Monday, September 29, 2014

There are no coincidences.


Hey no worries, we don't have a car, but the district leader picks us up every Monday in his soccer-mom van. So I've never had to strap tuna to my bike, but a guy gave us three deep-fried cow fish yesterday.

On Oct. 10 a movie (yea, a real movie) comes out in theaters called Meet the Mormons. The church made it not (necessarily) to baptize people, but to inform them. We watched it on Friday in a sweet sneak-peek with President Drake, and it really impressed me. It talks about 6 families, the lives they live, the trials they have, and how they find happiness. Even though it shares very little doctrine, it shows the entire Gospel. I felt I could see Jesus Christ in the lives of these faithful members, in their countenances. Please go see it.

Friday was the biggest church fiesta of the year: Fiestas Patrias, where we celebrate the Indepenance and culture of our many beloved paises hispanos. We brought three families, and saw many less actives and potential investigators there. The place was packed. We had a ton of fun seeing so much food from so many countries, music, and dances. The district even participated a little, Elder Mamea taught us the haka and we performed it in front of everyone. It was really exciting to see our ward doing what the prophet has asked as they fellow-shipped, gave rides to, and brought tons of food for those in the process of becoming active members.

That night we also saw Jose get baptized. That was a really big faith building experience for me, because Elder Poulson and I found him, and when we did, he didn't look like much. He was on some stairs that day reading book. We gave him a better one. We came back that week to teach him and found out he was one of those types that is incredibly hard to talk teach because they can't stop talking or stay on one topic. After struggling for a few minutes to get him to think about prophets, I conceded that it really is about him. So we talked about him. We found out everything about him. I decided to believe that this broken man really could accept the Gospel. We let him know that the Gospel would change him. We invited him to be baptized and he accepted. And then we had to refer him to the sisters because he doesn't really speak Spanish. I am so grateful we did what we were supposed to, had faith, and invited him to be baptized the first time we taught him. I understand faith so much more than I did before the mission. It is more than just belief, it is more than just action, it is a reassurance, it is a drive, it is a different way of thinking and feeling and being.

And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

I've decided that because God lives, there are no coincidences. Thursday, ten minutes after following up with some commitments we had left with our investigator Tatiana, she called us back excitedly (people don't really call us so it was a surprise). It turned out that she was sitting in her friends hair salon when we called her, and after hanging up she got to talking about us to her friend Deyra, the hair lady. She told her about the white kid and the Hawaiian guy that come to visit her family and that's when they realized they both knew us. Her friend is our investigator Deyra we've been trying to bring to church for four weeks. So our Heavenly Father had us teaching two best friends at the same time, one who loves church and one who won't step foot in it. We didn't know they knew each other and neither of them knew the other was also seeing the missionaries. Man that was hard to explain, but it was exciting. 
The second non-coincidence tender mercy happened in sacrament meeting. I visited a member named Cesar a lot when I served next to downtown in Broadway 3. He often comes to church in a t-shirt and stays for all three wards. A member pointed him out to me this Sunday, thinking it was a visitor, and I sat next to him. I told him I was glad to see him. He lives alone and doesn't have a lot of family or help, and just hit a financial road-block. He told me he'd have to go live with his dad, "but I'll have to find him first," he said, "I don't know where he lives or anything right now." After the meeting, we stood up to head to class. When he turned around and saw the Hermana's new investigator who was there for the first time just a few rows behind us he said "Dad!?" yep, the Libro de Mormon toting Fransisco really was him. Little family reunion unfolded before our eyes, Cesar telling him about his knee-surgery and baptism and things. The two of them sat together in Sunday school and priesthood.  

God makes everything work out. 

I will watch the conference in Broadway chapel. I wish we went to church for conference when I was a kid. It is better. The word on the street is that the foreign language speaking authorities won't have to speak in English anymore, that's good with me because I like Spanish better anyway.

Elder Decker


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