25 November 2013
OOF Hermana Aagard and I have been worried all week about what would happen with transfers since most people only usually stay together for 1 or 2 transfers. We went on exchanges the day before we were supposed to find out transfers and it was a big wake up call to the incredible companionship that we have. Hermana Aagard is like my sister (no one can replace my beautiful sister Amber!!). It is incredible to me that we have lived together, 24/7 for about 3 months now and we haven´t killed each other. What I love more than anything is that we make missionary work FUN and we are always laughing together. But we feel the spirit so strongly together in lessons, and we can really always relate to each other with how we are feeling. I love that she ALWAYS not only pushes me to be a better missionary but a better, more charitable and loving person. She was also just made one of the new sister training leaders! She is an incredible example to me and I think president saw that so many other people needed to learn from her so I have to share her now. I have no doubt that God knew I needed her in my life (especially for another 6 weeks together!! We have spent our birthdays together and now we will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together too! What I blessing!
We are so blessed to stay here in the ward (although it is getting VERY chilly here and the islands sound nice haha). This ward is incredibly willing to help out with lessons, and is very loving to all of us. I already cannot imagine leaving the ward members here (including our "little rock" Mervin, who loves helping us out in lessons!)
Also, we had an interesting couple of lessons with a lady named Marta that I do not think I have told you much about. She is the Sister of Luis Morales. We give all of the people we are teaching "baptismal calendars" where it has a scripture for them to read a day and shows them their progress as they work towards their baptismal date. We gave one to Marta for this past Sunday, the 24th of November, and we went over to teach her on Tuesday and we realized how fast she had really progressed, and we asked her the baptismal interview questions. She hasn't drank coffee for 2 weeks now, which was something that she was really struggling with, and she answered with affirmation all of the other questions, where 2 weeks ago, she would be saying that she was very unsure. The only thing that is holding her back is her husband, who always seems to be drunk and emotionally abusive to her. He is not very fond of the church. This woman has been investigating the church for 10 years now, and she has always had a fear of being baptized because she feels like she will not stay strong afterwards, and she has had a fear of her husband finding out. Now, she has the firm desire to be baptized, and as of Tuesday, we really saw it happening and had faith that her husband's heart can change. She texted us later and said it all needed to wait because with her husband it can't work. We went over there today and found her crying, and confided many things with us about her life, talking about possibly divorcing her husband because she hasn't felt valued or loved or respected for 22 years, and how her father died when she was young and her mother was abused by another man and ended up dying. I would never even think any of this just from looking at this woman. It just hurts my heart to think about. I wish I could do more, but sometimes as a missionary I think we are just here to love people. This woman really needs to be loved, and we may not have a baptism with her anytime soon because of her husband but I am grateful that she trusts two young girls around the age of 20 to listen and try to comfort her. This experience really touched my heart and made me grateful for all that I have.
We also found a new woman knocking doors the other day! This was my first experience of someone that let us in. Immediately she started crying and told us of the pain she felt because she felt so unvalued because of the sickness she has and her daughter that she lives with does not give her the time of day. She said that she didn't feel like she had any point in living. The Lord placed us there when this woman needed it, she calls us her rescuers. I do not know anything greater that could testify of the Lord´s love for his children. Her name is Dominga, from the Dominican Republic, and we have met with her every day since. After two days, she already said that she has stopped crying and felt so much comfort from the Book of Mormon. She came to church and loved it :) This gospel has a way of healing deep wounds and filling in the holes in our hearts. This best kind of acceptance comes from our loving Heavenly Father. I feel privileged to be a messenger of this message.
I am feeling EXTRA grateful for the love and support I feel from everyone at home. The ward, friends, family! Thank you for your prayers and support! Hermana Aagard and I tried something new this past week that we love... we realized how much we complain during the week. And we decided every time we complain we have to say two positive things that we are grateful for. We have seen our attitudes about everything change TREMENDOUSLY! Just in time for Thanksgiving especially. I am grateful for the freedoms I grew up with. I am grateful that my family all lives together in the same country (many many people live here trying to find work for years away from their small children who they do not get to see grow up) and that we grew up in this gospel. I am grateful for my companion, and how similar our life circumstances have been. I am grateful for the woman that my mother is and what an example of hard work she has always been. I am grateful for Dad and his dedication to our family. I could go on and on and on!!
Also, look up the song from "Arise and Shine Forth" Especially For Youth (EFY) called "Never Be the Same". I love it.
How is everyone doing on their Book or Mormon reading??! Are you going to finish by the end of the year with me?
Have a great week! I love you all!!
Love, Hermana Emily Mather