Well, I might as well start out with this. Sunday night (last night) we were at our recent convert´s house eating some arroz con pollo when we got a phone call from a return missionary in the ward named Toño...He´s the unofficial assistant ward clerk..." He asked us where we were, and then told us the unthinkable news: the bishop had died. (The bishop´s family lives on the same street as the church about a hundred meters away). I hung up and told my comp that we had to go, not saying anything to the recent convert or the investigators there. A couple seconds later, the ward secretary called saying the same thing. On the way there, another sister in the ward called us. Nevertheless, we hoped for the best. We finally arrived at the house where probably 100-200 people were waiting, talking, crying, and praying. The Stake Presidency had already arrived as well. We went inside where we saw him on the table laying lifeless. We received permission to stay there and help as long as we stayed together and went home with a member. We stayed there helping out, talking, cleaning up and preparing the church for the funeral the next day (today) until around midnight. Very very tough to describe all the emotions and I won´t be able to say everything that happened. We had the funeral today around 3:00 and then we went to the cemetery where he was buried. Hundreds of people went. The bishop was loved by many...he had his enemies too (he was firm in his decisions as a bishop so to say) but even they came to the funeral and even they cried. He was also a leadership figure in Ocotillo and many nonmembers went. It was tough to see the bishops family...the 18 year old son who will leave on his mission in December or so received the Melchizedek Priesthood earlier that day at a Stake Priesthood Meeting. The youngest daughter is 10 or 11 with three older sons of 16,18, and 22 (return missionary). I have heard a lot of different stories of what happened so I will try to say basically what might have happened: he was feeding his pig, he slipped and fell on the concrete pila, ruptured an artery or something internally, and died shortly after. Tough, tough, tough. Life is a fragile thing.
I´ve had a lot to think about because of this experience. First and foremost, I am grateful for the knowledge that I have about the Plan of Happiness that our Heavenly Father has for us. I´m grateful for our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and what he did for us. (Video-Gracias a El ... I think it´s thanks to him or Because of Him in English) I love my family...and I know that whatever happens we will always be together if we keep covenants. I also want to live my life in such a way in order to touch the lives of others. I´m full of emotions and thoughts and can´t write clearly right now, but this has definitely been a life-changing experience.
In other news, we had two baptisms this past week. J (11) and A (8) are the sons of a recent convert (R) from 3 weeks ago. It was awesome to see them get baptized. She has another son who is 6. I hope they continue in the gospel so that one day all 3 can serve missions and help bring others unto Christ. Anyways, during the official ordinance, Christian (7) one of the children of our investigators (Irma) asked "Hey how do you feel!!!!" super loud through the glass in front of the font. Frustrating at the time but kind of funny looking back at it. I asked them after how they felt. They both said "super limpito de mis pecados." I´ll send pics next week.
I had an interesting contact at Wendy´s today, but maybe I´ll tell it another week or when I get back.
Well, that´s all I have this week. Take care.
RIP Samuel Ramirez. Que le vaya bien.
Ocotillo, El Carmen, SPS 9/15/14 - 9/22/14