Service Contacting: Sing For an Old Person

[Elder Spencer Call is serving (2016-2018) an LDS mission in northwestern Honduras].

Dearest Friends & Family,

Elder Elmer and I had a stellar week last week; I was only with him about half of the time because of divisions with the district leaders (which meant crazy high stats: we taught 62 lessons and 36 new investigators – lots of work!), and we finished last night super tired. To be honest, right now Elder Elmer’s also feeling sick so I hope he gets better soon; I gave him a blessing last night at his request. He’s a great friend and example to me of obedience driven by love for the Lord and I am really seeking to strive to cherish my time with him. I hope they leave me here for another transfer cycle with him 🙂

Service Contacting Teaches Me about Sin

I love the flowers in Honduras.

We had a really disgusting service opportunity on Saturday morning. So here’s the story – because of the crazy amount of divisions we had down, we realized that a) we had a ton of new investigators (over 70 from the 3 weeks together) that we need to take care of and b) our area was a little burnt out in terms of contacting and c) we needed to do service! So Elder Elmer said, “Let’s go service contacting!” So that’s what we did – Elder Elmer with his long machete and file in a bag and me with gloves, bags, and cleaner – we went service contacting….

….but the people didn’t want to be served…and then I remembered a former investigator named Rosy that we met my first week here who we had visited two weeks ago and even though she was 42 weeks into her pregnancy, she STILL hadn’t given birth! So we went by and suprise! She’d given birth to a huge, 14 pound baby boy (still unnamed, though I told her to name it Nicholas – Elder Elmer’s first name 🙂 and was resting. We offered to serve her, and she finally said yes! So we went to her backyard and saw….
 
…a fairly big yard covered with beer cans, bottles, and garbage of all types (food, bags, broken plates, leaves, fans, etc). Sadly not a crazy sight here, but oh well. So we got to work gathering the garbage into stacks, despite the black mud under our feet splashing all over us 🙂
And then I got to the worst part – one particular corner of their yard filled with garbage from the kitchen. It smelled like the sewer, felt like the sewer, and the sound of squeaking gave me the impression of a rat’s home…aka the sewer. I tried to not breathe deeply, look to closely, or think too much of what I was touching.
And then I lifted out a bag and down fell probably a dozen tamales, well rotting since before Christmas. In the ground wiggled a bunch of nasty little bugs. Really gross! I nearly threw up, took a moment to breathe good air, and then hurriedly finished the job.
So the connection to sin? As I pondered that night, I asked myself how I consider sin – do I react to it with the same impulsive repugnance? Do I nearly throw up spiritually? Do I immediately get away? Or do I just let myself stay in it? Do I try to forget how it really is and rationalize why I am there? And after I touch it, do I seek the clean, living water and soap from the Master? Or do I staying away I can wipe it off myself with the leaves on the ground in the mud?
12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.
I can improve in rejecting sin or temptation quickly and immediately. I am grateful for that lesson of a lifetime, and hope I never have to touch gross stuff like that ever again.

Elder Elmer, me, Moises, and Moises’ grandson, Angel…taken Tuesday night when we sang to Moises.

Singing for Moises’ Birthday

Elder Elmer and I had a precious moment yesterday; a couple of weeks ago we got a reference to visit a man named Moises. He turned out to be a 69 year old man who, in his own words, is “lonely to the point where I pass my time talking with the dogs and cats that sit nearby.” Though we saw that as an investigator he won’t progress (he can’t remember much), we figured we could give him little 10 minute visits when we were close by.
 
Last Tuesday we were visiting one of his neighbors and were a little short on time, so we went by, said hello, and kept going. This poor old man who uses a little wooden dowel as a cane followed us to the corner (slowly but surely) and said, ‘It embarrasses me to tell you, but I want to invite you to my birthday party on Sunday. I’m too poor to give you food or anything, but please come!” So we committed to pass by at 5PM, yesterday.
 
