Monday, November 2, 2009

After those Amish!

Buenos Familia,

Ok, thanks for the Halloween card you sent a while ago! You're the best. And thanks for the dresses. Unfortunately they are too short for missionary work. I wore the black one to Stake Conference and felt a bit self-conscience because it was too short for a Sister. Oh well, if I got a lacy petticoat thing to go underneath it to make it longer, it would work, but I don't have time for that. Oh and Sister Bustillos wants me to RE-ask Steve if he knows her friend Allison Thacker who served in Poland the same time as he.

Ok, to first answer Mom's question that I have answered a billion times since I've been up here. No, we don't speak nearly any Spanish at all up here in Beeville. Sorry, that's just the way it's going to be. Although, we do meet a random Spanish speaker here every once in a while, although it's nothing much. We have a return appointment with a man named Jesus tonight, but that's honestly the first Spanish person we will have taught in months.

But hey, I may not be speaking much Spanish, right now but I might have to start sprucing up my Chinese! We got a referral from Salt Lake the other day and it was in Cantonese. His name is Wilbert Wong. We dropped by his place and the first time he wasn't there. His 90 year-old-mom answered the door and started speaking in Chinese and we didn't understand. All we kept saying was, "Wilbert Wong? Wilbert Wong?" She shook her head and waggled her finger at us and just slammed the door. Ok. We'll try again. And try we did. We weren't back and Wilbert was weed whacking his yard. We tried to have a conversation but he speaks very little English--which is a bummer because from the referral, he spoke to some Sister at Temple Square and is really interested in prophets. Unfortunately, the language barrier is putting teaching him to a stop. We're getting a Cantonese Book of Mormon and will just have to drop it by his house. That's honestly the best we can do right now.

We're teaching this awesome lady, Leandra, and her children. We come over in the day when the kids are at school and teach Leandra and then come back later to just teach the kids. She loves it SO much and KNOWs that what we are teaching her is true. She asks us so many questions and the answers we give are the ones she wants because the Spirit is telling her that they are true. But we were teaching the Plan of Salvation to the kids the other day and just got done talking about the Spirit World--prison versus paradise. We said that good people go to paradise and immediately one of the little girls says, "So does that mean that Michael Jackson will be there?" Um...no honey. It was funny. I really don't get the OBSESSION everyone (even TONS of little kids, especially this family) has about Michael Jackson right now. I mean, I know he died and such, but I guess I'm just so out of the loop that it doesn't mean much to me. But Sister Bustillos and I laughed about that, because it isn't the first time Michael Jackson has been brought up in a lesson. Haha.
We're still teaching the Gonzales family and their progress has been amazing. Even this last week, Geneva (the mom who purposely works on Sunday and doesn't believe in the church anymore) came to church (grudgingly because he husband couldn't), but at the end, she LOVED it. She told us later that night that she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She felt better and knew that it was right. She even told Jesse--her husband--that she was going to get Sundays off from now on. That was one of the original ideas that we had when we thought about setting a baptismal date with their youngest--that through Beyonce learning and progressing in the Gospel, that Geneva would regain her testimony. It's been a long process, but it's happening and we're SO excited for them.

Oh so funny story. Last week, Sister Bustillos and I were working a street. I was knocking a door and heard some little kids inside singing "Beat it!" at the top of their lungs--obviously Guitar Hero. They were so loud that they couldn't hear the door, but the next thing I know, Sister Bustillos is running away saying, "Sister! The Amish!" We've had a few Amish sightings here in Beeville, but they're never in town. So I turn around and BARELY see this woman and another child in long dresses turn the corner...3 blocks away! She we start booking it because we've always wanted to teach the Amish. Of course, Sister Bustillos and I were sharing a bag of peanut butter M&Ms at the time and so we just shoved them into our mouth and ran as fast as we could. Imagine the sight: mouths full of M&Ms, trying our best to run, but struggling because our side bags are swinging all over the place. Then, Sister Bustillos starts laughing as we're running because I had this nasty wad of chocolate in my mouth and just spit it out. So we run and run and pass this house and almost get the corner. As we pass the house we both look to our left and there we see them....10 Amish people standing in the middle of the yard. We do a double take then we stop abruptly and act as though we always run randomly in the middle of the road. Then we try to play it cool and walk up to the mom and start talking. It was this Amish mom and her 9 kids. The oldest was 14, but most of them were youngin's. They were all dressed up in homemade Amish attire and were all so cute as they were playing around and jumping all over. One of the little boys had the bluest eyes, blond hair and seriously looked like a little Joseph Smith (suspenders and all!). We start talking and turns out that they just moved to town. We didn't really understand much why they were Amish, but living in town, carrying a cell phone, driving a car, etc. We told them we'd come back when their white van was there because that would mean the father was home.

Well, we went back yesterday and were so pumped to teach them because we talked about eternal families and gave them a Restoration pamphlet. The husband answered the door and immediately invited us inside. Turns out that they aren't really Amish anymore, but they "read the Bible a bit too closely" and as a result were kicked out of the community. They now live in town and still sort of live and dress the Amish way, but not really. But he is such a hard core, staunch Bible reader, that if you don't follow everything in the Bible, then he won't listen. For example, in the Bible is says that women should not wear jewelry, women should have plaited hair, or women shouldn't teach in church. We told him that women do teach in church and explained about apostasy and the Joseph Smith translation, but whenever we would say that, he would say that we are then "adding" to the Bible. Oh well, we tried and testified all that we could, but in the end, his heart just wasn't completely open. We quickly move on and find other investigators.

Halloween was a bit lame, we went in at 6 pm. Dressed up like Japanese Geishas and played BANG! with the Elders in the stairwell of our apartment. But, it was the first time I've been able to have time to play BANG or ANY game on my mission, it was fun.

But last week we had an AMAZING week. I know it is because of our focus on being diligent in all aspects--THOUGHT and actions. The Lord blessed us so much and I know this church is God's true and living church.

Love you all!
Sister Burt

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