Alright! Well here's a tale that you will all believe and Mom will shake her head thinking 'you idiot son...' So Monday we went to the Mamita's house (her husband and daughter are in pictures I've sent) and we cooked corviche! It's a banana fish... deep fried platanos with fish in the middle. I love it. My companion wasn't and still isn't feeling to well, so he didn't eat really anything. The Mamita's kids don't care for Corviche all that much either, and just my luck a normal batch makes 30ish 'fingers.' Elder McGinn ate probably 25 and woke up the next morning with a few trips and then a permanent stay in the bathroom! Haha I threw up a few times, but all is great now. My companion got sick earlier in the week and we spent all of Tuesday in the house, he's doing pretty well now, but still mas o menos.
That night we had the baptism of Hno Jipson Mendoza! He's next to me in the picture and that was great to see happen. He has many friends in the church and the building was filled with buddies to see him enter the straight and narrow path! AND get this... he turned us down months ago with the idea of getting baptized and having to serve a mission and now he's talking excitedly about getting out and serving!
This week was pretty slow, but I truly came to know of the Lord's tender mercies that are like beckoning calls to repent and turn around, it just depends on our faith and humility. I want to share two stories.
My companion is Elder Molina, there is a non active family Molina Oña and we passed by for his first time this Saturday. The family is always great and nice, but just lack something oh-so-small to return to the church, they took off just 6 months ago. While outside under the trees, us in chairs and them in their hammocks, we cut to the chase, but with love, as to why they quit coming to church. Ernesto Molina told us about work and how really he just lacks the faith to keep the Sabbath Day opposed to working on the most prosperous day of the week. We shared a great scripture in Alma 58 about just how prosperous the people were, worldly and spiritually, by keeping the commandments and simply gave him the choice: prosper or no. We asked what we could do to help their faith grow and he quickly and sincerely said 'VISIT US!' He said that seeing him at the church the next day was a maybe, but just about brought tears to my eyes as he came around the corner, shook my hand, and then wrapped me in a huge hug and thanked me for the miracle we were yesterday. What a joy to see the members quickly invite, visit, love, sit, make them feel at home again.
Yeah we didn't have many investigators this week, but we brought a lost herd back to their Shepard. We can learn a lot from this, love, service, faith, but what I want to convey most of all is the daily decisions we make. We want a life eternal, of course we do! But do we make the choices that lead us there? We obviously don't want a life of misery in a Kingdom lower than Celestial, but how often do we opt for the easier choice, the quicker one, the one that could very well bring happiness, but not joy. Keep the commandments, maintain the influence of the Spirit, love your fellow man and accept him for who he is - don't accuse him for who he isn't.
To finish up, I was greatly humbled this Sunday. A lady who has a struggling family simply comes for sacrament meeting. She got up right after the sacrament and Elder McGinn thought 'great, there she goes. Why can't you just stick around at least till the end of the hour?' Then came a great lesson from the Lord. An elder came running over to us and we quickly followed his call to give a blessing of health. We entered the bishop's office to find the lady I had so quickly judged in tears, holding her left arm. She told us her health issues and how she even considered staying home for the day, but couldn't miss the Sacrament. We gladly gave her a blessing and she thanked us so dearly for the miracle we had been in that moment.
Let's learn a few lessons here. Go when we're called, don't ask why. Live worthy always to be able to accept those emergencies. Never let a bad, diminishing, or criticizing thought enter your heart and if you do, hope for a humbling experience to teach you the lesson of Charity. I love the work, I hope this letter for the week has touched you, I hope you know I'm doing so well and am so happy here in Ecuador.
Sometimes life doesn't go as we thought, but let's do all things with diligence, wisdom, and worrying if we're giving heed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Lord is happy when we try, do we truly try or do we simply pass the days by?
I sure love you all and sé sin ninguna duda en mi corazón que Cristo vive, que nos ama, que nos dio EL CAMINO (no hay otro) para regresar. Sabemos el camino, ayudemos a los demás que no lo conocen o tal vez están andando errantes en un mundo de tinieblas. ( I know without any doubt in my heart Christ lives, who loves us, who gave us THE WAY (no other) to return. We know the way, we help others who do not know or maybe you are wandering about in a world of darkness.)
This week'll be awesome, we should have baptized this Saturday, Erica Garcia. Pray for her and pray for the hearts of the people in Ecuador. Now I've talked too much haha, but TTFN, ta ta for now!