Monday, September 5, 2016

Week 63 - Sad, Exciting, and Joyful Experiences

 Walking the Streets!
 Another "sweet pic"!
 Jeffrey's first Zone Leaders who are now in his Zone and going home in 3 weeks.
 Jeffrey and Pedro
Reading the Book Of Mormon on a couch in the middle of a field...why not?! 
Epic Basketball game at 5am!

Dear Family and Friends,

All is well down here in Saltillo!  I want to mention a few really unique experiences I had this week. Some were filled with excitement, others were incredibly sad, and the best were filled with joy. 

First of all, I was super happy when I heard that Irma, a woman Elder Johnson and I had found and were teaching in Nueva Rosita, was baptized this past weekend! I was super excited for her! I also heard that her grandson and another person that we found  are going to be baptized this Saturday. It is very true that sometimes you reap and sometimes you sow here in mission field. 

This past Thursday morning, we also had the leadership council for the month of September. The highlight was the 5AM basketball game with the assistants and some of the zone leaders. It was a blast playing basketball with other missionaries from all parts of Latin America, (with all sorts of street rules that I had never heard of). My companion and I were sore for days.   I felt like I had just finished "2 a days" for high school football. However, it didn't stop us from working like normal and we had a successful week. 

The sad experience this week was that I attended my second funeral here in Mexico. In fact, I have now gone to more funerals during the 14 months I have on the mission than I had gone to in the 19 years I had before I started. The first time in Nueva Rosita when I gave my first funeral talk.  The second time around, I didn't have to speak, but it was most definitely a more sad experience. 

The funeral honored the late Sister Lucia, aged 76, in our ward here in the Aurora. My companion and I didn't even meet her until last Tuesday. Last Tuesday, a brother from the ward dropped us off in front of her house, which is actually one single concrete room in the middle of a dirt field. We were very excited to meet sister Lucia because she was a recent convert that was baptized 4 months earlier. We were also excited to meet here husband Pedro, who isn't a member, who committed to being baptized later in the lesson. 

It was perhaps one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had on my mission when she invited us into her kitchen, which was another room with 4 concrete walls. She mentioned that she didn't have running water or electricity. She then pointed to the corner of her kitchen and said, with a smile, ''look there's my fridge'', I looked around and was very confused wondering how a fridge could work without electricity. I then realized that the fridge she referred to, was a spot on the dirt floor that was soaked with water and on top of it, was placed a carton of milk. She said that the water keeps the milk good for a few days. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my mission when she then gave us eggs and beans to eat and I could truly feel the love that she had for us, even though we had just met her and she had very few of the essential items of everyday life. 

Sadly, just days after meeting us and sharing food with us, she got very sick and went to the hospital and passed away on Saturday evening. Elder Marin and I attended her funeral, to support her husband.   During the funeral, I noticed that there was a great difference between the members of the church, who sang hymns, shared a nice message and have knowledge of the plan of salvation. Those that weren't sure what's going to happen after this life began to cry, scream and the situation almost became violent. 

I was very grateful for the knowledge of the plan of salvation, knowing that if we follow the plan that God gave us we are going to be happy forever, and even though we all have trials and problems in this life, we can face them with calm and peace knowing that we have faith in Him. 

The most joyful moment of the week was when Elder Marin and I went on splits with 2 adult members of the ward and we were able to find an incredible family of 8, that we have been looking for for 3 weeks. We couldn't find them because they moved but after some diligent searching we found them all and I am so excited to continue teaching them! 

Thanks for all of the support, 
Elder Shipley 

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