It's just not been easy, my friends in family, to bring everyone to date. Had it been so, you know I would've had much to say far earlier. We've been working very hard, riding about ten miles a day on bike (everyday #legday) in the heat of the day that indexes to one-hundred-and-nine-degrees because we have lost the privilege of a vehicle due to a miscommunication. I, in my naïveté, had not been
The most recent Monday began as a normal preparation day. Elder Andrasko and I scheduled to help the sister missionaries move from one apartment to the next for a few hours. I've learned "moving a few boxes" is code for organize, clean, and move every square inch of the habitation to another; I should not have been surprised the effort took us four hours even with the help of another elder companionship and the mission housing coordinators. Of course we made it fun, and the housing
I would like to talk about our first-place investigators, Crystal Cain and Javier.
Crystal Cain -
Crystal is in her late thirties, early forties. Crystal divorced Brother Seth Horn (a recovering alcoholic returning from inactivity) many years ago. Crystal has three children: Elijah 12, Rebecca 8, and Richard about 5. Elder Madson, myself, and Elder Andrasko were all very intimidated by Seth's arnings of his ex-wife. However, it was clear we must contact her.
Our second visit was an excellent lesson. Elder Andrasko, Kendall and I committed Crystal to read 3 Nephi 11, the crowning moment of The Book of Mormon, when Jesus Christ first appears to the Nephites. We answered Crystal's myriad of questions from the chapter. The conversation was moved by the Spirit concerning a "a small voice [that] did pierce them to the very soul" (verse 3). It's so refreshing to converse rather than lecture! The Spirit definitely present, we discussed all doctrines of the restoration subsequently.
Our third and most recent visit too was a great lesson in which we discussed Enos and the questions
she procured while reading the chapter we left to her following visit number two. The doctrine of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end) was taught and happily received By Crystal. The Doctrine and Covenants was introduced in response to a misapprehension of the practice of polygamy within the church. As we did so, Crystal's desire for a testimony of the restoration deepened.
Javier prefers 'Javi'. He hates Javier, but I'm using it for the sake of the preserving as many memories as possible. He's about thirty years old, employed, looks after his niece and living with his mom. Javi is from Mexico. He came to America for a visit, but found himself without a way to return to Mexico. Sixteen years, Javi has lived in the United States and speaks impeccable English. Javi enjoys theatre and often auditions for local theatrical productions.
It's difficult to have spiritual lessons with Javi. I've not discovered what is going on in his home quite yet, but he will not let us inside. After the first three visits, we have never knocked on the door to this very day. Of course we visit with him often, but before we reach the end of the stretch of driveway, Javi clambers through the front door to meet as on the porch. I don't know how he does it. He must feel a disturbance in the force or something. When we try to have a stand up lesson on the porch, Javi's adorably overbearing three-year-old niece, Anasophia (on • a • so • fee • uh), starts pounding on the translucent screen door. "Javi! Javi! Javi!" I can't help myself from being distracted. We play the 'I'll hand it to you, and you will give it back or I'll cry' game. A classic!
Something happened to Javi when he finally agreed to church. Again, Kendall Winterhalter saves our
bacon by providing a mode of transportation. Javi was really skeptic at first, but after some spiritual classes and fellowship, enjoyed church so much, he came again! My jaw hit the floor when I saw Javi at church for the second time. Not because of his attendance, but because of his appearance. In Javi's first time to church he was wearing a casual outfit so insouciant I cannot recall what it was. But this time, Javi cut his hair, donned himself in a sleek button-up shirt, dress slacks, shiny shoes, and
a tie impressive enough a draw the gaze of even an elder missionary. He carried himself nobly, and had a great big smile on his face behind his
gold-rimmed aviators. Just before the end of the third hour, Javier shares with the class an experience that stupors us all. He began to describe a dream he had in which he was baptized a member of a church. When he awoke he spoke to his mother who divinely said, "I just want you to choose a church, and stick with it. I'll support you all the way." Javi's mother is not a member, but I believe her words were inspired of the Holy Ghost.
Javier and Crystal are looking to be baptized in August.
Heaven knows it's not been an easy time. God is helping me to not be such a pansy, I suppose. But without a doubt I see His hand day-to-day, the blessings are immense! Oh how the foolish hearts of men see not the grace of God until they
have been humbled even to the very depths of humility, which humility brings us to our knees and opens our spiritual eyes. Endure, team, because Heavenly Father has sent us His son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and concourses of angels to bear us up through the best as well as the worst of times. Thank you all for prayers, thoughts and concerns. I love you all. God bless you!