The Longer Ones

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ch 74 A Long Walk Home

This week was an eventful week. But first off lemme tell you about a member that I really admired. His name is Ryan.

When we first got into the area, we were open area so we were lost and confused. All of my friends kept telling me that Sampaguita ward is an extremely active ward but fetch... as I looked for members we were punted left and right. I started thinking..
"Wow... is this ward full of less actives or something?"
Either everyone wasn't there or everyone was avoiding us. Even the Bishop wasn't there.
6 hours of walking later, we went to the very end of our area. Where no one goes. where it is so  inconvenient that unless you are seeking this one Mormon family, it would be  kind of weird to go there to begin with. But we felt prompted to go there and figure this is where we need to be.
We got to the house at around 8:30pm it was dark, no lights and we hear a pack of dogs come near us.
I kept thinking, " is this really the right decision?"
We were about to walk away from our so-far saddest day in the mission, when a motorcycle arrived and said "Hi elders! what're you doing here?"

They were there!!! #blessed. When we got inside the house it was small, but comfortable. A lot of family pictures,  returned missionary pictures, and in the center of the room a hospital bed for a guy not much older than I am. His name is Ryan, and he is dying of Stage 3 Colon Cancer. He got home from the hospital the day before because he just finished his 4th surgery and the doctors don't know what else to do.

It was clear that he was in pain, but he smiled at us anyway and said, "It's been so long since I've seen Elders." During our first visit, His Grandma explained how no missionary has visited them in the last 4 years. They're very active in the ward and in the stake, but no one ever visits them anymore. And they were just so happy to see us. We bore a quick spiritual thought, built the relationship more, and promised to visit them once a week.

A few weeks go by and his condition is actually improving. By New years eve, we visited gave them presents and he was able to stand up again. He smiles so much it's kind of ridiculous but hey it makes for a very fun visit.

This week, we had a very busy week. Too many appointments, time was against us, and emergency after emergency we kept forgetting someone very important. We were about to miss our appointment to see Ryan. It was 9pm. Technically curfew. We knew we shouldn't visit because it's technically not allowed. But we've felt the prompting all day to visit their family and we chose to ignore it. Finally I was done.
"Alright Holy Ghost! you've been yelling at us all day! we'll go to them."
We run to their house so we can get back home before 10:00pm. and when we got there we bore a short but quick testimony and a review of the Gospel. He smiles at us and gives us  a hug. and we go home. Except THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED.
We got to their house. it was dark. No one was there. All I can hear was our "tao po's" echoing in the neighborhood, until a neighbor came to us and asked us to quiet down.
"Brother?, do you know where the family that lives here?" -E. Villanueva
"They're at the morgue. Ryan died a few hours ago, go to bed" -Neighbor

When the neighbor left, we understood now why the spirit was calling to us the whole day. Even though it we were cold, in the dark, and alone, we gave a prayer. A prayer that we ought to have given hours ago. at the end of the prayer, after hundred hundred sorrys and apologies we started the long walk home. We were quiet. We didn't say anything to each other. Because we already knew what the other is thinking. I should've never neglected a prompting of the spirit. l should never ever try to put my will above God's knowledge. I should put my trust in Him, and press forward. But why couldn't I do it when it mattered? why did I have to wait for a friend to die, for me to listen. I'm an idiot.
We got to our subdivision. And we felt something. Maybe it was grace, maybe it was forgiveness, but something quickly came to mind. I remember that he is with our Saviour now. He is with Jesus Christ I know that through Him, we can be with our families again. I know that we can be happy eternally. That God did not promise we would live to overcome cancer, He promised something greater. He promised to give us eternal life with our families if we stay true and press on. I smiled and remembered how Ryan smiled at us when we first arrived in Sampaguita ward.  We just looked forward, and hoped and prayed and knew he is where he wants to be.

-Elder Villanueva
#ANTIAntipolo Philippines Mission
#Hughes4EVER Philippines Mission

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