Elder Isaac Blake

Elder Isaac Blake
Email: isaac.blake@myldsmail.net

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Familia and amigos,

Wow. This week has been really hard, not gonna sugarcoat it. Probably my hardest week since I started and was adapting and all. The people are hard hearted - members, investigators, neighbors, bus-drivers etc. Even the dogs (comp took one for the team in his behind). 

I'll start with what was to be the highlight - Lila. As a refresher, shes 69, lives alone, and is genuinely awesome. We had been preparing her baptism for 22 de Feb. Tuesday, we reviewed the baptismal interview questions. Her testimony is strong, and she just had a small problem with the Word of Wisdom - giving up tea and wine tasting. However, she offered a heartfelt, amazing prayer that went like this: "God, thanks for the misioneros. We learned today that we shouldn't drink tea or wine, even if we don't understand why, and hmmmm, well, we're gonna do it! Amen, amen, amen"

We left feeling uplifted and optimistic and full of hope. 

Thursday, we had part 2 of the pre-interview. This time, she told us that she did not agree with the Law of Chastity, which prohibits sexual relations before marriage, the Law of Tithing, in which we give 10% of our income to the Lord's Church, and the Word of Wisdom. We'd taught each commandment 2 or 3 times, and she committed to live them every time, without problem. So that came as a bit of a surprise. Turns out that in her widow's state she has a secret boyfriend (yeah) that comes over every once in a while to spend the night. She says she's a free spirit. 

Man. I really love her. We've been teaching her for almost 2 months, watching her grow and progress and get serious, and we've grown really close. It killed me to have her tell the truth, that she doesn't believe she is sinning. I can't say she has been lying, because I think she genuinely just doesn't understand. Honestly, I think we suck as teachers, because this happens a lot. They progress, and then all of a sudden, they have problems with all of the little things, looking at the commandments like burdens, unnecessary changes that contradict their culture. 

Thursday, when she light-heartedly talked about these "cultural differences," I felt over-powered with the Spirit. I straight up said - "Lila, we love you, but you are sinning. You need to repent." I don't know if it entered her hard heart, but I thought it did. As she said the prayer, she broke down at the end and started to cry. 

We haven't really seen or heard from her since, because she got sick and couldn't come to church. I'd like to think she feels the Spirit testifying of her wary ways, but I really don't know if she just felt sad that she "disappointed us."

The other points of the week worth noting is the 2 investigators that came to church: Aldana and 'Lady,' as well as the 2 that came last week, Julian and Cynthia (weren't able to track them down at all this week). Once again, searching for silver linings. 

We found Aldana tracting. She's 17 and does typical 17 year old girl things. Last Sunday, we arranged to have her come to church with a member, but she went dancing all night and crashed at 6 am or something, and didn't get the door. We arranged the same thing this Sunday, and she came! I had to give a talk literally last minute, so I didn't get to talk to her til after. 

Hmmm. The initial outlook was - yeah!! No one comes to church at 9am here. The members show up at 9:15 or 9:30, and the investigators almost ALWAYS just come at 11 for sac meeting. Yeah, she came for all 3 hours!!! Well, here's the thing. We taught her 3 times this week (4 or 5 in total). Every time, we taught and reinforced the Book of Mormon and the importance of the Sacrament. We hammered down so clearly that the beauty of the Sacrament is that anyone can take it. As we take it, we promise to be willing to remember and represent Jesus Christ, and keep His commandments. We are all promised that we will have His Spirit with us, which guides us and sanctifies us. She knew this by heart. 

So - fresh investigator - 17 years old, likes to go dancing and all that entails, doesn't know anything about the church, but comes because she's willing to see how it is. Well, Sunday School and Young Women's talked about 3 things - The Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and listening to wholesome music. 3 headed knockout for a budding investigator. The general pattern is always to build the foundation of faith before the commandments. She got the reverse. She decided not to take the Sacrament, and told me "she's gonna think about baptism." This came after she's accepted a date for Mar 9 like five times. She seemed pretty taken aback by it all, realizing that it's a bigger commitment than she thought. I'll slip this in - she actually went dancing again and only slept 2 hours, but still came.. 

In the afternoon, we saw her in the street. She said she was going to buy some wine to celebrate her boyfriend's birthday (he's turning....24!).

As for Julian, we passed by his house and his Dad (lives somewhere else) told us we couldn't teach him because he wants his family to be Catholic. 

Yeah so this week we've taken some punches. In an attempt to find some new, willing investigators, we tracted a bit more. To give you and idea of how it went: doorbell.  20 seconds later, I knock. Woman comes to the door furious: "Hey, if I don't come to the door the 1st time, I don't want you here!!" (SLAM)

I'll close with something I want make extremely clear. The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and ALL the commandments, rules, or customs that it entails, is true. I know it. I know that these commandments that define us to the world, and which I'm sure many of you think are insane, freedom-limiting boundaries, have been given by God to man for our supreme benefit. The more doors slammed in my face and the more knives shoved in my back, the stronger my testimony grows: "Wickedness never was happiness." I know that happiness comes by living the way Christ has demonstrated and demanded. No matter what you think of the church and our "rules," know that I have made the truth clear and known. I can't tell you what to believe, and I won't tell you what to believe, but I will never cease to tell you what I believe, and that is what I KNOW. God the Father lives. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us. He established HIS Church, with the organization of a living prophet and 12 apostles. This church fell after He died, but was restored by the boy prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith, is true. All the truths - doctrine, principles, or commandments, that God has at one point revealed, have been restored for our eternal knowledge and happiness. These things I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

I love each and every person reading this letter with all of my heart. You are all my brothers. 

Elder Blake

Dear Mom, Brigham and Dad,

 Sounds like your week has been tooo dope. I miss you, but I'd never trade your weeks for mine. This work is hard, and at time it stinks on ice, but it's true. Thank you for your prayers, your letters, your stories, and your love.

Elder Blake

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