Why, Hello there to YOU!
WOW I feel like I need an entire day to write all that has happened this week. Last Monday feels like a month ago. I really like what Aubrey said in her email this last week:
"Many times if think back to a part of my life, or for instance, a time in my mission that was ‘so good’. I find myself wishing for life to be as it was, or to be better in the future. But today if went back and started reading my journal from the mission. As it turns out, there has never been an 'easy' time on the mission. Never. Every day in itself is a roller coaster! But, there are sweet moments and glimmers of hope. And with the confidence of God´s trust in me and His love, if can get through it and be happy."
I feel like that has also been my struggle on the mission (and in life in general). Thinking about the good times or wishing time was going by faster and not taking advantage of HERE and NOW. We, as humans are so quick to forget the miracles and tender mercies and testimonies that God so willingly gives us. That being said, there are ALWAYS hard times on the mission, there has not been one day or week without them, but it has been a difficult week of miracles (if that makes any sense). Haha the difficult times always accompany the miracles, I consider it a prerequisite.
But shortly after I had emailed you last week, we met with a 22 year old guy named Leo. It was really incredible to see the Lord´s hand Monday night, because we decided to pass by the fabric store that a member owns (Luz Marina, I think I told you about her!) and we had the lesson there. Leo is golden :) He has been so prepared, he is very thoughtful about all that we teach, and everything leads back to his mother... what she taught him as a child about following Christ. He seems a bit tormented inside, because his mom is not with him, she has chosen to stay in Bolivia, far away from her children and he is here with only his siblings and father. But Luz Marina just took him under her wing. He really needed this motherly figure in his life, and Luz Marina has been struggling with two of her less-active children in the church, so it really gave her hope of her children returning to the church, seeing this strong young man with desires to follow Christ.
Sister Burgos and I have been working hard, trying to figure out the best way to help the ward become more involved with the missionary work, because that is something we lack here in Santa Cruz. We decided to pick a few families to visit every week and really try to serve them and build confidence. Just the other day in fact, our lesson failed, and we decided to teach a lesson of missionary work to two members, Luz Marina, and Ana Rodriguez. We emphasized that we NEED their help. It was incredible, at the end of the lesson, a friend of Luz Marina came in and Luz Marina says: You know I am a member of the church right?! It is something that makes me so happy, and I should have shared it with you a long time ago! These are the missionaries! When can they meet with you?
WOW. So many prayers were answered in that moment. God hear our prayers and saw our desires to strengthen the members and work with them. We also passed a member on the street with one of her friends, and she said: "This is Juan, one of my good friends! He is an investigator, haha actually not yet, but I want him to learn more about the church." So we asked him for his number, and He came to church yesterday. MIRACLES. Wow, I was amazed with the faith of the members, and their desires to share the gospel. God answers our prayers, sometimes we just have to take a step back, and look for his tender mercies.
It was so cute yesterday too... Haha. We came walking down to church, passing Luz Marina´s store, and she was standing out there on the corner, as if she was waiting for someone. We asked her what she was doing, and she said she is a missionary, waiting for her investigators and she wanted to see happy missionary faces!! Turns out, she had called some of her friends getting to know the church and wanted to surprise us. It has been incredible to see the power of service and love. We try our best to serve and love her, just saying hi as we pass by her work, working with her children and trying to help them find the joy of the gospel again. And in turn, she has felt that love and wants to share it with others. It amazes me. With her help, we had EIGHT incredible people that we are teaching come to church, way more than we had expected, we just keep looking around and we were amazed.
I have been studying charity a lot as well, thinking about the power of love and how I am NOTHING without this pure love of Christ. I can have the best numbers, serve for one-and-a-half years, follow all of the mission rules, but this will not mean anyyyything to me if I do not serve and do everything out of LOVE. That can be hard, when we are tired or wonder why no one wants to listen, but Christ did it. He is our best example. I was thinking about times I have felt others reach out the me in pure love:
- When we ran the 15 mile race, and I felt so discouraged at the last 2 miles, feeling like I hadn't done my best and I just couldn't finish, but Wade finished the 15 miles, and came back to run WITH ME. Discouragement turned into belief in myself because he believed in me!
- Nathan drove all the way from Idaho to BYU to give me a cake and take me out for my birthday.
- Dad took me to the emergency room when was injured, found out my arm was broken, and gave me the best comfort I could ask for as I was scared that I wouldn't be able to play lacrosse for the season.
- Mom wakes up at five in the morning to make us breakfast and lunch to send us off to school, sacrificing sleep and time, but always making time to study the scriptures and to pray.
I could go on and on and on forever! But I was meditating, what do all of these things have in common? A true desire for the happiness and success of others. Sacrifice of time, energy, sincere words and actions. Just pure love. It is so true that "The kind words we may forget the kind words we say today, but the recipient will remember them forever" -Thomas S. Monson. I hope to better emulate the example of the Savior and remember the importance of Charity as a try to reach out to others. Join with me?
Oh and a funny moment... we were knocking doors in Añaza this week, the last door we knocked was a young man probably about 20 years old, who opened the door in whitey tighties!!! hahahaha Hermana Burgos and I wondered WHY IN THE WORLD he opened the door. We just keep eye contact and took about ten minutes to recover from laughter afterward. Awkward missionary moments.
Well, I am out of time, it turned out to be a novel! Pictures to come next week!!
Love, Hermana Mather