Monday, June 2, 2014

The Road to Pitis

- A few months ago (2 months more or less) a lady was baptized into the branch, and her name was Paulina. She is 57 years old, comes up to about my hip, and has a broken arm, and osteoporosis, so the broken arm cant be put together, and it just kind of dangles there, out of place. She also has problems walking and uses a cane. And she doesn't have teeth. (If you go back to the email when we had to help get her dressed for her baptism, that's the same lady.) She hasn't been to church for the past 3 weeks, due to health reasons, but the thing is that she lives so far away that its hard to visit her. We had been thinking we probably should, and then the Lord made it clear to us that we needed to.

We saw her once in Corire, moving super slowly and taking a break about every 50 feet, so we went and chatted, and she said that her health is getting worse. So we made plans to visit, for the next week, because our schedule was just too  full for the weekend. Then, the next day we were up in Aplao, running around trying to get things ready for a mission night, when we saw her, resting about 20 ft away from the entrance to the emergency room. So we went up and talked to her, because she is so cute and we love her so much, and she said that she needed to go to the hospital for an injection because her bones hurt so bad. So we helped her with a bag, took her in, got her the help  that she needed (I didn't watch her get the shot, believe it or not) and then we bought her some snacks, put her on the combi and sent her away, wondering how many times we were going to run into her.

Then, that next day, all of our appointments fell through, a day decided to prevent us from finding an investigator, and we weren't sure what to do, so we thought that we better pay that lady a visit. She lives on the other side of the valley/river in a little tiny pueblito called "Pitis", which we remembered walking by one day as we were stranded in Pedregal Chico before the bridges were built and we had to walk home ( a 3 hour walk), so, trying to be smart, we took a bus all the way up to the Mesana, and then got off, thinking that in 10 minutes we would be there.

Turns out, its more of a 45 minute walk.

So we ended getting there around 6 at night, and had a nice visit with her and her family. She was even worse that day, because she ended up twisting her ankle on her way back from the hospital, and her daughter (LuzMarina, who is her exact same size) had to literally pick her up and carry her in the room. Her daughters not a member, and she is 25 and just works in the fields all day when people will hire her. So we started talking about how special Paulina is for us, and how much we love her, and how we know that things are hard right now, but that with faith we can bear all the burdens in our lives. I felt impressed to talk about how we know that Jesus Christ visited the Americas after he was resurrected, and as he visited the people here, he taught them the doctrine of prayer, through teaching and also through his example. She was so excited and changed by our visit, we left basically ready to start filling the font again! But, due to the spontaneous nature of the visit, and also because we had no idea it would take that long to get there, it was pitch black outside.

And we were a long way from home.

So.... since we couldn't stay there forever, we started walking. And, to make a long story short, it was a scary walk home. All the circumstances made it seem like the longest road in the history of roads, and all I wanted to do was get off of it. But, we had felt distinctly impressed to go visit Paulina, and we knew that the Lord would protect us for following a prompting, so we walked. It was literally, walking by faith. Because we couldn't see anything and we had only been there once before. But, as we half walked and ran home, I couldn't help but feel protected, like we were literally being surrounded by angels that kept all the danger away. It was a special, exhausting time.

But it was one of the best visits we have ever had.

An update on the branch:

People finally have callings! We have had a dramatic increase. Now almost all the callings are filled, and more and more men are advancing in the priesthood. Now comes the tricky part: training. Our District isn't too much help. At all. They do live 2 hours away, but still. No help there. So, its yet again, up to us. But I'm excited, because I have had an idea.

We have been trying to get the organizations going for awhile now.... but they just don't know what to do. And then we tell them, and they get all overwhelmed, and then they don't do anything. We try and do simple things, but it still hasn't been giving us the results that we need. Things need to start moving and rolling here in the branch!! So, I got this idea of having a mandatory training next Sunday, and then presenting all the leaders with a little "checklist" of things to do. The first thing: get your presidency full (if its not) and registered in MLS system. Then, they have a list of trainings that their presidencies need to attend (allowing them to schedule 2 of their own and 2 that we are putting on in the church), then, they need to plan out their meetings and activities for the next trimester, and do the simple things every week, like going to ward council and cleaning the church. And we made it in a nice, pretty format, that they should take seriously.

Sometimes I wonder if I need to have more patience.... I want it all to be perfect. And I know that perfection takes time and faith, so that's the challenge now.

Guess who I am going to visit in 10 minutes?! ANDY!!!! That's right, we are in Hunter, going to visit my old family. And I am just giddy with excitement.

Well, that's about all the time I have. I love you all so much, enjoy the pictures!! (yay for fast internet!)

Me and my companion Hermana Robinson

Us with some newly activated members (he become 2nd counselor shortly after this picture)
Making some tin-foil dinners

Tender mercy - getting a ride on a tractor so we wouldn't be late to an appointment

Norma and Aldo with their bap certificates. And Angeles. She is crazy.

This is a dog we found, shivering on the side of the road. So we made him a dog shelter. And then my heart broke when we had to leave. But there is a part II to this story. Its a happy ending.

Lehi's Dream Activity with other missionaries

End of Lehi's dream activity

This is me with Norma, she is awesome!

Picture of the valley

Knocking on a scary door

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