Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm Here

*so there was definitely a rainbow, but of course it doesn't show in the photo.  
But just imagine a really cool rainbow above me and we'll call it good.


So my area is about a half hour from the big city of Oaxaca, and today we decided to have an adventure and go check out the Walmart they opened up a few weeks ago.  The whole experience was rather hilarious.  My two worlds collided, and it was bizarre.  Mexican Walmart. 

It was the best mash up of all things American and Mexican.  The whole thing was so big, so clean, and so full of normal looking food I hardly knew what to do with myself.  We also found conditioner and face wash (some of the two most impossible things to find here in Mexico). 

We don't have an oven but we bought brownie mix anyways.  We have a plan to try and make it on our stove using a frying pan next week....stay tuned to see how that bad boy turns out.  

Basically it was a strange feeling.  Everything was so new and clean and Americanized, and I felt so...out of place.  You think I would have felt at home or maybe more comfortable for a moment, but instead I felt lost and sad.  I wanted to run back to dusty dirt roads and tiny corner stores where they just sell bread and eggs. 


So Sunday rolled around and somewhere in the middle of the first talk the bishopric realized that the second and third speakers weren't gonna show, so they asked me and Hermana Crystal to give a talk. Cool. I had about 3 minutes prep.  But somehow I ended up giving a solid 5 or 10 minute talk.  I shared a story, a scripture, related to our lives, bore testimony and sat down.  All in Spanish. 

And then poor Hermana Crystal who hates talking in front of people got up there and ROCKED IT. What a champ.  I love my Hermana Crystal.  Then sacrament meeting ended and the Gospel Principles teacher wasn't there, so I taught Gospel Principles too.  And it went AWESOME! Everyone was super involved and loving it.  It was great.  And tiring.  But mostly just great.

*you cant see it very well in the photo but we are soaking wet.


Yesterday we got a call from the cutest tiny member of our ward and she asked us if we would come with her to visit her brother because she wants to try sharing the gospel with him again.  We, of course, happily agreed and ran right on over.  She explained to us that her brother used to drink a lot and now, because of all the things he did when he was younger, he is blind. 

He went blind about a year ago so its still pretty recent and she told us that since he lost his sight he has been mad at God.  We showed up and there he was.  Sitting in a cushy maroon chair in the middle of a darkish back room.  He had a blanket over his legs and his posture and body language all screamed the word: SAD. 

His head was bent down and his hands clasped together in his lap.  We walked in, and I introduced myself.  I told him what I looked like and who I was.  "You're from the United States?" He asked, "Yep!" I replied.  He then paused, "But you speak perfectly!"  That felt good to hear. 

I told him we were missionaries and that we taught people about God.  He then began to silently sob. "God has forgotten me," He cried out. "He has abandoned me and left me here.  All I want to do is just die, just leave this world and this body and rest."  He began to shake violently and cry out. 

Before the mission this sort of situation would have FREAKED ME OUT.  Sobbing, yelling, Mexican, blind man.  But I'm somebody different now, so I pulled up a chair and sat down right in front of him.  I grabbed his hand. "Do you feel that?" I said. "I'm here."

He then stopped crying just as suddenly as he started.  He clasped my hand tight with both of his big wrinkly hands and held right on.  I told him that God had in fact not forgotten him because He was the one who sent us. 

I then asked him about what makes him happy and what God has given him.  We talked about music, and ice cream and religion.  Then we sang him a hymn and taught him about God's love.  All the while my hand clasped tightly in his. 

There I was sitting in a dark dusty room in the south of Mexico holding hands with a blind man and telling him that God DOES in fact love him and remember him.  When we left he checked several times to make sure that we would be coming back to visit.

Sometimes I think a lot of us are like my new friend, Juan.  We feel lost and scared and forgotten. We cry out, "God has forgotten me, and God has abandoned me."  We ask why.  Why so much pain? Why so much suffering?  It's not right.  It's not fair.  It hurts.  It's hard.
And then He grabs our hand tight and says,  "I'm here."
He's there.

God will never and can never ever in a million trillion bajillion years forget you.  Not even if you wanted him to.  Not even if you were the rottenest human on the planet, you can't make him stop loving you.  Ever.  HE IS THERE.  I know it because I have felt it. 

Two white girls, a blind man, and his sister were not the only 4 present that day, because He was there.  Leading and guiding me.  Helping me say what I said and helping me help this man.  He was there.  I felt it.  I know it.

Sometimes we forget He is there.  Sometimes those around us do too.  So help God out this week and tell someone who needs it, "I'm here."  And if the moment is right, "He is here."

This mission is the hardest and most wonderful thing I have ever done.  But I'm going to keep on doing it.  Want to know why?  Because He's here.

*A [church] member who is famous for his bread.  Makes it in his hand made fire burning oven. 
It's pretty much delicious.

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