Teaching non-committal Chapines can be discouraging and heartbreaking

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11/16/15

Despite the fact that we had the blessing of teaching so many people this week, it was still a pretty disappointing week because we had to spend most the week looking for new investigators since we were unable to help our current investigators progress this week.

Here are some updates on our investigators:

  • Guadalupe and Juan ended up moving back to San Pedro. However, Hermana White told us that she should be coming back down here in a week with Guadalupe after she gets everything settled with her Hotel on Lake Atitlan…but nothing is for certain at this point. Elder Miles, Hermana White, and I all have had dreams in which I baptize Guadalupe.
  • Edgar was too busy again with work to meet with us (this is the guy who credited us with helping him develop the faith to ask God in his prayer for a job, to provide for his family).
  • Ruth felt too tired to meet with us, despite the fact that we helped her find a job as well.
  • Even though there is still hope that Alba will be baptized before I’m transferred, it is so hard to meet with her. We need to help her see that she doesn’t have to feel she needs to wait until the middle of next month to learn everything.
  • We are also teaching the cousin of a recent convert. His cousin is a Jehovah Witness who has attended church two weeks in a row, which might give me the chance to achieve my goal to baptize a “Testigo de Jeova.”
  • As for that investigator who just randomly showed up at the chapel after “being guided by the spirit”… he has yet to return from working in HueHuetenango, and we still haven’t been able to meet with him again.
  • And then there is the family of the guy who purchased a copy of the Book of Mormon at a bookstore without ever having met the missionaries… Every time we set an appointment, they stand us up. One would think that someone who claims that he felt inspired to buy the Book of Mormon would make himself available to study with us.
  • And then there is the family who was making their way to conference when the bus they were in got shot at… They keep making up reasons for why they can’t talk to us. For example, yesterday the daughter told us “my dad is in the shower and then is going to leave to pick up my mom” when it was like 6pm.
  • On top of that, we have been having terrible luck finding the family of the elderly lady I helped out in their house.
  • And it seems like the supposed ex-gang member wants nothing more to do with us either, as he is always canceling on us now.

It seems that the pride cycle is still a prevalent routine among the Lamanites. Once they start receiving the blessing from allowing God into their lives, they shy away.

[NOTE FROM DAD: This email reminded me of how discouraged I would get during my mission in Guatemala. The people of Guatemala are so non-committal and passive. They are always too polite to ever tell you they aren’t interested, instead, they just avoid you or make commitments they never intend to keep. I guess it beats getting doors slammed in your face like other missions, but it is still discouraging because you get your hopes up when people make commitments. I eventually learned to not get too excited when people would make commitments or showed interest in the gospel message. I learned to pick up on signs when they weren’t sincere with those commitments. For example, whenever they would say “yes, we will come to church this Sunday” and then they would follow it by saying “primero Dio” (God willing), I eventually learned that “primero Dios” really meant “NOT!” Or when they would start a sentence by saying “fijese” (translation: “you see, the thing is…”) it was never followed by good news. And to make things worse for Jake, they have changed the mission boundaries. When I served in the Xela Mission, there were two geographically diverse areas in my the mission, “tierra fria” (the cold land) and “la costa” (the coast). The cold land was much more challenging, and people were much less receptive in the cold land than the people on the coast. The Xela Mission today is only the cold land…there is no more coastal territory in the Mission… so every area Jake will serve in will be challenging… poor guy… but he always has such a positive attitude!]

Jake’s email continues…

Despite how discouraged we felt this week, God ended up blessing us for keeping the faith by leading us to a golden family of 14, who seem prepared to receive the message of the restored gospel. The father of the family actually had his children take notes during the lesson. They even set a goal for the family to enter the temple a year from now to be sealed for time and all eternity. I’m so grateful for how merciful God is in comforting us during times of despair. We often forget how wonderful the mission actually is until the Lord leads us to His elect.

Love, Jake

P.S.    The lady who is making us Thanksgiving dinner is the recent convert whose parents had not wanted anything to do with the missionaries, after fighting with them the week they were supposed to get baptized (see 9/29 blog entry). They’ve now changed their minds about the missionaries, and now her mom wants us to baptize her daughter so we can convince her husband to open up to the missionaries again. For this reason, I think Estelita wants to cook us a Thanksgiving dinner.

 

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