The Gospel changes people. I know that it has changed me, and as a missionary, I'm privileged to see it bring about change in others. A few weeks ago we began to visit a less active couple named Jesus and Lucy. Lucy has some physical problems and has trouble walking and she's a bit slower mentally as well, but so sweet, loving, and innocent (she reminds me a bit of Aunt Lori at times). On out first visit Lucy told us that she wanted them to come back to church, but that Jesus had problems with "drinking and women." Jesus listened to us anyway, but didn't seem all that happy to be there. But now, only 3 weeks later, they've both been to church every Sunday. In our last visit, Lucy broke down and thanked us because she says that since we began visiting them Jesus hasn't been drinking and coming home late and that we got another job to help support them. She says he's a changed man.
Because of instances like Jesus and Lucy, I know that the Gospel has great power in people's lives, but another thing I've come to appreciate over the past few weeks is really how much power comes with being set apart as a missionary. It's an apostolic calling and we are literal representatives of Jesus Christ - as such, it comes with all the associated power and authority of that position, including the authority to speak messianically and promise people blessings in the name of Jesus Christ. At first it was a bit daunting to tell people what God wanted for them personally in their life, what He expected of them, or to promise them specific blessings through their obedience to His commandments, but now I realize that it's part of my responsibility as a representative of Jesus Christ... and it makes me feel as if I'm just finally realizing what it means to be a missionary.
About a month ago, we began teaching the Familia Santana, a single father named Luis Jose and his 3 children Diana (15), Alberto (14), and Adalaida (12). Luis Jose is a less active member and we're hoping to reactivate him through teaching his children. The problem was that Luis Jose always works Sundays and Diana has a Sunday morning class for school, so they said that unfortunately, they would never be able to attend church. During one of our lessons, I felt impressed to promise them that, if they tried, the Lord would prepare a way for them to attend church. When Sunday came, my companion and I were overjoyed to see the entire family walk into sacrament meeting. They told us excitedly that Luis Jose's boss had let him switch shifts and the hour of Diana's class had been changed to later in the day. Now they have both been to church twice, Adalaida has been 3 times, and Alberto has been 5 times. They are reading the Book of Mormon and praying. We're hopefully going to set a baptismal date for the 3 kids this week.
Not only were the Familia Santana and Jesus and Lucy at church this week, but Gaby, and Yoelis were also there. In fact, we had a grand total of 8 investigators and 5 menos activos in church. It's days like that that remind me why I came out on my mission... and that all good seeds, when planted and nourished, eventually bring forth good fruit.
Interesting things that happened this week:
- I met a 111 year old women yesterday. She's the great grandmother of one of our investigators.
- Last Monday we went and toured a workshop where they make jewelry with larimar (the precious stone only found in the DR) and I bought a pair of earrings and necklace.
- I designed a Christmas ornament for us to give out to the family this year. I'm having Rubio make it out of wood. (I hope you haven't already bought some). I'm sending a photo of the design; let me know what you think :)
Hasta la próxima,
Hna Kaitlin Olsen