25 Agosto 2014
Oh mamamia! Petunia, Pops. Wade, Nathan, Amber, Aaron!!! I luff you all :)
I am sure you are tired of me telling you every week, but I really do not feel like I can express all that we have heard and thought and experienced this week! It hurts my brain just a little to think about organizing all of my thoughts, haha, but I will try. We have focused a lot on Ana (investigator), Luis (investigator), and Ulises (less-active) this week! Each and every one of them is so incredibly different and has lived in different circumstances in their lives, but the answer is always the same: THE GOSPEL. It’s INCREDIBLE. I read Alma 5:7 and it says:
Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word.
Ana, Luis, and Ulises were surrounded by these mists of darkness. I love that it says “they awoke unto God”. It really is like that as we shed a light and hope shines brighter from within them. It’s hard to describe.
Ana continues to progress sooooo well, it just astounds me really. She asks us the most sincere questions like "what is sin?", and she is so honest with herself and with us, about mistakes made in the past, and truly wants to learn all of the basics to be able to be as obedient and faithful as possible. Although she comes from a family of drug-addicts, abandoned by her parents, and lived life basically shut it her house all of the time to avoid painful influences, not wanting to face the world, here she is coming to know our Savior better and eliminating the mists of darkness. I am shown more and more the influences of the world that we have to fight against every day. There are so many things that I don´t want anyone to have to suffer. Ana has passed through the majority of them.
The Gomez family (the family of Ulises) as well had taken an unexpected turn recently. I remember when I first got here 4 1/2 months ago, Ulises was sitting on his couch, wondering why his wife was abandoning their beautiful family of 6 children. He is not the same person now! It's truly interesting how God makes everything play out. Everything. EVERYTHING that has happened with the Gomez family, with Mary, Paco, Aldis (Ulises´ son). After all of the visits and late night talks with Ulises encouraging him not to give up, Family Home Evening lessons in their home, working with Him to come back to church, helping Aldis with all that has happened in the family, visiting Mary (our Venezuelan Grandmother here who takes such good care of us)....I could go on and on and on about how the Lord prepared our pathways and made them cross at the right time to find those people prepared to return to the gospel and those prepared to receive it!
It truly was incredible how we came to know Ana. Aldis met her the day before and decided to bring her to an activity where we met her. The Lord let our paths cross. It is all worth it. EVERYTHING. Now, Ana has so many loving people around her that she has been lacking all of her life. Ulises is completely illuminated by this light again and has a great friend in the church he can talk to and is truly happy. It is ALL WORTH IT. They call us their angels, but really they touch our lives, and we touch theirs. I am not sure how Heavenly Father plans it out so perfectly, but He does and I feel so grateful to be a missionary doing His work. I feel so blessed to bring people to see the things of God, so that they can know the goodness of God. (1 Nephi 4:4)
I have had these words playing in my mind all week:
And now, these are the words of Ammon to his brethren, which say thus: My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?
Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work. (Alma 26:1, 3)
It has been incredible to see Ana stand up for what is right as her baptismal date is coming near and there is so much opposition coming from her family and her boyfriend. But she simply looks us in the eyes and says "I want to do it". There is no doubt in her mind.
It is incredible to look into the eyes of Luis, our investigator from Cuba as he talks about his past. An abusive father and his mother died young. It has been hard for him to begin to pray, because of the relationship he had with his father, but he is praying every day now! He actually studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses for two years and was almost baptized, but didn't feel right about it after all, but we have seen that painful look in his eyes change... he says that we help him to have more hope!
It really has been an incredible week full of miracles and I hope you all know how blessed we are to have a family, a mother, a father, full of love and memories and the gospel. My eyes are opened to what it would be like if we hadn't been blessed in this way. We should NEVER take it for granted. Because I have been blessed with so much, we NEED to share it. We are blessed with so many opportunities to do it every day. We have the happiness of so many people of the world in our hands. Some people have given up hope in even having families and finding a love that makes us feel complete and accepted (not just short term happiness that comes from the world). I know that living the gospel is the way to happiness :)
Well now that I have written an essay! I have one more quote for you :)
"No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves. He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is a question not of one's losing identity, but finding one's true identity" - Elder Neil A. Maxwell
I lufff yew alllll!! Have a great week! You're in my prayers!
Love, Hermana Mather