The purpose of this blog is to highlight the beautiful city of Guadalajara; the faithful members, the valiant missionaries who serve here, as well as the people, culture, and food.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Our little miracle in Jalostotitlan 4-20-17

This post highlights a tender story that happened during our day touring the eastern part of our mission on 4-20-17 (Which is the following post) I felt I wanted to post the story separately, but, I know it is out of order...I'm sorry, I couldn't get it to post after the eastern tour post...

We said goodbye to Elder Powley and Elder Scoville and started out of the city, getting ready to head to Arandas. But I kept thinking about an experience we had the first time we had come to Jalostotitlan so long ago, to investigate and see if we should open the city to missionary work.  We had an experience that day that was precious. I looked back to my journal entry on my ipad and saw that it had been 17 months ago that we had first came to Jalostotitlan . It was December 1st, 2015.  
This is what I wrote in my journal that day. 12-1-15

“What a sweet place. We all immediately fell in love with Jalostotitlan as we drove around. We saw many homes and neighborhoods built with old red brick that was secured with thick gray mortar. Some of the homes, actually, many of them were also faced on the outside with coral sandstone.  
Today, with the sun out bright, and the dust kicking up from the dirt roads all around, there was an orangey/coral color in the air.
There were schools and parks, bridges, lots of cattle grazing and fields growing. We saw lots and lots of children laughing and playing together. It seemed like such a happy place.

We drove up to a knoll so we could get some perspective and a feel for the city below. I thought of the story of the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins as we were up on top of the city, looking below.  (a story the assistants in our car sadly knew nothing about).

As we drove up to one of the highest areas we could find, we stopped on a simple dirt street. There was a little old lady in the middle of that dirt street, sweeping the dirt in front of her house with her broom. She was a tiny bend over with age, grandma, and I loved her the minute I saw her. There was a little girl maybe 9-10 years old holding her little brother in her arms. She had come down the street to visit with the little grandma.

President Clayton got out of the car first, to have a look around and look out over the city. The little grandma stood in the street and watched as he got out, then one by one our three assistants got out of the car. This sweet old lady’s curiosity was really peaked then. They went over to the edge with President Clayton and stood by him looking out at the city below and talking and pointing at various things. I had stayed in the car, but it didn’t take me long to see that she was trying to figure out what we were doing. She saw that I was still in the car, and for the next few minutes, she would look over at me in the car, and then look over at those 4 men standing, overlooking the city.  I watched her as she would sweep a swipe or two in the dirt, and then pause and look at President and his assistants, and then back over at me sitting there looking back at her. I couldn’t take it another second.

I hope I never forget the feeling I had watching her…and all of a sudden receiving the distinct impression from the spirit of the Lord, to get out of the car and go over and say hello, and to introduce myself to her.  It was a quick additional thought as I got out of the car, to grab a picture of the Savior for her, and one for the little girl holding her little brother. I got out and walked over to her.  I didn’t even care that I knew so little Spanish.
I just went.  
She welcomed me so warmly. She shook my hand, but I knew better, and leaned in to kiss her cheek and quickly embrace her.  She was tiny, and I sort of wrapped her up in my arms.  She immediately apologized for her disfigured mouth. I told her to not worry, I was so glad to meet her.  Bless Elder Peterson’s heart…  he came right over and helped me to translate. She told us about how her mouth had become paralyzed and she was embarrassed because of it. It made me love her all the more.
We visited for a few minutes, and I asked her how long she had lived there and what she thought of Jalostotitlan. She told us she was born in this town and had lived in this house her whole life. We asked her if she had ever seen missionaries...young men who looked like these Elders, and if she had heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. She said, no, and of course, she was Catholic. By this time, President Clayton and the other 2 assistants had come over.  We visited for a few more minutes and then asked her if we could leave her with a blessing. She said of course, and invited us into her small home. The little girl and baby brother came in as well.   It was two rooms with 3 beds made up with sheets and colorful blankets. Behind one bed was a tiny kitchen. She had colorful things on her green walls, and the blankets in the windows blew in the breeze. Along her sidewalk outside were 5-6 bird cages with various birds trapped inside those hot cages, and there were various buckets along her sidewalk with long spindly flowers growing.  
President asked Elder Alarcon if he would bless her and her home.

