The way we found the family of 18 was actually a really cool story. One day, while Elder Whitney and I were out making contacts, I felt the strong prompting from the Spirit to contact a home. But before I could knock on the door, Elder Whitney informed me that he had already talked to the owner of that home, and the owner was a huge jerk. Despite the warning from my companion, I could not get it out of my mind the need to contact that home… so, I knocked on the door anyway. Upon knocking on the door, we met the cleaning lady, who was the only one there that day. At first, I began to second-guess the prompting I had felt, but then the clean lady (Cristi is her neam) began to share with us the desire she had always had to meet with the missionaries, but never believed that they would come out to where she live (which is an “aldea” that is a 2-hour walk from the town where we lives. After making the 2-hour hike to her home, I began understand why she had never seen missionaries out where she lives. But it was definitely worth the hike/climb, since not only was she there, with a desires to learn, but all her brothers and sisters and her kids were there too.
Even though it is an incredible sacrifice for them to come down from the hills where they live, to attend church every Sunday, they currently have attended church three times, and are striving to make the necessary sacrifices to prepare themselves for baptism on the 23rd of December. Even last Sunday, when they thought they wouldn’t be able to attend after all, due to a lack of gas to drive to church and back, they ended up finding the means to get down the mountain, leaving me speechless as they entered the chapel in the middle of Sacrament meeting.
Satan has definitely been working hard to impede their progression… especially with the husband of one of Cristi’s sisters, who got into an auto accident the night before Sunday, which resulted in everyone in the family not getting a wink of sleep… yet they still came! Despite Cristi telling us the day before they were planning on attending church, for some reason I felt for the first time the need to go and help them. Satan placed many obstacles in our path on hour two-hour hike to their home that Sunday morning. Satan tried several time to get us to turn back, starting with the bus not going up the hill until 9am, and wasting a bunch of time trying to locate a bus that even went up there. With every drop of sweat, we wanted to turn back. Nevertheless, a still small voice persisted within me to keep climbing the hill.
Although every step of that climb was exhausting, it was not until we made it to the top that we realize that God was already one step ahead of Satan. Even though the family didn’t get a wink of sleep, everyone got into the car and we all went to church together. Even though I felt guilty that they went on no sleep, they told us that it was exactly what they needed to feel better.
Their main worry about being baptized, is that they see so many people in the aldea go inactive. To ensure that doesn’t happen, they want to create good habits of keeping the commandments before being baptized…which is awesome to hear! It was comforting to hear them say to me, whether I am here or not, they will be baptized, and will make sure to send me photos.