Sunday, May 7, 2017

Skibby sent us the following email last Monday, May 1, 2017, but she's gotten into this nasty habit of writing parts of her emails in Spanish, and it takes me a while to get them translated.  Many thanks to my mom for translating this one! [Translations are in brackets and italics.]

Date:  May 1, 2017 at 10:54 AM
Subject:  The odd one out…

Kedu!! (That means hello in igbu) [I searched for information about this language on the internet, and learned that Igbo is a language spoken in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea. Who knew?]

Well, gear up for a long email because I have lots to say.

A good friend of mine once said, bad news bears. And it does. A lot. So I've decided to give the bad news first. Well, everyone and their dog in Spain rent rooms in pisos [apartment buildings]. So it's very common to have people of different genders living in the same piso. That being said, it's basically a rule that you can't be baptized if you live in a house with someone of the opposite gender also living in the house.. It doesn't become a real problem unless you have someone that is ready to be baptized. Like Oscar. Oscar is so ready to be baptized. He fasted for the first time after we taught him about it, and he said it was the coolest experience. He didn't think he was going to be able to do it because he's never gone a day without food, but he decided to try it. He told us it scared him because he wasn't hungry at all. It was really powerful for him. Anyway, that just shows a little bit about how ready he was. But we had to address the issue of him living in a piso with someone of the other gender living in the same piso. I didn't know how to bring it up because it's not breaking the law of chastity. President told me that the Bishop needed to be aware of the situation because he'll be in charge of Oscar after he's baptized. And he said that he needed to work with the bishop if he was going to be baptized without moving. So I tried to explain the situation to the Bishop and he said he would give Oscar an interview. I don't know if I explained badly to the Bishop or what, but we have had absolutely no contact with Oscar since Sunday after his interview. We've called him. We've texted him. And we haven't received anything from him. We stopped trying after Tuesday because we know he can get ahold of us if he wants to. Bishop said their conversation went great and that he was willing to move, but from what we've heard from Oscar, it can't have gone as well as was told. Anyway, I'm really sad about that. I know he is a better person now, and I know that what we've taught him will help him avoid harmful things. I just hope he doesn't give in. But he has completely disappeared.

