This week started off with another accidental animal killing (I don't know why I have such a knack for ending the lives of the little creatures that live in our house — I promise every single one of them have been accidental). I was boiling water over our little (as in it is tiny) stove and upon returning found that a little lizard had decided to take a plunge, therefore ending its rather short and probably half-lived life. I spent the rest of the morning/week feeling really guilty and actually quite sad, and rededicated myself to avoiding any circumstances that could result with the possibility of another unintended death. The past seven days under the ever heating sun brought several experiences that resulted in feelings similar to those that I had after the water boiling accident — the types of experiences that are off-putting but also hilarious. For example: we taught a lesson to one of our contacts who had a bunch of random questions that have no relation to our salvation or Christ or the Gospel — mostly questions about where God lives and praying for animals and the Church's stance on tattoos. When we answered his question relating to tattoos, he retaliated by informing us that it is a sin to wear earrings and that also we shouldn't take the bus when traveling to church on Sundays or when traveling any day if we didn't want to sin. It was interesting, but also a little sad realizing that all these questions and answers were never going to help this man find Christ and follow His Gospel in order to live the life that God intended him to inherit.
We also contacted two Spaniards that are living in Merida for unknown (possibly slightly sketchy) reasons. We had a lesson with one who is quite a character — so much so that Hna Huerta and I might have started laughing during the opening hymn...he couldn't understand any of my Spanish and basically knows everything about the Church. We are excited to continue teaching him. On the same day we ran into our new Spaniard friend, we also happened to only have two lessons. TWO LESSONS. It was a day of walking and contacting and trying to make people listen even when they didn't want to. This day made me appreciate Christ a whole lot more. I think that He probably walked a lot more than I do, was rejected a lot more than I am, and was a lot more tired than I will ever be. And yet, he kept going. He kept teaching. He kept healing. He kept saving and searching. There is no one else that I would rater be like than Christ — a Being of perfect kindness and obedience and diligence; the greatest example of love and service without recognition; the very model of someone who was quietly courageous and brave in a world that wasn't (and still isn't) a world that honors those quiet acts of courage and faith that are unseen and unapplauded. I see these types of courage every day here in the people we find and teach: the mom who takes her two young children to church every Sunday without the presence of her husband; the father who listens to the Gospel of Christ with his two children while his wife waits inside the house, refusing to listen; the man that admits he has to change and wants to repent but doesn't know how to receive forgiveness; the working dad who doesn't have any money but who always gives us a mango from his tree or a piece of bread from a vendor. These people and their lives of bravery may not seem that courageous to some, but to me they are the great and nobles ones of this earth — the quiet and the bravest, the ones that will inherit the greatest and most prized place at the right hand of God in those eternal days because God noticed their courage even when they didn't want to be brave.
I have no doubt that Christ was a quiet and brave one, and that there are hundreds of others that follow his same path. I have no doubt that God knows when we choose to do the right thing even when it is hard; when we choose to wake up in the morning even when the day holds no light; when we decide to speak words of comfort and love even when we are the ones who are needing these same words of hope. God notices our acts of courage, however quiet they may be.
Sending all my love and light to you, courageous family of mine,