Boy, have I got a story for you this week! We had an incredible Sunday morning which led to an incredible Sunday afternoon. I have to give a little background on things so you can be clued in to what I am talking about.
About three weeks ago, Elder Ontiveros and I knocked on a door which looked rather decrepit and worn down. After what sounded like 7 or 8 dogs barking at the door, we heard a loud bang and somebody screamed, "SHUT UP!" The dogs stopped barking for a few seconds, and a gruff voice said, "Come in!" So, we opened the door, and the dogs began to bark once more. Lo and behold, 7 or 8 dogs came running at us and started to jump up and lick us. We looked around for the person who had spoken, and eventually we saw an old man laying under a pile of blankets on the other end of the room. My initial thoughts were not extremely positive or excited about how this man could progress, but we taught him, and we have continued to teach him. He is a Vietnam Veteran who can now hardly move because of an early exposure of his body to "Agent Orange".
Well, this man named J** now has a baptismal date of February 15th, and he has been reading the Book of Mormon. When we first talked with him, I was sure that he was never going to progress, but as we have taught him all about repentance, and as he has changed, I have seen a bit of light start to creep into his eyes which were so dull the first time we met him. As we have struggled with the idea of him coming to church, he has put forth a lot of effort and desire, but as of Saturday night, we were still unsure of how he was going to get there. He can hardly walk with assistance, but he has a wheelchair. So, we put our faith in the Lord to help us perform the miracle of getting his son to church.
Now comes the OTHER part of the miracle. There is another lady and her daughter that we have been teaching for about 5 weeks now, and they have been progressing, but they were sick for church twice and church was canceled because of snow another time. So, this week, we had a strong desire to get them there to help them to begin to progress.
So, Sunday morning rolls around. We arrived at the home of the woman and her daughter at 10 am to wake them up for church. One of the people in the house (a lot of people live there) opened the door and said, "Hey, I'm not sure if they are going to church today. They had a pretty late night."
"Can we talk to her?" I asked.
"Sure," the person gestured toward the back room where I could see the woman's feet hanging off of the bed.
"Hey, Sh**la," I said. She grunted. "Hey! We don't have our car today, and we really need your help getting to church. Since you guys are going, can you give us a ride?"
"Guys, I have a really bad head ache. I don't think I'm going today." She mumbled.
"Hey no worries!" I responded, "Church doesn't start for another hour and a half. You have plenty of time, and your headache could go away by then!"
After much fanagling, she said she would go if I could wake up her daughter. So, Elder O and I went into the front room where the 11 year old daughter was snoozing on the couch. We woke her up by telling bad jokes until she was so annoyed that she got off the couch just to get us to stop! Once she was up, we said we would be back in a half hour to get our ride, and we needed to go get our other investigator up for church.
So, back over to J**'s house we went, excited about the miracle we had witnessed. We arrived at J**'s, were serenaded by a chorus of yappy dogs, and eventually got in to talk to J**. He wasn't looking very good, and he told us that he had been having dreams about the war all night. We read him some scriptures out of the Book of Mormon and his countenance relaxed. We asked, "J**, we have a ride all set for you. Can you still come to church?"
He didn't respond, he just started to get dressed.
So, back over to Sh**la's! We get in the car and start to drive to J**'s to help him and his wheelchair into the car. As we got to the house though, Sh**la said, "Is this J**'s house? Is J** coming to church?"
"Yeah," Said Elder Ontiveros, "Do you know J**?"
"Of course I know J**!" Shouted Sh**la excitedly, "My cousin lives in the back of his house! He should ride with us!"
So, we loaded J** into the car with us. It was a sheer miracle, and all three of them, J** in his wheelchair and all, stayed for all three hours of church. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is!
It was amazing. I love missions! Ether 12:12 has been my motivator this week.
I love you guys!