Monday, February 24, 2014

Gracias! Gracias! Gracias!

Dear family, 

This week has seemed to go by very quickly, which I suppose is good because it means we've been busy. First, we cleaned the house all Monday until about midnight and then continued cleaning any spare moments we could find on Tuesday and Wednesday (we totaled it up and it was over 20 hours). We literally cleaned everything, down to scrubbing in between each tile with a toothbrush, touching up the paint on the walls, and re caulking the kitchen and the bathrooms. We even flooded practically the entire house Dominican-style.

Throughout the whole process we found a lot of very disturbing things that had probably been there a very long time, including a rusty pickax and a rats' nest inside our oven. (And speaking of the rats, I saw some of them the other day and they're literally the size of Chihuahuas. One even tried unsuccessfully to carry away an entire bar of soap that was sitting on Hermana Conrady's bed... we found it in the hallway covered in bite marks). 

Cleaning was a laborious process that left us exhausted and sore for the next few days, but we managed to make it fun together and it was totally worth it because of how beautiful the house looks now. For the inspection, we even topped it all off by baking some homemade bread and singing the senior missionary couple a special musical number that left them it tears... obviously, we won the competition against the elders. No one cleans like an hermana. 

Another interesting thing that happened this week is that we ran into a British man named Roland. He literally doesn't know any Spanish and has been stuck in the DR for 15 months now because he doesn't have money for his flight home. Or any money at all, really... I'm not sure how that happened, I haven't asked. He's living with a Dominican family and finds work doing whatever he can. He enjoys talking to us because we know English and I can talk to him about living in England. We gave him a Liahona magazine and he seemed quite excited to read it, which I thought may just have been for lack of English reading material, but then he randomly showed up to church yesterday. He didn't understand any of it, but he said he enjoyed the feeling of peace inside the chapel.

We also found a new investigator this week. His name is Yordis, he's 18 years old, and he just showed up to church last Suday by himself. He says that he is looking for the one true church according to what it written in the Bible, but none of the other churches he's visited have been able to answer all his questions. It's no wonder though - he asks some unconventional questions (for example: the symbolic meaning of the number 40 throughout the Bible). We gave him a folleto and before he would accept it, he said: I hope you know that, if you give this to me, I will come back with a paper full of questions." We told him that we'll look forward to it. He is generally receptive though, and I can tell that he has a lot of potential. 

Another reason we've been so busy this week is that we had to teach Angelo practically everything this week before his baptism on Saturday. We met with him 3 times this week for an hour and a half each. He's a really good kid, but he's got a lot of energy and loves to mess around. He tends to interrupt us and ask how to say things in English or irrelevant questions about our personal lives. He even tried to pray in English the other day and it just pure nonsense. Sometimes we'd swear he wasn't listening, but then we'd ask him a question and he always knew the answer perfectly. Our lessons with him are always really fun though, ad we end up laughing a lot. 

His baptism was a bit hectic though. It started in the morning when we got a call from the zone leaders telling us that another ward had decided to have a baptism there at the time we had scheduled, and then Hermana Erickson was sick in bed, so all the final preparations were left to me.

She ended up feeling well enough to come to the baptism that night, but then we discovered that we still didn't have Yakeline's signature (Angelo's guardian), so we couldn't start the service. President ended up having to go out to look for her, and - in typical Dominican fashion - he found her in a hair salon. And of course, the whole time that we were waiting, Angelo was running up and down the hallways in his baptismal suit pretending to do karate.

Once the service started though, everything was smoother sailing. At Angelo's request, I bore my testimony and then he was baptized by one of his friends in the young men's quorum. At the end, Angelo came up to me and told me that he felt amazing... and that in 2018 he was going to put his papers in to serve a full-time mission (so then he could come to our country and teach us). 

As we walked away from the church that night, Angelo called after us. We turned around and threw both his fists up into the air and shouted three times: "Gracias! Gracias! Gracias!"

Until next week, 

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

P.S. We got transfer calls last night. Hermana Erickson is leaving and I'm staying....and I'll be training a brand new hermana. I go into the city center to pick her up tomorrow. Wish me luck and keep me and my new companion in your prayers :)
Angelo's baptism

The way in!

Super clean apartment

More visitors

Angelo's baptism

The next option

Cleaning with toothbrushes

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