Alright. Now for my week. Well it was probably one of my saddest. So first of all, with the district meeting we had Wednesday morning, we had the pleasure to have President Souza there. A bit of stage fright for me because I directed the meeting and gave half of the training but it was alright. It was even harder when I found out that the reason President Souza was there was to talk with Sister Bailey about her family. Apparently, her Mom got cancer when she started her mission and this next week it is kinda planned for her to die. I felt terrible. This Sister just got over Dengue (a virus from mosquitoes) and here comes the second punch, her mom is about to die. I wanted to cry. I wanted to help but I didn’t know how. I decided to fast to clear up this confusion in my head, and for her.
Then here comes the big news. After a long hard good day of work on Friday night we get home and find out that President is coming over. I thought maybe it was to check out how the situation is with 4 Elders in a very small house, and to do a cleaning check. As we all were climbing the stairs, he grabbed my companion. I didn’t notice and when I saw that Pres. and my Comp weren’t there I went to go down but Sister Souza stopped me and told me that his Dad died......
Wow. Ouch. It was tough news. I started to cry and pray for my companion. It was even tougher to hear him coming into the room bawling. I began to cry as well. I gave him a big "Father’s Hug” him crying in my arms. But that was all that I could do. He went into his room to call his bishop and his mom and to talk with them. I personally have never had to deal with a sudden sad death like this with those so close to me. President told me that this would be one of the great lessons I will learn here on the mission. How to deal with deaths in my life and in the lives of those around me. It was real sad. President left, and Elder Medrado opened up his journal and started writing. I just stayed there by his side all night until 2 o’clock as he wrote out his emotions. He used that temple handkerchief you gave me (that was a whole lot better than the toilet paper he was using)
This death, in my opinion shows a bit of the tender mercies God has in our lives, and I tried to help Elder Medrado with this point of view. You only will pass through the death of your Father once in your life, and God has really made it sweet. For a bit of time, his Dad has had heart problems and he almost died 3 years ago. During this time Elder Medrado didn’t get along with his Dad very well and didn’t go visit his Dad in the hospital after one attack. His cousin called and told him that he had actually died, and this was a bitter moment for him, that he ended his relationship with his Dad like this. But of course his Mom called and told him it was a lie, but in this moment it really opened his eyes. For in the 3 years since, the relationship between him and his Dad got a whole lot better and they left on a good note.
It is incredible though how God prepared him for this moment. There have been various things that have happened to give him a cushion for all this. Being a missionary, you never will be alone, you always have someone at your side. All your friends are "Representatives of Jesus Christ" and he is surrounded by them and their service, and there isn’t a time in our lives that we are so close to our Savior. Another special thing, a couple weeks ago, he woke up on P-day and felt inspired to write his dad personally. That day I didn’t want to go to the post office because it didn’t fit into the schedule, but I felt that we should go anyways. His dad got to see that. Also, Mom. You felt "inspired" to write Elder Medrado instead of me and express your love to him. That was very nice and perfect timing. Sister Bailey is passing the same time and has help. There were many things in our studies together this last week that helped us prepare for this, including my study on Honor. And yesterday Elder Medrado received his Patriarchal Blessing. And also yesterday, he bore his testimony to me that he knows that I was prepared to be "His Father" here on the mission to pass this moment in his life with him.
I really saw the truth of the last words that Brother Eaton told to me before I left for the mission. "That sometimes the people that need our service the most on our missions can be our companions." I know God arranged this to be in his life and in my life. I am super grateful to be here for my wonderful companion and to really learn how to comfort when they really need it. My comp needs your prayers, and so do I so that I can continue to serve him and help him stay strong. I am super surprised to see how strong he has been since then. In the last few days he has been surprisingly strong, and hasn’t had a problem yet. I know he still has that burden but I know what Jesus said. "Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted."
Well there goes my time but I am doing fine. Don’t worry about me. Elder Medrado really liked the quote I shared with him Sunday, that "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” Maybe it may be a surprise, and maybe it may not be the flavor you wanted. But it’s chocolate, so you gotta appreciate it. Really this came to truth here, and is true for the mission. I know God is painting a masterpiece in those that serve me. I trust Him. He trusts me.
-Elder Zachary Cetraro