As I'm sure many of you would like to know, Aristeo is doing alright. His progress has slowed a little as he has realized all it takes for him to actually get baptized -- getting divorced from his former wife, and married to the one he is currently with. The major problem here in Mexico is that when people get fed up with each other one just leaves, and that's what happened to Aristeo. Which complicates his situation to get remarried and the baptized. So, we try to focus on what we can change for the moment. As many Mexicans he has an addiction to coffee. He only drinks it every day. So, we put his testimony to the test once more. We shared the story of Daniel (Daniel 1) and shared the blessings that would come to his life if he would obey the Word of Wisdom to help him feel anxious to life this commandment. Do you understand how hard it is to explain health to a doctor? Especially one that has justified their own habits with studies of who knows what from who knows where? When you think about health, would you go to a missionary? Or would you go to a doctor? Good thing that we were on the topic of spiritual health and that gave us the edge. It didn't help that our Elder's Quorum President told him that Jesus drank grape juice...
So, we gave him all the points he thought he could take from the Bible and, seeing as it was Elder Hernandez's first time teaching the Word of Wisdom, it was time to get a little creative. Instead of using what he thought he knew, we used what the Spirit had taught him. We asked him, "Do you believe in prophets and in modern day revelation?" To which he promptly responded yes. "Do you have faith that if we follow the counsel of a prophet, even when we may not know why, that we will be blessed?" "Yes," he replied again. "Do you have the faith sufficient to obey the Word of Wisdom and get rid of all your coffee?" To this one he could not respond. So, we invited him to pray in that instant with his children by his side (Pablo 16, Carrie 19). Finishing the prayer he lead us to his coffee and let us throw it away.
How can someone give up a habit they have had for 50 years? Forget that he had just bought a brand new large bottle of coffee the previous day. Forget that he knows of the pains that follow leaving behind an addiction? What makes the change? I love what Mormon comments when a situation a little more serious is presented. He states, "And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin; and thus we see that they buried their weapons of peace, or they buried the weapons of war, for peace" (Alma 24:19).
I woke up the other morning reflecting a lot on all that I had learned in my mission; what would I leave to help Elder Hernandez go on and understand fully what we do as missionaries. I thought for a few moments and decided that I had learned that it is better to suffer whatever cost -- even until death -- than to give up. I told him, I would rather die doing what I know is right, than live in shame. After all, that is what it took for the Savior.
But, could you say the same for yourself?
May the Lord guide us always,