Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Elder Rodabough's Last Week at the Mexico MTC

I am well. I am about to begin my last week in the CCM and am very excited. I'll give you a day by day rundown as I wrote it in my journal. I will redact some statements that are in the journal due to the private nature of them.  Here we go...
It rained most of our P-day which put a little damper on Christmas. I decided that I would write more in my journal like Elder Adam does.  On our devotional on Tuesday we had Elder Johnson from the Presidency of the Seventy come and speak to us about Lehi's vision and the 4 sets of people that Lehi saw. He also talked about how we should feel in order to get our investigators to feel the Spirit and to know with assurance that what we are saying is true.  Then I had a thought.  You can't feel with your mind, but you can know with your heart.  In our minds, the gospel can make sense. But in our hearts, the gospel is confirmed to be truth. 
Started off the day with some..... Problems.... Internal problems.... but by our lesson in the afternoon I was feeling much better. We taught our investigator Victor and it was a great lesson. We taught him about Lehi's first vision and how it relates to the Gospel of Christ and baptism.  Everything was going great. We got to the part in the lesson about repentance, and then things got real. When I say real, I mean it really isn't real because it's our teacher playing a character.  But it was real in the sense that a metaphorical brick got dropped in the middle of the conversation. We were talking about change and he tells us that he needs to change and we got freaking pumped. Well, actually, I don't know about Elder Marchello. But I got freaking pumped. It wasn't a surface freak out though. I kept my cool.  While I was busy internally freaking out Victor dropped the hammer.  He told us that his wife really isn't his wife... 'They've been living together for the last 25 years, have 3 little Victors, and she's legally still married to her first husband!!!!! They don't have enough money for a divorce and so they've just been going on with their life. We had no idea what to say and I wasn't even sure if I had heard what he had said right. I was really hoping I hadn't.  Elder Marchello and I sat there for a couple seconds and then Elder Marchello just took it away. I had no idea what to say. We ended the lesson and then figured out what to do for the next lesson.
It was a pretty uneventful day. Taught some lessons. Was awesome. No big deal.  So there's a guy who works here in the cafeteria, we call him Sketch Taco Boy. Don't let the name deceive you, he's a full grown man. His growth just ended in middle school. He is constantly walking around and looking all around as if someone is suddenly going to jump out from behind him and take him away. But anyway, some kids in my house were sitting at dinner and Taco Boy came up and asked them if they wanted him to go get taco's from outside the wall and bring them in. They said yes of course, and then he told them to meet them on the other side of the lunch room and have 10 Peso's in their hands to hand him off (similar to a drug exchange). They immediately got concerned and didn't go over but watched 5 other elders go and hand him money disguised as a hand shake. Then later they were teaching a lesson and he came up after and asked them why they didn't show up. They explained that it seemed sketchy as sketch and that they didn't want tacos. Then their teacher came up and asked what was going on. Taco Boy walked away super fast and their teacher made them explain what was going on. He then went to security. Yeah, we have armed guards at the gate by the way. We found out that we're in one of the more dangerous parts of the city. But anyway Taco Boy is still here but doesn't say a word to anyone.
Just another day in the CCM. We taught Eliana our other investigator, but she's not progressing as fast as Victor so we're still talking about the Restoration.  We also read together as a District out of the Book of Mormon in Spanish and talked about how even the first chapter of the Book of Mormon gives the lesson about the Restoration.
# of mosquito bites on my forehead: 3
# of meals with hotdogs: Once a week (We are happy)
I miss having food that I can choose to eat, and that is even good to eat. The chicken still has feathers and hair on it. That was fun to watch Elder Marchello, (Who I've discovered through similar methods shown on Big Bang Theory, is a "Finisher") eat said chicken. He was very opposed and I just laughed.  I love that kid.
We taught Victor again and we had to address the whole wife thing.  We told him that if he truly wants to change, this is the biggest thing he could do and receive the blessings of the Lord.  I then bore my testimony about receiving forgiveness.  What I felt as I bore my testimony, was a sense of forgiveness for my own sins. I wanted to say "I have been forgiven of my sins." Which in a nutshell is "Tengo recibir perdon por mi pecados." But what came out of my mouth was "Tiene recibir perdon por pecados." Which is, "You have to receive forgiveness for your sins." I knew what I was saying was not what I wanted to say but I couldn't change the words as they came out of my mouth. I looked into Victor's eyes and then the Spirit prompted me to invite him to be baptized. He accepted our offer.  I truly felt the Lord's hand in that lesson. I know that it wasn't a real investigator, but I know for sure that the Lord will help me say what needs to be said.
I've said it before and I'll say it again--Sunday is the Catz pajamas.  Ok, so I dropped the ball on the district lesson and didn't ask anyone to teach. But we just had a Socratic seminar (Elder Jordan introduced me to that term.. It's Socratic, like Socrates, what a champ) and it turned out pretty good.  We had class with the MTC President which was actually taught by an old member of the Seventy. Let me clarify something. Old as in he was a Seventy awhile ago. I'm not saying anything about his age. I respect my elders. But he taught us about asking for specific prayers. Asking God for specific things because he needs to hear what we really need if we really need them.  Then we watched a devotional video given by Jeffrey R. Holland back in February. He talked about the expectations of us as missionaries. My favorite quote was "You do not have the right to compromise the great history of missionary work. We as a church don't have a symbol like a cross or a Saint that people can look at  and know exactly what church we are. But I would say that our symbol could be two missionaries, walking down a street with smiles on their faces. You cannot ruin that." Then after the video Hermana Pratt announced that we would be watching THE TESTAMENT that night. I've been waiting 5 weeks to watch THE TESTAMENT so naturally, I freak out. After the prayer ended I said AMEN!!! Really loud. I love that movie.
It was the beginning of the end. In our lesson with Victor I was going to teach about the Holy Ghost, what he is and what he feels like and I just froze up in the middle of the lesson.  I couldn't talk. Every word I wanted to say I kept hearing in my head that I couldn't talk in Spanish, that I wouldn't be able to talk to people and teach them the Gospel. After we finished all the lessons Hermano Russell came back in and started talking to us. He said that this is our last week. After this there is only infield learning, real lessons, real people.  But then he said something that I can't get out of my mind. He said to listen to the Spirit. Listen to the Spirit more than you listen to anything else. I have to rely on the Spirit.
We went to the temple at 7 am and got back at noon. The veil was super hard this time and it took me as long as 'Nam to get through. But when I did I was super happy and it was worth the difficulty. And then I've been writing for three hours. That brings it up to now. Yesterday we got to speak to the native elders across the hall from our classroom for about an hour. Elder Adams did most of the talking and I threw in my two cents probably about 3 times. They didn't understand totally what I was saying, but they got the idea. Mission accomplished. Not my actual mission, just the talking to the native elders mission. I still have to finish the rest of my mission. WHICH STARTS A WEEK FROM TODAY!!!
 I love you all and know that La iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los Últimos dias is verdad!!!!
Su hijo,
Elder Rodabough the second

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