It's actually kind of remarkable how comfortable I am with my district. It really feels like I'm at home with my friends (in a good way, of course). Normally almost everyone in the district shows up at the church around 8-8:30 pm to put in lessons and sync using the church wifi, and this is usually a pretty fun time of the day, especially after the tediousness of looking up people who really aren't ready to listen for the entire day. It's kind of weird, because before my mission, my 'true' sense of humor didn't really leave the house a whole lot. I know you in particular, mom, loved my sense of humor. Well, in my district this transfer I've seen that sense of humor set free. It's weird. There was this time when an Elder showed
us a pretty funny video of him cooking a fly. Then I made the comedic comment that there was probably a fly on the wall watching his friend's death, and I launched into a depiction of the fly swearing
vengeance on Elder Ramos that had everyone in stitches.
I think the highlight of the week was on Sunday, though. We were about to eat dinner with some other Elders, when our Spanish sisters called us, quite manifestly anxious and perturbed. They told us that they had just gotten a call from a less-active, almost yelling to them that her husband was possessed of a devil. Now, this sister is married to a husband who chronically abuses her. We assumed it was something along the lines of this, and we asked what the sisters wanted us to do. They asked us to come to the house with them, which we agreed to. The Branch President was informed, as well as our District Leaders, who both advised us to be careful. The Branch President called the husband, who told him that everything was all right. You never call the abusive spouse and ask if something is wrong! Anyway, we met the sisters outside the house, a little down the street, and we counseled amongst the falling snow, the first of the season. We said a prayer, and decided to go knock on the door, and to share President Monson's talk 'I Will Not Fail Thee, Nor Forsake Thee.' We decided to go in and sing some hymns, and do our best to comfort her. The reason we went with the sisters is because they didn't feel safe or comfortable going into the house with the husband there, in the case that he wanted trouble, or truly was possessed of an evil spirit. We went in, and the sister opened the door, quite obviously crying. She invited us in, and we sat around her kitchen table. We sang 'Abide with me, 'tis Eventide,' and opened with a prayer. We started going over the talk, but the sister quickly opened up
to us about everything. She told us about how she's afraid to divorce her husband because she doesn't have a job or friends here in the States, and how her husband doesn't let her go out and work.
Throughout the whole thing I felt extremely strongly an impression to testify to her as a representative of Jesus Christ in a revelatory capacity and tell her how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love her and her strong faith, and that they have seen her trials and struggles, and that they have prepared a way for her to come out on the other end stronger and better off. I got that feeling you get when the Spirit tells you to go bear your testimony. I then asked Heavenly Father if it would be better for me to give her the revelation through a Priesthood Blessing, and I felt an answer in the affirmative. Then,
mustering all the reverence and humility I could, I told this sister that I felt strongly impressed to offer her a blessing of comfort and counsel, if she would like one. She said yes, and Elder Cintrón and I laid our hands on her head. This was the first blessing I had ever given in Spanish, and I have to say it was the best I have ever given, because it was so directly guided by the Spirit. I think everyone was crying when I finished. I am so grateful I have the Melchizedek Priesthood, and that I can use it to bless the lives of others. Anyway, the whole time the husband was hiding in the bathroom. I'm not sure if he was angry or scared or what. I didn't ever see him. I did feel a sort of dark feel to the whole house, though, that was chased away, for the most part, the moment we started singing. I may be making something out of nothing, but it would not surprise me if there were angels of Satan lurking about in that house. We closed with a prayer, and the sisters left some commitments with her and set up their next appointment, and then we left. It was a powerful lesson, and there have been few times in my mission, let alone my life, where I have been so strongly guided by the spirit.
At church on Sunday there was this absolutely adorable seven month old baby boy (Roberto) who would not stop staring at me. When I was up on the stand playing the hymns, he was staring at me. When I sat down a couple rows behind him, he was staring at me. He's a very docile, happy baby, and I made faces at him a few times, to which he invariably grinned. Very cute kid. He looks kinda like I did when I was a baby, but with less hair, a larger head, and a little bit more baby fat. Of course, he's now one of my favorite babies in the whole world. His dad, Hermano Haz, is super cool! He is studying to be a Psychological Researcher. They have four kids, including Roberto, and they have invited us to dinner on Sunday. During his lesson in Priesthood both Elder Cintrón and I had the thought come to mind that he would make an amazing Branch Mission Leader.
It was super cool to see a picture of Dad when he was my age. I really, really love and respect my dad. He is such an amazing example to me. At first when I showed my district a picture of our family they were like 'I guess you kinda look like equal parts of your mom and dad,' but after showing them that picture, they were like 'yup, you're your father's son.' Not sure if that's good or bad ;) Just kidding.
That's some pretty heavy news about Uncle Matt. Wow. The Littles will definitely be in my prayers this month, even more than usual. I pray that the Lord will ease their burdens, and that they can find comfort in the midst of their trial. I hope Brittany can be strong in the MTC while her dad passes away. The MTC and the first transfer or two are the hardest, and by and large they are when most missionaries go home. The added emotional strain of losing her dad, and possibly not even
being able to be there when he passes will make it even harder.
A little anecdote to lighten the mood of the email, though- Before yesterday, Elder Cintrón hadn't seen snow before! We walked out of church and it was snowing, and his mind was just blown. That's a
pretty cool moment to share with someone :)
Well, I love you all. I hope you all enjoy your MLK day (including Dad with his 'special day'-esque tasks), and each of you are in my prayers.
All my love,
Elder Richard Brandt Hull