My new companion I will be picking up tomorrow in Villahermosa. His name in Elder Cabral and he is from Elder Andrade's generation. So, he has got some experience, and I hope I'll be able to learn as much as I can from him. We'll see about his English. When Elder Nelson was here he told us about a missionary who came back to his ward and had forgotten English. I thought before, "How cool that must be to just forget". He then followed up by saying, "How selfish" of this missionary, "...he didn't teach any of his companions English." I would joke with Elder Deem when he tried to say something in English and failed by just calling him selfish.
In this last week we had a good time though. Elder Deem never had his green card, so there was a scare that he might not be allowed to go home. For that, we spent a whole day in Villa. He went to the airport to sign papers and I went out to work with Elder Alvarado, the missionary that stayed inside the house with me all day because he too was going home. Long story short, we are both still here! Sad story made longer, he still doesn't know his area so we spent the day walking around in the rain. Don't worry mother, I was prepared! But, I gave it away to another Elder who was going to be stuck in Villa with one set of clothes, which would be important to not get wet then, right? Remember when someone else got stuck in Villa and rained on right as they started up? That was me, so Iwas able to show little mercy. Point is, I got really wet, but with my cool packpack, my books didn't. After walking around all day I got back to the offices to pick up Elder Deem, who of course was still perfectly dry. We said goodbye to President nd he came to give me a big hug because I m still live--which might be the biggest miracle of all. I gave him a big hug and he to me, but whispered in my ear in English, "Wet Bear". Elder Deem heard it and laughed the whole way home.
So now I am known as Colitis Boy, Sharky, and Wet Bear. But, I guess not anymore since Elder Deem left. But Bishop will still call me Sharky because some pills I take are Shark cartilege. That's cool.
Which brings us to the next story. This ward is awesome. When they invite you to share your testimonies, if you don't go up the first time, you don't go up. Literally they don't let you. There are that many people that go up. I thought they were evacuating the building. It was insane. Since it was Elder Deem's last week, they invited us to go first. As the Counselor in the Bishopric invited us he said, "...and now we'll hear from Elder...ehh...Elder...(
silence)...Elder Deem and his companion." Obviously I was supposed to go first since the occasion wasn't really "for me" but the counselor just didn't know my name. So, I started off my testimony, "Good afternoon. My name is Elder Andrews. Many of you know me as 'other Elder'..." Sad story, but true, because many people have called me "otro Elder". It doesn't help that Andrews is practically impossible to pronounce in Spanish and so many just don't try. But, now that Elder Deem is gone and after my testimony (introduction, don't worry mom, I shared stuff that actually mattered), many people assured me that I was now Elder Andrews and my new companion would be 'other Elder'. How nice.
So, how's the work? It's going great. We have so much to do, we just have to remember it all so it doesn't die down. We have one investigator in particular that is awesome. She is a single mother in her 20's. Family friend of the Bishop (lives two houses down) and the first time I went to visit her she told us how many missionaries had been to visit her but none could conquer her and convince her. Long story short, maybe we were in the right place at the right time? Because she is getting baptized this 21st of March. It is cool to work with her and have the Bishop's family so closely involved in everything. Zuleyma has already been scolded by her family for hearing so frequently from the Mormons. She was backed up to the wall of her faith. She didn't know what to do. So she prayed. She sked for help from her friend and neighbor--the Bishop's son, who happens to be our Ward Mission Leader. He gave her advice, that was surprisingly unbiased. She made her decision for herself. She decided she could not deny what she had learned, and she could not deny she desired to learn more.
I hope that all of us could evaluate our own conversions and I would suggest what President Monson did this last conference about testimony, "I believe that everyone here has a conversion. If you do not have the depth of conversion you would like, I would suggest you work towards the one you would like." (More or less).
Remeber, "The path is simple, but not easy to follow"
Elder Caleb O. Andrews