I don't know if I ever told you guys about what the area I live in is like. So I thought I should do that a little bit so you can picture me fording rivers and hacking down jungle with my machete in all my glory.
So my zone is the East Los Angeles stake/zone. So it is the poorest zone in the mission. We cover a pretty large part of the city of Los Angeles, and since we cover the whole stake for the YSA ward we get to go over there into the really poor areas even though there aren't technically sisters there. It's interesting though because a lot of it you wouldn't think was really really poor unless you take a second look. A lot of the city of Montebello is the pretty small 60's cookie cutter houses. So like, not wealthy, but not SUPER poor either. But then you realize that the house is divided into three parts, each with a family living in them, one family renting out the garage, and usually one old person living in the shed in the tiny shed in the backyard. Addresses get really confusing around here because there's a ton of invented ones with fractions and stuff... like 102 1/2 M. And sometimes you think an address doesn't exist but that is really because you need to go to the shed in the backyard of some random house to find it. Inside there's like a bed, and a refrigerator, and that is where the person lives. I saw that kind of poverty in Mexico for sure, but it something you forget exists in the United States.
So ANYWAYS. This week was probably the BEST OF THEM ALL!!! Arath got baptized yesterday! And it was quite an event. His baptism was starting right after the church services, at noon. So at 11 we went in to fill the baptismal font. We came back after like 10 minutes to see how it was filling up. To our dismay, there was no cold water at the church. You probably think I mean hot, but no, the only water that would come out of any sink or the baptismal font was scalding hot. The thermometer on the font was reading like 160 degrees. Plus it was filling up super slowly. So we rounded up the elders and for the next hour were filling up huge trash cans of water from a hose spigot outside on the exact opposite end of the church and carting them through the church and into the primary room (where all the kids including Arath were having primary) and dumping it into the font. Arath was just watching us like "what in the world is going on". It was pretty funny.
But in the end, we had enough water in there that they were able to kneel and perform the baptism. And it also wasn't SO scalding hot that they were able to bear it haha. It was pretty funny.
The baptism though was amazing. Arath bore his testimony afterwards and said that the second he went under the water he just felt this huge happiness that took away all the anger in his heart and he started crying. The best part was the day before when we had been teaching him his last lesson before his baptism I said to his 17 year old brother "So, Kevin, tomorrow will you pray and ask to feel the spirit at your brother's baptism and if you do, will you let us teach you?" And, well, he did, so now we are going to start teaching him! And he is really excited even though he tries to hide it because he's a 17 year old boy. Now we just have to get the dad. This family is just SO amazing.
Our miracle investigator Oscar is also doing great. He changed shifts at work with someone yesterday to go to church. And he got to see Arath's baptism. AND it was his birthday, so we made him a cake and had all the YSA people sing to him and eat cake with him. And afterwards he almost started crying and he told us that no one had ever celebrated his birthday before, even his family, because he was so poor in Mexico. I think he was a little overwhelmed with all that in one day haha but I know it is something he will want to be part of. This kid is going to get baptized. He loves Joseph Smith. We had an interesting problem with him this week where we had to tell him he needed to stop flirting with us haha (he's 20) and is just one of those people who flirts with everyone, and then he was really embarrassed and said he didn't want to be taught anymore. But then after a few days he was like "okay I give in because I really just need to know what happens at the end of the story with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery" haha. He reads EVERYTHING we give him. I love investigators like that.
Oh and we had 6 investigators at church!!!! IT WAS SUCH A MIRACLE!
One last awesome thing that happened this week. We have one of those eternal investigators, who has been taught for like 3 years, her name is Myrna. And she is kind of like very... earthy. Like if she danced she would dance modern. And she always has some weird concern that stops her from progressing like she doesn't understand why the lamanites had darker skin because she thinks that propogates racism and stuff haha. And so we were over there, and we just felt like we should give her a baptismal date. So I invited her to be baptized and gave her a date and she accepted and the spirit was super strong. But it was really exciting because it was the first person who I have personally invited who accepted!! So that was really cool. All the previous missionaries of Los Robles are like "No way! Myrna has a baptismal date??!!!" because like EVERYONE has taught her haha.
But yea, the church is true!!! Keep it real! I can't send pictures sorry, I tried, but the files on my camera are so big that it doesn't even let me send one, so I will just have to send my SD card home sometime.