Elder Alarcon asked her name and offered a beautiful blessing upon her and her home, and for her health, specifically to help her mouth heal. I could tell she was honored and so thankful that we would take an interest in her. I gave her the picture of the Savior I had grabbed from the car, and told her that we were here in Mexico representing Jesus Christ. I told her that I believed that Heavenly Father knew her, knew where she lived and knew also, that she wasn't feeling well, and would bless her to feel better.
I asked her if I could take a picture with her. I didn't want to ever forget her. I have looked at her picture many times over these past 17 months.  I have remembered her and wondered about her.
Well, before we left Jalostotitlan  I wanted to see if we could find that same street and maybe even that little grandma that we had met that 17 months earlier with our three assistants, Elder Mickelson, Elder Peterson and Elder Alarcon.
I found the picture we had taken that day of she and I on my iPad journal and as I enlarged the picture, and scooted over to the top left corner, I saw the street name and house number on the top corner of the wall of her house.
President Clayton quickly googled mapped that address and said we were just 3 minutes away.  We were thrilled!   We drove right to the exact street and saw this little grandma’s exact house with her exact door opened wide again.
We were so excited as we barreled out of the car, again, with our current 3 assistants Elder Uribe, Elder Contreras, and Elder Torres.

We walked across the street towards her open doorway and could see an old grandpa, was sitting just inside the doorway on a chair. As we walked up closer, he stood, as President Clayton introduced us and said that we were wondering if his wife were home.  He said, yes, yes, she is next door.  He invited us to come in and as we stepped onto the sidewalk.... and out of the next doorway to the right, the old grandma came.
She came right up to me and we embraced. It was the sweetest feeling ever.  She said she was next door at her daughter’s home, and had seen our van driving by, and she said, I know that gray van… and she said, I knew you had come again.
I had taken my iPad with me to show her the picture of she and I that I had taken so long ago, in case she had not remembered us.  But she had not forgotten.  She wiped her eyes and said, oh, I have not forgotten that day you came.
We hugged and hugged, and her face just glowed. She looked so beautiful.
She invited us in and we sat and visited. She said the day we came she was feeling so poorly, that her mouth had hurt and she was worried about it.  She said that the prayer we had given, and our visit had left her with such a peaceful feeling.  She actually repeated it, drying her eyes, saying that our visit had left her feeling peaceful, and she had not forgotten that feeling. She pointed over on the wall, and there we saw the picture of the Savior I had given her that day, 17 months earlier taped on her wall next to all her idols.  She said she treasured it.
We asked if we could leave a prayer with her once again, and she said yes, please.  Bob asked Elder Uribe to pray. She asked if we could say a prayer for her son.
We hugged and took another picture, and said goodbye and she walked with us to our car. She then walked over to the sidewalk by her daughter’s doorway.  We all got in our van and were just so overcome that we had found her, that she had remembered us and that she welcomed us in so sweetly. We bowed our heads right then and there and offered a prayed, thanking the Lord for this precious experience.

When we looked up from our prayer, this little grandma was standing by President Clayton’s car
window.  He immediately rolled his window down she asked if we would mind coming back in and saying a prayer for her daughter who was pregnant and about ready to deliver her baby. We said of course, and we all piled out again and went next door to the daughter’s house and President asked Elder Torres to offer a prayer. It was such a sweet experience. We drove away almost floating.
What a miracle.

me with my precious new friend on 12-1-15

      us again on 4-20-17

Elder Uribe getting down her contact information.

Picture of President and I, overlooking Jalostotitlan
across the dirt road from the Martinez's home.