Monday, November 9, 2009

All Dog's Go to Heaven

Hey Everyone,

I got your package mom! Wow, that was really unexpected, yet I really appreciate it. Those were the things that I asked for a few months ago, but I just assumed you forgot. It wasn't a big deal, but lucky for me, I have the best mom in the world! (Poor Sister Bustillos has been asking her mom to send her some makeup and other essentially things since July and her mom still hasn't sent them :( ). Anyways, that's super exciting about Quinn and Claire. I never met her, but I remember you telling me that he was waiting for her and being super faithful by not dating any other girls because "that's not fair to Claire." SO cute. Tell them congratulations! It's funny because I told that story to Sister Bustillos (we know everything about each other's lives: all our friends, neighbors, hobbies, stories, etc. You get pretty close on the mission). When is the date for the wedding? I'm jealous. I want to go to Hong Kong! Lucky them!

This week has been really great! Beyonce Gonzales is getting baptized this week, so they're excited for that. We still eat dinner and teach at their house 3 times a week. It's been fun. This Saturday, they made chicken salads (which is as FIRST) for my companion because she is--according to Bro. Gonzales--a Veggie-saurus. We also got introduced to the rat that they have living in the walls of their house--his name is Ben and he's bigger than their cats. I didn't believe it at first, but it's true! The thing is huge and nasty. They also have these two dogs (of the many) named Charlie and Spike. Spike is a small little mutt with black and white spots and Charlie is a golden retriever. They are named after the main characters in the movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven." Haha, I loved that because I love Don Bluth movies and that one is a classic. But what's funny about Charlie and Spike is that they are outside dogs and like to follow us around. Sometimes we'll be tracting at night (it gets dark at 6:30 now...which is quite lame because no one lets us in now!), and Charlie and Spike will follow us and be our guard dogs. It's hilarious. They even followed us all the way to Tony's house a few blocks down and sat on the ground as we taught him a lesson on his patio. Good dogs.

We had to drop our blind investigator Pancho. All he did was drink, smoke, and complain and didn't have the faith to get up for church or do ANYTHING for that matter. He frequently told us that he's fed up with being blind and wants to just throw himself in the street and die. It's sad, but our time is precious as missionaries.

We have a different Mexican man named Moe Garcia who we are teaching. He works as a cleaner for this rich lady in this random street in north Beeville that has like the only 10 NICE homes in town. We contacted him as he was working on detailing his truck (the red leather on the inside was old and gross and he was putting new red leather polish on it). We shared the Joseph Smith story and he was in awe! "I've never heard that before." He thanked us for much for teaching him something new about God. We came back later and gave him a Book of Mormon and he loved it! When we call or stop by, he always tells us how he's been reading "that book that you gave me." One time when we called, he was so excited to tell us that he read the testimony of the 3 witnesses (he repeated it about three times) and also the testimony of Joseph Smith ("Joseph Smith. He was praying in his bed and an angel in a white robe appeared." He mentioned the white robe about three times as well, haha). Actually, we were tracting on that nice street a few weeks ago and started talking to this lady at her door. As we were talking to her (not interested), we saw this man walk by. He turned around and stared through the windows at us. We assumed it was her husband, but then we recognized it as Moe and he waved. Later he told us, "When I saw you at my boss's house, I jumped for joy to see my friends." He's so cute. He calls us his friends and always calls us at night saying, "I'm just so worried about you. You walk all day long and are tired. I'm just worried. Go home so you'll be ok." Anyways, he's cool, but hasn't been able to come to church yet. Next week will be the clutch moment for him because if he doesn't show his faith and come to church, there's really not much more we can do. Although, he does say that he knows our church is true because we have the Book of Mormon and that he actually learns things when we teach rather than when he goes to the Catholic Church. So, there's hope.

Ok, onto Leandra. I mentioned her last week and she's super awesome! We taught her the Word of Wisdom and we were nervous because she is a hard-core smoker. But she accepted it and wants to quit. The next day, she called us in the morning saying that she got the day off and wanted us to come over as soon as possible. So we went over and she was chewing gum and sunflower seeds and said that it's been hard, but she really wants to do it. She even passed up tea when he husband bought her some at the store and called him a heathen for buying that. We taught her one day about the Gospel and in the middle of it, she stopped us and asked what was going to happen to her mom, dad, and 3 nieces (who died in a car accident a few years ago). She then asked us what she had to do to go to the temple to be baptized for them. We taught an awesome lesson about temples and that just a few weeks after she is baptized, she will be able to go and do their work. She understood and accepted it. During that lesson, RIGHT as we were about to extend a baptismal invitation to her, her phone rang and it was her work calling her in. So she picked up and left. Another time, Sister Bustillos was in the middle of saying, "Would you be baptized?" when the TV in the other room, randomly turned on really loudly and drained the Spirit. It was sad. Another time we were teaching her kids and she asked us how many times she needed to come to church before she could be baptized? I was oblivious and told her the answer and then went back to teaching the kids! Haha, I was so out of it that I didn't even think to set a date with her right then. SO...FINALLY, after a few lessons of her saying, "So when I'm baptized, I'm going to..." we got the hint and set a formal date with her. Haha, Satan REALLY didn't want her to accept it because she's so awesome and also, we were a bit oblivious to the times when we should have asked her. We also set a date with her 9-year-old daughter. It should be November 28th, but since then she has expressed some doubts and concerns and isn't so sure she is going to be baptized. We haven't had the chance to sit down and talk to her about those (the way we found out was from the daughter who told us, "My mom isn't getting baptized anymore." WHAT?!). But she went to church this Sunday with all her kids and supposedly loved it. We should visit her tomorrow, so pray that all goes well because we love this family so much.

I'm learning a lot about how the Lord prepares people. You can't force the Gospel on them. If they aren't ready, they aren't ready. They only can be when the Spirit has been able to enter unto their heart and they accept it. Sometimes contacts are frustrating because we try to force and convince people of the truthfulness of this Gospel. But like the apostle Paul, he didn't speak with eloquent words, but with the Holy Ghost--as should we. We haven't been able to get into doors this week (we only had one new investigator and normally we have anywhere from 8-10 per week), but I'm not complaining because the investigators that we do have are amazing and progressing. I'd rather have 5 progressing investigators than 100 duds who don't do anything. I love that when we talk to people, we are just giving them a choice to use their agency. It's hard when you see a cute family or a struggling one and know that the Gospel can and will help them, yet they shut the door, ignore you, or say that they "are good." It's sad, but it's all part of Heavenly Father's plan. We are free to choose. As members of the church and missionaries, we are also free to choose how much of the Spirit we get. The Spirit doesn't have agency, but rather lives by celestial laws. If we do things that make us more worthy of the Spirit, we are immediately blessed with more of it. WE DECIDE how much of it we want. I learned this concept a few months ago when Elder Neilsen came to Zone Conference and it has resided with me still. If I want more Spirit, then I need to step it up and do more of the things that I know invite it: more scripture study, more family prayer, better prayers, nicer thoughts, kinder actions, more charity. It is possible and I hope that everyone this week, strive to do more things to make the Spirit a stronger presence in their lives. I know this is true and I know that the more Spirit we have, the clearer our picture, focus, and destination becomes.

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Burt

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