Thanks, Mom, for sharing your insights from Stake Conference with me. The sealing in the temple is WAY more important than the other details of the wedding that occur outside the temple. You only wear your wedding dress for a few hours, but as we live worthy of the covenants we have made, the sealing can last forever. I like the salt and light analogies as well. It reminds me of the message in Alma 18, which I studied this morning. Sometimes we are the very first exposure of the light of Jesus Christ in the mortal lives of others living here on earth. It is SO important that we have the light of Christ reflecting in us. As Christ said in his Sermon on the Mount and Sermon at the Temple, the light is in the eye.
I also really like what you said about Family History. Our ancestors want to be found, and I know they can have an influence in this missionary work. A few weeks ago, while we were singing “God Be with You ‘Till We Meet Again,” I suddenly started thinking of Grandma Alice [my maternal grandmother who died in 2006], and I had an overwhelming feeling of comfort and peace. I started to cry, as I felt her nearby. It was really special for me. I´ve never felt her like that before, but when it comes to seeing her again, the feeling was strong.
This week has been a roller coaster. In TRC, Elder Bradshaw, Elder Clayton, Hermana McDermaid, and I taught a sister about how to receive answers to her prayers. It was amazing how we worked together and followed the impressions of the Spirit, working off of each other to explain and expound. It´s easier with only two missionaries in some ways though, like knowing how much to say and when to let others speak. I testified to her how messages from the Spirit are different than a phone call, since it is a Spirit speaking with your spirit inside of you. It results in general feelings in your heart and messages or thoughts in your mind.
Hermana McDermaid and I also had an interesting experience as we taught Marlon (our roleplaying investigator) last week. We planned on teaching about the Restoration, but as we discussed what he had liked from his reading of Alma 5, he picked up on being reborn in the spirit. We then felt impressed to talk solely on baptism and Jesus Christ in 2 Nephi 31. In the middle of our reading, he asked about infant baptism (since he had been born a Catholic), and we then hopped over to Moroni 8, which he greatly appreciated. And after we explained the importance of the authority of God in ordinances and covenants and read the verses from Christ about following Him and obeying the commandments of God (one of them being baptism), we extended the invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, and He accepted!
Sunday morning in Relief Society, Hermana Pratt, the MTC President´s wife (whom I look up to so much), discussed with us John 15. Our discussion on verse 13 really caught my attention. We have left behind our previous lives to serve the Lord and help others feel the power of the Atonement and the joy of the Gospel in their lives.
I had the privilege of giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting this last week. When I heard my name called from the pulpit, my heart jumped. Early that week I felt impressed that I would speak, but I also felt impressed that I shouldn´t write out my talk word for word. That really scared me, as it would be in Spanish. But I felt impressed that I just needed to speak on the insights I received about faith in Jesus Christ as I read 1 Nephi 1-4. So when they called my name, I cried to my Father in Heaven in prayer, explaining to Him what I had done to prepare, the feelings I was experiencing at that time (as I was crying and nervous but excited all at once), and asked that He would help me feel calm as I spoke so I could say the words He would have me share. So I went up and put my trust in the Lord. And it all worked out. I spoke the words that came into my heart and bore simple but sincere testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon in helping our investigators develop faith in Jesus Christ.This week I´ve been experiencing a lot of mission guilt as I have such high expectations of how I should be speaking Spanish and teaching. I have put Solamente Español or only Spanish on the bottom of my name tag on a sticky note. I placed it there to remind me to utilize my Spanish. Thank goodness for Elder Scott´s and Elder Holland´s talks these past two weeks, as they have helped me remember my purpose and how I can´t be perfect at the work yet. I will always have ways to improve, but the Lord can use me in my weaknesses. As I listen to talks and go to devotionals, I focus on recording the impressions I receive from the Spirit more than words that are said by the speaker. What the Spirit says to me in those moments is extremely valuable to me, more than the words spoken. I´ve also been learning about the importance of getting to know my investigators — getting to know them individually and not just information about them. As we do role plays and be the investigators and missionaries, I learn how an investigator must feel to experience the Spirit and feel conversion.
Monday was México´s Independence Day, and we got to see a cultural performance. Their dresses were absolutely gorgeous and full of color, the music was fun, and their smiling faces brightened my day. We wore our México blouses to the cultural event, and at dinner, one of the cooks complimented us in our shirts and thanked us for supporting his country on this special day for them. I´ve grown to love the people here, and I felt proud to wear my México shirt with pride.
I love you all! Walk with God, for with Him you cannot fail.
Excerpt from Kathleen’s e-mail to Elizabeth:
Always keep your eye on the Lord. Read your patriarchal blessing regularly. Remember, you can change. Because of Jesus Christ and His infinite love, we can change and become more like Him one day at a time. I have felt the power of His Atonement in my life — He has changed me forever. He has redeemed me from darkness and brought me into light, and I will be eternally grateful to Him. Remember who you are — you are a spirit daughter of a Father who is the Creator of the cosmos and worlds without number, and yet, He is aware of your individual needs and trials and loves you and wants to hear from you. Stay close to Him in prayer. Let Him know how your day is going. Tell Him about your dreams, your hopes, your struggles, your feelings, EVERYTHING. He wants to talk with you.