For those of you who know me well, no this is not an email update on One Piece. Very sad, I know. However, I have seen some great pirates here, especially on P-Days when we go to the market. There are about 5 or more of these folks on every single street in and around the market, and while they don´t have eye-patches or parrots, they do have thousands of great pirated DVDs and Video Games for 2 soles. Here I have seen Monster´s University 2, El Juego de Hambre 2: en Llamas, and Thor 2 being sold for less than one of our US dollars. If I didn´t have missionary rules, I would be so up to date on all of the movies that I am missing, it would be like I never left! Nevertheless, there are rules and I must obey, and thus I will anxiously await the moment in 18 months from now where I get caught up on all of the movies I have missed.
The great joke of the week: we were at a member´s house talking with some of the youth for like 30 minutes when one mentioned that it was the other`s birthday. We looked at each other, feeling silly that we obviously did not know, and thus decided to give her a gift. I whipped out a pamphlet of the Restoration of the Gospel and my companion wrote ¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS! on the back, and we awkwardly gave it to her. She looked at us like we were completely crazy, but in the end I think she will find these words to be more powerful than any other gift...or maybe not haha.
However, the real experience worth sharing was yesterday in our lesson with an "eternal investigator" which means he has listened to the missionaries for months and months and has never accepted or denied the message. Yesterday I just decided to throw down the guantlet and so I asked if he had ever prayed to know if the church was true. After a pause, he told us his story of how he had started out very much Agnostic. He never felt the need to believe or disbelieve in God. However, he said he always felt empty. He felt happy many times...but never complete. Never like he has meaning to his life. Never like he was more than just elements fused together through natural processes. Thus, he went through the works: Catholic, Jehovah´s Witness, Evangelist, etc. He said he even tried just a life of yoga to find more meaning, but he never truly gained more than a knowledge that God was his Father in heaven. Sure that made him happier, but he said he never truly "knew" God.
Until he read the Book of Mormon.
Long story short: the Book of Mormon brought him closer to God, closer than he ever had been before. He gained the knowledge of who he was, why he was here, and what life really was for him and everyone else. His only problem: he didn`t know how to truly know if the book was true. The secret from the prophet Moroni, (and now also Elder Rich) is read the book, ponder the words in your mind and heart, and pray. That is how everything falls into place. That is how God works. That is how we become more than just sacks of water on a planet capable of sustaining life. That is how we come to know that we are indeed children of a God with a plan for each of us.
I love you all very much and pray the best for everyone. Stay safe and stay strong! I can`t wait to see you all again! (Ah, but I don´t have eyes. Yohoho! Skull joke!!!)
- Elder Dax Rich