Anyhow, I'd just like to share one experience today as I don't have a ton of time. I don't think I ever mentioned Sebastian. We first met him about three weeks ago. We've been teaching a less-active family, the Espinozas, who are making excellent progress and are very close to being rescued. One day after a lesson the mom mentioned to us that she had a friend, a non-member, whose son was a cancer patient, and that she'd (Hna. Espinoza) been feeling recently that she should mention to them about priesthood blessings. (For those of you who don't understand exactly what that is, you can look up a definition on lds.org.) We encouraged her to do so, and so the next visit she gave us the news that they'd accepted to have us come and give a blessing to Sebastian!
So, we did. We went there a few weeks ago and got to know the family and gave Sebastian a blessing. I hadn't really realized the severity of his cancer until I saw him in his bed, where he's confined, and the massive swelling in his head. He's had it for quite some time and the doctors hadn't given him much time to live. He himself isn't aware of a lot and so we mostly talked with the parents. We explained that the blessing depended on their faith as well as the will of the Lord and gave the blessing. They were very gracious and invited us to come back whenever we wanted.
We went back after a bit more than a week. While we were there I could really feel the Spirit there - I think it's that way often in situations like this. We talked with his mom. I felt to share Alma 7:11-12, and we also left the pamphlet for lesson 2, the Plan of Salvation, with them.
We went back yesterday night. We found there were a lot of people there that weren't from Sebastian's immediate family, and when we went in to his room, his dad explained to us that he was in the final stages. It could be hours, or days, but he's on his way out. The family had known this for a long time - they were very calm about it. I felt we needed to share lesson 2, so I said, "Could we share something with the whole family?" and of course they were like, "sure!"
When all the other people I didn't know started filing in I realized just what I'd gotten myself into. The other people there were family as well - uncles, aunts, cousins, and in total we had probably about 10 people crammed into his little room. I realized, in the back of my head, this is the kind of experience that people share in e-mails and homecoming talks.
Well, we taught. Maybe I didn't feel the Spirit a lot during the lesson itself and maybe a few people on the fringes found an excuse to leave the room. But what's important is that we testified of the importance of eternal families. I could testify, even if I couldn't explain and can't exactly what it is I know or what I feel - but I testified and testify that families weren't meant to last just for a brief moment here on Earth, but that they're supposed to continue after, as well. Just know that, please, whoever you are, that it's possible. Your family can be together forever. I know it, and I hope you can come to know it, too.
I could testify of Joseph Smith, that he truly saw Christ and our Heavenly Father, and that through him the church of Christ has been restored on the Earth, that the Priesthood Christ used is on the Earth and that is has the power to seal families.
I'm not sure if, in the end, any of those people will listen to the missionaries. It's an odd situation - we aren't technically teaching the family, more doing a service. But I do know we needed to share lesson 2. I hope it helped them. I think it helped some of those people there, even if they weren't the immediate family of Sebastian. I know Sebastian is going to a better place. And I do know that the Lord had placed us there in that moment for a reason.
I'm really coming to realize that I do practically nothing here. I'm nothing more than an instrument in the Lord's hands and it's His work, not mine. I just know I need to live righteously and follow the Spirit.
What I'd like for you to do, person who's reading this, is pray to God to know if what I said is true. I want you to know it's true - and He does too, I'm sure. You can know it! You just need to ask.
|Anthony, the kid we're probably going to baptize this weekend! :)|
|Yes, that is a coconut in my hand.|
It rained something ridiculous this past week and the streets got turned into rivers.
|A snail. I didn't think things like this actually existed.|