I’ve been paying a lot of attention to my companion, Elder Quinteros, in his last moments on the mission. In this last week, his last week to cap off 2 years of hard work, he was shining and a force of the Spirit. Three weeks can seem like so little but when you’re side by side with someone every hour of the day it’s incredible how much there is to learn. Elder Quinteros left a legacy in the Boa Vista Ward in a transfer and a half. Yesterday night we had a little farewell party for him and we invited all the ward members and a handful of investigators. There was about double the amount of people we expected and all were sad to see him go. Elder Quinteros had an air of simplicity and humility, but at the same time was obedient and happy. Obedience and hard work came to become not an arduous task but a joy, and as such others participated in that joy as they came to work with us.
As if I’ve tried to follow in Elder Quinteros footsteps, while still being myself, I’ve come to witness the miracles of Christ’s love. Obedience without love does not lead to the Spirit, nor love without obedience, but when the two walk hand in hand – when we are examples of perfect charity and righteousness, our countenance and aura come to resemble that of the Savior’s, and our footsteps are led by the Spirit.
We met a homeless drunk this last week, Charles. Charles more or less sold his life to alcohol and cigarettes, and recognizes (and laments) his current situation. He sleeps on a mattress tossed out in an abandoned lot and spends the day with his “friends” drinking on the other side of the street. He stopped us and we began to talk. He said he wanted to know more and something in the way he expressed himself gave us hope that he really meant what he said. We marked his name in our daily planner to return. Under the section “Notes” – a space to write notes about the person to help us remember the situation of people we meet – I almost marked “Homeless Drunk,” but I paused, thought, and wrote “Child of God” instead. We met with Charles Sunday morning and the whole lot of us went to church. The members greeted Charles incredibly well, giving hugs and handshakes, not giving the least heed to the strong smell of alcohol and stale cigarettes. Charles cried a couple times and said he’ll come back next Sunday.
We had another sweet experience in which a member of the church told us about her sister who had fallen away from the church some years ago. She mentioned the name and address almost in passing, but, one night while planning, I felt the strange urge to pass by her house as our last commitment. When we passed by, we began to explain the blessings that the Gospel brings to families. She began to listen and as we began to converse more in detail about her family, the sister who had given the reference unexpectedly showed up. The active-member sister bore her testimony of the gospel. She didn’t know that we would be there, but felt that she too should stop by. The Lord has a mysterious way of orchestrating His work and often it’s only afterwards that we come to understand just how beautiful the music was.
Sleep is harder and harder to come by, as is time. I’ll be taking the role this week in training a new zone leader, but am excited, if a little nervous, for the responsibility. Until next time.