Monday, May 10, 2010

Smiley-Face Park, Plates & the Camper-Trailer Investigator

Hello!
Wow, it was great to hear from everyone yesterday! It really lifted up and bolstered my spirits and got me pumped to keep going during these next few months. It was a "real treat" to get to talk to Chelsea too! Ah, family and friends are the source of happiness.
Anyways, I think I already spilled the beans for the upcoming week. And by "spill the beans" I really don't mean anything, because there's really nothing new to spill. Wow, that analogy just went horrible. But, alas, I'm too lazy to erase it, so just enough a laugh at the randomness that goes on in my head the majority of the time.
Well, I'll just share some random facts about this area. Every city in Texas has multiple water towers. I wasn't too familiar with water towers because I don't think we really have them in AZ (maybe we do, I was just too blind with life to pay attention). I don't know, I always thought that the ones I did see where antiques and "just for show." Anyways, the symbol of Raymondiville is a a water tower with a smiley face on it. Yep, a big white water tower with a blue happy face. It's great. It's right the base of the park, so most people give directions around town by saying, "Oh it's by Smiley-Face Park."
The Movie nights have been going well. We've had investigators at all of them except for the first one. We've been doing a progression of church history. First, "Testaments" explaining the Book of Mormon and the Savior's ministry here; next, the "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration", then "Legacy" (yes, an embarrassingly hilarious film about the pioneers and this week, "The Mountain of the Lord" which is about the building of the Salt Lake Temple. I'm enjoying it and I hope the investigators and recent converts are, too.
Ok, well, I told mom this story last night, but I guess I'll share with the rest. We had this investigator--Chano--who really didn't do anything except call us for food. So we dropped him. Well we hadn't heard from him in a while, even though we had seen him throughout Raymondivlle walking around (Raymondville is quite small, you see everyone). We think he was actually hurt that we dropped him. But anyways, we got a call from an investigator yesterday saying that she had "plates" for us. Now, PLATES are a very South Texas delicacy. Pretty much, people with Hispanic backgrounds, love to barbecue at any given opportunity: weekends, holidays, parties; so of course, Mother's Day was a opportune time to "carne asada" as they call it. Plates consist of heaping portions of rice, beans, mean (usually chicken, brisket, AND sausage), potato salad, and of course, 2 slices of store-brand (usually HEB) white bread. If you are eating a plate a party, HEB brand fruit flavored soda (such as strawberry, orange, etc) or cola is served. Gotta love South Texas. Anyways, she said that she had some plates for us all wrapped up and wanted us to pick them up. So we started heading over there. But as we were talking to her, we got a call on the other line from Chano, asking if he knew anywhere where we could get food to hold him over till tomorrow when he starts his new job. Wow, what great timing. We went and grabbed our plates, found him on the side of the main street (walking of course), and gave him one of the plates. You could tell that he was really grateful. He said he wanted to come to church again, but I told him that we had to stop coming because he wasn't really doing anything. I was fumbling over my words and he cut in, "You mean, I need to do my part too?" Exactly. But it's great to see how the Lord's hand is involved in our lives. I'm sure we were an answer to his prayer, and Angela was inspired to call us, so that we could serve him.
One Thursday, we had a LONG day. Thursday is the only day (besides Saturday) that we don't have something (like a meeting or activity). Oh, just kidding, now we have movie night. Oh well, still, Thursday's are rough sometimes. We looked at our schedule and realized that we had no appointments. Great. We usually ride bikes around 3-4 times a week (for exposure, exercise and to save miles). So we rode around and it was hot. We started knocking doors, in a more affluent (by Raymondville standards) and weren't having much success. In other areas, Thursday's were great days to do planned service activities, but we haven't been able to do that here because no one will let us. It also was hard to contact because we have hit the point where we have to start "re knocking streets." Meaning, literally, we've knocked on every door in our area, and have to start all over again. It's a big deflating doing it because you've already been rejected by these people once, and here you are on their doorstep again like you don't get the picture. Haha, but it's good because a lot of people weren't there the first time around, so hopefully you can catch them this time.
Well, I was just so bored out of my mind and started praying that someone would let us serve them. We rode to the other side of town (5 minute bike ride, tops) and were going to stop by an investigator. As we turned down her street, we saw three men moving a camper trailer (people commonly live in these here). We got off and asked if they needed help. They were a bit hesitant because Hispanics don't like women doing labor like that, but it was apparent that they needed a bit more manpower. We helped them move the camper trailer from one side of the lot, to the other. Although, they were sort of wimps about it and kept stopping every 5 minutes for a break. But, they had a harder job than us, so I can't complain. They asked us a few questions about the church and then we left. We came back to our investigators, and one of the young guys, Angel--who owned the camper trailer, from earlier was there. He's a good looking 20-year-old, who doesn't do drugs or drink because he sees the disaster that comes from it (his mother died from those things). He just wants to work and stay out of trouble. To me, he has an Orlando Bloom sort of look. Turns out he's good friends with out investigator , Belinda, and her daughters. We invited them to movie night and he came! After movie night, we taught him at the church and he's turning out to be an awesome investigator! He even came to church yesterday. All of that, just from a little prayer asking for an opportunity to serve.
Well, I love this Gospel so much. The more I learn, the more I love it and want to learn more. I was reading in the "Teachings of Brigham Young" manual yesterday, and loved this part: "President Young declared that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we possess the “doctrine of life and salvation for all the honest-in-heart”. He promised that those who receive the gospel in their hearts will have awakened “within them a desire to know and understand the things of God more than they ever did before in their lives” and will begin to “inquire, read and search and when they go to their Father in the name of Jesus he will not leave them without a witness”."
As we learn, accept and act upon true doctrine, our desire to learn the mysteries of God and his kingdom grows. The Book of Mormon is a catalyst to that changing process idle member or investigator, to a truly active disciple of Christ.
Love,
Sister Burt

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