|An apple I bought last Pday...it came from Yakima all the way to Perú to be eaten by an Elder from the TriCities. What a ways for such a strangely familiar end.|
This week I had an experience that was both journal-worthy as well as letter home worthy. It was an experience that to me will be historical in the future, one that I think may be of great significance in the years to come. Remember that in the offices, the sisters had taught and baptized W, and that he had understood the gospel through an interpreter? Well, the interpreter, A, leaves for her mission in Chile on Wednesday, something that will be very difficult for W, because he is deaf and mute. He won´t have the interaction that he had before and it will become increasingly difficult for him to participate in the church. Why do I mention all of this story if I am in Trapiche though?
D was baptized 3 weeks ago. That´s when President Costa decided to start helping D to get technical training and get a job. He called on the branch council to pull together their resources to find out about what opportunities there are for a deaf person in Lima. D works as a solderer in his dad´s shop, but we want him to get out of the house so that he can leave behind an addiction to internet gaming that he has. If he spends the majority of the day out working or studying, it won´t be that hard to get rid of the distraction. Two weeks ago, I got permission from the zone leaders in Tahuantinsuyo to call the missionaries there and get a hold of A before she goes on her mission. Yesterday, A and W traveled the 45 minutes out to Trapiche to meet D. The emotion in the room was high when A started to ask about D´s story, whether he was deaf at birth or later, where he studied, how much he knows, whether he would be willing to come to Tahuantinsuyo to go to sacrament meeting with W so they can strengthen each other. He was the most attentive I had ever seen him and he responded that he could try it.
A has a plan to present to the area presidency tomorrow, the day before leaving for the mission. She wants to help the deaf members of the church to learn and understand the doctrines better so that they can stay active in the church. There’s a lot of deaf members like D, who haven´t been baptized or were baptized and fell away because they didn’t have the resources to continue learning without so much frustration. She said it would mean having a meeting in one of the stake centers of the north part of Lima to see how many deaf members are willing to participate and then teach them to work with the missionaries to find and activate the others. There would be training for ecclesiastical leaders and then there would be a solicitud (a request) to create a deaf branch for the north part of Lima. She estimates that currently there could be as many as 25 or 30 deaf members or family members in the several stakes here and she recognizes that if the plan is accepted, the area presidency might ask her to come back from her mission to spearhead the project. It´s so exciting to hear that something will be done soon to help them. I think one of the most exciting things is that I felt at peace about whether or not D would receive the help he needs to continue active in the church after the elders don´t visit three times a week.
I haven´t really accepted that the mission will end yet. I don´t cry or stay up late thinking about it. I understand that it will, and the thought comes to me a lot, but I don´t dwell on it. I know time is short and I am giving absolutely everything, more than anything, I want the missionaries to understand why they are here. I want everyone to have an eternal perspective of the work that they are doing and to see that though the down times (the few that there are) can be fun, but only when contrasted with many days spent working very very hard. In order to really feel like the mission that we serve has been accepted, when we pronounce that prayer, we have to have given it all, we have to have put it all aside for the 2 years and really put our whole heart, mind, might and soul into the work. Only then is it a worthy sacrifice, even though it isn´t when it leaves our hands. When it leaves our hands, it´s a bundle of sweaty white shirts, and dirty tracting shoes, agendas filled up and hours under the sun. When it leaves His hands though, it´s a shining offering of people changed, lives transformed, repentance made, and souls touched. We can´t do it on our own, and until my last day in the mission, I can´t stop thanking Him for changing my sacrifice for His.
I love you all, I know that time is short, but that doesn´t stop me from doing everything I can to take advantage of every last second.