Monday, January 27, 2014

Pantalones Milagrosos

Yes, for anyone who knows basic Spanish, the title of this blog post is called Miracle Pants. And here is why.

So we went over to Hermana Rita* Carter*'s house for dinner one night. Hermana Rita* has a sewing machine and she has helped the missionaries with their skirts and pants and everything. After dinner Hermana Rita* gave us the pants of our district leader, Elder Winspear, to give back to him the next time we saw him. These pants were brand spanking new and an expensive name-brand. The tag was in still on it, and Elder Winspear simply needed them a little shortened. This dinner was on Saturday. 

Sunday comes around and we go to church (we share the ward with district leader Elder Winspear and his companion as well as another set of missionaries) and we totally forgot to bring his pants to church. So whenever we got home, we put the pants in a plastic grocery bag and hung it on the front door's doorknob so we COULDN'T POSSIBLY forget them. We ate a quick dinner, and then took out our trash as we headed out again.

I should mention here that we have a tiny trashcan, so we use plastic grocery bags to throw our trash away. Do you see where this is going? Once again this was Sunday evening.

It is Tuesday afternoon, and we were about to leave to head out for the day when we remembered that we were going to see Elder Winspear later that day. So we dashed back inside to get the pants. And they were no longer hanging on the doorknob. We searched and searched our small apartment, checking every drawer, every closet...NADA.

A disturbing thought came to my mind, "did we throw away Elder Winspear's, our district leader, precious 100-something dollar pants?!" And then an even more disgusting thought came to my mind: "time to change into my service clothes."

We get to the apartment complex dumpster (mind you, a very large dumpster) and began looking. I wasn't all the way in there but I was pulling bag after bag after bag. I was finally about to give up when I recognized our little grocery trash bags. I eventually found all of them, but NO PANTS. We kept looking, doing all we can without actually physically getting in. But, no luck.

We go back to the apartment and check oooone more time. And sure enough....!


The answer to where the pants were was confirmed once again. We were about to leave and check the dumpster one more time when the thought came up to pray. I was about to discount it, but instead, Hermana Perez and I bowed our heads and uttered a small, simple prayer to find our district leader's pants. "...we know it is not much, but we would be extremely grateful if you helped us find these pants..."

We went outside again. With a slight pathetic hope that the pants would magically become obvious, we searched the dumpster again. We got a little bit deeper and a lit bit dirtier and suddenly it came to the point where we either had to get all the way in or we had to give up. I swallowed my pride and with one foot about to come over the ledge and into the middle of it all, I see a rather smooth piece of nice gray fabric. 

Finally the pants were found, and what dignity I had left was spared and I was able to take the rather-stained pants to the dry-cleaners that day. 

I am very grateful for the fact that Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Monday is usually our  trash-day around here, but because of this holiday, the trash was not taken out, the pants were found, and I was able to have this revelatory experience.

All the stains came out and Elder Winspear now has a pair or Miracle Pants, pants only found by the power of revelation.

You might think, "Hermana Blanchard, how the heck was this story important?"

Sometime in life we think "I can do it, I can do it all on my own and I don't need anyone's help." And we search and we look and we work and we never seem to progress or we never seem to find or get the thing that we are looking for. Sometimes we do the same thing over and over again, doing exactly the same thing but expecting/hoping a different result (that's actually the literal definition of "insanity"). Sometimes we think we are meant to handle all of life's bad days and rough spots and hardships depending on only one person, that person being yourself.

But to believe you can handle life completely on your own, that you should handle it on your own, would mock the Atonement. It would mock the reason why we have our Savior Jesus Christ. He is there to bring us hope and to tell us, "hey, you are not alone. And you don't ever have to feel alone. I know what you've gone through, now let me help you." And we can receive this help through prayer.

Now last Tuesday I felt hopeless, disappointed, scared, worried. I was trying to find the dang pants all on my own, it was my fault, so now I was going to try to fix it, all on my own. But of course, I didn't get what I was looking for. I searched and I searched, but the pants remained hidden.

Finally, I humbled myself, and I realized, "Sister Blanchard. You are not going to get this on your own. Swallow your pride and let the Big Guy Upstairs help you." So we prayed. We prayed to our loving Father in heaven to help us. But that's not all we did, we kept searching. And when we got to the point where we about to throw ourselves all the way in or give up completely, the slightly-spotted pants emerged.

Heavenly Father doesn't always answer our prayers in the timing that we'd like Him to have. But He does expect us to give all that we have. There are two elements involved here, 1) give all that we have, 2)  trusting in Him that He will support you through it all. He doesn't expect you to give all you have, relying on you you you. He also doesn't expect you to trust Him only and do nothing on our part. It includes both leaps of faith and leaps of our own strength. 

You may think I am crazy for receiving such a revelatory experience from finding a pair of paints in the dumpster, but truly it has opened my eyes to how not only missionary work works but how the gospel works. As I've been working harder and praying more sincerely about finding and helping people prepared to receive the gospel in their lives, here are some of the miracles that have happened this week:

1)Martha Sandoval is getting baptized with her daughter, Marialena on the 8th of February.
**Due to time I will post more about this next week
2) Went to the post office and a man came up to US asking about our church, sincerely looking for a church to start going to
3) Not a single slammed door this week with 5 return appointments
4) We found out we are getting iPads this week.
5) Elder Winspear forgave us and wore the pants yesterday

Pantalones Milagrosos. It's really the little things.

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Blanchard

*Names changed

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