I would like to first state that I have not completed a year as a missionary and will not complete a year until the 28th of August. I will be sending a picture of the shirt burning in two weeks time.
This week I learned a lot about the Spirit. On Tuesday we talked with Genaro, Renso´s dad, and we were talking to him casually and then he started to talk about how his mom and brother both died a long time ago and then other brothers and 3 months ago a different brother. They started out as 10 brothers and sisters and are now down to 5. Then, Elder Rusque shared about how his aunt passed away and what helped his family was the gospel. The Spirit was very strong and then he asked me if I had ever lost a family member and I shared about Jace and how the thing that kept us all going and our motivation now to live good lives is so that we can live with him again. The tears welled up in this man, who in 22 years of married to his member wife, has only started even speaking with the missionaries 3 months ago. He said that it is amazing that there is an American and a Chileano at his house and he thanked us for being there and for speaking with them. Then I asked him if he believed we were sent by God and with a surety that I have rarely heard in my mission he said yes, absolutely. We all felt the Spirit even stronger and his wife began to cry. I told him that what he was feeling was the Spirit and we said a prayer and left them feeling that powerful feeling. It was probably the most spiritual lesson of my mission. Then, yesterday we went with a member and he shared his conversion story and they set up a time to drink terere together to talk. We are also going to their house tonight for family home evening and they are going to cook us a cow´s head so I am pretty pumped for that as well. But more pumped that he has finally accepted the gospel, because at the end of the lesson yesterday the missionary who was with us in divisions asked Genaro if he was a member and he said "No.. Todavia. Vamos a hablar" or "No. Not yet. We´ll talk." I was pretty pumped.
Also, Ana Toledo was less active but started coming back when her husband got baptized, but she has this huge Virgin Mary statue and we have tried for 4 month to pull it down with every trick and argument we can think of. Elder Silva almost got it when he asked for it as a going away gift, but she wouldn´t budge. Then, last Monday I told Elder Rusque that I would give him my best tie if he could get her to pull it down, and he tried to get it as a gift and even offered cash, but it didn´t work. Then an idea came to my mind. I asked Ana what she would do if her daughter had a pack of cigarettes and she said she would take them away. I asked her why, and she said because it can harm her. Then I explained to her that the statue can cause spiritual harm to her daughter which is even worse because it can concentrate her faith in something that is not Jesus Christ. I asked her to pray about it and we left with her still thinking, deeply thinking. Yesterday we went over and the Virgin statue was gone. She gave it away. Not because we convinced her, but because she felt the Spirit testify to her that that is what she needed to do. She said she felt a lot better after giving it away and I realized that we as missionaries cannot do anything without the Spirit. And even if we had convinced her with tricks or logic, it wouldn´t have helped her to truly repent and change, but when she felt the Spirit she was able to truly repent. The Spirit does all the work.
Finally, yesterday we went to a less active members house who had been coming back, but then went inactive again. It was late and we almost didn´t pass by, but I felt we should. So we went over and started talking and asking her how she has been and what happened and then she burst out crying and told us about something horrible that had happened to her a few weeks ago that no one knew except her mom. I never was trained in how to deal with such a serious situation and I never had any experience, yet the perfect words came to both me and my companion. We gave her a priesthood blessing and she said she felt relieved. I was grateful for the Spirit that guided us exactly to what she needed at that critical time.
I am nothing more than an instrument in the hands of the Lord. He does all the work through His Spirit. I am grateful that the Lord does not depend on just my own personal knowledge or abilities because if I was left to myself I could not do anything. Our part is only to become a more effective and powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord through obedience, diligence and love. If we do that then he will do the rest.
I love you all so much!
Con amor, Elder Hawk
1) The top of our apartment
2) We made a funny video that is too big to send, but I will show you in a year...
3) vampire missionaries