July 8, 2014
Dear Mami y Papi, (Para que ya puedes dejar ser celoso. Haha.)
(Sorry for not responding till today. They switched p-day to today for this week because we had a meeting this morning.)
Wow. This past week has really been something else. First off, we traveled way too much. Haha. On Monday after district meeting, we got back to Tixkokob and a few minutes after we got off the bus, we got a call saying we had to go back immediately to the mission offices because I signed my immigration document in black and I guess they only want blue ink here (not that I don't mind with the lovely color choice), however, we had just gotten back, so the extra trip to and from Merida was less than wanted. And then I had to get photos for my meeting at the immigration office later that week and that took two hours for that to get done. Long story short, we got back to Tixko at 8 and there went another p-day. We haven't had a normal p-day since I arrived. Haha. Speaking of the meeting, we had to get up early for that (by early, I mean earlier than we normally wake up, which is 6) so we could get to my meeting early, which we were supposed to. It wasn't exactly a week for sleeping. Haha.
Back to the topic of traveling, I believe it was Saturday, we pretty much walked the length of Tixkokob maybe twice or so because of where our lessons were for that day as well as the location of our lunch appointment. However, I think I'm starting to remember where stuff in town is. Back to the important spiritual stuff. Quite a few appointments fell through one day (which can happen quite a bit here) and we had about 20 minutes till we had to go to our last appointment for the day. I had the thought to go to the town center and see who was in the little park to go and contact. We met a lady and her 3 kids who would've been good had it not been for the fact that she lives with a very catholic mother-in-law who's unacceptting of other faiths (surprise, surprise), so that was kinda eh. However, walking out, I saw a man sitting by himself and I felt we should talk to him. (Especially because it's easier for me to talk to them when they're by themselves.) We found out that he was having marital problems and that he wanted us to visit the church and have us visit him because he's just way down on his luck. Oh man. That made us way happy to find someone so receptive. We ran into him a couple days later, however, he was a bit drunk. His wife had left that day and he waited for her to come back (with the kids, I think) but she never came, so he got drunk. We talked to him, had him just let everything out, and set an appointment. Stuff like that really bums me out, but with the gospel being the biggest blessing a family can have, I'm super motivated to teach him, because that really took a lot out of his desire to live.
Not too long before, we made contact with a less-active, J, who we were helping ditch alcohol, and he was doing really good too. We lost contact for a few weeks because of his work, but when we found him this week, he was drunk. He's currently in debt and will potentially lose his home and (at the time) was out of work. What's worse is (and this is a bit heavy here, but heavier things were said which I will not mention, but this needs be mentioned at his request so that all may know) that he tried committing suicide. He showed us his wrists where he tried to cut them. His mindset in regards to life are at the point where he doesn't want to live anymore (due to his wife leaving him many years ago, his financial situation, daddy issues, and just complete loneliness since all his friends are at the bar, where he shouldn't be) and as he described another really heavy and humiliating situation, my heart just broke. It's absolutely awful how Satan will take pain and affliction and just kill whatever little hope is left remaining. That being said, something that he told us that he wanted us to tell our friends and everyone is that God had saved him. How did that happen? Well, when he had gone to cut his wrists, he tried, but failed due to the knife being way super dull that it just left a mark. It didn't even really break the skin. While things may be hard now, he recognizes that God saved him, especially because that wasn't the first time either. We talked to him that night, made an appointment to come see him, helped get him happier, gave him a hug, and left. I really hope things will work out better this time, since he was able to get some work again. This is just a testimony to me that we will only remain in misery unless we humble ourselves and allow Christ to take that burden, which He has already paid and suffered for. Even for those who may find themselves comfortable in their situations, without Christ and His restored gospel in our lives, we will never receive the true happiness we need in both this life and the next.
The Book of Mormon prophet Alma taught that this life is a probationary time for us to repent and prepare to meet God. (See Alma 12:24) Are we really preparing for that by the way we are living right now? Are we successfully enduring to the end or merely walking just outside the edges of the straight and narrow path (the only path) that leads us back to God? (See 2 Nephi 31) Is it an easy way to live? Not always. Is life supposed to be easy? Of course not. But there is one comfort that we have, and that is that the one way we can truly achieve success and happiness and joy is to live in accordance with the commandments of God. Of course we're going to make mistakes, but that's why Christ died for us. That's why He suffered in Gethsemane and bled from every pore and was crucified for us. He did all this to know exactly how you would and will feel to be far from God and in sorrow and pain and everything. The atonement is there. It is a very real thing. You just need to truly believe Christ and believe that "with His stripes we are healed." (See Mosiah 14:5)
To truly know if these things are true. And I invite you to read the Book of Mormon again and to pray of it's truthfulness, with true intent. (Which means to act on the feelings and impressions you receive), I do this out of all the love that is in my heart. I've seen the unhappiness that comes form living outside of the teachings of the gospel here. Though it may seem fine, that's just how Satan works. Please pray about my words. That's all I ask. I bare you my testimony of the truthfulness of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Elder Manuel Antonio Santos
PS I did get my package this past week. Aw man. Thank you!!!!!!!!!! Love you tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!