Aw - I was just dreading with some excitement to see pics of Powell. Unjust =)
This week we had meetings Sunday until Wednesday so our working week was only Thursday onward. One of the days we were walking and I saw a man twenty meters in front of us on the other side of the road walking in our direction. He looked me in the eyes, picked up a big rock and started to cross the street, coming directly at us. I gave him a look like pal what are you doing? He kept my eye-line as he drew nearer. We got close to him and I asked him what he was doing, with some defensiveness in my voice. He was slightly taken back by my tone and said that there was a snake right in front of us. We looked down and yup, right in front of us there was a meter and a half long snake. Yikes! But at least we were not being attacked by a crazy man. He chucked the rock at the snake and completely missed it. We watched it for a little bit and a small crowd formed. I picked a rock as big as my torso and landed it on the snake. It started to go crazy, but it wasn’t going anywhere, and it didn’t go as crazy as my companion. The guy reacted instantly, once he saw that the snake couldn’t move he went completely Chuck Norris. He took a leaping ninja jump and landed on the snake head and stomped the head to oblivion. Ha turned around sweating and calmly walked away saying " I really don’t like snakes." Then the best part was a woman and her husband who showed up after all the action, moved the Boulder, put the snake in a bag, put the bag in a cargo space on their moped and just rode away, not really saying anything. haha what?! Turns out snake is a delicacy here. I think they will all just remember my comp. This week we dealt with the norm of religious traditionalism. I have met a ton of good people that are so good and say their prayers and are so charitable. But, they lack so much of the light and truth. I was talking to one woman and asked if she feels encouraged to attend her church services, and how often she goes. She told me that she only goes every several years, usually for a baptism of friend or family, and that actually when she goes everybody thinks that something is wrong. Haha what irony? When she goes to church people think that there is a problem. Many never really open their scriptures - they just cross them self as they walk past their statues. Many of those people live good lives. We had lunch with a Hermana and she talked about how her husband has an uncle that whispers propaganda in his ear and tells him to just live it up. The hermana told us that now her husband has a serious drinking problem. We went back to the house later in the week and there was her husband. He has a long beard and a dark countenance. He defiantly told me that he is now another religion. He is unemployed and he questioned why we are here and said that we couldn’t have a testimony. He let his life fall into sin and that is when he made the transition out of the church.
We also knocked on a door and a man opened it up and said come on in before I had a chance to say anything. Ha I looked at my comp amazed. This could either be a miracle investigator, or someone that just wants to argue, or we are about to be murdered. That third one seems to be a possibility. Well, he told me he was another religion and we started in on an interesting discussion about our decisions in this life. His argument was that this life is disconnected to what follows; that the bible is for this life. He suggested that if we follow its precepts we will be happy in this life and if not, we will have less happiness. But after this life God will forgive us if we say sorry and all will be well. I read him 2 Nephi 28: 7-9, and honestly expected him to be dumbfounded about how closely his false doctrine matched up, but he just couldn’t accept it. Really his argument was of one that he was afraid to take responsibility for his actions and unwilling to change anything about them. His buddy was sitting on the couch next to him - 70 pounds overweight and a beard that covered all three chins. He was sweating pure beer, and completely stoned by some drug. They had beer on the table, although the man i was talking to was sober. We had a good time with the lesson and it wasn’t ever a fight or argument. He told me that not to live in a straight jacket, locked in the house. He suggested I ought to get out there and live. he said "when you get home your dad will say, boy, I sent you to Mexico to have a good time, help out were you could, and learn Spanish. How did you do? Your dad will be so disappointed if you didn’t live it up." haha – Dad, try not to be too disappointed.
Elder Oaks talks about this judgment in a great talk "Judge not and Judge. It is how it is required of us to make judgments that say ones’ behavior is wrong. We are not to condemn. I would love to help these people. Alma said "if only I could have the voice of an angel." But we can’t blast guilt on them to help them change. They have to open their hearts. All we can do is show them a contrasting light.
ha todo bien - but I love you all, keep me informed. Talk to you next week.