Eee! I get to call you in a little over a week! You'll have to tell me in a quick email before my next p-day whether you want to call or try skype (I'm a little worried about the iffy-ness of skype) and when you want to call. I have 40 minutes and it can be anytime after 4 pm my time.
The driving force of this week is that Hna. Torales and I have taken on the challenge of teaching 14 lessons a day, which is the new expectation from Presidente Johnson of the Seventy for our mission. Presidente Johnson has a lot of mandates-- I've heard that our mission is one of the strictest missions in Mexico.
Oh, there is this one investigator we have that just breaks my heart. His name is Salvador and he's a baker of about 40-50, and for some reason wants us to visit but absolutely rejects the idea of faith of any kind. He likes to argue with us. It's almost sad because he HAS prayed to God to know if God exists and loves him and actually RECIEVED an answer of love and affirmation, but tells us “it went away afterward. It’s just a contortion of the mind.” and we say “But, Hno. Salvador, we see here in Alma 32 that we have to nourish the seeds of faith” and he says “I told you, I am not a man of faith.” We say “Hno Salvador, there is more for you in life than you already have” but he likes to tell us frequently how perfectly content with his life he is. I’ve been thinking that only those who have tasted real happiness know that our ability to feel happiness is infinitely limitless. Anyway, we aren’t going to visit him anymore because he refuses to pray and leaves when we ask to pray, and is not at all open, but it really breaks my heart to see someone who I know could taste real happiness but refuses to. I kind of want to write him a letter even if we aren’t going to teach him.
We do have one investigator that makes my heart sing with joy, though. His name is Raul, and he teaches science classes. He is a SEEKER of truth. He probably has 2000 books in his house. He says he’s pretty much investigated Christian sect there is in Mexico, except ours. He is so kind and genial and I love to hear him say how the scriptures to him are better than food and you should have SEEN his face when we told him about the priesthood. And when we told him about the first vision he couldn't believe what he was hearing. It’s the best thing ever because he’ll stop us during the lesson to repeat things, like he's clinging onto every word. He doesn’t like commitment, though. He says it’s like chains and so he doesn’t accept commitments but we will be having a lesson on the purpose of covenants very soon. We’re also going to have to explain more the nature of God and Christ because he’s still pretty superstitious. But it is so refreshing to teach someone who WANTS to learn.
I’m also thinking that we are going to have focus our lessons more on who Christ is and why we LOVE Him and how we have a RELATIONSHIP with Him. Probably 90% of the people we contact say “No, gracias, soy ______” (a religion) and we say “How wonderful! The message we share will help you come even closer to Christ!” and they say “No thanks, I like what I already have.”
What I don't understand is how someone who truly loves Christ-- good people with real faith-- would not jump at the opportunity to receive more of what He has to say and to draw closer to Him. I don’t think it’s because the people here are hypocrites. I think it’s because they don’t have a real understanding of who Christ is and WHY we love Him-- not just appreciate or admire Him but LOVE Him for the INCREDIBLE thing he has done for us and for the way that we work with Him everyday to better ourselves. And because we FEEL His love for us.
I’ve been focusing my studies on this topic and the weight of what the atonement MEANS and what Christ has done for us has been hitting me like a bunch of bricks. I think people don’t know Christ in this way. I get the sense that most believe “I love Christ because He saved me” and now it's kind of a done deal. Maybe I'm thinking about this a lot because I realize my need to develop true love for Christ. I can tell you that in the past 2 months it’s multiplied by 20. :)
It's a pretty good question: Do you LOVE Christ? And why? Actually it's probably the most important question ever.
Last night, a lady we contacted in the street gave us the bananas she just freshly picked from her trees and WOW. Actually it wasn’t a banana, it was a manzano which is the same thickness of a banana but half the length and tastes like an apple. It’s the coolest thing. In Merida, the Spanish (or missionary, still can’t tell) word for 'cool' is 'potente.' All the missionaries say to each other “Pooooootente, misionero.”
I love all you potente people.