Monday, October 20, 2014

Dios es Amor‏ [God is Love]

20 Octubre 2014

It’s funny, sitting here at the computer, thinking about the week, wondering what happened, and there is always SO MUCH TO TELL! As I have come towards the later end of my mission, everything points toward LOVE. Heavenly Father constantly shows me what it truly means to love others as Christ loved others... unconditionally and perfectly, even when it’s a hard day or we aren't sure how to express to others that we love them.

I told you a while ago about Eva (a recent convert from Paraguay that moved here a week before I was transferred here). I have learned so much from her!!!! She truly is what this ward needed! She is FULL OF LOVE. The Branch here in Gijon can be difficult to work with sometime because so many of the members have been offended and left the church or don't get along (I don't mean to sound negative, but it’s important to realize to be able to teach to their needs). But I have found no better solution than to care less about WHY or HOW it all happened, and simply just see everyone as a Child of God and see the best in them. Being a missionary has taught me that people all truly need to feel this love of Christ expressed through others’ actions, and it’s important we know how they receive that love. I am not sure if I am making any sense, haha. Eva could talk hours and hours and tells us every day over and over again how being baptized in Paraguay changed her life and the happiest day was when her grandchildren were baptized. She has needed to work on Sundays for the time being but meets with us almost every week day after 4:30 to go visit people, she is so willing to trudge through the rain and walk all across town with us even when appointments cancel and we are talking to others on the street. But she has an amazing influence on me and on others, warmly inviting others to join and learn and testifying of how it changed her life. As we have met with her, I have loved seeing her testimony grow and blossom.

We taught a lady named Isabel (pretty old and very Catholic) that the Hermanas found when I first got there because they invited her to come to a baptism. She was interested to ONLY to see them play violin and piano, and said she was still very happy to be Catholic, but that really opened up doors for her to accept our message little by little and build open the wonderful truths that she does know, and understand that she can learn more! Eva told her of her Catholic background (she was very Catholic as well) and told her that we love her (of course!) and that because we love her we are more than willing to walk in the pouring rain to get to her house. She always says with such conviction "Dios es amor" over and over again. And constantly testifies that this gospel is where she has found that love she has looked for all of her life (60 years!) that cannot be found anywhere else. It is all so true isn't it? Just a funny side note, Isabel is pretty old and has two cats that are basically her two children. She has to cover the couch when we go over so we don´t get hair all over ourselves haha. The other day we ate Spanish tortilla with cat hair flying around everywhere. We had to eat fast before it attacked the tortilla. She also talks to her plants and prays for them to grow. Hehe  What a sweet lady. She came to church yesterday and has sincere desires to know the truth of the Book of Mormon. She said she would be baptized if she knows the truth of it! She as slowly progressed so much!

I also wanted to tell you about July. She lives with a member named Angela. They are crazy Dominicans (I love Dominicans!). When Angela was taking the missionary discussions a little while ago, she never really talked to the missionaries, and in fact avoided them. She didn't want to feel obligated to do anything, and found it too confusing to find the truth because there are so many religions. But I know that she has been prepared. When we visited Angela about a month ago, she actually stayed in the room and listened :) and we read the Promise of the Book of Mormon... for the first time she began to open up and accepted a return appointment. She said we could pass by anytime we want. Since then we have seen some incredible changes in her! Rather than sitting at home doing nothing like she had been doing all day before, she has started working and taking classes again. Every time we go over, she says that she has NEVER felt such peach and guidance in her life. The nightmares that she has had for all of her life have completely stopped and she feels the NEED like a hunger to read because the peace comes from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. She said that the first time she met with us was different. She didn't feel obligated and there must be SOMETHING to what we are doing because why else would young American girls be here doing this 24/7 away from our families? That really caught her attention, and her boyfriend says that we should come over more often because she is always calmer and nicer afterwards. hehe. I love teacher her. She always prays at the end of the lesson asking God to give us patience with her and keep visiting her so she can keep learning more. That patience is needed, it’s hard to get her to come to church, but I love seeing her progress! It strengthens my testimony of Christ’s perfect, individual love and patience for each of us.

Well, I am running out of time! Just so you know, missionaries are awkward at weddings, haha. Two of the recent converts in our ward got married and we went to the wedding for a little while, they started dancing Bachata and we left.  hehe.  It all went well and Isabel came.

We have loved listening to the conference talks over and over and over again in our free time getting ready and eating breakfast and such in the morning. I am reminded over and over again that these men are called from God and EVERY talk from EVERY apostle can be applied to us. We are so blessed to have this gospel in our lives, and I know without a doubt that we have living prophet to guide us. Have you been reviewing the conference talks?

Also, what have you been reading in the Book of Mormon? I am really working towards finishing by December 9th... My eyes are opened everyday as I read that incredible book and I learn something new. I LOVE the BOOK OF MORMON! I hope you are having your own similar personal experiences! :)

Si no escojemos el Reino de Dios, realmente, no importa lo que hayamos escogido en su lugar :) [If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead]

Have a great week!!!

Love, Hermana Mather

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