Well it has been another great week here in Paraguay. One of the coolest experiences that I had this week was when we went to visit this family that we had talked with in the street and who had told us where they lived. The wife had mentioned that the sister of her husband had been killed and he was having a very difficult time with what had happened. We showed up in the morning and the mom was helping her son with math and looked a bit frustrated and told us to come back later. I told her we could help out her son with his math and for about an half hour we taught this boy math using pass-along cards and games to help him learn addition while the mom cooked lunch and cared for the younger son. We didn´t talk with them about Christ or have an official a lesson and a prayer, but I think that what we did was something more pure in teaching people about Christ through service. I left that house with a feeling of happiness that I hadn´t had in the whole week, even with very spiritual lessons. As we try to do what Christ would do we become true disciples of him.
I also was reflected on all of the experiences that I have had here and the many people I have met and loved in such a short time. It is truly amazing to see how much love I have for these people, some of which we only taught a handful of times. I know that this love does not come from me, but from God. But on Sunday night we went to visit the Toledo Family who is coming back to church and starting to reactivate over the course of my time here and they didn´t come to church because they planned a celebration for the parents for their 41st wedding anniversary because they weren´t able to do anything on the 40th anniversary. It probably wasn´t a huge deal, but I felt sad when one of the told me that this is a very important day for our family and so we couldn´t come to church. But I felt more sad when I saw some of the inactive and non members of the family drinking and my heart ached when I say 9-year-old Sergio who was baptized the week before I came into this area sip beer from the cup that his older cousin passed to him. As I reflected on this experience I thought of all of the other heart-wrenching experiences that I have had here. I thought of how many times I had felt the Spirit very strong with someone, had listened to their sorrows and troubles, and consoled them as they cried, but how despite the fact that they had felt the Spirit, they turned away. I thought of Gustavo with whom we taught and felt a powerful spirit as he decided to prepare for baptism and search for an answer, but who now ignores our calls. I thought of Jessica who felt the truth who read the Book of Mormon and new it was true, but listened more to the lying voices of the world than to God. I thought of Rogelio who bore a powerful testimony in the Gospel Principles class of how he wanted to follow Christ and learn more, but who only hours after rejected everything we had taught him and coldly asked us to stop visiting him. I thought of Sergio who had been chastised by the Lord and not earned a single peso when he worked on Sunday who had begun to quit smoking and drugs, but who turned to pride and rejected us as servants of the Lord in the very moment in which we were trying to help him. And I thought of many more people who could have been so blessed and received so much help with their difficulties if they had just shown their faith. Last night I prayed as hard as I could for all of those people asking that they can one day be converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I thought upon these things I thought of our Father in Heaven. If I, an imperfect mortal, feel an intense sadness and sorrow for these people who are hardly even know, how does God, an infinitely perfect and all loving being and Creator of their spirits feel? I don´t know how he handles it. But what I do know is that I will continue working as hard as I can for all of these people here and do my part to help them feel the Spirit and come unto Christ. I am sad for these people, but I know that I am doing all that I can and I know that I am working for a just cause and that is what gives me the strength to keep going and keep loving with all that I am. I love this work and I know it is the work of the Lord. So how can I not work and love with all that I am?
Con amor, Elder Hawk
foto: las tres fronteras de brasil, paraguay y argentina