Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who let the dogs out!

Hi Family!
Wow, this has been an eventful week!  As I briefly talked about in my last letter, we have dropped many investigators that weren't progressing.  This has given us more time to focus on the people who are progressing and even on some less active members.  The Spanish Branch that I am serving in had a rumored problem dealing with money causing many members to be offended and leave the church about a year ago.  We have the opportunity to help these people remember their baptisms and rekindle their testimonies.  Many of these couples are starting to come back and we hope to help many more start coming back.
This last week we had a baptism for Alejandro and Juan, the 10 and 8 year old from the family of 6.  Man was that an experience.  Well first off, the baptism was to start at 11am on Saturday but actually started at 12pm because it took the family a long time to get ready.  Despite the late start time, we got the service started and brought the Spirit strongly in the room with the opening song and prayer.  Everything was super organized, going great, and then it was time for the baptisms.  I got in the water and beckoned for Juan to come on in.  As Juan took one  step on to the font's steps, he slipped and came crashing into the water.  Recovering from the slip, Juan stood up completely drenched and looked up at the entire audience who were busting a gut at what just happened.  Juan's family was beside themselves in laughter especially Alejandro who was to be baptized next.  I quickly composed myself, helped Juan stop laughing, and as the room quieted down we performed the ordinance. 
I then went to the bathroom to change while E. Arnell (the other visa waiter) baptized Alejandro.  When E. Arnell came to change he related to me what happened after.  It turns out that Alejandro could not stop laughing and when it came time to perform his ordinance he barely got through.  To top it off, Alejandro swam underwater out of the font.  Worried that these inevitable problems wiped out a lot of the strong spirit that was in the room, we had the congregation sing some hymns while the kids finished changing.  Luckily, the Spirit did come back and we ended the service on a good note.
Despite the eventful baptism, the Holy Ghost had been there and really affected the parents.  On Monday night, E. Chamberlain and I went to Juan and Alejandro's house to talk to the parents.  Usually the kids greet us at the door and we taught them outside on the porch, but on this particular night, Luzmila (the inactive mother) invited us in to the front room.  Alejandro (the investigator dad) also stopped working on clients' cars and came in to talk to us.  We then had the most amazing lesson thus far on my mission.  This spiritual powerhouse of a lesson ended in the parents deciding that they would take the step of faith and get married.  I have learned that for Latinos, helping them see the importance of getting married is relatively easy but then getting them to do it nigh impossible.  The baptism and the Holy Ghost had been the help they needed to finally to get married.  We got their marriage license with them on Tuesday and will have a wedding on the next coming weekend.  The Lord works in mysterious ways and definitely blessed this family with the faith to get married.
Just so you know, I do not like dogs...E. Chamberlain and I were walking down the dark streets of our area when a rather large Pitbull sprinted from a side yard straight at us.  The Pitbull ran until it was about 10 feet away, screeched to a halt, and then ran back to the dark side yard.  Our hearts racing, we stopped running and let out a sigh of relief at how fortunate we had been.  We then went to a member's home who had asked us for some help the previous day with moving a bed.  After helping with some service, we started the walk back toward our home.  A little way down the street, my companion stopped mid-speech and point at the Pitbull who was in the middle of the street just staring right at us.  Freaking out a little, E. Chamberlain and I started walking fast.  The dog ran at us, barking crazily, and then ran off a little to be only joined by another dog of an even greater size.  This HUGE German Shepherd was absolutely scary.   Both the Pitbull and the German Shepherd then decided to come running right at me and had no intentions to stop.  I had no idea what to do because I of all people could not out run two dogs.  Out of nowhere, I did the last thing I would have thought to do in this situation, I yelled "BACK OFF!"  I yelled this as loud as I possibly could and with as much force as I could.  The dogs stopped their running, stood in the middle of the street, and started barking like crazy at us.  Then before they could start running at us again we sprinted as fast and as hard as we could.  A car came out of nowhere and almost hit the dogs distracting them from chasing us.  E. Chamberlain and I sprinted down the next 6 blocks to our house.
So as I sit here all in one piece, I can't help but realize that there are TONS of stray dogs in Mexico City...I have been told that I will have to kick many dogs.  However, the Lord protected my companion and me from being hurt and blessed us so much throughout the week.  This last week especially we have seen so many blessings.  At the awesome Zone Conference we had last week, we learned that when we are obedient in the morning and diligent in the afternoon, we will have success in the evening.  Putting this in practice gave us the specific successes of a marriage and safety from rogue dogs among many other miracles.  I am so grateful to be a missionary and love every minute of it!!!
Sorry my letters are so long! I will work on condensing in the next letter!  I hope you all have a great week.  I appreciate all the prayers and love sent my way; it really does make a difference!
Elder Janis

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