I remember vividly when each of my swimming coaches would never fail to emphasize the importance of finishing each swimming race strong, especially during the last 5m. It was always a reminder not to glide to the end, or to breathe during the last few strokes in the freestyle. Everyone can start out strong, but the last 5 meters determines the Winner. This week being the last week of the transfer, Elder Cardon and I fixed a goal to work as hard as we possibly could even though there was a chance that either of us could leave for another ville in the mission. And once again, I can testify of how Heavenly Father blesses us if we are willing to hold on to the end.
First, with the miracles. One of the goals prayed about and set for our zones was to recommit themselves to perfect obedience, to talk to everyone and to find 3 new amis that they would be able to teach throughout the next transfer. It was very much a goal for us as it was for our zone. Elder Cardon and I had a lot more contacting time this week and we were keen on finding the people that the Lord had prepared for us.
We were walking in the park near our home, talking to every person that we could, when we found ourselves next to a park bench. A young man sat there, with his backpack. We introduced ourselves, telling him that we were missionaries and that we were here to present a message about the how the restored gospel brought the blessing and promise of eternal families. When he was asked, “What do you think of when you think of you family?” He said “la haine.” Unfamiliar with the word, we were a little bit taken aback when he explained that it meant “hate.” He said that his family had thrown him out of his home in Martinique and that since that time, he has spent his time working and trying to make a living. As I began to talk about how the gospel had blessed each of our families, and how Jesus Christ has helped me change to be a better person for my family, something changed in his countenance. We shared the message of the restoration with him, and offered to leave him with a prayer. He told us that he needed to find a new room where he could live, and so we prayed with him that he might be able to find one. After setting another appointment to meet with him again, we left.
On Friday, two days later, we met him again, and decided to go with him to the chapel to teach him since it was cold and rainy outside. During our lesson, he said, “you know, after you prayed with me, a friend of mine called me and told me that I could put up with him until I found a new room to live.” What a miracle! He said that he truly felt that God was leading him to where he needed to be at the right time. We invited him to be baptized and he committed to a date. Interestingly, this 20 year old even asked us if he would be able to one day be a missionary.
The second miracle happened at church yesterday. For many months, since being here, we had been trying to get in touch with an ami, John Fernando, that Elder Coulombe and I found. After meeting him with his family the first time, we were so sure that he was ready to be baptized because of how strong the spirit was when we taught him. However, after our first few lessons, he moved around a lot and it became nearly impossible to get in touch with him. Well, yesterday, halfaway through sacrament meeting, he showed up. He told us that while he was at the hospital that morning, something told him that he needed to come to church and meet with the missionaries. It was incredible how he even got to church because he had only ever come once and it is not the easiest location to find. We ended up teaching him after sacrament and we set a baptismal date with him as well.
2 baptismal dates were set this week and they came in such miraculous ways. I know that Heavenly Father helped us every step of the way as we “put our shoulder to the wheel and pushed along.” Most importantly, though, Elder Cardon and I had a great time just going out and working. True happiness.
There was another experience that I just had to share because it is so hilarious. Since the time when we first began teaching our now recent-convert Stephanie, she has often graced us with a couple of her really delicious chinese food dishes. Often, I would ask if she would have any chili to go with the dishes, since I am a big fan of spicy food. Each time, she would try to put more and more chili in the dish, and whenever she asked if it was hot enough, I’d answer, “it’s perfect, not the spiciest I have ever had, but it is perfect!” I guess she saw this as a little challenge because last week, when my companion and I visited her with our Bishop, she prepared some sushi, and she was excited for us to eat it. Thinking nothing of it, I popped an sushi in my mouth when all of a sudden, my nose started to burn. Before I knew it, I was tearing as the vapors from the wasabe in the sushi burned my nostrils like fire. She laughed and said, “Got you!!!” Without telling me, she had put a ton of wasabe in the sushi I was eating! While the experience was indeed painful, we all laughed it off, and I will remember this sushi experience forever, because it is the first time an ami, moreover a 64 year old ami, has ever played a prank on me.
Know that you are loved. I know that our Heavenly Father lives, and that there is nothing more important in this life than being able to live in happiness with our families for eternity.
Till next week,