Monday, March 15, 2010

It's a Dog Eat Dog World Out There

Hey Everyone,
Oh dear! I 'm so sorry about Dad, first of all. Is he doing any better? Gosh, I hope so. I hope the Spring Break plans don't get cancelled.
Things here are going good in Raymondville. Well, honestly, what am I saying? Last week was a terrible disappointment. At the beginning of the week, we probably had about 20-25 investigators in our teaching pool last week and this week we are under 10. The week was pitiful. All of our VERY solid investigators dropped us. It was heart wrenching for most of them. Especially one man named Rigo, who was so excited for his baptismal date. He was ready to leave for church at 7:30 with a few of his kids when his wife came up to him and said that if he went to church, he'd be living in the street. "It's me or the church." It was really sad. He has a huge family and told us that obviously he can't abandon them. "I can just keep praying to God like I always have been, " he said. He and his wife were taught by the missionaries a few years ago, but she completely lost interest in the Bible and God and now wants nothing to do with it. It was hard because we never were able to actually meet her and invite her...I hope and pray that in a few months or years, her heart will be softened and the missionaries will find them again. That other family--Dora and Rigoberto--that we found, also called and semi-dropped us. We're not quite sure yet. We had an appointment on Wednesday, and they had to cancel because Dora had this test for work she had to study for; we rescheduled for Thursday at 8:30 pm and get there and she walks out and says, "Oh my goodness, I totally forget. I just got home and need to go pick up my kids from my moms. But I read the pamphlet, do you have any more literature to read? We were excited and gave her a Book of Mormon and told her that we were going to talk about it when we came again. Again, we rescheduled for Friday and then a few hours before, their daughter called us (10 years old) and said that they're family was leaving for the weekend. So...we'll see.
On a happy note, it appears one of my new talents is dog charmer. There are SO many dogs here in town and a few of the members/investigators have some pretty mean ones. Raul and Maria's home has a sign on the fence that says "Bewared very mean dog." (yes the "d" at the end of beware is not a typo) and also, "Bad Dog. Beware." Haha, well, this dog looks like Rex from Babe. He seems nice, but apparently he bites everyone and only like Maria and a few other people. I was determined to pet him, so after making friends with the pug (have you ever met a mean pug?) and the chow, I decided to slowly go towards "Gordo." After a few days of just walking by him on his chain, I finally went up to him and pet him. The same thing happened with Frances's Shar-Pei, whom she told everyone that he was REALLY mean and won't let you pet him. First off, Shar-Pei's are generally very mild tempered and I was confused. So after a while, I started going up to him and he'd bark and be mean. But eventually, he just needed some love and I got around to petting him. At her 16th birthday party yesterday, all the ward kids were over and the dog was playing with them all. The whole family was shocked because they thought he was mean. Not true. Haha.
Here are some quote from Raymondville (mostly from President Ramos):
  • "We have new Elders here in town." -Ramos
  • "Elders (referring to us), ladies first." -Ramos
  • In church: "Vamos a entonar el primer himno. En espanol, number one sixteen. And in English, sesenta uno." - Ramos.
Although the week was bad, as a whole, we had an amazing Saturday. We got up and were going to help an investigator move. Her name is Christina and she had to move out of her crazy drug house/trailer so that she could get her kids back. She needed to move into a "safer" environment--haha, yeah, I'm sure the druggies and the bar next door didn't help her situation. She broke her leg when he ex-husband came and pushed her down the stairs, so she needed some major help. We went over at 11 am, but she was no where to be found. We tried calling, but she never has been too good about answering our phone calls. So we just decided to go knocking for a few hours, until our next appointment. We did for a while, but weren't really feeling the street. We followed a prompting to go to another street where supposedly our investigators had moved. We went and ended up contacting a ton of people and taught a lesson and found a new investigator. Then, in the next few doors, we encountered Oscar and Patti--permagators from about October. They, of course, welcomed us in and had us sing for them (Patti thinks it's the greatest thing on the world when we sing, "OHHH! You sing so good! The boys never sang us songs." You meet a lot of interesting people on the mission and Patti and Oscar are definitely some of them. They met online and Saturday was their one-year-anniversary of their "finding each other." So romantic. We taught them a lesson, got a solid church commitment (like everyone in Raymondville. BTW, they didn't come to church) and then left. As we were leaving, we they invited us to their Carne Asada (Texas' version of a Barbecue) later that afternoon. As we were walking out, we saw that they had a mattress lying on the side of their home. Earlier that day, Christina's brother, Chano, called us asking if we had any sheets or an extra bed. He was rooming with Christina, but she was moving out and taking all the furniture (as it belonged to her), and now he and all the other guys were left alone in the trailer with absolutely nothing. Luckily, we had a lot of extra bedding and pillows from when we deep cleaned our house, and although we had thrown away most of the "junk," we decided to keep some just in case. We we got the sheets, pillow, and comforter all ready for him, but told him we didn't have a bed. Boy, were we in luck. This mattress was perfect! It wasn't a bed frame, but it would do. We called Chano, telling him we had the stuff, but we just needed to get ahold of someone to deliver the mattress.
We called us President Ramos, who said that he would be willing to help anytime. President Ramos is pretty much the world's biggest Cowboys fan. EVERYTHING in his home, yard, and on his trucks is Cowboys. I think the only time I've haven't seen him wearing Cowboys paraphernalia is on Sunday at church. He said he'd be wiling and for us to just give him a call.
We were about to go take a break, when we decided to take our break later in the day. We stopped by Christina's and she was finally home and packing up all sorts of things. She needed some boxes, so we left on a search to find some. We finally got ahold of about 8 banana boxes from HEB and came back. But by that time, she already was mostly packed up and didn't really need them. It was ok.
Then before our break, we decided to stop by a member, Sister Serrato, whose husband recently was put in jail because he didn't pay $1000 of child support. It's really sad, actually. She loves him so much and misses him a lot. She has 4 young kids, no driver's license, a car that is not legal to drive, so it's very stressful for her. She drives, but if she got caught, then the whole family would be out of luck. He recently was put in jail last week and so it's been pretty hard. We talked with her and shared the Gospel and it helped.
After eating chicken and veggies, and a quick 30 minute power nap, we got a call from Chano (actually, he woke me up from my nap, but it was all good because I would have slept over anyway). He told us that he missed our call. We told him about the stuff we got ahold of and he was SO grateful. "Dang! You got connections." We'd stop by later that day to deliver the stuff. We went to the Carne Asada, taught some more lessons, taught an awesome lesson with Rigo (now dropped... :( ) and the next thing we knew it, it was 8 pm. Presidnet Ramos was finally back from Harlingen and could deliver the mattress. We picked it up and dropped it off to Chano and he was super grateful. Turns out, that he and Ramos are old school buddies. It was a crazy long day, but it was really rewarding to be serving and teaching in so many ways.
I know that this week has really been a trial of my faith. Funny how I'm working on "faith" this transfer. The trial always comes and the witness always comes after the trial. I know that we experienced this week, so that we could appreciate the good. As Eve said in Moses 5:11, "AnWere it not for our transgression we never should have had seed and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient." It's very true. Without the fall of Adam and Ever, there would never be any joy or happiness because we wouldn't have known any better. I'm grateful for the hard times because they make me appreciate the good that much more. What a wonderful plan our Father in Heaven has created for us--it is perfect and really allows us to choose good or evil. We know the difference so that we can truly choose what we want.
Love you all! Have a great week!
Love,
Sister Burt

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