The week started off pretty crappy, I am not going to lie. It rained non-stop for four days and so no one was outside and those who were wouldn't talk to us. Our "golden investigator" denied the baptism invitation twice and was being difficult. And going home is supposed to be a relief but we didn’t have anything to heat our house so laying in bed you can see your breath. But I promise it gets better.
It was pouring outside and after 10 people totally denying us and all of our appointments falling through, we finally just sat on a bench not knowing what to do. As we sat there I heard the THWACK of an axe hitting wood and looked up to see a man working on a mountain of wood in his front yard that had been dropped off by a dump truck. I grabbed Holt´s arm and dragged him over to the guy and we asked him if we could chop it for him. He said no and we kept asking but he kept denying. Finally, just sick of everything, including the weather, just being a big fat no, I said pretty roughly "DUDE! WE ARE NOT TRYING TO TEACH THE GOSPEL RIGHT NOW. WE ARE TRYING TO CHOP YOUR WOOD!" He was kind of quiet, then opened the gate and let in Holt and me.
He showed us what he wanted done then disappeared into the store next door that he runs with his sisters. We took off our jackets and just started to chop. It was kind of slow at first but I think all the frustration just came out and God gave us a chance to show we aren’t just helpless, white teenagers who have never worked a day in their life like everyone thinks. Holt would place the wood, I would split it as hard as I could, then Holt would place the next big heavy piece. Pretty soon we were knee deep in chopped wood and I was swinging as fast as Holt could place.
The man (Carlos) peeked out the window to see how we were doing and his eyes got really big. He disappeared and returned with his sisters so they could see what we were doing. Pretty soon there were about 15 people inside the store watching two gringos split wood like they had never seen before. We chopped a dump truck load of wood in about 45 minutes. For those of you who have never chopped hard, heavy, water-logged pine wood might not understand that but that is like running a marathon in half an hour. The miracle is that Holt never once misplaced the heavy, uneven wood on the block and I never once needed more than one swing to split the wood that usually takes 4 or 5. We also stacked it all neatly and then walked into the store to see if there was anything else we could do.
Everyone was really quiet and looked at us really weird. Veronica, one of the sisters, was at the counter and when we asked her if we could do anything else, she thought for a second then asked "What do you really want?" Holt said, "To serve is part of our calling, if you don’t need more help and want us to leave, we will." She looked at us for a second then said follow me.
We ended up at her house with her brother, expecting more work, and then she brought out dinner. She told us her mom is very sick and wants us to help. She also asked about our beliefs without us saying anything about it, and asked if she could have some of our teaching materials. She might as well teach herself for how easy it was. We went back two days later to set up some kind of appointment and see if she had read the pamphlets. Holt was talking to her and it was super fast Spanish so eventually I found myself organizing stuff in the store. She walked around the corner to help a customer and her mouth dropped at what I had done
Ten minutes later she had handed us the keys to EVERYTHING in her store and asked us if we could restock because she was working alone. She has such confidence in us after two days that she trusted us with everything she had. Miracle. She also only has lunch breaks every other day so only three days every week. Despite this, she invited us to talk to her on her lunch break Tuesday. Please pray for that to go well.
We had another small experience with service. There was a man with his little Chilean wife and two small kids trying to move big furniture into a small, beaten house while it was raining. Holt and I just walked up and picked up the heaviest ones and started moving them. As we were moving stuff, I heard the man quietly whisper to his wife if she had any cash because he had the equivalent of like two bucks, which was all he had. When we finished, we looked into his wallet and took out two of the three small bills he had and didn’t make eye contact as he handed it to us, embarrassed. I looked at it, looked at him then said ¨Service no more. Here is our card for if you need more help with moving.¨ He looked at me with tears in his eyes and couldn´t say anything as we just walked away into the rain.
Service renders miracles. Go serve someone today. You will be surprised what will come out of it.
With much love,
Elder Aidan Rich
With much love,
Elder Aidan Rich
|One of the service projects this week. We chopped and stacked this wood 3 rows deep. I was the axe man.|
|I chopped so much I drove the stump 3 inches into the ground.|