Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2009_05_10 Mother's Day Call - Part Two

We lost the connection with Curtis, then he called right back. This is selected parts of our conversation.

Mom: I was asking you if Elder Bartolomei’s sector is close to yours?

Curtis: Um, yeah. It is the closest one to ours in Quevedo.

Mom: Okay. Did you finish passing off all of your stuff?

Curtis: All of my scriptures? No.

Braxton: How close are you?

Curtis: I’ve got a few more to learn.

Mom: How many is a few?

Curtis: About thirty.

Mom: How many?

Curtis: Thirty and how many have I learned?

Mom: Yeah.

Curtis: If you take 120 and subtract 30, that’s how many I have learned.

Dad: Ninety.

Braxton: That’s three fourths.

Curtis: Yeah. I have passed them all off. We have to pass off from memory 120 scriptures.

Dad: I didn’t have to do that many.

Mom: That’s a lot.

Curtis: Yeah, that’s a lot!

Mom: Well, keep working on it. Have you done the Proclamation to the Family?

Curtis: I’ve got part of it memorized, but not all of it. Before the elders who passed this off, had to memorize 21 scriptures, but now it is 120.

Mom: Wow, that’s a big difference. Well, just keep working at it.
Braxton: Have fun with that!

Mom: What’s the best thing that has happened to you down there?

Curtis: I don’t know, there’s a lot. The people that let us in to teach and accept our lessons and want to be baptized, that’s great. There’s other stuff that has happened that is not so good. I don’t know if you have heard anything about in Ecuador that they caught two thieves and the people killed the thieves and burned them. Did you hear about that?

Mom: No!

Curtis: Yeah, if you look it up on the internet, you might find something about it. But, that happened here in Valencia. There were two thieves that were robbing, the other week. They were robbing here in Valencia, three or four times every day. And one morning they went to rob a sixteen year old kid of his motorcycle. He wouldn’t let them take it, so they killed him.

Mom: So they killed him?

Curtis: They killed him, shot him with a pistol.

Mom: Did that just recently happen?

Curtis: Yeah, like a week ago.

Mom: Hmmm.

Curtis: So, they continued to rob people with his motorcycle. Riding on his motorcycle robbing people.

Dad: Grabbing stuff from them and take off.

Curtis: Yeah. The police finally caught them and had them in the police station. The people came, the family of the boy that they killed came and they were talking to one of the thieves. And they asked the thief if he killed him and he said, “Yeah, I killed him.” So, he was proud of it and the people they got mad and they entered, they all entered into the police station and drug the thieves out and basically stoned one of them to death and stoned the other one close to death and they burned the bodies.

Mom: Wow!

Curtis: Yeah!

Mom: Where were you when all this happened?

Curtis: We were in Valencia, about three blocks from the police station when we first heard that they had caught the thieves. We were in a store drinking a cola. And we heard that they caught the thieves and the people wanted to kill them. So we went to our house which is about six or seven blocks from where we were at.

Mom: Okay.

Curtis: in the other direction which is about nine or ten blocks from the police station and we stayed in the house. But this was in the night. It was about 8:30 when we were in the store drinking our cola. We went to the house, went in and went to bed. In the morning, it was pretty normal, then we heard everything. They had killed them and burned them.

Mom: Well, thank you for being smart.

Curtis: The family of Elder Neyra had heard about it in Peru. I think the news in most of South America have heard. The people they basically burned down the police station, too. The police didn’t want to give the thieves to the people.

Mom: Hmm. They aren’t going to do anything against the family will they?

Curtis: Que? What?

Mom: They won’t prosecute the family that burned it down will they?

Curtis: It wasn’t just the family, it was the family and tons of people. They wanted the thieves. They went in after them and they burned the police station down, they burned the motorcycle, _____ police. Yeah. It wasn’t very good.

Mom: Well I am glad you are safe?

Curtis: Yeah. Me, too.

As I listened to this part of the conversation over and over last night, I realized just how sad Curtis sounded as he told us this sad story. It is such a tragedy that people would become so angry that they would stone and burn young men, no matter what crime they had committed.

I started to think about the time when Jesus Christ was living on the earth. The people then stoned people to death for their crimes. It is such a brutal way to die. The mother of Jesus could have been put to death this way for the crime the people believed she had committed. Our society here in the United States is not much better. We have killings all around us all the time, but with guns which kill more quickly.

I hope that something good will come of it. Maybe some of the people will look back on this tradgedy and wonder if there is a better way. Maybe they will come to Christ to find peace. I hope so. I keep thinking of the talk given by Elder Robert D. Hales in the October 2008 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His talk was titled, Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship. Much of what he said in that talk could apply to this situation in Valencia. Our church is not being attacked, but it seems Christianity is. Maybe these events will bring more people back to Christ.

Mom: Do they celebrate Mother’s Day down there?

Curtis: Yeah, they celebrate Mother’s Day here.

Mom: Same day?

Curtis: Yeah. Yesterday and today, there were tons of people in the streets with their stands with flowers, cards, and all sorts of stuff for the moms.

Mom: Well that’s neat. I thought they probably would, but I didn’t think it would be the same date.

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