!Esta lloviendo gatos y perros por aquí!... Hope you like my idiom that makes absolutely no sense in Spanish... but seriously, it is raining cats and dogs over here. We always come back to the house drenched. I'm surprised I don't have walking pneumonia by now. Or perhaps I'm just sick with preaching pneumonia... And that's stronger than the latter! It's also very hot here. Half the day is scorching, then the floods come and cool it all down. The weather here is more bi-polar than... well, I cant really think of a quippy simile right now, but you get the point.
It was a pretty good week. In our stake, we're doing these things called "cosechas". And very aptly named it is, because the word means "harvest". All of the missionaries of the Zone come to one area, spread out and work there. We contact and visit less actives. It's pretty cool to see a bit of all the areas in the zone, and it helps the missionaries of that area a ton. We have them every Saturday and ours is in June. We're pretty pumped for it.
As district leader, you have the opportunity to go on many over-night exchanges with those of your district and the Zone Leaders. This can be a double edged sword. Depending on who you're with, it can be a really great experience, or a terrible one. I've found that for the most part they're awesome. You get to spend a day in a different area, with a different person. You learn a lot of new teaching strategies, are presented with teaching opportunities, and get to connect with the members of your district. This week I had one with Elder Lopez from El Salvador in their area Santa Cruz.
The whole day we seemed to be running into a lot people of Evangelic denomination. I really don't know how they are in other countries, but here in the DR, encounters with those who have a firm belief in that particular faith, we generally tend to avoid. I think second to the Catholic, they're the religion most popular in the country. They are generally very nice people, with big hearts and great admirable faith in Christ. However, they certainly do like to fight about it. Sure, we could show them scriptures that would raise quite a bit of doctrinal questions in their minds, and we do if the setting is right, but they mostly just want someone to fight with. That's why the best thing to do, is to listen to them patiently, answer questions truthfully and frankly, bear your testimony when you find they take a breath in the conversation (they'll talk your head off till the second coming if you let them), and leave them with a pamphlet and your number telling them to call you if they have more questions. This way we don't waste time with someone who is only interested in contending with us. Of course its a balance, just as is everything. We want to clarify, answer questions and defuse as many misconceptions as possible, but one must go about it with tact and we shouldn't ever fall into contention with them. Poisonous darts, and sharp tongued remarks must be deflected and countered wisely. They usually indirectly call us sons of the devil! The situations are easy enough to handle if you know how, and the best way to handle them is to avoid them completely. But they're pretty fun...
Anyway, we finished the night at the house of a family who had been given as a reference from contacting at the university. It was just one of those lessons that seemed to go perfectly. My companion and I were exactly on the same page, the family kept asking questions that made for perfect segues to the next topics, we used examples, we had an awesome discussion about the apostasy. If they don't understand the apostasy, they won't understand the restoration. I usually never do this, but we shared the entire first lesson our first visit. They just had tons of great questions pertinent to the topic. While we shared the first vision, the Spirit was incredibly strong. They felt it, and we knew it. All was well on board until the mother's brother in-law walks in. He starts goin off on some rant, asking them if they knew what the Bible said about all this. It happens often. Your in a great lesson, havin a great talk, then along comes the adversary, Mr. Satan himself, manifested in oh so many forms of distractions, and POW! Spirit gone! WHAMY! Lesson destroyed. And that's what usually happens. But not this time.
Before I even opened my mouth, all three of them that we were teaching jumped down his throat. They said "We've been reading from the Bible this entire time. These boys have been showing us things about the Bible we've never heard of before. You have no idea what you're talking about!" And well, you get the jest of it. Three very religious people who prior to our visit had never investigated the church were defending it for us. In the words of Tenacious D, "Needless to say, the beast was stunned. A whip-crack with his whippy tail. And the beast was done." Our assailant put his tail between his legs, left the room, and we continued with a splendid lesson.
As much as that day was a testimony of prevailing truth, it was also one of the importance of planting good seeds. She told us that long before she had learned so much about our church in one night, she knew that we had love. 16 years ago, Sister missionaries had passed by her house, saw she was pregnant, made her sit on the couch, and mopped the floors for her. That act of service stuck with her forever, as did a great impression of the church. Everything we do influences something else. Every act is a seed planted. Hopefully much of what we plant in our daily lives are good seeds, but naturally there also many bad impressions, hurt feelings, and opportunities to serve untaken. What would have happened if those sisters didn't insist to serve her that day, or worse yet, left a bad impression. The events that transpired the other night certainly would have been different, and she would never have received us, or even defended us like she did. Every drop in the ocean makes a ripple, and eventually those ripples will reach others and touch their lives. Thanks for everything back home, and keep on planting good seeds for the harvest!