Monday, July 14, 2014

Bedbugs, Government Conspiracies, & Family History

Dear family, 

This week we had a cool experience with a woman named Jenny. For some time before we met she'd been interested in family history, particularly in finding out who her grandparents were. She had tried to do some of her own research on the internet, but hadn't been able to turn up any results. One day someone told her that the Mormons could help her.

Being active in the Evangelical faith, she hadn't ever considered asking another church for help, but finally her desire to learn about her ancestors overcame and she decided to visit the church last Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, when she arrived, she found it locked and empty. Discouraged, but determined to make progress she decided to visit an internet cafe to do some more online research. Little did she know that, upon entering the internet cafe that she'd chosen, she would find it full of 6 sister missionaries from the very church she'd just walked away from, all of whom would be more than willing to help her. 

Hna Hildman and I had a cita with Jenny a few days ago. We brought her several pamphlets and papers to help her get started with her family history and ended up teaching a lesson about the doctrine of baptism for the dead. We told her that this special work was only done inside temples and that there was one such temple her in the DR.

"Like that?" she asked, pointing to a corner of the room behind us. I assumed she was trying to point in the direction of the chapel and began to explain the difference between a temple and a normal meetinghouse, but she cut in. "Yes, I know. The temple is in Santo Domingo, La Bolivar. I've seen it." Again, she pointed to the corner.

This time, I turned around and discovered that she did indeed know what she was talking about. There, on her wall, was a framed photo of the Santo Domingo Temple. I was obviously surprised and asked her where she had gotten it. 

"My cousin is a member of your church. He gave it to me and I thought it was beautiful, so I put it on my wall." She paused for a moment and her tone softened. Ï never knew what they did inside... but now that I know, I think that's beautiful, too."

I'm not sure what will happen with Jenny, but what I do know that the Lord works in many ways to encourage people to learn more about the Gospel and that, as missionaries, we can't take the cookie-cutter approach to finding people and introducing them to the church. Everyone and every situation is different, but this Gospel is for everyone, no matter their situation.

Interesting things that happened this week:

- We found out that the lice kits you sent me after the incident in Azua also work to get rid of beg bugs. Many thanks for that.

- I don't know if you've heard, but there's an epidemic here of a sickness called chikunguya. It's transmitted by mosquitos and similar to dengue, lasting for up to a week and causing high fever, skin rash, swelling, and pain in the muscles and joints. The people here, however, refuse to believe that it could be caused by mosquitos, opting instead to refer to it as a virus and formulate their own [not so sound] theories as to where it came from. Two of my favorites are that chikunguya is (a) a government conspiracy designed to increase the economic demands for medicine, or (b) one of the 7 last plagues described in the book of Revelations. So... of course no one is using repellant or sleeping with a net... and they wonder why it's an epidemic.

Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

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