This week sure has been a week to remember, with lots of changes and out of the ordinary events! I LOVED hearing about Amber playing lacrosse :) how cool! And I hope Aaron starts feeling better. Mom, I love you for always serving others and making me want to be better. I know without a doubt Dad is working hard, no matter what he is doing. Nathan, I love hearing from you! Wade, you sound like the consecrated missionary, and I cannot WAIT to catch up on stories someday, haha will we ever have time for everything? I think of you all often everyday... you are my motivation!
This Wednesday we have a mission tour with Elder Texiera from Portugal, who is in charge of 30 missions in Europe. These mission tours only happen once a year, so we feel very special as missionaries to have general authorities visit. I left feeling so uplifted and motivated, and I thought my head might explode from all of the great ideas they had to improve as missionaries, and I love the spiritual high we feel (it reminds me of the MTC [Missionary Training Center]). Just a few things that really stuck out to me that I loved:
- Hermana Jackson shared with us a story of her nephew... wherever he went, he went with all of his heart. I love that! It really made me reflect and think about how I want to get everyday, everything that I have! This can be hard on the mission. Just like in life, there are days when we just do not want to do what we need to do. But these are the days when we have to push through and trust the someone a whole lot greater than us knows how we feel. These are the days I find that studying the Atonement and serving my companion help. What a great motto this will be for our lives everyday? Do everything with PURPOSE and WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. That is what Christ did, and with His power we can do it too.
- God does not ask many of us to die for the church, but He does ask us to LIVE for it. This can be a lot harder sometimes than just giving up the fight. God asks us to endure. Just as he said in the Bible, a true friend will give up his life for his friends, and we are asked to give up our lives figuratively to further his work and show his children that they are loved.
- Llevala con honor (wear the missionary nametag with honor) we represent Christ and it is a privilege to do so EVERYDAY!!!
All in all, we learned so much, I wish I could tell you everything, but one thing I have loved is that he invited us at the beginning of lessons to ask the people we are teaching if they have any family or friends who would benefit from a special prayer in their lives. This is made a 180 degree change in our lessons, as the people realize that we aren't here to just go through the same routine and teach the same lessons. We are here for THEM specifically to meet their needs and let them feel of God´s love. In fact, we saw a little miracle from applying this principle... We contacted a man on the street 3 days before who didn't want to hear anything about the gospel. Then we went to have an appointment with an investigator and this same man was there, hardly listening. We asked for family members who might need prayers, and his heart softened, and decided that he wanted to really know the truth of our message. Cool huh? I encourage all of you to always be aware of the needs of others and never forget the power of prayer :)
After the mission tour, there was the leadership meeting for another 2 hours with Elder Texiera & President and Sister Jackson. What an opportunity! I love being a Sister Training Leader and feeling like I might be able to help this work, and especially the sisters here. It is incredible to see all of the "behind the scenes" work that goes on and the power of obedience in leadership. I pray that I can apply all that I learn, once again my head felt like it was about to explode a bit. hehe. After, we were getting ready to go home, and it turns out, President wanted to take us all to the center of Madrid and get burgers at VIPS, it was already 8:30 at night! Wow, we actually didn't end up getting home until 1 AM with problems due to transportation, it was the strangest night of my mission, after following such a strict schedule for 8 months, then going out to eat with President and he was okay with us enjoying our time. It sure felt weird.
Friday, one of the Sisters in our area went home due to health issues, and we were put into a Trio: Hermana Sanchez, Hermana Hansen (from Norway), and me! Wow, God knew I needed change to keep me on my toes and keep me working hard. I completely agree with Wade in the fact that it is easy to fall into a routine and change is good. It is hard, but good. We have slowly moved her into our little apartment. Trios are so POWERFUL, but very awkward hehe. Everything is a little bit squishier and cramped, but 3 times as fun. Hermana Sanchez is very organized and mature, 22 years old, and really knew what to expect on the mission since her two siblings when on missions and she kept in close contact with them. She was very mentally prepared for the mission, and she makes yummy salads. It’s always a little hard at the beginning of a companionship to get comfortable with each other and mesh routines, exercising, means of teaching, living with someone 24/7, etc., but we have adjusted fairly fast. We are quite different in many ways! But I love it; she teaches very clearly and inspired. Then to add another curve ball we are now with Hermana Hansen! She is so great! She speaks English, Spanish, and Norwegian fluently, and she will go home at the end of this transfer. We are also very different, she always seemed so quiet to me but I LOVE getting to know her. We all laugh and have fun. It has been interesting mixing the two pools of investigators, and teaching lessons. I love it!
I just wanted to add a little snippet about Gustavo, our investigator who will be baptized the 15th of March. He is incredible! The most prepared person I have ever met. He is 20 years old. I believe I have told you quite a bit about him. But he was just like any other contact on the street, and these past two weeks of teaching him have changed my life. Yesterday, in fact, he was sitting in front of us, next to a member at church during fast and testimony meeting, and he got up (I thought to go to the bathroom, but nope, headed towards the stand!) and bore his testimony. I have never heard of an investigator doing this! He is so bold and knows the truth. My heart was beating very fast, hoping he would not say false doctrine or something, haha. But what he said was so touching and I immediately started crying. He thanked us for finding him, and said that these past two weeks he has felt so good, and he is excited to prepare more for his baptism. The whole ward came up and shook his hand and thanked him. He has changed my life, and I am so grateful for the chance to teach him. What a miracle. This makes every hard day on the mission worth it. Plus, cool thought, he is 20 years old and can serve a mission too! WE shall see.
Well, there is enough from me this week! I can´t wait to hear from you, have a great week! Here are a few quotes I love:
“When you are involved in the work of The Lord the power that is behind you is always greater than the obstacles before you.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks
"The church does not require anything, but the Lord asks us to consecrate all" - Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Que Dios les bendiga! [God bless you!]
Love, Hermana Mather