I have decided that Los Cocos is the Valley Center of the Dominican Republic. It is a small "Campo" (countryside) and has mountains pretty close, the city is about 45 minutes away, it's a pleasant little town with not much to do and nothing exciting really ever happens except when people fight their chickens (which we don't actually do in Valley Center, but everyone who doesn't live there thinks we do) or get into motor accidents. There are parts of the town that always have that smell... You know, like when you pass the Armstrong's chicken ranches in Valley Center. Like Valley Center, we don't have any real markets, so going shopping is a pain cause you have to travel to Los Rayes the nearest real town which is like Esconghetto... I mean Escondido ;). Also, everyone knows everyone and there are no secrets, everyone knows the newest gossip within a matter of a day or two, and everyone seems to be related somehow. Its pretty funny. We will be teaching someone and then in will walk one of our other investigators who will happen to be related to the person we are teaching. It actually helps a lot though because that way we can teach them together or invite them to activities and they can come together and stuff. So yeah, I thought I was finally escaping Valley Center like all the kids of VC dream of doing their whole lives, but turns out I am still in VC, just the Dominican version ;). I love it though. I will definitely miss it when I eventually leave. Being here has made me appreciate Valley Center a lot and there is no other place I would have rather grown up.
This week was great with our investigators and yet again more success! We had a lesson with a 17- year-old named Willy who is super cool and way into every lesson and actually reads and does what he says he will do and is always excited to see us. He turned out to not be there that day so we taught his brother who we have taught once. All of the sudden a couple family members showed up right before we were going to start the lesson so they sat down to listen too. Then one by one more family and friends randomly happened to all show up and there were no chairs left. So Elder Rodriguez looked at me with a huge smile and said, "Sweet! We can offer our chairs and stand up and preach like the first missionaries in the days of old!" Haha. So that's what we did! The lesson was great, we received more investigators, and now more people know us. It was cool how we originally planned on just one young man, but it turned out to first be his brother, and then a ton of other people! I am thoroughly convinced it is because, like the scriptures say, "Ask and it will be given to you..." (Matt 7:7) When we asked in faith to find more people, we were given them. Heavenly Father wants to help us, we just need to ask! And of course do the things we need to be doing and living righteously to receive blessings.
Another awesome thing happened this week with finding more people. Elder Rodriguez and I were at a lesson with a lady and it was our first time teaching her. She wasn't very interested, but in walked her friend Loly who is a lady that is ready for this gospel! She immediately sat down and started asking us really good questions about life after death and what happens to us and etc... So we whipped out our pamphlet of The Plan of Salvation. We answered all her questions and she really understood and it made a lot of sense to her. She kept saying, "Yeah, that is totally right! That makes so much sense!" After the lesson, she gave us her number and we set up an appointment for our next lesson. Two days later was Sunday and we thought we should call her. So we did and she said she was in her church at the moment but to call her again in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, she agreed to come and even brought her daughter and cousin! During sacrament, she was singing and smiling and paying attention the whole time. She pulled out some money during the passing of the bread and water because she thought we pay when we partake of the sacrament like her church but we explained to her that is not what we do and explained the sacrament. After sacrament this is literally what she said, "I loved it! I am for sure coming back next week!" and then stayed the next 2 hours of church. She is the coolest person and so excited about the gospel. I have no doubt she will keep learning and progressing and eventually get baptized and be an amazing missionary for her friends and family.
That is not all! Elder Rodriguez and I were walking to an appointment when out of nowhere, this lady yells something at us like "Come here!" and at first we were a little hesitant cause we thought at first she might be just another crazy lady wanting to flirt or something. But she said she wanted us to teach her and that she had a feeling that she needs something more in her life and that she had a dream that she was the only one who could bring her family out of "Darkness" as she explained. She knew we were missionaries and had a strong desire to make a change in her life and start going to church and learning about the gospel and God. She too came to church on Sunday and stayed all three hours! Wow. Not everyday does a lady come up to us and ask to be taught and learn about our beliefs. That right there is a missionary's dream! Blessings, blessings blessings.
We do have a Black Friday here oddly enough and it is next week, so I am guessing Thanksgiving is next week (I know, super un-American of me to not know that holiday, sorry) So Happy Thanksgiving! Don't worry, ya'll can have my meal. So get extra fat in spirit of me ;)
I want to leave you with this quote from an email I got last week from my brotha Clint Fresh Feinauer: " I learned something so powerful on my mission: In this world if you look for sin you will find it. On the other hand, I testify just as boldly that if you look for righteousness you will find it. There are people there who will see your light and immediately be drawn to it. Always be worthy of that light and always keep the right things in sight. No matter what your path, you will go where you look." I loved this and I think we can all agree that if you look for bad, you will find it. If you look for good, you will find it. The choice is yours.
Love you all and know I am not serving just these people, but you all too. Thanks for the love. Thanks for the support. Now go out and SERVE!
|This is when we were at our investigators house when it was flooding|
|After, we made paper boats and watched them go down what looks like a mini river but is actually a gutter/draining system.|