Monday, April 11, 2016

A lesson of forgiveness...

We started the week in the leadership council. The best part of those meetings is that President takes us to this pizza place that is a buffet right, like a slightly improved Cici's, and we go to work (eat) as missionaries. The workers already know what's going down when we walk through the door. President usually only takes us when we have a good month.  In march we were able to have 174 converts as a mission!  It was a fabulous month. And the President just wants us to reach 200 before he finishes his service in June.

After that, we got to work trying to find new investigators, an eternal chore as a missionary. We did service for Janet's mom in her house. That was fun. Her mom still doesn't want to commit to anything though :/
So last Monday we were playing soccer in the church, and I put our phone and keys on the side right, and Arnulfo stole the keys. Let me explain to you who Arnulfo is...
He is like 50 or 60 something and is homeless. He is homeless and wants nothing, I have come to realize, because he prefers to live that way. He will not work nor exert an ounce of effort. But he does ask - everyone in the church. He has been coming to church since like November and the missionaries in that time baptized him. And ANY time the church is opened, he goes in just to be indoors and not bored. And he then proceeds to ask all of us for money or food or whatever. 
Now, the bishop had him on a welfare program but the man doesn't allow himself to do anything besides beg for things. So he was removed from the list and for months I have known him and for months he daily asks me the same thing. '''Brother! Take the sandwich from your backpack and give it to me!''  Literally the same exact.phrase everyday. After 3 months I started to get a little tired of it. So I got impatient and started to tell him tings like '''Go work or do something!'' and such things. Or '''I have not ever had food to give why do you keep asking me?'' So that is valuable information for this story. So I see that Arnulfo leaves the church by himself, something that never happens because we always have to tell him to please leave before locking up the church. And I didn't think anything of it, but as he passed on the other side of the fence, he looked at me with a look of guilt, or revenge, I don't know.

Time goes by and I realize my keys are nowhere. We are looking and they are gone. I start to think the only possibilty is that Arnulfo took them. Which is bad because they are the keys to our house, and the church which has computers. The bishop and I start to get scared, but there is nothing we can do. So we enter our house through a window on the second floor and get ready for bed. Two days later after a meeting, I am alone with another elder, and Arnulfo walks in.  He had disappeared from the colony for 2 days and he appeared and we had purposely left the door open in case he was around. So I act fast and tell him to come in and sit down. Then I basically bribed him. I described  the food that I was willing to give him, if he would give the keys to me. He asked me what keys, what keys?  
But I insisted, and he asked me more about the food. I did my best to sell the offer annnnnd he pulled the keys out of his pocket. And handed them to me. This moment, with me having the keys, I wanted to say and do a lot of things, most of all I wanted to run him out of the church because I was super stressed about the keys. But I had also thought about how I had recently treated the old man and the thought came to me that this was a lesson of forgiveness- of giving it. So I went to the house, made some food and told Arnulfo to repent and that if he ever did something like this again, the bishop was going to call the police. He of course denied stealing. It is also notable that he tried to steal Bibles and other books from the church that same day, to sell for 10 pesos to a tianguis (Mexican garage sale). but the bishop knows everything and has it all under control. I learned a very valuable lesson through it all. Also, it is noteworthy that we were praying and begging that somehow we could get those keys back. It was hard to worry about whether the church was going to get robbed those days, or our house!

We had a good week with Mercedes, she is more excited about baptism. I am MAD over coffee because it is making life hard. There are a lot of investigators in the zone that that is their ONLY challenge and they can't leave it. Like they aren't even addicted very much, but they use it as a pretext. I understand more and more why the Lord requires us to make simple sacrifices like not drinking coffee to recieve the blessings of Baptism and the Holy Ghost. But, we keep moving on! Love to all!

Elder Smith

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