Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009 -- Hating Sins and Loving Sinners

You asked me how my training went at last week's zone conference. The truth is I was extremely nervous, and if I hadn't written an outline I would have forgotten everything I had to say. But it turned out all right. In fact, President Mendoza congratulated me on my "powerful training." I just hope it had an effect on the missionaries.

The training was about contacts, or what I call invitations to learn. My goal was to inspire the missionaries to talk to everyone and to teach them techniques to help them do it well. President Mendoza said that I am an example in my contacts, and this week I have been trying to live up to what he said.

Two weeks ago you asked me for cultural moments. I have thought of two.

This last week my companion and I were talking as we walked along. During our conversation, I wanted to say "she found out" ("ella se enterĂ³") but I said something similar, "ella se enterrĂ³," which, being interpreted is, "she was buried." My companion was shocked until I discovered and corrected my mistake.

I have developed a great love for the people here in Mexico. They are so friendly. For example, when we ask people for their addresses, the most common response is "your house is located at . . . .¨ In other words, they present their house as yours. And when you go, they really treat you as if you were at home.

I am especially grateful for their hospitality in this time of great heat. If they didn't offer me water in every house, I don't know what I'd do. We are currently in the time of year known as the canicula, which basically means the time when the heat is almost unbearable. Luckily, I don't seem to feel it as much as others. This past week I gained a new perspective on the heat when one of the sisters in my distict, Hermana Torres, said that every time it is hot she thinks about the hymn that says "Our Savior´s love / Shines like the sun . . . .¨ "Think of how much He must love us!" she adds.

Yesterday my companion and I had a beautiful baptism for Maria Isabel Casique Ecebedo and her daughter Flor. It was beautiful for many reasons. One, because it was part of a family (and we hope the rest is soon to follow). Also, my companion and I sang a special musical number, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives," to the tune of "A Poor Wayfairing Man of Grief," which turned out quite nicely. Also, Flor recited the Articles of Faith after her baptism. Most of all, it was special because of the trials that Isabel has passed this week in order to be baptized. They are things that I can't tell you about right now, but I greatly admire her strength and faith.

This week I have learned what it means to hate the sin and love the sinner. We are working wth a couple who are both alcoholics. It is sad to see what their addiction has done to their lives. I love them so much and want to help them, but it is hard. Alcohol is so common here and destroys so many lives. I love the people I work with, but I hate alcohol.

I had a lot more to say, but my time is up. . . . Remember that Jesus lives. Read the Book of Mormon every day.

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