I can't go to church tomorrow." Noooooo!!!! Well, his boss made him go to work again on Sunday. And Sunday was his birthday! Worked all day. Couldn't come to church. Anyway, we had a nice visit with him, talking about keeping the Sabbath day holy. I asked him what his Sundays were like back in Australia when he was an active member of the church. He explained in great detail all the things he would do on Sunday at church and with the members. He told us about how most Sundays he would go out and visit people with the missionaries. As he was explaining all of this, you could just tell that he missed it. Although he hasn't been able to make it to church yet, I think his desires to change and make the gospel and active part of his life again are sincere. Bringing him back to church would be even better than a baptism for me. Victor Mendoza could be such a huge help for the church in Picsi! And his own life will be blessed so much as he lets Christ back into it.
On Sunday for some reason they made me lead the sacrament meeting again. I don't know why, but I did it. I also gave a short talk. Using Christ's parable of how the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed (and makes it clear that the mustard seed is one of the smallest and most insignificant of all seeds) that starts out tiny, but eventually grows into a great tree. I used the scripture in Alma 37:6-7 about how by small and simple means God brings to pass great works for the salvation of many souls. Basically I applied it all to how Picsi is a tiny family group, and how a "group" is the smallest of all branches of the church, but how with time, the church in Picsi will grow into something great, for the salvation of many souls. Not to brag or anything, but I thought it was a cool talk. Haha. :p
Well, I gotta get going. Although this was another tough week, I definitely felt the aid of the Spirit in my teaching. Especially on Sunday after church. For whatever reason, yesterday it was just so much easier and so much more natural to talk to people than usual. Pretty rad. Felt like I was being held up by something greater than myself. Although, I am pretty great. Hehe. Okay, I really gotta go! I really miss you a lot! Didn't get mail this week, but maybe this week... I honestly don't even know.