Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Growing Experiences

Here in Socorro it has been quite strange in the weather... there has been 50 mph winds but not lately.

Well, I'm just going to start telling about my past few days and I hope I can put it in words.

Last week someone I knew on Alamo passed away.  I used to call him "Grandpa."  I didn't talk to him too much but he would wheel his wheelchair in to listen to us at times. He lived at one of my families house on Alamo so it was hard to hear he had passed. Well, the Alamo Elders called and told me that the Apachito family had asked that I:  1) say the opening prayer at the funeral  2) Be the Master of Ceremonies (conduct the funeral), 3) Give the scripture, 3) Dedicate the grave, and 5)  say the closing prayer.  There was only one thing on the program that I was not asked to do. Of course I was honored that they asked the elders to ask me but that was a ton to do for just one person. Well, after district meeting I had exchanges with my last comp Elder AhLoy and it was great to be with him as companions again and he was happy to be with his "trainer" again. Well, that day was just busy and we had to print off the programs for them because no one had a copy machine on Alamo and that ended up taking until almost 10. Then we had to get back, plan, change and then I still had to figure out what I was going to talk on at the funeral the next morning. I got to bed at midnight, woke up early and then talked to my mission president.  He explained how to preside over a funeral (especially at a funeral home and not a church), and then how to dedicate a grave.

When I got there I glanced over and saw my "Shi Ma" Anita who I hadn't seen since I left Alamo;  she had just lost a loved one and she began to cry and opened her arms to hug me and cried in my chest as I comforted her. A moment I won't ever forget was when I then saw my "Shada" Angelita (her daughter) and she came up and cried and hugged me. It was a special reunion for all of us ... they truly are family.  Then we went in and there was the viewing.  I stood at the door to welcome people in. After hearing a few people crying I got used to it. But, at the end it was harder; in the native culture they scream and wail and cry when they see the person one last time before they close the casket.  Then there are always two people who basically drag them out while they are crying and screaming, and saying something in Navajo that I couldn't understand... that really shocked me to see people I knew doing that and it made me even more nervous for this event. I said a prayer then we followed a line of cars a hour away up to Alamo to the grave site.

Now, for one side note, I felt sick that morning and felt bloated and stomach pains that were super annoying and on the way up to Alamo they got even worse. Also, something that came to my mind that morning was that the last funeral I have been to was my mother's,  and I spoke at her funeral as well.  This thought brought back a lot of memories and nerves as well.

We got there and I conducted the rest of the services, which were really short and sweet, and I got to bear my witness to everyone of our Father's love and of Christ ... and how we will ALL see and be with our loved ones who have passed. Also, mind you, it is all dirt where we are and there was a TON of wind at the current time which made it even more of an adversity, but as I walked up to the head of the casket and began to dedicate the grave all of the sudden the wind calmed down.  It became more quiet and the Spirit was present. Then, when I closed it got crazy and windy again. That whole morning I was pleading to the Father to make me feel better, to not be sick, and to not mess up a funeral (which I thought was insane that I'm just a 20 year old kid asked to do something like this but then again " NOT MY WILL ".)   As they began to lower him and put the dirt in I had to go to the car two times because I felt too sick. Finally I asked the Crofts (senior missionaries on Alamo) if I could go to their place to get some medicine. Well, as I got there I went into the bathroom and lets just say I threw up a ton in the tiolet and yea... no more details than that!  haha  I was like green and pale. Then I kept doing that a few times in and out then decided I should head back home.  As I sat in the jeep to go back home I had to open the door and began throwing up again. BUT the Lord did answer my prayer that the rest of the drive home I wouldn't have to go to the bathroom or throw up, and I didn't.  But that was the longest 1 hour drive of my life! When i got back my prayer ended its protection and it happened one more time.  Then I went to a doctor's house in the ward and he gave me medicine and a blessing and I got better from that point on... just super weak. 

Now, there are many lessons to be learned here. As I stated earlier "NOT MY WILL". I kept saying in my prayers all that morning and afternoon, "Father remove this from me.  Let me just feel good.  All I want to do is your work; help me not be sick. I don't want to mess up this funeral, BUT not my will but thy will".

And guess what... it really was His will. He had a sense of humor or something and pushed me to my ends, but He did take care of me and answered me but did it in His timing. The experience of taking on a great responsibility, which to me was big, of conducting and doing basically the whole funeral taught me so much and I felt that I matured more and grew. Also, I've experienced physical obstacles battling against me, and I've learned to sometimes just trust in God and keep going;  saying "not my will... and I'll just wait until you take this from me, but I'll keep doing what i have to." Then I had emotional and spiritual adversity as my stress and physical trials grew the adversary worked on my mental side; bringing up my mom and her funeral, and other flashbacks (which most were tough for me).  They weren't the best memories I have and it began pounding on my shield of faith. But, as I was about to drop my shield and weapon someone else came to help fight back... the Savior. I was using the Atonement that whole day.  I used it to ask forgiveness of my slothfulness, to make my weak mind strong , to pick me up and give me hope that I could do a funeral with no experience.  I used the Atonement to help me overcome the temptations of bad memories, to continue in my physical sickness and pains and to help fill the gap of any of my inadequacies that I had  that day.

The SAVIOR cares.  The Savior did much more than die for our sins... He created a way to help us in EVERY SINGLE aspect of our life; that if we turn to Him we might finish the task. He overcame ALL so that with Him we might stand TALL. Even if you have no strength to stand He will lift in all aspects and will continue to fight for you.

Sunday I was worried I might not be able to go out and do the work I love most in this life.  There were only 2 navajo members at church ...  the rest were non-members who don't believe in what we do.  I testified as a humble and feeble servant that there is a plan...that Christ was ressurected and so will Davis Lee Guerro.  We all will be resurrected and I know the words came not from me but the Savior.

That day and this last weekend has taught me so much that I can't even type it all out... or include  all of the other things that have recently happend, but my heart is full of love and appreciation to God and my fellow men in whom I serve.

I testify that if you look more deeply into your life, if you find out the "WHY ME" in all things, that you will receive more direction and insight as to why. Although there might be obstacles that may be present you can think, "OK, NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE BE DONE" and then you will recieve your growing experiences.

Will All My Love,

Elder Justin Taylor 

This is the closest thing I have to a beach here...when it rains a lot and fills up with water. Too bad I don't have a surfboard with me to go down on! ha

There is this less-active in our ward that I call "Old McDonald" because he's a awesome old farmer guy and he's got a ton of animals. This llama didn't like me too much when I was trying to feed it... I felt like Napoleon Dynamite right here.

Radom pic of reading the Book of Mormon on this train track...
 props to my companion for the picture.

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