Monday, June 20, 2016

#54 I've run out of cool subject lines.

We have a less active youth that we are working with. He is 17, his name is Paúl, and verrrry rebellious. He's got tattoos, piercings, and hasn't been to church in something like 2 years and he is very OK with that. He's got a looooot of questions. Interesting questions.

This week we visited him with the intention of teaching lesson 2, the plan of salvation. We started with the preexistence right? That's when the questions start. Things about why God didn't allow Satan to have his way, about how we know if Heavenly Father really is the good guy in this whole story or if Lucifer is just wildly misunderstood, or how agency is even agency if God knows exactly what we are going to do anyways. Maaaany questions. And usually when you hear these questions, their the youth that just want to show that they are difficult right? But Paúl isn't like that. He asks, we answer, he listens, and then he understands. Paúl is a super cool kid because he WANTS to understand. Although some of his questions aren't all that important in the eternal scheme of things, he's genuinely searching to find what his soul is looking for. And one of the things he is looking for is someone to allow him to ask questions and then answer them and help him to understand. 
Something that makes me really sad is when I see a young adult really looking for the truth, but because the have made bad choices or if they have tattoos or piercings, their local leaders don't let them change. They write them off as a lost cause, a rebellious youth, and don't give them a chance. How many times have I heard that on my mission "Sisters, don't waste your time. He's just a kid and he's not going to listen." But what happens when you lend an ear to a troubled soul. They'll talk. They'll show you where they are weak, ask for help, and then let you help them. I've seen it time and time again. So yeah. He's a rebelious kid. He's got tattoos. He's got an interesting way of thinking and he expresses his opinion. But does that mean a lost cause? Of course not. I hope that everyone can see that there are NO lost causes. Everyone can change. Everyone needs help. They just need someone who will listen with an understanding heart and then help them to have one as well. Paúl will come back to the church. I don't know when. But I do know how. By loving him regardless of what he's done or continues to be doing. That's what I learned this week. 

Also this week, we had concilio! Concilio is cheveraso. And it was even cooler this week because we went to a cool bridge. We had to drive roughly 3 hours to get there in a super windy mountain road and allll of us got motion sickness, but it was well worth it. It's called Qeswachaka, which is Quechua for bridge made out of hay. It's the last functioning Incan bridge in existance. Every year, villagers from all the surrounding villages gather there to have a great big ceremony of taking down the old bridge from last year and making the new one. It's completely made out of hay. And they do it for a week. Making the ropes and working together to make the bridge. And it's no small bridge either. I'd say it's something like 30 ft long. And it works. I crossed twice (scared me to death, but I did it.) and well that part was suuuuper cool. But what was also cool was how we compared this bridge to our life. Specifically how the bridge is like our lives after the mission. President ends his mission this next week, so he's been giving us a lot of advice about the end of the mission. And well he said that the solid ground that we are on before we cross the bridge is like the mission. We feel save, secure. Because we're doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. We read our scriptures everyday, pray every minute, serve others, and we try to be obedient. That helps us feel safe. Like nothing bad will ever happen. But then after the mission, we have to start crossing the bridge that is our life. It sways back and forth, it looks scary, unsafe, like we are going to fall. We feel unsure. But if our bridge is built on the same principles that we learned in the mission, we wont fall. In this bridge, there are four anchors, or duros as they say in spanish. And these anchors are what makes the bridge so strong. Strong enough that 25 people can be sustained on this bridge at a time. A bridge made out of HAY! So President compared these four anchors to a theme that he has put for the mission. This theme is Vaya SOLO. That means "go alone" but in english the real theme is "Go with the PROS" SOLO and PROS are both acronyms for the four things that we ALWAYS have to have in our life to not fall. PROS is Pray, Read, Obey, and Serve. SOLO is the same, just in spanish, Servir, Orar, Leer, y  Obedecer. And so if we have those four anchors in our life, the bridge will NEVER fall. And I just think that's cool. I don't really know how to explain this well, but you get the idea. So I just want to testify of those four anchors in our life. If we always do those things, although our bridge is swaying back and forth, our lives a little crazy, we can trust that we will NEVER fall because we are anchored. So it's just a cool thought. I'm gonna send pictures and everything.
Well that's my longish letter for this week, as promised. Stay anchored, my friends. If not, you'll fall. 
Talk to you next week!  Hermana Rust

 This is the bridge. Once again, just out of hay. It's largaso!

And one up close.

And that's the sign that is there. 

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