2 September 2013
WOW WHAT A SURPRISE!!! We found out Saturday night that I will be leaving Barrio 1 [Madrid 1st Ward] and opening an area (Elders are there, but sisters never have been) in Alcobendas. It is just 30-40 minutes away from here. I feel so blessed! This is the ward that the President normally attends and all of his mission office Elders as well. I have heard so many good things about this ward, because the members really trust the missionaries there, and the missionaries are so obedient and hard-working. I could not have asked for anything better :) I have had a hard time sleeping the past few nights though, because my companion is fairly new in the mission as well, and opening an area is a HUGE task. BUT we just spent the morning picking up my companion (who will stay here in our piso [apartment] tonight) and she seems incredible. The first thing that she said to me was "hey do you like to work?? GOOD! Because I want to be so exhausted EVERY night, knowing that we have tried our very best and worked our hardest every day." How lucky am I??? She is from Kaysville, Utah (I asked her if she knows the Borups... she does not!) and I can tell we are going to have an adventure and learn SO MUCH. Her name is Hermana Aagard. I have heard so many great things about her. I am nervous, that is for sure. I feel like I do not know how to do anything, but the Lord sure does know me perfectly, I have no doubt. He knew that I needed to go to the Spain MTC and experience the closeness to the teachers there and become accustomed to the Spanish culture little by little. He knew that I needed Hermana Tabares as a companion, even though it was SO HARD in the beginning. I will miss her so much! She has such a character and is very sassy. But the truth is, I wouldn´t take it back for anything. She has taught me so much. And the Lord KNOWS that we can open this area, speak Spanish, and reach out to people in Alcobendas. Now I just need to pray for more faith in the Lord and less faith in myself, because I know that without Him, I am nothing!
SO just so you know, send letters to the mission office for now! NOT to my last apartment. Hermana Tabares is going to keep my letters and get them to me at some point. And I hope to write letters today to send from our new address tomorrow. We will see how that goes....hopefully! Then you will have my new address. But for now, if you write to the office, that is fine, because I will be right next to it!
Fun side note, I ate COW STOMACH here!! haha many of the dishes here are from the immigrants (Peru, Ecuador, Philippines) and I had a stew with really chewy meat, I asked what it was after, and yep... yummy cow stomach. I have to say not my favorite in the world. Ha but it was pretty adventurous.
Oh and I wanted to tell Nathan that there is an elder in our district that reminds me so much of Him. He is goofy, but still hard working. But reminds me of Nathan more than anything because he is always so willing to drop anything and everything to help others out. He is very kind and loving and charitable and I feel like a have a little piece of my brother here with me :)
Also, I wanted to share an incredible talk that I read this week. It is called "The Lords Grace is Sufficient" By Brad Wilcox. WOW. This truly was exactly what I needed to read this week, because ever since I have gotten here, I have felt like ALL of my weaknesses and imperfections are emphasized. I am no good at speaking this language, playing soccer like all of the natives, I have felt so quiet and insecure at times....and I am afraid to lose myself in this work. It is a strange feeling. More than anything I want to lose myself, I really do! It has been hard when I haven´t been able to make great connections with people, but on the other hands it scares me a little when I forget how to say some words in English. BUT nonetheless, the talk helped me a lot. PLEASE read it. It helps us to understand that we do not need to be perfect, we just need to try our very best, that really is all the Savior asks of us.
Here is a little snippet:
Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing (“Mom, why do I need to practice? None of the other kids have to practice! I’m just going to be a professional baseball player anyway!”), perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with Mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane.
In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say: “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19); “Keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask, maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “The repenting sinner must suffer for his sins, but this suffering has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change” (The Lord’s Way , 223; emphasis in original). Let’s put that in terms of the child pianist: The child must practice the piano, but this practice has a different purpose than punishment or payment. Its purpose is change.
Our works, such as repentance and keeping the commandments, do not save us, but they are requirements set by the Savior to help transform us.
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but no unchanged thing will even want to.
This is what life is all about! … trying to see more and more through Christ's eyes, and practicing. Practice, practice, practice. It is not about being perfect, I know for a fact that I am not perfect, and I see that every day. But His grace is always sufficient for us, and we show our appreciation for the Lord's sacrifice by trying our best every day. What a miracle this gospel is. What I miracle the Atonement is. I have gained SUCH a testimony of the reality of the power we can gain from the Atonement because I would not be here doing what I am doing if I had to depend on my own strength. It simply wouldn't work. I know the Lord lives and loves us. He is my Savior, and I GLORY in my weaknesses, because through them, I my eyes are opened to the Hand of the Lord in my life (2 Corinthians 12:9 and Doctrine and Covenants 67:13).
Well I am going to read your emails now! I love you and hope you have a wonderful week! Please read this talk, it is amazing!
Love, Hermana Emily Mather
Hello, I have a little bit more time after writing president and I just wanted to let you know once again that I love you all. And I also love the people here! Yesterday and later on today is full of goodbyes to people in the ward and investigators. I have only been here for 6 weeks and it is still hard! The truth is I feel like a have a little piece of family here, as I have found comfort in ward member who treat me like I was one of their own daughters. Even last night, we ate dinner with the Familia Bocanegra, who really struggle with making ends meet, but feed us amazing Peruvian food *all six missionaries in the ward*. They are so charitable and kinds to us. And patient with my Spanish. Various ward members offer up their time to accompany us to lessons and share their testimonies and help this work move forward. One of the less active ladies in our ward actually even told me that she had a dream about me the other night, because I had told her about a bit of the hard time I was having, with the language and homesickness. She had a dream that I was crying and has been so worried about me. I think that is what this church is all about... all about LOVING people as they are. I sure feel loved in this ward, and I hope to continue to spread the LOVE that this gospel brings to others. It is a beautiful chain reaction.
I also said goodbye to Jacqueline, our investigator who will be baptized Sept 28th of this month, who has found so much peace and solace in this gospel throughout her crazy life. I was so touched, because I do not feel like I have done much to bring the gospel into her life, because I cannot speak this language very well at all, but she cried when we said goodbye, and said I am always welcome to come back and visit. She gave be a beautiful necklace to remember her by. Tonight we will say goodbye to the Familia Arana, who have strengthened my testimony so many times since I have been here. I am realized how incredible hard it will be every transfer, because it is so bittersweet! I love the people here even after 6 weeks, but at the same time I am excited to meet knew ward members and get to work... even if that means we have to start all over, street contacting all day. I love missionary work.
"It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though is indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you being serious study of the book." -- The Special Book of Mormon Edition Liahona -- you should read it!!