Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm probably going home

Hey! Right now I’m writing in a ciber (internet cafe) on the oldest computer in the world, hearing cheesy 80s music being played from the radio, and there is a dirty dog sitting 10 feet away from me barking. Yes it is just chilling in this ciber.

We have been working hard with the 4 hours I’ve had to work daily. In one day we contacted 5 references and received 2! That has never happened in my mission.

Elder Hobbs and I were calling at a door. No one was coming out. Elder Hobbs was petting their dog through the fence. Then I tried, and it chomped at my hand. Then he started petting it again. Then I tried, and it tried to eat my hand again. I’m not a dog person.

For my therapy they always do 3 things that don’t help. They give me electric shock therapy [electric stimulation therapy] on my back, they put hot pads on my back, and they put an electromagnetic machine on my back.

Yesterday, Elder Haddad and I went to the house of a woman he had taught once before. She lives in a very poor area. The house is just wood thrown together and freezing. The fog from the river and the smoke from all of the people’s fires make a very thick fog. The lady looked about 35 and lives with her husband who looks extremely old. I thought he was her dad. He smokes and drinks so much to the point that he got cancer and had to have the smoker’s hole in his neck [tracheotomy] so he can breathe. To cap the hole, he has something that looks like a film canister shoved in there. It wheezes. All of his breathing sounds labored. When he talks, it is just a wheezing sound. I felt short of breath just seeing him. He is completely dependent on her and has zero responsibility and is mentally handicapped because of the alcohol’s effect on his brain. Sad. We tried teaching the plan of salvation but the husband kept interrupting. We arrived at their house in the middle of a fight. And then a drunk friend of the husband showed up. We closed with a prayer and left. We’ll teach them in a better moment. That was one of the most weird and impactful citas I’ve ever had.

OK, now dealing with the subject title, "I’m probably going home."

On Friday I got a call from the AP. He told me I was having a sobre cambio (emergency transfer?) to Osorno, and that Elder Haddad would be my companion. Elder Haddad works in the office and is the mission secretary. Elder Ryan also trained him. We bussed down to Osorno Saturday evening. We went to the office. Elder Hobbs got a new comp who was in a trio in Chiloè. They went back to Valdivia. Bussing down, I was thinking why I would be going to be with Elder Haddad in the office if all of the office positions were already full. Then it hit me. I’m going home. I was uneasy the rest of that bus ride. I couldn’t nap. In Osorno, Presidente Obeso pulled me in for an interview and told me that one of the doctors in the church offices in Salt Lake City reviewed my MRI scan and said that I need to come home. He said that my back injury can only be healed with rest, and I can’t get adequate rest in the mission. He asked me how I felt about that. I started crying and told him that I didn’t want to go home, but if it was God’s will that I go home so I can get better and come back out I would be willing to go home. He told me he will talk to the doctor, and see if there is a chance that I can work in the office until I get better. I asked him when I will know for sure if I stay or if I go. He said we should probably know by Tuesday (tomorrow).

Afterwards, I went with Elder Haddad to our ward’s talent show. It was the best activity I’ve ever seen in Chile. It was amazing. This ward is amazing. They have the best bishop ever here in Overjerìa.

Later, I talked more with Elder Haddad. He said I’m probably going home because of how the cambios are working out. He was just with Elder Wertner, who also went home for back problems. He said we seem to be in the same boat.

That night, I couldn’t fall asleep just thinking about it all. Yesterday in church helped me out a ton. I felt the Spirit extremely strong as I took the sacrament. Also in priesthood meeting, a lot of things touched my heart. An hermano said something that helped me and it made me think: "God has a vision so much grander than mine. He’s only giving me what is going to make me the most happy and help me become the most like him."

I feel calm. I trust in God. Some scriptures that have helped me are 2 Timothy 1:7 and Doctrine and Covenants 68:6.

The night I received my sobre cambio call, we taught a recent convert in the ward of Martinez de Rosaz named Juan. He is amazing. We went to go over the plan of salvation with him. He told it to us perfectly, like as if he was a missionary. We were amazed. We invited his non-member wife to come and listen. She asked the question of what happens to kids who die, what happens to them when they die? We were able to show her Doctrine and Covenants 137:7-10 where it talks about that. What joy! I felt the Spirit. Then I felt the Spirit prompt me to ask them for a reference. They said their neighbor’s first grandchild was a stillborn child. That happened pretty recently. We took their address. It feels so great to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

Earlier in the week, I was reading Jesus the Christ. On page 519 and 520, it was narrating John 12: 27-36 and talking about Christ’s last week of life. He was in Jerusalem teaching, healing, shutting down all of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes’ attempts to trap him in his words. And he was thinking about the end of his life. He was weighed down with the thought of atoning for the sins of the world, suffering scourging, being betrayed and rejected, and being lifted up on the cross and crucified. He cried out to God in a prayer and asked for strength to follow along with God’s will. He finished his prayer saying, "God, may thine name be glorified." Then God’s voice came from heaven and all the multitude heard it. God said, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again." I felt the Spirit very strong. Christ was pleading for comfort, and God gave him the assurance that he could atone for the sins of the world. That he could do it. And that whatever happened, God’s name would be glorified. I felt that applies to me right now. I don’t know what is going to happen with me. I feel that I am going home. But I know that God is going to glorify his name with whatever happens. Whatever happens will be the best thing for me and for everything else, and it will only serve to move God’s work along. Only good things can result from this. I trust in God. I feel like that was something that was drilled into me from my time in the house, full of fear, and worry, and wondering if I’ll go home or not. I learned that I just need to trust God and that he has a perfect plan made for me. So I can just relax.

I share that with you Mom, Dad, and kids in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder West

Me, Hobbs, Garcia and Davis.