Two days this week were used by interviews and a service project, so it went by very quickly. To be able to fit everything I want to fit in this letter I'll get straight to the dessert.
Rosa, went to church again and when she is asked if she liked it, she always says she loved it. She said she wants to live there. We're planning her baptism for next week. E. B. Gomes, who did the baptismal interview said it was an incredible experience interviewing her. I'm so glad that after 11 months I was able to see someone being introduced to the gospel, accepting it, and then changing their life to live in accord with it all within a few weeks. We don't always get to see the "fruits of our labors". But I'm glad I was able to see at least one. I wish you all could meet Rosa. She talks so much. I never thought I would enjoying listening to someone for hours, but it happened. I hope to inform you of further progress after the baptism.In other news...
When I have time to think, I tend to do that thing that J.D. from Scrubs (tv show) does and tilt back my head, not paying attention to anything around me. I had one of these moments on Saturday, but this time I paid more attention. We went to a member's house to finish the walls in their living room by slapping cement on them. (People are always doing construction projects here). I have mixed cement before, but this time I learned to do it better. I mixed the cement and filled buckets. Between batches and buckets I had time to think. The project went from 8 to 6:30. It wasn't supposed to go that long, but with big projects like this you never know, I guess.
Next to Alex and Neide's house lives a 70yr old man alone in a little one-room house. He only has one leg and spends most of his time sitting in his wheelchair. As I worked, I watched what he did. He came out of his house at about 9 and wheeled himself to the clothesline to take down a few articles of clothing. He then put up some clothes and aligned everything very neatly, and did all this reaching upward from his wheelchair. Alex mentioned he prefers to do everything he can by himself. He doesn't want to inconvenience others by asking for help.
He did everything very slowly and with great effort. After putting up his clothes he went back inside, switched to crutches, and inch by inch pushed a plastic chair in front of him until he reached the shade. He sat down in the chair and stayed there for most of the morning. He hardly ever leaves his yard and when he does, it is to get a view of the street from the fence and to come back. I thought a lot about what this man's life is like. I thought about how different my life is from his, and how life changes so quickly and so drastically with age. I can't imagine being unable to walk and staying in or right outside of my house all day. I could tell that the little things in his day really mattered to him. I thought about what things he must be grateful for everyday. He must be grateful for the ability to put up and take down his clothes from the clothesline, and for the shade. He must be very grateful for his neighbors that make him food everyday.
Sometimes I wish I had more free time just to think, but he must yearn for the things I am able to do in my youth that he can't do. It was very clear to me that day as I observed things around me that our life is a training ground, or a place to learn, and a stage to act on. We all have roles to play and things to do but we are all working towards something. Some of us don't know what we're working towards, and others are just trying to survive, or waiting for something to happen. I was outside all day, watching the sun rise and set. And reflected on how free we are to do what we want with our lives, every day. Like that song by Chris Rice our family listens to "Every day is a gift." I didn't come to any sort of conclusion watching this man or observing things around me, but I just became more amazed at everything.