We walked a lot this week, and it was blazing hot. I have recently been feeling very tired, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I work fine, and I am still enjoying things, but this week I would get home with my companion and fall into a chair and only want to crawl into bed. Our successes have been a lot less obvious, although we have been seeing miracles. The most obvious so far was with Alfonso. We did another cleaning service project, this time with the other two elders and the elder’s quorum president. It was as gross as ever, and when we first got there, we didn’t know where the gloves and masks were, so we got the full force of his smelly, sun-baked home. The bathroom smelled so bad that I actually almost threw up. Luckily we found the masks, and I got a pair of gloves. We only had two pairs, so I got to do the really nasty work, which was the kitchen in this case. He never washes the dishes, and he had a mountain with half a centimeter of pure crud built up. They were impossible to clean, especially the plastic ones, so we didn’t even try. We just threw them away. This time, we got the kitchen almost to 50% clean, and the floor acceptable, although I still don’t think that I would lie down on it. His room is the part that scares me the most. It is a real problem. Alfonso is old, and probably has prostate problems, which in combination with his leg and his hernia, makes it almost impossible for him to get out of bed to get to the bathroom in time. So, he regularily pees his bed. His matress, he tells us is literally soaking with pee, and he has to lie in it every night. That explains the smell. We really don’t know what to do. He needs to be taken out of that house, but he can’t do it pernamently because he is not 65, and he needs to at least wear daipers, but he can’t because of his huge hernia, and he really needs help from the ward, because he soon will not have lunch, because the shelter is closing for two months, but he can’t because the ward isn’t worried enough about him. I have no idea how things will turn out for him.
Bad news about Erica and her daughters. We went to her house on Friday after lunch, which is when we normally visit her. She wasn’t there, so we called he on her phone and she told us that she was in the South with her aunt, and would get back until late this week. This is unfortunate, because it will make it a little harder to teach all of the missionary lessons to her daughters in time, but acceptable, because after all, it is Christmas, and it is normal for people to take off for the holidays. But later that day, we ran into her daughter, Diana. I started getting a little suspicion in the back of my head, so I asked here where her mom was, and she told us that she was at the supermarket. I asked her when she would get back, and she told me that she should be back in the evening. We said goodbye, and I told her to send greeting for us when she gets home. I have no idea why she would lie to us, but it is worrying.
We didn’t have a lesson with Matias this last week. He was doing stuff with his girlfriend. He is still doing stuff, but I am worried about him. It would be hard to be able to stay interested in something for so long with so little support. He needs to get baptized, but he won’t do it until he feels that it is true, and it is hard helping him gain a testimony when we can only see him one time a week.
We were in the street buying a couple of slices of watermelon (melons are big here, and there are a few months where everyone eats watermelon at every opportunity. They are really good. Next will come the corn. We were approached by a man walking with his cane and his dog. He started talking to us, and it was clear that he wanted to fight. I hate fighting, finding that it usually just makes me angry and doesn’t lead to anything, but for some reason this time, I felt that we should stay. We didn’t fight too hard. We just let him expound his doctrine and correct him if he was wrong, usually with the same scriptures that he used with us. We were finding that things were going no where, as he didn’t want to listen. I noticed that he was following a typical bible basher model, where the more he fought, the more confused he seemed to get, and the angrier. It got to the point that he started attacking our reasons for coming to Santiago, and we both explained in as simple of a manner as possible why we were here. Or, we bore our testimonies. I had forgotten a little the power of testimony. Up until that point, it was fact and reason that was disputed. But you can’t say that an opinion is wrong, especially when it is testified by the spirit. It seemed to effectively shut him up. I actually think that he might have felt a little silly all of the sudden, because he was almost shouting while we had calmly and cordially refused to fight. We shook his hand and left him.
I am still district leader. I have a huge district, with a total of 5 companionships, including mine. Also, fun fact, in my district, there is the only other Canadian Elder in the mission. His name is Elder Middleton. He is from Lethbridge. I taught a lesson about the importance of being oneself in missionary work. I started with D&C 84:109-110, which talks of how the head cannot fully fulfill it’s function without the feet. We discussed it for a bit, and the missionaries got the message pretty easily. I then took them out of the room, and we went to the cultural hall, as we do our district classes in the chapel (actually, our chapel, as we use the stake center). I didn’t explain all that we were going to do for my object lesson at once, fearing that people would chicken out. Once we were there, I asked everyone to take off their shoes. Then, I asked them to change their shoes with other people, preferrably with a big difference in size. Once we all had changed our shoes, I told them to line up on the wall, and that we were all going to run to the other side and back. When we finished running, I told them to put on there normal shoes and do the race again. Obviously with shoes that fit, the second time was a lot easier. I was very worried about this lesson. I firstly worried that someone would fall and hurt themselves. I was secondly worried that someone would make a fuss about it. But they didn’t, and it was effective in illustrating my point. Also, it was really funny seeing the elders trying to run with shoes that their feet didn’t fit into, and sisters running with giant boats. We then came back and read together D&C 4:1-4, and I asked them to focus on the use of the pronouns. This is a very well known missionary scripture, and it talks of using YOUR might, mind, heart and strength. I then left the last half our of the district meeting for open discussion of how we could better use our talents. I was surprised by the good results. The missionaries set good goals, and one sister opened up in front of the entire class and told us that she has difficulty seeing her own talents. We were able to support her. I felt a good deal of unity with the other missionaries.
Love you all. Can’t wait to talk to you in two days.