Now we can move on to the miracles of the week.
Last Monday I called Gilberto to confirm our lesson for Tuesday. He said, "Why can't we meet today??" (I was like, "let me see if we can squeeze you in") So we met him last Monday at 7:00 and here is his story. Gilberto: 
approximately 40 years old (could be in his 30s)
5'7" (I’m just kidding, I don't know how tall he is)
from Ecuador
Here all alone
Looking for work
We talked to him about our purpose as missionaries and gave him the restoration pamphlet and Book of Mormon to read. He wanted to know how much time it would take for him to be able to be baptized. We told him it just depended on whether or not he was prepared. Then we met with him on Thursday and talked about the pamphlet he had read. He told us since we'd talked to him he felt calm and that the bad dreams he had been having had stopped. He told us he wanted to learn more and that he wanted to come to church and all of that lovely stuff. So then we saw him on Saturday and re-gave the restoration as a family home evening in the house of los Bascope, y salio muy bien. Tiene muchas ganas de aprender. Pero.. nos dijo que este dia, habia discutido con su casero (debido a que no tiene dinero para pagar por su cuarto), y para evitar la contencion, salio de su casa. Iba a llamar un amigo y ver si podia quedar en su casa por la noche, y si no, nos dijo que no hacia tanto frio esta noche. Entonces, ibamos a recogerle por la iglesia, pero, en la manana no nos contesto. No sabemos si esta bien o donde esta, pero esperamos que este bien y que este arreglando este problema. Pero, si le vemos otra vez o si no le vemos otra vez, se que el es un milagro. Se que esta listo para cambiar su vida y seguir el evangelio. El campo blanco ya esta para la siega. A veces, el albedrio de las personas me mata. Pero, vamos a seguir y ver si podemos tener contacto con el.
Luz-- todas las personas que se llamen Luz, son geniales. He ganado un testimonio de eso, y puedo testificar de la veracidad de ello. El Domingo, en los principios del evangelio, nuestra leccion era en cuanto el bautismo. En la hora siguiente, ella me dijo: "Hermana Christensen, tengo una pregunta. Siempre las personas me dicen -- cuando se bautiza, cambia.-- y esto me asuste porque yo no quiero cambiar. Yo no quiero cambiar la fe que tengo o las cosas que han pasado. Yo quiero recordarles. Lo que quiero es mejorar, es progresar." Yo le dije que ya habia cambiado, que es un cambio de corazon que ya tenia ella y que el bautismo es para ayudarle a mejorar y progresar en este camino. (y en la clase estabamos hablando del evangelio y como debemos ensenar nuestros hijos bien, pero ellos tienen que actuar luego) y me dijo "ah, ahora yo entiendo, no. Es como la familia de Nefi y como algunos de los hijos ya tenian el cambio y escucharon a su padre, pero otras no. Nefi ya tenia este cambio de corazon. yo quiero bautizarme. pero, quiero que mi esposo se bautice conmigo. quiero que me ayudes. ya he tomado me decision, pero queiro que nos bauticemos juntos. quiero que su fe se fortalece. Pero, quiero que me ayudes." su esposo viene el 8 de Mayo. ya veremos. espero tanto que puedan bautizarse juntos. Luz es increible. Tiene tanto amor por Dios. Pero, justo tenia que mudarse, y se mudo a la casa de un Hermano en la iglesia. Hermano Nilo.
[So then we saw him on Saturday and regave the restoration as a family home evening in the Bascope home, and it went very well.  He really wants to learn.  But…he told us that today he had an argument with his landlord ( because he didn't have the money to pay his rent) and to avoid contention, he left his house.  He was going to call a friend and see if he could stay at his house for the night, and if not, he told us that it wasn't very cold tonight.  So, (or then), we went to pick him up for church but, in the morning he didn't answer us.  We don't know if he's okay or where he is, but we hope he's okay and is fixing this problem.  But, if we see him again or if we don't see him again, I know that he is a miracle.  I know that he is ready to change his life and follow the gospel.  The field is white and ready for the harvest.  At times, the choices people make just kill me.  But, we are going to carry on and see if we can make contact with him.
Luz--Everyone who is called Luz is great.  I have gained a testimony of that, and I can testify of the truth of that.  Sunday, in the gospel principles class, our lesson was about baptism.  In the next hour (of the 3-hour block) she said to me:  "Sister Christensen, I have a question.  People always tell me that when I am baptized I change.  And this frightens me because I don't want to change.  I don't want to change the faith that I have or the things that have happened.  I want to remember them.  What I want is to improve, to progress."  I told her that she has already changed, that it is a change of heart that she now has and that baptism is to help her improve and progress on this path.  (and in the class we were talking about the gospel and how we should teach our children well (or she might mean teach our children what is good and right) but later they have to act on it (those teachings).  And she said to me, "Ah, now I understand, right?"  (the "no" doesn't mean "no." It's like saying, "don't you agree?") "It's like Nephi's family and how some of the children now had changed and they listened to their father, but others, no.  Nephi had this change of heart.  I want to be baptized, but I want my husband to be baptized with me.  I need you to help me. (I think she's saying "I need you to help me," but she's using the familiar form of the verb to help ((ayudes)) and I'm pretty sure that investigators and missionaries speak to each other in the formal ((usted)).)
"I have made my decision, but I want us to be baptized together.  I want his faith to be strengthened. (I think I've got the pronouns the way Bibs meant them.)  But I want you to help me."  (same thing--familiar tense, but I can't figure out anything else she could mean.)  Her husband comes May 8.  Then we will see.  I hope so much that they can be baptized together.  Luz is incredible.  She loves God so much.  But, she just had to move, and she moved to the house of a member of the church--Brother Nilo.]

confirmed suspicions:
1. I do not like sushi
2. Chinese people eat weird things that probably shouldn't be eaten.

This week was great.
We fixed the wheels to the broken suitcase and went to Alcobendas to teach a Chinese lady. I always feel so left out when they talk because I don't understand anything! Then we went to the temple so Hna Tang could do baptisms for the dead because she's never done them before. It was really, really awesome. Also Luz and Gustavo were going to be there, but al final [in the end], her husband didn't let them come. And, the most important thing is.... we had transfers. Would you believe we're going to be a trio? There is a Chinese missionary in the CCM [Spain MTC] that comes in tomorrow. Who's the odd one out now?!?!?
Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes. I'm excited!
your favorite. And I'm really sorry because I haven't read any of your emails. I will read them tonight!!!

joke in Spanish:
cuando tiene gas que tira Thor
[??? I’ve got no translation for this one!]

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