Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Manna in the Wilderness

Well... It was a looongg week here in Argentina. Lots of rain. Lots of sniffly noses. But... here we are at P-day at last.

This past week, I had to return to Resistencia to do my visa papers again. So all of Tuesday was spent in the big city with Hna. Tello. Who also had to go. It was good to hang out with her again and we had a fun, if a little annoying side quest. On the way back up to Saenz Pena, our bus broke down on the highway. Which took another hour out of journey. They had to send another bus out to come pick us up. But we had to sit there and wait for it. Oh well. Part of the adventure I suppose. Speaking of adventure, on the mission, you have tons of opportunities to meet interesting new people. Let me just tell you about our run in with "Crusty Old Man" as Hermana Beckstead and I like to call him.

Me and Hermana Beckstead
About two weeks ago, we were out in the street, knocking on doors, talking to everyone we could. Peering down the street, we saw an old man staring at us from his lawn chair, mate cup dangling loosely from his fingers. "Let's talk to that guy." I said. So we did. Or at least... we tried to. Upon introducing ourselves to the man, he began to yell at us, telling us that we weren't going to change anything and that no matter how much he'd prayed, nothing ever changed and his whole body still hurt. No matter how hard we tried to testify to the man of the power of the Atonement, he wouldn't listen, letting his crusty exoskeleton resist our attempts at testimony and scriptures. Finally, we decided to give up the fight. We weren't going to get anywhere. We exhorted him to humble himself and come unto Christ and we left.

Hna. Beckstead had written about this encounter in her weekly email and had received a reply from her dad, who told her to go back and give the man a soda or something. Well... walking past the man's house the other day, we decided to take up his challenge. We headed to the nearest kiosco (which was across the street) and bought a roll of vanilla cookies ironically named after the legendary bread Moses and the children of Israel received in the wilderness: Manna. We grit our teeth and headed over to the man's house, handing him the cookies through the window before he could say anything. "WAIT!" he yelled out after us. "What is this?" He asked suspiciously.

"Nothing. We just thought to buy you some cookies." Hna. Beckstead replied nervously.
The man's face softened and he gave us an almost smile. "Wow." he said. "There are still good people in the world." He pointed upwards, to the heavens and declared, "This is a gift from above!"
Hna. Beckstead and I were shocked. His entire demeanor had changed. One small act of kindness showed this crusty old man that God really was looking out for him. And while, this form of manna may not have been his only form of nourishment, it certainly worked for his spiritual nourishment. Receiving that gift from above rekindled his hope in people. It was pretty cool.

Shoes named after me
Of the other events that took place this week, none really have much significance. We've been teaching a law student named Andres and he finally came to church on Sunday. He's been having some trouble with faith, trusting that the Lord will help him work out his trials. But, he's coming along. We taught him about Adam and Eve and agency and the reason bad things happen, which was a concern of his. He seemed to understand better.

Missionary work gives one the chance to learn so much about the Gospel. It's a real blessing. As I've studied for investigators, I've learned new principles and received new spiritual light myself. And I'm so grateful for that time I have to study the scriptures everyday. I have grown to know the Savior through the Book of Mormon and through prayer. And it's been amazing to see others come to that same knowledge through the acts of their own faith. The church is true. Christ lives.

Hermana Hein

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