This week was hard. Yet in the midst of dirt roads and hot sun (really, really hot sun) and disappointed hearts and broken lives, I have learned that the hard things in life are usually the ones that become most important to us and the ones that are so gloriously balanced with moments of eternity and light. On Tuesday and Wednesday Hermana Villalobos and I were so happy. Like, insanely happy. To the point where we were laughing and smiling and wanting to share this joy with everyone that we came into contact with. We visited la Familia Caamal, recent converts of one year that are preparing to enter the temple this Saturday. They are some of those noble and great ones. Hno Eusebio drank from the age of twelve and by the time he hit thirty, he realized that he was losing the greatest and most eternal joy in his life and decided to give up drinking in order to save his family. Right when he decided to change, two elders passed by his house and he invited them to teach him more about God, because He had been missing from his life for quite some time. His whole family listened. His wife and children decided to stay and now they are going to be sealed in the temple. They are incredible and we love them. Every night we pass by his house that he converted into a restaurant, and I realize that it is one of those glory moments, you know?
We visited Hno Novelo, too, a seventy year old who got baptized in the 1990s and quit his job so that he could go to church every single Sunday instead of selling his handmade shirts. He reminded me of an old sailor — browned skin and eyes that have lost their years of being able to see. He sat on the same couch as us so that he could be able to hear and see the mere outline of our faces. He listened to scriptures and talked about his life and his miracles and how much he loves the temple. He cried and we cried too because the Spirit was so real and so felt. After visiting with him we had lunch with Hna Dulce. She is like the wise old woman in every good story. She talks slowly and quietly, with a slight Southern accent (is that possible in Mexico? maybe I imagined it to make the moment even better). She spoke of her son who died and her husband who abandoned his faith and the one time she couldn't walk and the other time when she didn't want to get out of bed. We cried with her and listened as her words rolled over and over. We felt sadness and I wondered how any of God's children can really fulfill their purpose of having joy if there are so many hard experiences and people. But then I realized that as I had listened to every single one of these good people — Esebio, Novelo, and Dulce — my moments with them were not those hard moments of dusty roads and burning skies and worried hearts. My time with them were ones of great light and depth and understanding. I realized as I listened to their words and to their lives that the people I admire most are not the ones who have lived perfect lives or who profess to have lived perfectly. I admire the people that have had hard things happen; that have felt sadness; that have lost and lost again, and that have chosen to make those hard things good, and those sad things happy, and those losses as gains.
At the end of our lunch with Hna Dulce, she ended her life resume with two sentences, *"Hemos sufrido muchas cosas. Pero tambien, aprendi muchas cosas." And with those two sentences I realized that I wanted to be like her. I wanted to trust in God more and believe that He loves me more, because even though her lot has been hard she still loves God and still believes in Him. I hope that I can do the same, and that I can one day thank God for allowing me to learn many things through the small times of hard things.
Miss you and love you more. Wishing you another week of learning--
*translation: "we have suffered many things. But I have also learned many things."
(I wrote it in Spanish because it sounds better. And maybe it is slightly more dramatic in a different language. kluvubi)