So theres this kid about 15 years old who lives on the same street as us, and since the beginning of the transfer we've passed his house every day when we leave and come back. At nights, on our return, if he were at his house he'd spot our white shirts (and what's more, my white face) and would begin to unleash a string of English curses, obscenities and vulgarities headed straight toward us. In my own tongue he shouted such words very often, some stronger than vinegar, the likes of which I don't wish to repeat here. Now this really is common, and as a missionary you get used to ridicule. As a gringo missionary, you get used to people trying to ridicule you with what little and terrible English they have. So naturally, we ignore him and go on our merry way thinking nothing of it.
One night, as we neared his house, my companion, Elder Valdes, mentioned to me (in not so many words), he was tired of this punk and his garbage disposal mouth. When the moment arrived, the kid started up again with a plethora of colorfoul words. With his arms out and in a victory stance, he says "Checeme! Checeme!" (Dominican for "check me out") Elder Valdes, being pushed over the edge stopped and went his way saying "Que? Que? Chece que?' The boy looked confused that one of us was actually talking to him this time. I jumped in real quick, eager to douse the fire, asking the kid, ¨Where'd you learn your English?" He paused and told me he had learned it in Spain. Well, we began to talk in the most friendly of tones as possible, and found out that he had just returned from living in Spain most his life two months ago, and was living with his aunt. He learned a bit of English in school (the majority certainly not from the teacher). His entire attitude was changed. His venomous mouth was quieted very quickly once he thought we were actually his friends. He became so meek and submissive, even friendly, when he got his attention by speaking to us as friends instead of showing off the curses he knew in English. Pretty soon all three of us were talking as though we'd been best pals for years.
I asked him if he went to church. He said no. Then I asked him if we could come back another day to share our message and teach him a bit of English. Do you think he refused?
The past week we've been teaching Randy and his aunt the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he's recently told us that he's open to baptism.
It taught me a valuable lesson, one taught to us by our Savior so long ago. It is not the healthy who need a physician, but those who are "sick". Who would've known that this guy that seemed to be so obviously closed minded towards anything we had to offer, was actually just a kid that lived in a completely new neighborhood, or country in this case, who didn't have many friends, and was in constant search for attention from someone. The moment he received just a little bit of love and attention from two guys in white shirts, he reciprocated that love and is now a good friend and a promising investigator. Perhaps the next time we see someone who doesn't quite fit the profile of what we think they should be, we could stop and think to ourselves "There must be more to their story than what I can see. Maybe I should give them a chance." I know I will.
Well, this last Saturday, I got a call from President Corbbitt, and am now district leader, which basically just means a bunch of phone calls at nights... But I'm excited for something new nonetheless. "Gonna be the power behind the throne so to speak".
Thanks for all the prayers, and have a good week.
La Zona Villa Mella