Monday, September 8, 2014

Les tendres miséricordes (Vairao - week #19)

Ia ora na!

The rain has been falling nonstop for the past week! Brings about a little change. But, life is moving quickly in Vairao. Too quickly. Today was transfers, and luckily I survived and will be staying with Elder Millett for maybe another 6 weeks. But after thinking a little bit, Elder Millett and his MTC group finish their mission in 2 transfers. Then after 2 more, the next MTC group, and in just 2 more, OUR OWN MTC GROUP WILL FINISH. In 6 transfers, my mission will be over. Seriously though, where did the time go! Needless to say, Im loving every moment while I can.

Our week started off too good. We got a call from a member with an invite to a family night at a non-member family's home in Teahupoo. About 2 weeks ago, the daughter of this family committed suicide. So a member who knows them well asked them if they would like to hear a message about the Plan of Salvation. They accepted, they hit us up, and we came! And honestly, was I nervous... We teach lessons all the time, but i was just nervous this time! We came and met P------- and C------- and their family. Turns out their son A------ is that one guy that I talked about in an earlier email, when we did an OLB and he said he saw us on TV and all that. Pretty sweet. But anyway, it was apparent that this family was in pain. I felt so sad with them... The grave of their daughter was placed in their courtyard, still beautifully ornated with flowers and photos. The family looked to it constantly. Knowing that this lesson could change this family's life forever puts just a little pressure on. But also knowing that this message is truly God's message for this family gave us strength, and we taught a great lesson on the Plan of Salvation and the eternal family. When we needed it most, I truly felt the Spirit teach through us to help this family, and the entire lesson their gaze was fixed upon us.

After the lesson finished, the family came to us and thanked us sincerely for the message! We then ate some hors d'oeuvres and A------ even brought out a couple ukuleles for Elder Millett and I to try out. So we played and joked around with this family. Soon sad faces turned into smiles and even loud laughs and everybody was just happy! Seriously, the mood before the family night and after the family night couldnt have been more different. Thinks just clicked. We were told later by the member that that was the first time P------- laughed or smiled since the death of their daughter. This was honestly a tender mercy for us and this family, even a miracle I could say. The Lord loves his children, and he uses us his servants as he will. 

Speaking of tender mercies, we had one of those tender mercies in disguise you could say. Saturday evening we felt like we wanted to go see I-- after one of our lessons got cancelled. We pull into her yard just to find that she wasnt home! Bummer... so we start to circle around her yard in our car to make our exit. But as we started to pull forward, our truck stopped moving. Instantly I realized what it was. Because of the nonstop torrential downpour we've had this week, everything has turned into mud, and now our car was starting to get stuck in I--'s yard. I try to back up slowly, but its already too late, the two back wheels of the car spun hopelessly in the mud. As much as I love our little Toyota pickup, you gotta hate it when it doesnt have 4 wheel drive! Elder Millett gets out to try and push while I try drive back, but still no help. Then, thinking back to a certain similar experience that a certain apostle once talked about (honestly, like any missionary would do), I felt inspired to say "Elder... we need a load!" So Elder Millett gets in the bed of the truck and starts jumping up and down, trying to put enough weight on the back tires to get traction. But, despite trying to draw upon the wisdom of Elder Bednar and his general conference experience, we were still stuck. Lame.

Well, we humbly (and I mean humbly) called bishop to tow us out with his own 4x4. He did, and we got unstuck. And just as we were about to get the heck out of there, I-- pulled in! It was good timing, and we had a moment to chat. But it wasnt a good chat... She had just come back from a baptismal service at the Adventist church, and apparently she had a great time... She told us that she has decided to be baptized in the Adventist church, and didnt wish to take the lessons anymore. We pulled a calm face and said okay, but inside I pretty much exploded. We then talked a little bit about what she's learned with us, and we asked her if she believed that the Book of Mormon was true. She said well yeah, its awesome! Then we explained again to her that if the Book of Mormon is true, no other church could be the Church of Jesus Christ because they dont have the fullness of the Gospel. All in all, we were able to fix another lesson with her in the end, in such a critical moment. 

Looking back, we did not get humiliatingly stuck in the mud for nothing! I feel convinced that if we hadnt been there at that critical moment to speak with I--, we wouldnt have gotten another fresh chance like that again, and it would have been too late and we would have lost her. If we didnt get stuck, we would have already been outta there. Call it what you want, but I call it a tender mercy from a Heavenly Father who loves His children.

Every week there is so much to share, but only the best can be shared in one week. The adventures of Ball and Millett shall continue. I love you all! Maru noa.

Elder Ball

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