Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hugging a homeless person

So this week was awesome, super busy but awesome. 
This week we had leadership council, and we had a lot to talk about. Like how we are going to start use pensionistas in the entire mission. Pensionistas are the sisters that will be cooking for us. We are going to put pensionistas into practice in the entire mission. We started with Buenaventura while I was there and now that I’m here in the office they asked me to help them put the program in effect for all of southwest Colombia. So that’s awesome.
This week we worked like dogs in the office putting together 95 binders for the pensionistas. We wrote 45 pages worth of recipes, rules, and regulations. It was awesome but the good thing is that it’s all finished now.
We had everything ready for the leadership council. AWESOME. Leadership council was pretty cool. This time we started it off in the house of the Prícoli’s because we broadcasted it to the entire mission. Then Elder Walker and I gave training on how to make goals into plans. 
Sometimes we as human beings have lots and lots of goals, they are just so fun to make, and easy. However, many times when we set these goals we fail in terms of the plans on how we are going to reach that goal. Goals and planning is a divine skill to acquire in this life, something that we have to develop. This is what we are teaching the mission right now.

Honestly I love the mission we get to have some incredible experiences that many people don’t always get to have. 
About 3 weeks ago my companions and I (I have 3 here in the office) were making our way down from our area when someone stopped us and started to talk to us. His name is Miguel. 
We started to talk to him and tell him what we do and why we always wear white shirts and ties. Then we found out that he is homeless. He is 22 years old, has 2 children; he had a good life until he started using drugs. When he started using drugs his whole life fell apart and now he is living by himself on the street.
We started to tell him that he could change, that no matter how big the problem that our Heavenly Father is there to help us. We told him that he should start to change by trying to clean up a bit.
Well 2 days ago we found him again. He had cut his dreadlocks, and found shoes. He called us over and we started to talk to him. He was smoking a cigarette. I told him that now that he had started to clean up on the outside he should start to clean up the inside. He threw the cigarette away and I gave him hug and told him how much God loves us and that He has so much in store for us. That we have a potential so large and all we have to do is follow the things he has commanded us to do. We started to talk to him about how his children will need a good example, and he started to cry. He then took all the drugs out of his pocket and showed us. We told him to get rid of them. It was such an amazing moment to see how we just had to tell him that we loved him and that God loved him and his whole world changed. I saw a huge change in him in just an hour of talking to him. Then yesterday we saw him again and he told us that he was already planning on meeting us outside of church on Sunday so that he could go with us. I know that he has a lot of work to do to build his life up again but I know and I feel that God has such a huge plan for him. It’s hard to explain it but he is so special. I know that he can overcome all the difficulties in his life. The truth is there is something about the homeless that always gets to me. I have to tell them that I love them; many people look at me with disgust as I greet Miguel with a hug, but I can tell you all that it makes the difference for him, and that is all that matters. Sometimes the biggest help that you can give someone is to just show them that you care. 
Today I am going to talk about a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland in the last general conference; it is called "Are we not beggars?" 
The Savior of the world made an interesting comment in Mathew 8:20
20. “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
We know that Jesus Christ, the Son of the one and true God in his adult life was homeless. Throughout his entire ministry he helped and aided the impoverished of home and spirit. 
Elder Holland said in his talk:
“ Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. It’s obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating.”
Here on my mission I have been able to see more poverty than I have ever seen in my life, and I attest to what Elder Holland says, the blow of poverty sinks far beneath the temporal and burrows it’s way into the very soul of the person at times, leading to feelings of helplessness, lack of self worth even at times self-loathing. 
Brothers and sisters, they need our help.
In D&C 38:35 we are commanded to
“Look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer:”
Since I was very young my mom taught me the principle of service. She would always bring me to the local St. Vincent de Paul’s soup kitchen to help her cook for the homeless. As I grew up I started to love the service we gave and came to love a few of the “regulars” who would come to eat. But also as I grew up I became more and more aware of the amount of help that was needed, that the needs of these people go beyond a plate of lasagna and a slice of bread. I would often think to myself how can I help them more? What can one person do when faced with the sheer immensity of what is world poverty? Elder Holland addressed this subject in his talk and compared it to the moment
“Prior to His betrayal and Crucifixion, Mary anointed Jesus’ head with an expensive burial ointment, Judas Iscariot protested this extravagance and “murmured against her.”
And Jesus said; “Why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work. She hath done what she could”.
Mary did what she could and that is all that is expected of us; honestly how many times in the week do we do what we can to help others? 
A journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. He said that statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shot back that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever resources she had. “What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion, “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less than it is.”
We must put in our drop. 
We must pray for those in need so that we may know better how to help them. 
In the book of Mormon (Alma 32) a group of people called the Zoramites were in a state of utter poverty, and on one occasion it is noted that they tried to enter into the house of prayer but the people told them to leave “because of the cooseness of their apparel”.
Let us not do the same, remember there is much to do to help these people and many ways to help them. The prophet Mormon said those that are “poor as to things of the world; [are also] poor in heart”.
We each have something to do to help others, a lunch, the gospel, even if it is as simple as a hug and words of encouragement to someone you don’t know. We know what our talents are and how we can help others. There is not one thing that I can say that we have to do to help others in specific but you should pray and ask God what is the thing that YOU can do to help others. 
Elder Holland said
“I don’t know exactly how each of you should fulfill your obligation to those who do not or cannot always help themselves. But I know that God knows, and He will help you and guide you in compassionate acts of discipleship if you are conscientiously wanting and praying and looking for ways to keep a commandment He has given us again and again.”
Ask for the personal revelation to know what to do 
Remember these words
“Although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am my brother’s brother.”
I love you brothers and sisters
And I leave these things and I testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ
Every one of you must do something to help someone in need. Someone you’ll meet for the first time this week. And write me what happened, who was it and how you felt to act upon the impression of the spirit to help them, temporally, emotionally, or spiritually. 
Love you all
Elder Lyle

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