This will be the craziest letter you will ever read from me. This.
Week. Was. Insane. I'm definitely back in Santa Ana, that's for sure!
Before getting to the insanity of this week, sorry for the earthquake.
We are just working so hard that we are really "shaking things up in
Santa Ana." Haha the miracles are coming for sure and we are just
meeting so many people that are actually progressing that I can't even
explain it all in an email.
For example, while I was packing my companion out of a parking spot
(clearly not just a lame mandatory or coincidental rule, you'll see
:)), I contacted this lady, Guadalupe. I offered to give her a card to
Mormon.org, and she's like, "you're Mormon, right?"
"Yes, I am."
"I just moved here from Chicago, and I almost got baptized there
because I love the church, but I had to move."
Miracle! We are witnessing the tender mercies of The Lord daily here.
She gave us her number because she can't accept visitors, but she
actually answered the phone later on and came to church! It was
awesome. She is going to progress rapidly for sure. That was just one
of the many miracles we are experiencing. We need more missionaries! I
know we just had a wave, but we need another! I am just so overwhelmed
with all the work we have right now. We need more missionaries to help
us out, please! Everyone get out here! :) so many people are yearning
for the truth! The mission is having the best month it has ever with a
Facebook and all since the Bowen's arrived. The Lord wasn't kidding
when he said he was going to hasten his work. Get out here if you
aren't already and stay out here if you are. We need you!
Other than that we have been caught up in a few crazy moments. We went
to give a blessing to a woman who's husband passed away. We arrived
and met a 20 year old member from Texas (a young woman who is the only
member in her family) and she introduced us to the family. There were
many people there, most were crying, and those who were not were
marked by swollen eyes from the same. We met them, and explained
priesthood and blessings.
We laid our hands upon the head of the woman who's husband died, the
room filled with the bowed heads of mourning family members, and
pronounced a blessing. Right in the middle of the blessing, while my
companion was still speaking, with our hands still on her head and the
room still in quiet reverence, there was a rustle and some noise from
the backyard. I heard one of the aunts yell, "están peleando!". She
said it in a rushed voice, and then repeated it louder. "They're
fighting! They're fighting!" she screamed. Everyone jumped out of
their seats and ran into the backyard. The woman we were blessing,
apologized to us and God as she jumped up and left my companion and I
both with our hands now floating in midair and shocked looks on our
faces. The member, with her face buried in her hands, was shocked, as
was everyone else, that her cousin and her uncle, who had both been
drinking, were fighting and going at each other in the backyard. We
were left in the living room with the two young girls, the 16 year old
son, and another woman. We directed everyone outside to avoid hearing
the threats and awful language that was being thrown back and forth in
the kitchen. We walked outside and the member, and the others that
were with us, were crying and apologizing for the circumstance. We did
our best to comfort them, and began to talk to try to distract them
and take their minds off of what was going on.
Shortly after the adults filed out of the house, and as they split the
two men up that were fighting, one of them insulted the other and he
snapped again. He started screaming and trying to push through the
crying family members that were holding him back, at this point the
one who had insulted him started at him and this time, we were right
in the middle. It was definitely crazy!
After getting them separated, they left in their cars, each going a
different direction. The woman who we were giving the blessing was
then frantic. She was having a hard time breathing, and her daughters
and family lead her back inside and were trying to comfort her. She
wanted the blessing again. We gave her a blessing of comfort, and said
a prayer with the whole family after sharing a short message in an
attempt to bring the Spirit back. As we were about to leave we decided
to sing "abide with me tis eventide", and the Spirit returned and was
so strong. We don't have the best voices, but it felt like there were
angels there helping my companion and I as we sang to this traumatized
group of family members. The spirit that we left was so strong....
The next day was the funeral, and they invited us to come. We showed
up after our meetings that we had and greeted the family. They were
happy to have us there and, to our surprise, they turned off the music
in the funeral home and made everyone who was standing and conversing
sit down. They kept saying, "the Hermanos are here, the Hermanos are
here," and they told us to go up and give a speech. haha We were more
than surprised, but it was humbling. We bore sincere testimonies about
the Plan of Salvation and promised them that the peace that they so
desperately needed and were searching for can not be found in any
place other than in Christ. The things that the world turns to in
search of relief and comfort will always fade away, but Christ will
not. We then both sang "Be Still My Soul" and said a prayer. It was a
humbling experience. They invited us back to their house later that
Although it may be happening through tragic experiences, we seeing so
many miracles here.
