Don't you just love the classic white girl subject title for this week's email? It was only fitting, considering the recent turn of the year. 2017 already. Aren't we supposed to have hoverboards by now or something like that?
2016 ended with a lot of really cool experiences. Our mission president's son was visiting in town for the holidays, and all of his siblings are married and spending their time with their in-laws so he was here alone while his parents fulfilled all of their mission president responsibilities. He recently got back from his mission in Chile a year ago, so we took him out with us for the day on his one year home mark to celebrate. We went and visited a lot of people, and tried by one of our investigators Osvaldo. He wasn't home, but we saw his neighbor standing outside smoking a cigarette. I had talked with his neighbor when I first got here almost five months ago, but haven't seen him since. We wen't up and talked with him for a little and he made a comment about how cold it was outside, which is one of my favorite things for people to say because it gives me a perfect opportunity to invite ourselves inside. He took us inside and we asked him about what he knew about missionaries and he knew a TON. He started talking to us about the Doctrine and Covenants and about how he used to go out with missionaries all the time. We had thought he was our golden investigator, but alas we asked him why he wasn't baptized and he told us that he was baptized in California and received the priesthood and everything but then one day his wife got mad at him and he had to stop going to church and moved here to Yakima and hasn't been back since. One minute we're talking to a stranger, next minute it turns out he used to be super active and hasn't been to church in years!
We talked with him about how the gospel will bless him and his family, and he started to cry. He told us that he hasn't been with his kids for a long time and he really misses them, so we promised him that God will help him to get his family back and that through the gospel families can be together forever. He told us how guilty he feels about smoking and told us how badly he wanted to quit. I looked at him and said (in Spanish of course), "Carlos, do you believe in God?" He answered with a firm yes. "Carlos, do you believe that God can help you to stop smoking?" Once again, a firm yes. "Then Carlos, give me your cigarettes."
He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a box of cigarettes and handed them right over. We could see the burden begin to be lifted off of his shoulders as he took a step of faith to overcome his addiction.
Like Carlos, if we have enough faith to hand over to God whatever we may be struggling with, our burdens will be lighter. We each have struggles that we personally face, and often times we lack the faith that we can overcome our trials. True, we alone cannot overcome the trials we are faced with, but we don't have to face them alone. "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." (Mark)
On New Year's Eve we went to the Martinez-Farias family for dinner and I can now say that I've eaten cow tongue, lip, and head! Cow tongue is really really good, I wouldn't recommend cow lip. The texture was too weird for me. I was also asked by Presidente Moreno to give a talk in Sacrament meeting on prayer, so I started off the new year giving a talk in church. Hermana Hull also gave a talk, and I'm convinced that Presidente asked us because he knows that when a Texan is given a job, it'll get done and it'll get done right.
Con Mucho Amor,