Hey it’s been another great week here in Gijon!
Our days, as always are full of tender mercies and trials, and we learn to laugh our way through it all, that is so important. So much has been on my mind I have been thinking a lot about what Elder Mather shared in his last email about pleasing Our Father in Heaven and how when we do that, everything will work out for our benefit. On the mission we learn how important it is to "rendir cuentas" [Be Accountable, e.g. Return and Report]. I have learned how important it is to share with the Lord our desires, worries, goals, and plans, and return and report to the Lord. Like any good Father, He is loving and accepting, and always desires our success.
In the last Zone Conference, Hermana Jackson shared a story about a missionary who learned this importance in his mission as well. Throughout his whole mission, he would ask the Lord in prayer if he was doing enough, if he was doing the Lord's will. Instead of receiving an overwhelming peace and a reassuring YES, he felt that the Lord accepted his service and told him that he could do just a little better the next day. And so it was throughout his mission, and he wondered every day if he would ever feel by the end that he had accomplished EVERYTHING that the Lord had sent him there to do. He felt a peace, but Heavenly Father knew there was more for him to do. By the last day of his mission, he still had the question deep in His heart, as he was brought to the train station. As he sat there on the train, luggage by his side, he was able to reflect on the past two years of his life in the service of the Lord... and as the members and friends waved goodbye, the train pulled away, the scripture came into his mind:
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:23)
As he waved goodbye to these people, he was grateful for the opportunity he had to make a difference in their lives as they changed his life as well. He was not sure if he would every see them again. But he knew that the Lord was pleased with his efforts.
Isn't that an amazing story? It comes to my mind almost daily as I think of the experience of being a missionary. I have felt that so many times as a missionary. Even if we aren't full time missionaries, I am sure we can feel the same as leaders, parents, teachers, etc. I constantly wonder if I truly have done enough. I believe that the Lord stretches us to meet our potential in this way. I know that it is in those moments of stretching when it is hardest to see the light, but we can look back and say that the Lord knows us perfectly. I know that I have had the trials I have needed to be able to grow in ways that I never knew were possible. Have you felt that way before too? I am grateful for a Father in Heaven that cares enough to stretch us, and I pray that I have that same feeling in the end.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve here in Gijon! Javier sure was a miracle to find the first week of October, and has progressed and changed so much! I will send a picture next week. He randomly showed up at General Conference after an invitation to come to church one year ago. We have loved teaching Him... he is so much more confident and he has slimmed down quite a bit. He said he wants to be a "good Mormon" like all of the general authorities he saw his first Sunday at general conference, haha.
Do you remember I told you about Amanda? She is 13 years old, from Brazil and lives here with her parents! She has been a tender mercy here. I have never met a sweeter more mature 13 year old girl. Her parents came to church last Sunday to see what see has been up to. She comes to allllllll of the young women’s activities and family home evenings in the church, and has started working on her Young Women Personal Progress. We went to her house to teach her a lesson yesterday and talked about her goal to be baptized and how goals and reading the scriptures, going to church, and praying help us to assure that Christ is our rock. She is soo shy but she opens up a lot once you get to know her. He timidly told her mother about how she had been working on divine nature. Her mother said "you want to be virtuous?!", surprised and happy with the decisions her daughter is making :) She loves to sing the hymns of the church, and I believe that is how she feels the spirit the strongest, she finds great peace and comfort in listening to the singing and piano. I love her! It was a wonderful spiritual experience in the lesson with her yesterday. I feel blessed to have been a little part of her life. I wish I could stay longer to see more of her conversion process.
And EVA!! The 62 year old recent convert from Paraguay!! She is constantly praying for opportunities to share to gospel and share her testimony, and she finally had the chance to do so :) we started teaching her friend Noemi this week. When we asked her how she saw the influence of God in her life, she just looked at her and said "Eva" :) she said she felt such a peace when she entered her home and didn't want to leave. Talk about an answer to her prayers!
OH AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
I am grateful for...
- A supportive and loving family, I can feel your love in every letter and email and prayer :)
- Being happily exhausted at the end of the day, tired, with a smile on my face
- Continuing revelation from living prophets
- A companion that happily shares the load and has one the most contagious laughs i have ever heard.
- Nathan, getting married in the temple!!!
- Parents who raised me to love the Lord and know what is most important
- Wade, who is faithfully serving a mission and giving 100% and loosing himself every day
- Amber, always goofy and always laughing, working hard in school
- Aaron, his sweet and tender little heart -- all of the fun memories we have together
- Rain. Yes I am grateful for the rain and the green grass it brings!
- Eyes to see the tender mercies that the Lord sends constantly
- Umbrellas that work, haha
- A faithful and kind mission president and his wife (did you know that he son is getting married in December. Hermana Jackson can go, but President Jackson has to stay here. How difficult would that be? They make lots of sacrifices. I am grateful for their example!)
- How the Lord continually shows us that when we sacrifice anything, we receive 10 fold of whatever we thought was a sacrifice
- How life means so much more when we focus on others and their needs :)
I hope you have a greeeeeat turkey week :)
Love, Hermana Mather
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. Smile! You are someone’s world!"
|Javier, Hermana Orrego, and Hermana Mather|
|hmmm pan de chile|
|Hermana Mather and Eva|
|Brownies service and elgish! With Alba and Diego|
|Visiting Gris, Nuria, and Sebastian!|