Cape Verdean babies!
Its cold here in Rhode Island.... this morning when we left our apartment it was 25 degrees! And I, like Darren, turned on the heat for the first time, thus ushering the official start of winter. With this cold front has come a little bit of spiritual opposition.
Last week we were preparing two families for baptism this past sunday, but in the end it wasn't the right time for anyone. As Elder Holland says, salvation is not a cheap experience, and some of our people are paying a token of the Savior's price as they work through bad habits and addictions. It was hard because in both cases we found out, not directly, but through other people, that they were suffering/falling to temptation behind the scenes.
I learned a few lessons this week:
1) Addiction likes to be hidden. I was reminded of an ad I saw on the side of a bus in Brockton: "Hunger is hidden". The adversary convinces so many that they shouldn't tell the ones who can help them about their struggles, for shame, sharp guilt, or fear of punishment. I think we all know what that feels like. Even after weknew of an addiction this week, and asked the individual everything we could to help her confess her struggles to us and let us help her, that "wounded animal" inside would not come out into the open. She just couldn't tell. So we keep working, praying, reading with her. And we shared these: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/12-steps-to-change?lang=eng
2) Trying to force conversion/change never works -- we must invite and trust in the Lord's work behind the scenes.
Our missionary work is like trying to move a wet spaghetti noodle across a table. If we try to push from behind it just spreads all over the table and goes nowhere. But if we pull from the front, tracking the path ahead, it follows a straight line behind our hand.
In the shower (where I get most of my best ideas) I asked what we should do. Actually, I asked if we should keep trying to get to overcome their struggles before sunday. The answer was surprisingly clear... like a big knot inside just unloosed and the Lord told me to chill out, and trust his timing. That He's not working on cosmetic changes with these people, but deep transformation. And I felt instant peace.
At church I compared how I felt about my people, compared to how I felt 20 months ago. There's a love there for them that I couldn't access before; a trust in God I didn't know before; and a happiness that actually makes me a lot smarter and a lot more perceptive.
So long story short, all is well :) Sorry if this email came off wicked dramatic, but I learned a lot this week. The work goes on, and I'm learning a little more of the father-of-king-lamoni sacrifices required to really know God.
I love you all! Go kill it this week!