Monday, September 16, 2013

Letter #52 09/16/13

Dear Family and Friends,
Last week I wrote about the "Santa Rosa" (tropical storm) that happened last week. Apparently Saint Rose heard me and decided to show her true colors. It's been raining for four days straight, and is forecasted to last for a few more days, with strong winds. My umbrella broke yesterday from the wind so I am mostly using it as a polka-dotted shield in front of me, because the rain here falls sideways. I finally heard the story about why it's called Santa Rosa: In the early days of the colonies in Uruguay, the Dutch or the English or French (the member lady who told me couldn't remember which, but it's one of the three) came to invade. The inhabitants along the coast prayed to Saint Rose to protect them. In response, she sent a huge storm that prevented the Dutch/English/French ships from landing. I understand-- in a storm like this I'd give up trying to invade Uruguay too. Fortunately, I'm preaching the gospel instead, and God is more powerful than any storm.
Saint Rose also seems to be against investigators coming to church. We have been teaching a great young couple who in our last lesson invited themselves to church without us even bringing up the subject. We passed by on Saturday night to see if they were still coming and Javier came out and greeted us with a broken wrist. We went inside the house to find Yeni, his girlfriend, lying in bed looking weak and yellowish. Apparently she had passed out shortly before we got there and were about to leave for the hospital. We said a prayer with them so everything would go well at the hospital, and that she would recuperate soon. I told them that if they felt better they were still welcome at church the next day, and Javier responded enthusiastically that they would do everything possible to come, which surprised me. They must have had something happen because they didn't show. We're going to visit them today to find out.
One of our strongest investigators (the one we found last week that was the miracle) dropped us on Sunday morning when we called to remind her about church.
I hate Satan.
Like my wonderful companion keeps saying, "Everything happens for a reason." I believe that too, it's just a little frustrating when we feel like we've done everything we can and we don't immediately see the results. I understand a little bit more about how Heavenly Father and Jesus must feel when I do something I should, or don't do something I know I should. I imagine Christ thinking to Himself, "I suffered and died and gave everything for you, so you could be preaching My gospel. Please start Personal Study at 8:00 instead of 8:02. It's the least you could do." I'm not saying that I'm a disobedient missionary; there will always be things to improve, but the experiences this week have made me see with more clarity the great love that God has for every one of His precious children, and how sad he feels when they disobey or don't understand the consequences of their actions.
Anyway, a little about the ward:
Our bishop is really cool. He has one eye and works in construction. He has three kids, and they just got another dog: a German shepherd. Since they live right behind us and we share the same yard, I feel like we just got a new dog too! I also feel safer than ever to have two worthy Melchizedek priesthood holders in front and behind us.
There is a great brother in the ward named Leo, who teaches Sunday school every other week. He is wheelchair-bound and has trouble speaking, but I have never met anyone before with a testimony of Jesus Christ that seems to radiate so powerfully out of every part of his being.
The sister who coordinates our lunches every day is named Maruja, and she's like another grandma to me-- mi abuelita. She's one of the oldest members in the ward and is hard of hearing, and I think that about 75% of the time she just guesses what we're saying, because some of her responses are really out of context. Love her to death, though.
Speaking of old ladies, Bishop Machado's mother lives with them, and I am now convinced that she's no longer completely sane. She gave my  companion quite the scare our second week. At first we didn't have curtains, but we used to get dressed in the back room of our house that just has one window that looks out onto the bishop's patio, but it's placed in such a way that you don't naturally look into it as you pass by. My companion was changing and I was in the kitchen when I suddenly hear a loud gasp, followed by "Oh! Hola!" followed by old-woman laughter. Luckily, the bishop's mom had just popped her head in the window at exactly the moment my comp finished changing. Don't worry, we have curtains now.
Anyway, Love you all, hope all is well.
Love you forever,
Hermana Phillips

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