I promised myself this week I would be better and send you a detailed email; I haven’t been very good at that lately.
This week was a great week. It has been so hot here, but it finally cooled down yesterday and rained. We received so much rain that we had to go home and change a couple of times. :)
So, about two weeks ago we met a girl. It was actually kind of funny because it was about 8:30 at night and we were hungry and of course as 2 white girls we were craving American food. We went to the store looking for Tuna. I have to explain that in Bolivia residents just open little stores right out of their houses, so when you don’t find what you’re looking for, you just walk a couple houses down to another store. Well, the girl at the first store told us she didn’t have Tuna, its obviously not super popular here. As she tried to convince us the sardines she had were just like tuna, we began to ask a little about her life and gave her the pamphlet on the Restoration. We know the key to being a successful missionary is to first care about the people, to learn of their lives and talk to them as a friend. It is after learning about them and coming to care that we are able to teach our message. It makes all the difference.:)) Her name is X_____; she is 20 years old and has 2 kids. We could tell she has had it rough. She didn’t really want to tell us much about herself. We noticed that her arm was bandaged and she told us she had fallen out of a bus. We didn’t talk long because she didn’t seem too interested, but we were able to set a date to return.
Afterwards, we went to another little store across the street. We were still on our hunt for Tuna! Of course they didn’t have it either and so we began to talk to the lady working there. She had seen us talking to X_____ and asked who we were. We explained that we are missionaries and are here to speak of Jesus Christ to everyone. She told us that we needed to continue teaching X_____ because her situation is not good. She shared that she would often leave for weeks at a time without telling anyone, leaving her kids alone. Hearing things like this makes our hearts hurt and also creates a yearning to share what we know. We told this lady we would continue to pass by to visit until we were told to stop and then we would probably pass by one more time.:)
So, a few days later we went to our scheduled appointment with X_____. She wasn’t there. Instead, we found her aunt visiting from Santa Cruz. We introduced ourselves as missionaries and explained that we are here to speak of Christ. She became excited and told us she is an Evangelista and very religious. We told her we had come to talk with X_____. She explained that X______ had left in the middle of the night and they didn’t know where she had gone. She began to tell us a little bit about X_____ and brought up her bandaged arm, which we were told was the result of falling out of a bus. She told us that about a week before, they had walked into X_____’s bathroom to find she had cut herself, attempting to end her life. She also told us that while in Santa Cruz she had heard of the Mormon missionaries. She shared that she had a friend who was an alcoholic and struggling with her marriage. But, after meeting the missionaries, she stopped drinking and was able to save her marriage. She then said to us; "There is something about you. You change lives" and begged us to keep coming to help change X_____. There is nothing better then hearing that. We gave her a pamphlet about the Restoration and explained what that something is, the knowledge that gives power to change lives. There is something about this girl that is special and the Lord has prepared us to help her.
Because I left for exchanges with some Hermanas for a day we weren’t able to return until a couple of days later. X_____ was there! We sat with her on the porch and just talked. As we talked, I wrote a scripture on a piece of paper and left a place to add some goals. We explained to her our message; that lives are changed through the Power of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. We told her we are here for her and she can trust us, and then asked if she had a desire to change. She then shared EVERYTHING with us. Afterwards, she told us she had never told anyone besides her parents the things she had shared with us. I gave her the paper and together we listed goals and told her we would pass by everyday to see how she was doing with those goals. Before we left, she offered a prayer. We have gone back every night at 7:00 for the last 5 days. She has been completing her goals. She hasn’t been drinking and hasn’t left to go to parties. She told us she has been ignoring all the phone calls and text messages from her friends inviting her to come party. She also shared with us last night, that in these last few days she has come to truly see her children and how amazing they are. She recognizes how quickly they are growing and that she hasn’t been there enough for them. She shared that she feels a happiness she hasn’t felt for a long time. Last night we finally taught about the Restoration and for the first time she let us into her home. The spirit was strong. She was taken away by the first vision and told us she would pray because she wants to know for herself.
This is why I came out on my mission. I cannot even explain the happiness I feel. After that lesson I couldn’t help but walk through the streets of Bolivia with a smile on my face. I have prayed and prayed for her. She still has a ways to go, but the Lord is working in her and she is recognizing it. There is nothing better in life then to be a part of something like this. We will keep praying for her and working with her. There are miracles happening here and they are happening in your life too. Look for them, pray for them and they too will change your life forever. There is a power through the Gospel of Jesus Christ that changes the most difficult of circumstances.
I hope you have a great week! I love you all!!!
Love, Hermana Lomax