Another crazy story from this same week. We were given a referral to
go visit the mom of family and give her a blessing. We went over there
and got to know the family, My companion knew some of them already,
and we met the teenage daughter, who seems to be a miracle. She was
almost baptized with the other Elders, and wants to get back into it,
so we have another appointment with her thursday.
Shortly after giving the blessing, we were talking to the teenage
daughter, and out of no where the mom, who can barely walk, comes
stumbling out of the bedroom with a horrified look on her face. She
was gasping for breath and her eyes were so wide they were about to
pop out. The family jumped to their feet and rushed over to her, she
was behind me, and I and my companion got up and I grabbed her as she
was about to fall. She was crying and still couldn't breathe. The same
teenage daughter, screaming and crying, ran over to her mom and
supported her while we moved the tall chairs and grabbed a smaller
chair for her to sit on. My companion moved it under her and they
lowered her into it. We (or at least we as the elders) still had no
idea what was going on, we were simply trying to help in the situation
that we were in.
We look in the other room where the mom had just stumbled out and saw
the other daughter's husband laying on the floor with a bloody rag
dabbing his back and rolling back and forth. The daughter came out and
was trying to comfort her mom when the teenage daughter started
screaming at her and telling her not to touch the mom, and accusing
her that this was all her fault. This part here is from my companion,
because I didn't really know how to word it without it sounding
awkward and inappropriate, so here goes...
"A member of the family pulled off the frantic teenage daughter and
pushed her into the arms of my companion. He embraced and supported
her as she sobbed, normally with a teenage girl and a missionary such
contact would throw a red flag in my mind, but I didn't even think
twice, and have no doubt that he did the right thing." I'm glad he
understood...I for sure was caught off guard, but in that situation I
couldn't tell the other family member "no"...so ya...it was all so
Now that the mom was sat down and taken care of, my companion went in
to see the daughters husband. He had been stabbed in the back by
something, he said it was a knife, but it looked as if it were
pronged. There was one place where it punctured, but rather than one
slit as a knife would leave there were two, perpendicular to make a
sort of "T" shape. He asked him what happened, and he wouldn't tell
him. He asked him if he could look at it, and he let him. He ended up
going to the hospital, but he was able to walk to the car to be driven
there, and the bleeding was controlled. Evidently, he was choking his
wife and she stabbed him to get him off her...not sure what the truth
Elder Curtis and I spent the next 30 minutes trying to calm down the
teenage daugter. She was frantic and sobbing and hyperventilating. We
said a prayer with her, we did breathing exercises, and ended up
singing while she was later in the arms of her older sister, and she
We all went in the room with the mom, and the spirit of it all
completely changed as we prayed again and ended up all laughing and
joking around after the daughter and her husband went to the
hospital... Bipolar night. Latino families O.O...
So that was as brief as I could get about the insane week. It was
really cool feeling my first earthquake here! Apparently there have
been over 150 aftershocks since the big one. I was on my bed talking
to Elder Richards on exchanges when it happened, though, so it didn't
feel too bad for me. And I was further from the epicenter- evidently
it shook pretty bad there, but all is well!
A lot more happened, but those stories will have to wait for another
time. I had my last President interview before my final one. :( it's
going to too fast. Anxiety attack! Ha it love this work! The hard
times continue...I may be having the hardest battle inside in my whole
mission, but I'm maki it through. I find joy in knowing that this
isn't about me. It's about the ones I come to love that I am helping
back to our Heavenly Father. Love you all and hope you, too, are
looking for ways to share this amazing gospel with those around you.
Take care and talk to you soon! Cuídense!
"Life is largely worthless unless it is held together, given shape and
form by some great purpose, and there is no greater purpose than that
of helping our fellowmen as well as ourselves to attain the glorious
salvation which our Lord has promised to his obedient children."