Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ramos Mejia- Week #54

Watch out or a pig flu will hit you in the face....

Hey Mom and Dad! And the rest…

Happy Birthday Grandma Wilma!!!

Well, to start off, Happy 4th of July! God bless America! We had burgers and hot dogs to celebrate, but no fireworks. Also, don’t know if you realized, but that was my last 4th of July in the mission, and on Argentine soil, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of time left here. A few of the most patriotic quotes came to mind while thinking about our nation’s independence.

1. I say, that what you say is what I say.” –Spot Collins, Newsies…never fear, Brooklyn is here!

2. “If you are racist, I will attack you with the North.” –Abraham Lincoln, paraphrasing by Michael Scott

Well, this week was really interesting with everything that happened. First off, this pig flu, or swine flu, or gripe porcina, or whatever you want to call it, just got seriously legit in Argentina. All of a sudden it is like a big deal. I am not sure what happened. So the death toll is just growing and growing, and everyone and his brother is running into their houses and locking the door. Nobody has desires to speak with anyone else, which isn’t very good for missionary work. There are people wearing masks and hand-sanitizer is sold out everywhere. Here in my area, there is a hospital exactly 3 blocks away from the offices where supposedly there have been a handful of deaths from this thing. I walk by that place everyday…and almost catch pig flu everyday! Ha no, but seriously, they quarantined the doctors there, so all medical staff is living in the hospital and no one leaves…kind of like Wonka chocolate factory…we just see silhouettes in the windows and wonder if it will ever be open again. All school has been cancelled until further notice, and we aren’t allowed to shake hands with anyone until further notice. President Benton is still pretty optimistic. The craziest thing is that church was canceled this week and for the next two weeks. All meetings, during the week and on Sunday. The only thing not canceled is baptisms. A few stake presidents tried to cancel them, and that was quickly corrected by Elder Zivic of the Seventy, who said that baptisms and confirmations will continue. He said, “We will not stop baptizing, confirming, nor deny the ordinances of salvation to anyone!” So that is great news for everyone. Also great news is that Elder Sabey and I have a baptism set for this Saturday. He is the boyfriend of Sandra who was baptized a few weeks ago, and his name is Germán. When we first met him he was smoking 20 cigarettes a day, but he has slowly given it up and now has gone a week and a half without smoking, so he is doing really well. So yeah anyway, this pig flu stuff is now like something everyone is worrying about…as for me…I feel great, hahahahahahahaha ok not going to lie, as soon as I wrote “I feel great”, I sneezed…pig flu…

So with Church canceled and everything, people were wondering about the Sacrament and how that is all going to work and whatnot. Well, in a pretty big move, permission was given to all worthy priesthood holders to bless and pass the Sacrament in their own homes. It was really neat to think about all the brethren that were able to provide that blessing and service for their families. Having the priesthood in your home is so important, and sometimes I don’t think we realize that. I also felt great because obviously there are a lot of people without priesthood in their home, and so, with a spare three hours on Sunday morning when I usually would have been in Church, I found myself in the middle of a war of wills: Natural Man vs. Man of God. I couldn’t decide between doing two things. Natural Man, I was all for going to the nearest sports bar and watching the Wimbledon final between Federer and Roddick…the biggest tennis match in the history of time and I missed it…or Man of God, go to the houses of the members and administer the Sacrament. Ok, so I wasn’t really tempted to go to a sports bar, but I did think about Wimbledon an awful lot this week. So we really had the sacred privilege of going to member’s homes to bless and pass the Sacrament to them. It brought me back to the good old days in Lufkin, Texas, and my good friend, Garland Fairchild, that great old man that we took Sacrament to every week for almost a year. I wonder how his wife is doing. I still think about her sometimes. Her name was Frannie, which just made me want to be in her company…if it wasn’t 2009, I would probably name one of daughters Frannie. Do you remember them, Mom and Dad? Good people.

So something else happened this week that I have to tell you about. I did my first baptismal interview! I didn’t know this, but being an office elder, we do the interviews for the other office elders, or if there is an emergency we go out into the mission to do them. Well, I thought only district leaders and zone leaders did them…guess not. It was really fun to talk with -----, and help her make the final preparations for her baptism. She was really nervous, but her husband is already a member, so she was familiar with everything. To try and make it a little more comfortable, I didn’t go into the interview right away, but let her look at my pictures and talked with her about her kids and everything. She brightened right up and I got her laughing, which just helps anyone’s nerves. It is interesting to try and make people laugh in Spanish, because the sense of humor is a lot different. Also, a lot of phrases are different. I learned how to say “beggars can’t be choosers” this week. It is “A mucha hambre, no hay pan duro.” “For much hunger, there is no hard bread”… interesting…like when you are hungry, you can’t complain the bread is hard…makes sense. So anyway, everything was going well in the interview, until we got to a certain point, and she confessed a few past transgressions to me, and they were pretty serious, and happened pretty recently… I didn’t really know what to do, other than I knew that she had to have an interview with President Benton, because it was above my authority to ok it. However, we continued with the interview, and she was crying a lot, and I really was excited at how much the Spirit was guiding me in the interview, what questions to ask, and what details to get from her, how to do it sensitively and delicately. It felt good. Well, we finished up and I explained to her I needed to call President. So I left to call him and explained to him the situation, and all the details I could remember, and he said, “You did well, Elder. Those are all the details we need in a case like this, she needs to do some repenting, but we’ll get her clean of this.” I really just loved it, because it was one of those cool spiritual experiences that you always hear about, but never feel like they happen to you very often. The Spirit told me exactly what President would have needed to know in that situation. So she was set up with a time to meet with him, and everything worked out fine, and she is getting ready to be baptized this week. Newsflash: The power of the Atonement cleans any stain. It is real and changes the lives of people every day. It saves them. I was so excited for her; I mean she is my first interview, that I started giving her a bunch of presents, like DVDs and scripture cases. I mean, I am the material man, so I figured it would be alright…just kidding I paid for it. So that was a journal worthy experience. Speaking of journals, I have almost filled up my second one, so a third will probably be needed in about a month.

By the way, my international drivers thing saved us again…Elder Sabey parked illegally and the cops were pretty cranky with us, wanting to see Elder Sabey's license and stuff, but I just flashed that at them and we were let go. Well, I have to go now, out of time, and I have to buy stuff.

Cuán asombroso es que por amarme así, muriera Él por mí, Cuán asombroso es lo que dio por mí.

Love, Sean

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