And that’s what we did – Elder Elmer and I sang happy birthday (in Spanish), and he laughed with joy – a toothless laugh – and then it turned to tears of gratitude. We paused and he said, “No, continue!” So then I sang the Call family birthday song for him, and we finished off with some classic hymns like, ‘Abide With Me,” “I am a Child of God,” and “I Know that My Savior Loves Me.” The Spirit was so strong and love filled our hearts and as we finished and asked how he was, he said, “Makanudo!” which is a very slang word which means, “Super” (but like the best ever). We said a little prayer, thanked him for inviting us to his birthday, and left. We’ll keep swinging by.
So find little ways to minister as Christ did. I learned so much about Him and myself as we did it. A great way to start is by singing for an old person 🙂

2017 Goals

I’ve decided on three main areas that I want to improve in:
 
1. Come to Know Christ
In pondering, I’ve realized that in my life and in my mission, I have a great relationship with my Heavenly Father, cultivated particularly through fervent prayer and study. Obviously not perfect, but it’s doing alright right now 🙂 At the same time, I want to come to know that Savior better. (PS Andrew – thanks for the PERFECT letter about this for me 🙂 I want to have a stronger personal relationship with Him. If I went home without a super great (not perfect) relationship with Christ, then truly the mission would be a wasted opportunity.
[Here’s the excerpt from Andrew’s note where he talks about having a personal relationship with Christ:]

Last night I had the opportunity to give the spiritual thought for our ward prayer. I started by showing the (attached) picture of the mystery man. (FYI: I’m going to transition to the point of view of talking to my ward) From what this picture looks like, we know that it’s showing a man, but we have no idea who he looks like, what kind of person he is, etc.

Then, I moved on to the picture of our Petty ancestors. (I’m sorry, I can’t remember their names.) I said that despite the fact that these people died before I could personally meet them, I know more about them, the kind of person they were, and what not from the stories I’ve heard from grandma and grandpa Crowley and from stories I’ve read.

Finally I moved to the picture of Spencer. Here is a picture of somebody that I know really well. In fact, he’s my best friend. We’ve spent the past 18 years together and we know what we like, don’t like, and feel about various topics. Truly, you are my best friend.

Then, I moved to the picture of the Savior.

To ask you a rhetorical question, how well do you know the Savior? Do you know Him in a general sense, like the mystery man? Do you know of Him and some of His qualities, like my great grandparents? Or do you know the Savior like I know our other brother, Spencer? Are we close to Him, do we truly know Him, trust Him, and follow Him?

2. Edify My Companion

Elder Elmer last Preparation Day as we toured some a national park featuring ruins close to our area. Yes, he’s got a Book of Mormon.

Elder Elmer, in companionship inventory said, “Elder Call, I can’t tell you anything to improve in that’s big; it’s just little things. And sometimes, I feel like I don’t contribute anything of significance to the companionship. I wish could be better.” Others have told me similar things in my life, and I want them to see how great they are too and know how much I love them and that they DO contribute. As Dad has told me, a consecrated missionary is concerned for the joyful progression of his companion – so I need to be more vocally and in action grateful, loving, and supportive. And in the LR (long run – econ come back to me!), that’s an important skill for marriage, va?

 3. Personal Development
Just little habits I want to take home, like:
  • Good exercise (Elder Elmer and I are doing this SHIELD agent workout program 🙂
  • Cooking
  • Always improving Spanish

Fruit salad!

Other news

  • Jeison Fuentes (16 years old, wants to be a missionary) is going to be baptized this Saturday! Please pray for him to stay strong with the commandments! See the photo 9701.
  • I found a big box of Honey Bunches of Oats last Monday and didn’t even look at the price; I bought it de un solo (which means right away) 
  • Elder Elmer and I are eating TONS of fruit salad – that makes me SOOOO happy 🙂
  • Life is just swell. Plus I weighed myself and haha I’m back under 180 lbs 🙂 Keeping that Dad Mission weight there. Gotta add real muscle.
  • Oh and Andrew I met a Honduran cyclist last week contacting – he had a specialized mountain bike and clip on shoes (I don’t remember what they’re actually called) but that was dope!

That’s it…a long letter. Have a stellar week!

Love,

Elder Call

Thad

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