Monday, February 10, 2014

Saving the world, one starfish at a time

                                              February 10, 2014

Once upon a time, in a beach far away, there was a big storm. And
because of this storm many, many starfish had been washed up on the
shore. After the storm had ended a man was walking along the seashore
marveling at the destruction the storm had caused. As he was walking
he ran into another man who was picking up starfish and throwing them
back into the ocean. The first man walked up to the man who was
throwing the starfish back in the sea and said, ``Are you crazy? There
are thousands of starfish along this shore, there is no way you are
going to make any difference at all.`` Smiling, the other man picked
up one more starfish and as he was throwing him back into the sea
said, ``yes, but to that little starfish, I`m making all the
difference in the world.``

Hola Familia :) ¿Como estan? This week has been absolutely wonderful.
Right now as I am sitting here writing to you I am just feeling really
happy, and at peace. I learned a lot of important lessons this week
and I would like to tell you about a couple of them.
So, I am Begonias right now where there are more than 900 members and
only 200 that attend Church. And ever since I got here my focus has
been the menos activos and finding and helping them, which is good.
But, I was only focusing on that and putting to the side a little bit
looking for new investigators. It’s a little embarrassing to admit but
my attitude was, ``this ward already has 900 members, they don`t need
anymore!`` And I was getting a little frustrated that we weren`t
having as much success as I wanted, but I didn`t understand why. Well,
the other day we were in a little tienda next to our house and as we
were getting ready to leave the owner asked us, ``and are you two from
a church?`` and of course we responded ``yes!`` and started talking to
her. Well she told us, ``I would like to talk to you two, I have been
looking for a church for many years.``
well, that statement hit me really hard. And has been repeating in my
head ever since. Yes, helping those who are already members is super,
super important, but, there are still people out there looking for the
truth! It isn`t about how many members the ward has, it is about how
many people are ready to come unto Christ, no matter if they are
members, or otherwise.
I am really grateful for this lady, even if she doesn`t progress as an
investigator, because she helped teach me a really important lesson.

Ok, another experience. So here in Peru there are a lot of really poor
people who don`t have very much. And I have seen way more poverty than
I have ever wanted to see in my whole life. But one little old man in
particular has caught my attention here in good old Begonias. He is a
tiny, bent over old man who spends his days limping up and down the
street selling candy from a wooden box that hangs down around his
neck. I see him just about every day and from day one seeing him just
tugs at my heart and makes me a little sad. Well, this last week as we
were walking down the street we passed him and for whatever reason my
companion and I both turned around and said, ``I want to buy some
candy from that man`` and so we chased him down and bought a little
bit of candy and he was really grateful and gave us a really sweet
smile as we were walking away. From that moment on my companion and I
have decided to buy a little 10 cent candy from him every time he
passes. I know that may seem a little silly, but to that sweet little
old man, it makes a difference.

Another experience. There is a family in this ward that has become
really special to my companion and I. They recently moved here from
the Jungle and they moved because they were receiving a lot of grief
from family and friends about joining the Mormon church. They are
super sweet and loving and we love visiting them, but this last week
as we got to their house we felt a different spirit in the room. They
all seemed a little sad and didn`t greet us with a bunch of hugs and
kisses like normal. Well, as we started talking to them we found out
they together as a family they had come across anti Mormon literature
on the internet and it had really shaken their testimonies. One of
their daughters said, ``I don`t believe any of it anymore, not in
Joseph Smith, not in the Book of Mormon, and I don`t even know if I
believe in any type of religion. And she started to cry, along with
her mom as well. Wow. My companion and I just looked at each other and
I can`t even tell you now what was said, but it was one of the most
powerful experiences I`ve ever had. We both were able to testify about
the things we knew were true and the spirit was there in the room with
us. The next morning we went back and brought the full length movie
about the Prophet Joseph Smith and we all watched it together. At the
end we asked them how they felt, and they all smiled and said that
they felt good and at peace. And we asked the daughter who was
struggling the most is she had any more questions or doubts and she
said, ``no, all my doubts are gone. Thank you``

Wow. And the week just got better from there. I wish I could tell you
all of them but we have to go.

The Church is true everybody! Every part of it. And at times the work
seems overwhelming or discouraging but just remember, that if you are
able to help even just one person, you are making all the difference
in the world.

I love you all!!!!!! Have a wonderful week! Sorry I don`t have time to
respond to you all individually, next week, I promise :)

Hna Shelton

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