I’m sitting here with a lot of different feelings right now. Not quite sure how to right this email.
I have never felt quite as broken as I do right now. But its not a bad broken. Actually, you know what. It is a terrible broken. My body hurts and my heart aches. To take a positive spin on things, I guess it just proves how much love I have for the people here, especially Florencio and Maria. It also proves just how important missionary work is for missionaries as well as ward members; and with that being said more importantly as ward members. (Please watch the Worldwide Training Broadcast for further explanation)
I suppose that I need to explain to you what is going on. After the Broadcast, Hermana Burnham and I decided to go and visit Florencio and Maria. They didn’t go to church and we were really concerned about what was going on. Maria called us earlier in the week and told us that she thinks she might have been baptized when she was younger so we have been trying to find her records. She wanted to postpone things. Yesterday when we went over. Florencio and Maria sat us down to say that they have been praying so hard to know what to do. They know that the Book of Mormon is true and they will continue reading and studying it but as for now they do not want to be baptized. Hermana Burnham and I wept on their couch for an hour straight. They continued to tell us how they loved the doctrine and that it made sense. Then the dagger to the heart came. They said, very kindly, that they just did not feel loved by the congregation. They were not saying it as an excuse or to be offensive but they were genuinely concerned. Florencio explained how in the bible we learn that the first and most important commandment is to love others. They then told us a few incidents that happened with members and ouch. Florencio continued and asked how they could be true disciples of Jesus Christ if they do not love. Florencio and Maria were so grateful for all the things that we have taught them and for the hope that we brought into their lives. Florencio saw how much we were hurting and said that without us he wouldn’t have been able to start his journey back to God. We were literally his angels and he will never forget us. They gave us all their information because they want us to stay in contact but it is still just so sad. I am not trying to blame the ward and say that it is their entire fault that they did not do their part. But I am realizing that it does not matter how many people Hermana Burnham and I find tracting and in our own efforts if the ward isn’t there to do their part. We are a team and we cannot do this without them. So we are having to step back a little and change how we are doing things down here in Gulfbank. We will be working a lot more with the ward. I feel kind of blessed to be giving a talk this Sunday because I have a lot of fire in me and I am hoping that the spirit will work through me to get these people to realize their HUGE role in the work of salvation.
The mission is so real. We are literally saving souls. It is so sad that this had to happen. But I do know that Florencio and Maria will be baptized. They want nothing more than to serve God. They are trying the best that they can and they will be blessed for their efforts. One day they will be sealed in the temple. The Lord has made that known to me. They are not going to go without the ALL the blessings that God has to offer them. God has a plan. He is going to continue to work with them and prepare them. I need to have more faith in that. I love Florencio and Maria. So much.
Cutest part of last night was when we were leaving and Florencio turned to us with his arms wide open to give us a hug. I never wanted to let go. FYI he has been sober for 2 weeks. He is a different man. He is better because he is closer to Christ.
The church is true. If there were anything that I can leave with you all, it would be, Love the Savior. Have a real relationship with Him. Realize all that he is done for you. When that happens, you will feel inclined and have the strongest desire to share this gospel with others. This is the only way we receive salvation. This is so important. Please do your part.
I love you all! I love this gospel! I love my Savior! I do love my ward too! Hermana Burnham and I are here for a reason. She is the best companion ever and we are learning so much together. Grateful for how strong she is because it is building my faith. This whole situation would be a lot harder if I didn’t have her. She is reminding me of the Lord's timing.
Also, Angie's mother will be getting baptized the end of July! That just goes to show how even an 8 year old can be a missionary.
Read 1 Corinthians 2:6