Man! This week was worse! It's hard out here, without a doubt, but I know I am still being blessed for my efforts.
Not many lessons were taught this week because we had to move all the Elders in our district, including ourselves, so we didn't have time to meet new people, and when we did have planned lessons, they kept falling through with our investigators. We felt like our investigators were avoiding us. It was frustrating. But it was true.
To top off my week though, I received my first ticket. :( Just to add to it all. It was a couple weeks ago when a yellow light turned red RIGHT before I took a right turn at an intersection, so it flashed me. That started out the week bad, and then came Sunday.
Yesterday was probably the hardest day on my mission. To start off the day, and after our studies, we left a little early so that we could drive by our investigators' houses to remind them of church, because most of the time, our investigators don't respond through the phone. So we set out and no one opened their door except the last one. The house full of Salvadorenos. I remember a couple of weeks ago, I believe, I told you about them. Well, they invited us in, and since our first encounter and awesome lesson with them, it had been hard to contact them, but we finally did, but to no avail. They told us that they were not interested in our message anymore and that they would continue to go to their Catholic Church. They also told us that when we stop by, they have felt uncomfortable to tell us, so that's why they haven't. Okay. So that was Hit #1 of the day.
After feeling a little down, we proceeded to church anyways and kept our heads high. Church was pretty good, and a couple of our investigators showed up anyways, so that was cool. We ended up teaching the 16-17 year old chamacos. It was a lot of fun though to talk to people younger than us and give them this time to basically do question, answer with us. So that was cool, and neat. I don't know if you remember Melissa, but she came to church for the first time in about 3 months with her boyfriend Ivan, who is already a member of the church. He is a cool kid, and he's going to help us talk with her about baptism again this week. :) We're excited about that because we knew once he'd come back from Mexico that she would be more dedicated to going. We look forward to teaching her again.
After church we had lunch over at the Cifuentes house and had a great time talking with the family (they're pretty much half the ward ;)). It was nice to get my mind off of the denial. ha So after, since they live so close, we went to visit the Villegas family that had a baptismal date for this next week, and have been progressing really well. Except for the fact that they have not been completely able to visit with us lately, but we were excited to finally sit down with them for the first time in about a week. Well, that's what we thought. We could hear chattering going on inside as we came to the door, but they wouldn't answer to us. So we called them, and Alicia answered and said they couldn't come to the door because they were busy doing "things." Then she proceeded to tell us that she and her husband decided that they are no longer interested in us missionaries passing by anymore, and that they would be returning to their old church. They wouldn't even open the door to tell us that. I was so sad. They KNOW this church is true. I've felt it in their home. Hit #2.
At this point a little heartbroken, we tried to stop by another investigator we have in the same apartment complex, Carmen Zuniga. We met her one night on our way in to visit the Villegas family and she asked us to stop by her house. I was excited because she asked us...which is different. So the next day, Saturday, we stopped by and taught her a VERY powerful lesson of the Restauracion. She loved our message, and she was so excited to read the Book of Mormon. She even told us a couple times throughout the message that she felt our message was true. I could tell she could. Towards the end though, she mentioned that her husband is a Jehovah's Witness, and nothing against them or anything, but they aren't too fond of our message. So that seemed to be a little bit of foreshadowing for me. Even though she accepted a baptismal date, and I could feel that excitement in her and see it in her eyes, she left us a voicemail telling us that she needs to stay with the Jehovah's Witness church and that we can't come over anymore. Ugh. This was right before we went in to visit the Lopez family that I told you about last week, so I was just plain frustrated. Hit #3.
Just as I said last week, I am so grateful, though, for the Lopez family. Julie Lopez is an ex-missionary, and her spirit is so strong. I told her about all that had happened, and kind of just frustrated myself. She helped me out so much though. She told me stories from her mission that really related to me, and I left that house with a different attitude. Not that I was really letting it get to me BAD. I was just frustrated. But I had a spiritual experience later on that night that I won't forget. I am so grateful for this family, and for the chance I have to learn from trials.
Through all this negativity, I know that I am being blessed. As I focus more on being the best and most obedient missionary I can be, I know that Satan is going to try and knock me down. We won't. I know that it is all up to the will of the Lord, and for that reason, I continue to push forward and be strong in this work. If it weren't for the testimony I have of this work and the love I have for this Church and for the Lord, I wouldn't be out here. It saddens me to see that missionaries give up sometimes when times get rough. I'll keep pressing along because I know that the Lord is not only building his kingdom through me, but he is also building me. I look forward to a great week ahead of us, we're pretty much starting from scratch again, so this ought to be good. Love you all so much, I continue to keep you in my prayers, and I hope all is well. Love you and miss you!
P.S. Preparation Day will be on Tuesday next week. We get to go to the Temple, again. I can't wait. It's perfect timing. :)
"We either have a choice to give up and let him win,
Or keep on fighting and never give in."