This past week I went on an intercambio to Maranga, and I think it was the 6th or 7th time I´ve been there on some kind of intercambio. All the members recognize me which is pretty funny, it´s almost like another sector that I´ve had. But it´s a great sector! I was with an hermana from Ecuador named Hna. Zumba and she´s super funny and energetic. Hermana Belt stayed here in Escardo with hna Almodovar from Mexico. They were able to put a date with Juan for this Saturday el 16 de Agosto! He accepted the principle of diezmo which in itself is a huge blessing with all the medical expenses they have with Eliane. But he realizes the blessings he will receive and has so much faith! They are such a great family and I know some day the rest of his family will follow him into the church.
So yesterday in church we were sitting in ward counsil when the bishop announced something that just kind of threw Hermana Belt and I for a loop. Apparently this last week in a young men´s activity a cell phone went missing and they found that a young joven named Gabriel had stolen it. Gabriel is one of our investigators, he is only 15, and he had been making such wonderful growth in his conversion! Or so we thought. We´ve been working with Gabriel since we arrived here, and he´s always had trouble with reading in the book of mormon and praying, but he´s come almost every week to church! He had made friends with the young men and was involved in all the activities, he even came early to the activity on independence day to help with the decorations. It was really hard to hear that he had fallen like that. The young men´s president was really sad too, because he had grown to really love Gabriel as well. Hermana Belt and I left just feeling shocked because we had no idea. I spoke in sacrament meeting about the missionary work and the members and how they can help, and lots of people came up to me after and told me it had really animated them to share the gospel, so we´ll see! Our ward needs a little boost. But all day long we were thinking about Gabriel. Last night we stopped by to see him, and he didn´t tell us what had happened, but he opened up more than ever and told us,
I´m not one to believe in God. I´ve just never had good luck. My dad is a person who believes in God, he´s a good person... why don´t good things come to him? Why do the bad people win?
It was so hard for me to see such a young kid with only 15 years have to grow up so fast and feel so lost. I prayed for the words to tell him and testified with the spirit that I KNOW that God lives and loves us so much, and that those bad people will get their reward someday. I told him that sometimes we need faith to carry us through. He told me, I´m trying to recuperate the faith hermana.
After talking to him and walking down the street, I just felt heartbroken. I had grown to honestly care about Gabriel and I had seen that he was progressing! I started asking if I had done everything I could have. I was reminded of the Lord in Jacob 5, What more could I have done for my vineyard? I think I felt the tiniest sliver of the pain that our Heavenly Father feels everytime one of his children shakes his fists at heaven in anger or sadness, or is disobedient and breaks a commandment. God loves us all SO much! I can´t explain why bad things happen, but I know one day we´ll understand and we´ll see that they weren´t stumbling blocks as much as stepping stones. We just need to trust in Him and His love for us.
Each week has its ups and downs but all in all we saw blessings and saw the spirit guiding us. We were in the right place at the right time several times, running into people in the street that needed our help. I´m so grateful to know that the Lord is using me as an instrument in His hands.
I love you all so much! Thanks for writing. Give Brynn a big hug for me this week!! Have a fantastic week!
Love, Hermana Anderson