Monday, March 3, 2014

Sarcasm, Faith, and Coming to a Crossroads

Querida familia, 

As I mentioned last week, I'm training a new missionary, and I have actually been pleasantly surprised about how well it has gone. It's not that I was expecting it to go badly, on the contrary, I was actually quite excited to train. I had just heard that training is very tiring becuase you have to do pretty much everything (at least at first). It definitely is a lot of work - I direct the planning and proselyting, I do most of the teaching in lessons, and during study time I feel more like a personal tutor - but I've found that I really do enjoy it. 

I've definitely gained a testimony of the fact 'whom the Lord calls, He qualifies' because there has never been a time this week when I have felt overwhelmed or unprepared to deal with all the new challenges that come along with being a trainer. 

My companion's name is Hermana Stanton. She's from Utah, she's 21 years old, and she's studying to become an orthodontist. She's a hard worker, very kind, and easy to get along with. Before the mission she knew absolutely no Spanish, but she's a quick learner and it's great to see her progress. I think we'll make a good team for these next 3 months while she's in training, and I have no doubt that we'll see a lot of success together. 

Speaking of which... we have made a lot of progress with Yordis. He's very interesting to teach. The word I would use to describe him would be sarcastic - very recepticve, but very sarcastic - it's a unique combination. For example, we asked him what he thought of the Restoration and his answer (said with a smirk) was something to the effect of: "It's perfectly logical. After Jesus Christ died, the state of apostasy was very evident in world history, so of course, there needed to be a Restoration." And the Book of Mormon? According to his definition, it is a "logical and necessary compliment to the Bible." 

We're working with him on also emphasizing the spiritual confirmations that accompany his logical reasoning, but he truly does have a testimony. He comes to all church each week, all the activities, and the Tuesday night Liahona class. He was even one of the first people at the devotional last night - helped set up chairs, pass out hymnbooks, and his hand hand was always the first one to shoot up into the air to answer questions (the only person who talked more was President). 

So, as you might have guessed, in our last lesson with him, we invited him to be baptized on the 22nd of March. His response: "Why so far away?" It took me off guard at first and I had to ask him to repeat himself, but once I realized he was actually saying what I thought he was, I told him that he could get baptized on the 15th of March if he wanted. "That's better," he said. And you know what? I think it really is.

But...not all investigators can slide as easily on the baptism as Yordis. Miguela, for example, is being stubborn. She has all the lessons and then some and she knows it's all true - she's reached that pivitol point where she has to decide what to do with her testimony: leave it be and let it gradually fade away, or act on it. 

The problem is her 'husband.' He' s shown absolutely no further interest in the Church and is still treating her very badly. (And by 'very badly,' I mean he's left her and their 2 children with no money while he's away in the campo with his "other woman" while she's having his baby). It's a mess and he hasn't really made any attempts to hide his actions becuase he knows that Miguela loves him and doesn't think she'll leave him. And she does love him: he is the father of her children and they've been together for 12 years. 

So this is what is has come down to: Miguela needs to make a decision between her husband and her salvation. She's told us that she wants to get baptized, but that it probably won't be for a few years becuase she still has hope that he can change, but when she says it, she doesn't sound very hopeful. It's frustrating becuase she knows what she shoould do, even what she WANTS to do, but she can't quite muster the courage to do it. I have hope for her though. She has a strong will and a strong testimony, and somehow, I feel as if that will inevitably win out in the end. It always does.

Hasta la proxima, 

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

P.S. The rats are avoiding our traps and have even managed to set one off without getting caught. The stupid little things even chewed some holes in my bag, which is now even uglier than it was before. We're going to have to get creative.
The local market named after the sisters!

Crowding into the back of a taxi

Kaitlin's new companion Hermana Stanton

Kaitlin's bag with holes courtesy of the rats

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