The days are getting a little hotter and the heavens a little more clear with the beginning of a new summer season that is sure to last until September. To celebrate the beginning of a new change of weather, we bought a handful of wild flowers and wandered along the concrete sidewalks of an old cemetery that we always pass and that I had always dreamed of visiting. It was a peaceful start to this week, reading the names engraved upon the weathered stones of a people that I have long grown to love and whose lives have forever become intertwined with my own. The visit to the cemetery marked the start of many new planned adventures, the next one being a trip to the zoo in Centro (we have already started planning this adventure that is set to take place in two weeks, because yes, it will take two weeks to make a very detailed plan of how we can make it to the zoo and fulfill all our other responsibilities, too). Among the few adventure we had this week, there were a couple funny happenings, too, such as:
+ one of our newest investigadores, Hna Nidia, stopped the whole lesson to tell me that I resembled Jesus Christ — um ... I don't know whether to take this as a compliment or if it is something slightly sacrilegious ... I guess it was something about my hair and eyes that day?
+ the assistants have begun texting all the missionaries every single day with reminders to ask for references and contact more people in the streets. They have become some of our greatest highlights during the day, because we feel like we are in Amazing Race or something whenever we read a text that says, ¨"Two hours left to find new investigators — who can find the most before 9?" or others that give live updates of them receiving references or contacting a new person to teach. Our favorite text of the week included, "¿Que haria Jesucristo? #ensenarparaencontrar." (What would Jesus do? Teach to find.) Believe it or not, it actually makes us want to work a little harder.
This week we worked a lot with the less actives. We just so happen to have double (or maybe even triple) the number of less actives than members here in our little area so we are trying to reactivate a lot of them (and we think it is kind of working because we had a lot of them come to church the past two Sundays — yay!). On Tuesday we went to visit Hno Alonso, an eighteen year old who was baptized when he was 14, but who hardly goes to church now. We sat just outside his door on these really high chairs, looking into his house and into his soul that we found to be a little broken and worn. Every time we visit him he has a new problem or doubt — one day he decided he didn't believe in God anymore, even though he had felt His love, and the next he returned to his faith in a God, but in a God that didn't love him; another day he told us he wanted to get a tattoo, and the next day he had one. He is one of those sad stories, depicting perfectly the hope that God has in each of us and how sad God must feel when we dont quite live up to that person that He created our spirits to be. At times, Hno. Alonso gives us rare glimpses into the person that he really is and who he really could be with God, and every time we see these illuminating moments of his divine potential, the love of God and the reality of His love reigns a little bit more in the corners of our hearts. It was on this Tuesday that God visited us in His love once more. As Hna Huerta began the lesson with a prayer (note: she gives the best and most beautfiul prayers ever and I want to be like her), a voice entered into my heart and penetrated my soul with the words of that Being who speaks to all His children in a quiet ways, saying to me and testifying of another, ¨He is my son, and I love him.¨These two simple sentences struck me more than anything else as I looked at this son of God sitting before without the knowledge that he is loved and that he is remembered. It struck me in that moment to think that perhaps out of all the mysteries of God, the greatest mystery of all is that our Divine Creator and All Powerful Being knows and loves us in a personal and oh so gentle way. I knew in that moment that God knows Alonso Menez, a soul of eighteen years who lives in Calle 71a in a pink house with one couch and three chairs, and who has probably experienced more lives of sorrow than one can imagine. I knew in that moment that our Father is am Heavenly Father of gentlessness and kindness, and I believed in that moment too that God is a vision of the greatest version of the person that we can be, and that because of this, God is a lot like us — a God who likes to laugh and likes to experience joy, and a God who has a heart that beats to the rhythm of our own pains and feelings of glory.
"The heavens they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine." (Moses 1:37)
Wishing you each of week of happiness and hope, with the knowledge that God loves you and is with you.
(note: I have decided to end my emails now with Hna Rhondeau instead of Naomi, only because I am beginning to realize that I don't have a lot of time to have this title of a missionary #yolo)