Serving here in Yakima is really something else. The area that Elder Wilson and I work is the most dangerous area in the mission and we see a lot of crazy things. Over the past three months that I've been here, I've seen some of the most humble living conditions and situations.
I went on exchanges with some of the Elders in our zone this week and while on exchanges, Elder Anderson and I knocked some houses and met this really sweet woman. We talked with her and got to know her and talked about the message that we share as missionaries. She told us that her husband was working but that his grandmother is a member of the church, so she was slightly familiar with the LDS church and missionaries. We asked if we could set a return visit and she told us that we could come backevening.
Last night, Elder Wilson and I went over and knocked on the door and her husband was home and instantly let us in. We talked with him for a bit and he went and got his wife and son and brought them into the room to talk with us. I followed up with them on all of the hard trials they were going through. Their landlord is selling the house they currently live in right out from beneath their feet, they can barely afford filling up their car with gas, their house is haunted, and it's nearly impossible for them to find a new house to rent because they both have a criminal history and can't find anyone that is willing to rent to them. As we were discussing, the mother told the son to go to the room to work on a piggy bank for a little bit. As he left, she looked at her husband and they both opened up to us and explained that she was being charged with secondary robbery and they aren't sure what is going to happen to their family. They both broke down in complete tears for the fear that their family would be split apart. The wife left the room to try and recompose herself for a moment and while she was away the husband told us that it was very hard for him to have faith that things would work out fine. He said that when he went to prison the last words he said to his mother was "I just don't have faith anymore" and those exact words are what his wife said to him the day prior.
The wife returned and the husband asked if we could give her a priesthood blessing. I looked at them both and told them that we could, and explained a little more on the priesthood. I explained that the blessing comes directly from God, not from Elder Wilson nor I. I explained that I did not know what was going to happen to them, but I did promise that God was aware of their situation and conditions and would help their family.
Before I gave the blessing, I flashbacked to one very fateful day over one year ago when Elder Wilson and I were out tracting in the rain in The Dalles. We were knocking these apartment complex doors and nobody had opened until the very last door. A nice gentleman had opened the door, told us that he was busy and that another day would work best. We came back the next day and the same thing happened. We went back one more time, discouraged and believing that the man would just disregard us again. We knocked, and to our surprise he opened the door and let us right in. He introduced himself as Gary and asked us if we would share our message with him. We taught the Restoration, and afterwards he told us that his wife is a member and had been in prison for the past two years and that he had been watching over his kids while she was away and he had spoken with missionaries before and wanted to be baptized., Gary was baptized. His wife is now free, and they are working towards the temple together. I'll attach a picture from his baptism.
I shared that story with them, and told them that I knew that no matter what they could keep their family together because I had seen it personally. We gave them a blessing, told them we would come back during the week to help them clean some things up, and went on our way.
There are many, many things that I learned from that experience. I could go on for hours talking about things that I learned from that. Rather than make this email any longer, I want to share just two things that I took away. One, the atonement of Jesus Christ is for each and every single one of us. Through Him and His sacrifice, any mistake we make can be completely erased, forgiven, and forgotten. There is no depth that we can reach to where the grace of Jesus Christ cannot reach down further. Second, Heavenly Father gives us trials and tribulations to help us to grow and progress. Every thing that happens in our life, can be for our benefit.
I'm grateful for each and every one of you, and love you all. Thank you for all of your support, thoughts, and prayers.
Con Mucho Amor,