Yesterday at church we went to the young men’s class instead of going to the Elders’ quorum class (which makes me fall asleep) because the President of the YM’s wanted us to share some words. Sweet. He really didn’t have to say much to convince me. The president is 20 years old, a convert, and about to go on his mish. The YMs consisted of 3 youth; all good chaps. The youngest is a very humble good kid that doesn’t hide who he is. He is who he is. When he bears his testimony his honesty brings the spirit. He was the one that invited Luis (kid that just got baptized) and was largely responsible for the rapid progress. The other two are older and also good guys but do try to be the cool kids. The President is Mario and he had invited the mothers and fathers to the small meeting and he was super nervous. He had a blood vessel popped; I think due to the stress. He began talking about how the quorum had some really big problems, and I felt as he talked that it was a little dramatic, but the meeting turned out to be really great. These kids are not sinners and the parents did a good job in giving them praise as well as good counsel. We all got to talk a little and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. At the end Mario (YM Pres) acknowledged that it was a good quorum and then shared a story about his past:
He said that when he was younger he had never realized that his father beat his mother. He said sadly that he didn’t understand how he was so clueless but that he lived in a bubble. The last time that it happened, he caught his father in the act and hit him until his father left the house, his father punched him back but once Mario got in the door, he wouldn’t budge. Sometime later his father returned to the house. Mario warned him to leave and his father kneeled down before him and pleaded for forgiveness. But Mario said that he denied him. His mother told him that she wanted to talk to her husband. Mario was enraged and stormed out of the house. He didn’t go home that night. The next day, his friend asked him if he heard what had happened at his house the night before. He hadn’t. His friend told him that his father had died. That he had said good bye to everyone in the family and then that night passed away. Mario said how awful he feels about having been so arrogant as to not forgive his own father. He said that he just wanted to have this meeting to say that as members of the church we can’t be arrogant.
One thing I really liked is that he said that before he was member he had had serious problems he had to overcome and that he was embarrassed to even say it, that he would love it if his life had been and was perfect but that just isn’t how it goes.
I felt a lot more respect for this kid after.
Dad - while I was reading your comments about the private nature of loneliness, I thought about my first video call in May of 2013. In that time I was feeling stressed and frustrated and as I closed the video chat I felt good; but walking out into the dimly lit street I remember that my comp was asking me about the fam and I answered pretending to be happy but really felt confusion. I remember thinking that I should have been filled with good feelings having just seen my fam and having a good comp, but really I just felt the overwhelming sensation of loneliness and sadness. Probably because it would be a long stretch before I would open a Skype page again.
It’s weird to think about that because of the stark contrast to how I feel now. In this area I have lots of friends; children in the street, families that we teach, drunks, man that sells the beer to the drunks, teens, teachers, store keepers, poor , rich, super fat man, distressingly skinny little girl...etc. I am friends with the members and the other missionaries and I will be soon getting home to a welcoming family and lots of friends. I don’t feel lonely anymore, especially not spiritually. My core beliefs are as strong as they have ever been. I have a lot more spiritual knowledge now and that makes me feel more competent and helps me live better. I have worked hard every day of my mission and I feel like the Lord has accepted my effort. It’s a good feeling.