Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When Being Easily Distracted Pays Off

The Sioux City Elders
Guess what!  I'm still here in Sioux City!  Same area, same address, and everything!  That means I'm going (at least) 9 months here in The Promised Land!  The week building up to transfers was nuts.  We had investigators and members calling us and being worried about us leaving.  It was really nice to feel the love of the people we've been serving.
The best was their reaction when they found out that I was staying.  Crazy Hermana Briseno called us and said, "Elder De Vez en Cuando (Every now and then), I heard rumor you're staying! Is it true?!"  and when I told her it was she let out a happy little old mexican lady giggle and told me she was so happy that I was staying.  
The only change in our whole area is that Elder Harrison, my ZL since I started my mission and now one of my good friends, got transferred to Grand Island.  I'll miss that guy a ton.  I feel like I was trained by 3 missionaries: Elder Juan, Elder Cabezas, and Elder Harrison, and now all of them are going home.  That's super weird.  Mission time flies.
Elder Harrison and I (matching not planned)

I don't have a whole lot to say from this week, but I do want to share a SUPER cool story.  
Elder Blanck and I were on exchanges again and this time we were in our area.  We were running low on miles so we were walking all day and at this point of the day, Elder Blanck had to go to the bathroom so bad he thought he was going to poop his pants.  On our way back to the apartment, I looked to my right and saw a Thrift Store which I had never been in and something, which I now recognize as the Holy Ghost, told me that we should go in and look for ties.  So we walk in and some man with a really bad Spanish accent says, "Brothers!  How are you?"  I didn't think much of it.  Maybe "brothers" was the only English he knew, so I just said, "We're good. How are you?" and we started our search for ties. (Keep in mind, Elder Blanck still has to go to the bathroom REALLY bad).  As soon as we stopped talking to him, the random man in the shop starts talking to the guy at the cash register in Spanish and I thought, "I'm going to go talk to them!"  I asked the cash register man, whose name is Leopalda, if they had any ties and he went looking.  Random man, then starts a conversation with me asking me how long I've been on a mission and where I'm from, things like that.  Turns out, he's a Member from Salt Lake City here on Business!  He was born in Peru, served his mission in Peru, was married in the Salt Lake Temple, and was here for 3 days selling some kind of something to send money to Mexico or Guatemala!  My mind was blown!  As soon as Leopalda got back, the member guy says, "Amigo, these boys have an amazing message for you.  It'll change your life, and I invite you to listen to them," and then he looked at me!  So I took it from there and between the member guy and I (because Elder Blanck doesn't speak Spanish) we taught the entire Restoration message right there in that tiny little Thrift Store.  I just looked at the member and said, "would you like to explain this book (The Book of Mormon)?" and he said, " I would love to." and began to talk about how this book is Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that its the story of people who left Jerusalem for the Americas 600 years before Christ and its their history of God's dealings with Prophets over here.  He spoke about how the book has blessed his life with peace and love, and a knowledge that God loves ALL of His children.  I was amazed by the power that this member had as he spoke.  You could tell that he knew that it was true and that he felt the burning desire to share it.  
My mind was even more blown when Leopalda said, "You know what?  I've been thinking recently about how come Christ never talked to the people over here.  How come he was only in Jerusalem, you know?  I'm going to read this.  Want to stop by again next week?"

I know that we were led to that Thrift Store that day.  I know that the Lord had prepared Leopalda for that specific encounter with us and that he placed that Member in our path to be able to add another personal testimony of the truthfulness of these things.  I'm so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Lord's work and to be able to work here in Sioux City for at least 6 more weeks.  I love you and I hope you have a great week!  

Lots of Love,
Elder Zack Paddock

PS Another blessing is that the whole time we were in the Thrift Store, Elder Blanck didn't have to go to the bathroom.  As soon as we left there though it was basically a 7 block sprint back to our apartment....
The cutest little fat Guatamalan boy.  His name is Eduardo. The kid could not keep his shirt on.
 Everytime you said, "Eduardo, smile!" he just lift up his shirt.  

The storm rolling in yesterday.

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