Well top of the mornin' to ya all!!!
So we have probably had the calmest week before transfers ever, normally I feel sick and worried, but we just got to work and tried not to worry about changes happening. It really has been a bit of a difficult transfer, in the way of having really consistent lessons and feeling like our investigators are progressing. I felt like the Lord was testing us, teaching us endurance and probably marriage prep (I would imagine, I don´t really know, haha). But this last week has been one of the best of my mission! I have been thinking like Wade a lot lately, because sometimes it is frustrating to come to the end of the week and see the are numbers truly don´t show the number of people we have talked to, or lessons we have set up that fell through, people we comforted, doors we knocked, etc. Rather, we try to measure our days more by how we saw the hand of the Lord as we write down our little happy thoughts each day.
Last week, we were helping the senior couple that works in the office get haircuts because they needed help with how to say everything in Spanish. This was during proselyting time, so we were wondering if we should feel guilty or like we weren't using out time wisely, but I look back on moments like that and I know God wanted us to be there. It is in these little moments of service that we see the big picture! God does more with our time, and He put a very prepared man in our path, named Gustavo who is 20 years old, from Venezuela. We didn't think much of it at the time, but we had a lesson with him on Monday and we taught him about the Book of Mormon and how it answers the questions of our souls and questions we have from the bible like: why was Christ baptized? (answer- 2 Nephi 31) and he was amazed! Our next lesson with him, he had read all of Ether 12 and pages of the introduction and testimonies [of the Three Witnesses, Eight Witnesses, Joseph Smith]. If we had not been there to serve others, we would not have met this prepared man. At the moment, the act of service did not add to our numbers, but in the end it is leading another soul to Christ :)
On Monday, the miracle of all miracles happened!! We have been passing by an inactive family for 6 months now, and we have never gotten into their house. But finally, we passed once more, and she had told us to come by Tuesday. Turns out, some kind of offense happened years ago when her husband was bishop, but she still has a strong testimony and told us all about the mission she served in Chile and how she wants to bring her family back to church little by little. She told us her powerful conversion story and her admiration for missionaries, especially since she had had served a mission (and there are some incredible connections made with people who serve missions I think, because to understand what it is truly like, you need to go on a mission). So we will start working with their family more in the future.
On Thursday, a lesson cancelled on us, so we hit the streets again and found a man who agreed to be taught a lesson right then. His name is Javier, from Ecuador, and we also taught him the Book of Mormon and read in Enos about the miracle of repentance. In his simple and humble closing prayer, he began to cry, and apologized afterwards, saying that he has felt such a darkness around him lately. He felt so lonely and burdened by guilt from his past... and he said he could feel this burden lifting, and we assured him that the Lord is always there to receive us with merciful arms. The spirit has been so strong in all of the following lessons and I love his true desire to change.
OH! And I am not sure how much I have told you about Gerson, he is the friend of the less active member that we met earlier this transfer. I sure love this man. He has sooo many great questions and really wants to know that truth and study everything out. From the total of maybe 3 hours we spend with him every week (including English classes) we have grown to love his thirst for the truth. He said the sweetest goodbye to Hermana Aagard, saying that he never really like religion because he would see people act one way in church then go out and become a completely different person, and he says that he respects what we do as a church, especially dedication in missionary work (even if that means obeying rules that seem nit-picky like having a woman with us when we teach men). He says he sees that we do it because we FEEL it. Do we always do what we do because we FEEL the truth of it? I hope so. I love that :)
So, I still feel like each and every email a write does not express 1/394875029384752 of what I would like to say, but after this incredible week we had been blessed with, we were nervous to hear about transfers. Saturday night we found out that Hermana Aagard will leave to open up Segovia for sisters! How exciting is that? She will be incredible there, and I plan on visiting some castles with her for a Pday there :) AND... I will be staying here for my 5th transfer, training a new sister coming in, and I will be one of the Sister Training Leaders for the zone. Whewwww, it is all very shocking and overwhelming. We knew it was coming, but it has been hard to watch Hermana Aagard pack up and prepare to leave. Sister Jackson calls us the Partners in Crime, but the Partners in Crime are splitting up for a little while here. Yesterday at church was full of taking pictures and crying and saying goodbye to recent converts and members and investigators who love Hermana Aagard. I am all cried out, it is very strange because I feel like I am leaving home again and I am not even the one leaving. She has taught me everything I know about being a missionary and sometimes I am not sure where I start and she begins. The mission is all about being out of your comfort zone and there is not comfort in the growth zone! BUT I do know that God has a perfect plan. This is what we preach every day! Accepting God´s will. Although I am incredibly nervous and sad, I know that everything will be okay. Please pray for me!
Well, this is the longest email on planet earth, so sorry about that, but I have had so much on my mind lately, with transfers and all! I think of you every day, wondering what you are doing and thinking :) I sure love you all so much, and I am sorry I haven´t been the best at writing letters, especially with transfers, but I am hugging the air right now for all of you!!!
Have a great week!
Love, Hermana Mather
|My Dominican mama here!|
|Making food with Rosa! A recent convert here!|
|Exchanges with Hermana Ferarri, from Argentina! I thought of Nathan the whole time :)|
|Family Home Evening with the Ward and our favorite little old Spanish lady in the Ward!|
|Some of the Relief Society women in our Ward!|
|With Hermana Heims again!|
|Reagan [Hermana Mather's college roommate] and Austin are studying and Alcala University here.|
President Jackson said it would be okay for to visit them for Pday! So fun!
|We like to run here in the morning!|
Yes, it is morning, although it looks like midnight!
|With Walter and Alba :)|