Well this week was great. We had some things out of the ordinary happen so that always keeps us on our toes which is fun. But sometimes I feel like this country is crazy... I honestly don`t know how any of these people survive down here. There are crazy dogs on every corner. It is extremely hot. The food is all wrong and on top of all that the people are a little crazy too. But the end of the month is coming so my companion and I are scrambling once again to reach our monthly goal of baptisms. For some reason we have a bazillion investigators who need to get married and they are not getting married so they cannot progress. That all means that they cannot get baptized....
But this coming Saturday we should have two baptisms so we just need one more to reach our goal. We are nervous about who it is going to be. Our other investigators we have are either not ready for baptism or are not married. So we are once again asking for another miracle. Hermana Romero and I thought we should fast for our monthly goal. We opened our fast on Saturday afternoon with a prayer. We prayed for each our our investigators by name and then we asked for help with our goal of three this month. We also asked that our investigators would be able to come to church tomorrow.
We arrived at church on Sunday morning and NO ONE WAS THERE!!! I was so frustrated. We called so many of our investigators reminding them about church and none of them were there. As the meeting started people started trickling in and Marco and Flora showed up. Then we noticed Digna and her two kids showed up as well. When the meeting ended we found out that we had 8 investigators at church that day.... That is more investigators that we have ever had at church on Sunday. We were elated knowing that we have eight chances for another baptism this month, since attending church two times is a requirement for baptism. It was pretty cool... We ran home before our lunch appointment and broke our fast real quick thanking the Lord for the blessing. Fasting works!
What else happened this week... We were visiting one of our recent converts named Guadalupe. Guadalupe is 25 years old and her mom still lives with her and her family. Guadalupe`s mother`s name is Sophia. Sophia is close to her 70`s and when we were over at her house she mentioned that her mother had 18 children. When I said, "¿¿¿EN SERIO???" She then told me that it was true and that she was the oldest of all of them.
Then Hermana Sophia told Hermana Romero and I a little about her life. She told us that when she was 7 years old she had five younger siblings. Her mother told Sophia that she was in charge of her siblings. Hermana Sophia then told us that her mother was always pregnant and that she was also never home during the day. Hermana Sophia said that she was in charge of bathing and feeding the children. Sophia was also in charge of washing their clothes. Because she was taking care of these kids at such a young age she could never go to school.
Sophia, only being seven years old, has no idea of how to take care of these kids. She remembers she didn`t know how to wash clothes so she just dumped them in the river and took them out again, thinking that is how you wash the clothes. She also remembers that she would take the little kids to the river when they needed a bath and take them by the hair and dunk them in the river, until they looked clean again. She also told us that her mother yelled and screamed at her for not cleaning their teeth. So the next day she cleaned all the kids teeth by grabbing their tongues and scrapping their teeth with a spoon.
Her mother never taught her how to cook so they had banana trees everywhere and she would peel all the bananas put them in a pot and stomp on them all like she was pressing grapes for wine. She then added river water to the pot and put it on the fire till the mess of bananas began to bubble. She then fed this to all of her siblings. She told us that all of her siblings started getting sick and refusing to eat these bananas but they were so hungry that they kept eating this concoction which was practically poison. All of her five siblings ended up dying.
We then asked her how she felt about it, did she feel guilty now, knowing the reason her siblings died. She then told us, "No... I was just a child. I had no clue how to take care of myself let alone five other crazy kids." She then told us that when she was 14 years old she remembers kneeling down and promising in prayer that she would only have 4 children and that she would never make her children take care of one another like she was forced to do her whole life. And that is what she did. When she told us about her prayer she started crying and I felt so sorry for her. I had one of the best childhoods anyone could ask for and there are people who actually go through things like this. I was just amazed that I was hearing HER story. I KNOW this woman, it wasn`t like I was watching a movie or reading a book... She was telling me her own life. All I can say is: "I am so blessed."
But this week we also had a weird thing happen... We had an appointment with Anthony he just barely got baptized so we were just going to check on him and give him a quick lesson. He lives with his Grandma Pattie, they have a dog that usually jumps up on us when we walk in the gate to their house. But this week the dog didn`t greet us when we came in. This dog is covered in black curly fur and is smaller than a golden retriever but comes up about half way on my thighs. So it is a pretty good sized dog. When we entered the house we saw the dog laying down in the corner. I noticed he looked a little skinnier than usually and then I realized that there were a couple of flies swarming around him.
Charlie, our ward mission leader, then thought it would be a good idea to give the dog a little kick to see if it was asleep but when he kicked the dog it dìdn`t move at all. Then Anthony came in and informed us that the dog had died earlier that morning. Hermana Pattie came shuffling out of her room with a red nose and eyes and told us that she felt awful because it was her fault he died. She thought that the dog had eaten something in the road that made him sick and died. She then asked us if we could bury her dog for her. We said sure thinking it wouldn`t be a problem.
Well the shovel she has was ancient and was rusting at the bottom. When we started trying to dig a hole the bottom of the shovel started bending because it was so rusted. We then needed to use a pick to break up the ground. So digging the hole took a little longer than expected. When the hole was finally ready Hermana Pattie told Anthony to go get the dog. He came back holding the dog by the legs and laid the dog on the ground. Charlie then suggested that maybe we should wrap the dog in plastic or a sheet. Hermana Pattie had a blanket that the dog used as a bed. So we laid the blanket on the ground and Anthony then put the dog on the sheet. I then realized that Charlie didn`t want to touch the dog that is why he asked for the sheet.
So he grabbed the ends of the sheet and tried to lay the dog in the hole but the dog was so stiff that the hole wasn`t wide enough. So then Charlie starts to try to force the dog in the grave when Hermana Pattie starts crying pretty hard. Knowing that this is a tender moment for her I suggested that we could make the grave a little wider so that we didn`t have to force the dog in. Charlie made the grave a little wider but when he went to put the dog in the grave again some dead dog juice must have seeped into the sheet because Charlie then freaked out dropping the dog in the grave with a loud thud. Hermana Pattie then let out a wail and started sobbing.
Charlie let out a nervous laugh and then Hermana Romero started laughing as well. Hermana Pattie then started crying even harder..... Sheesh people this LADY IS CRYING--DON`T LAUGH!!! hahaha Well I was then reminded of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince when Aragorn, Hagrid`s spider dies and Hagrid is a sobbing mess and Harry`s Professor offers to say something nice at the grave site.... I thought that would be a good idea, but then I just offered if we should say a prayer instead. Hermana Pattie agreed, we said the prayer and buried the dog...
Well that is all for this week things are going really well and I am doing fine!!! Love you all so much more than I miss you!!!!
Love Hermana Welch #1 (Jess)
P.S. Quite an ordeal but it was so stinking funny now that I think about it. I am surprised I didn`t laugh.