Story surrounding all of the wedding picture. [I was a jumpy, excited little Hermana this night, as our investigator (whose going to be baptized in two weeks) was married to his sweetheart. When we first met them, they were living a normal, everyday life. Now when we visit them, there is this light in their eyes that wasn’t there before. I know living God’s commandments brings light and happiness into our lives. We love them so much. At the wedding, the sister introduced us as “her missionaries.”]
I have gained a testimony of D&C 88:119. One thing we are encouraged to do as missionaries is to keep our homes/apartments clean and organized. And this last week we were cleaning it out — decluttering and donating things that weren’t ours and we didn’t need or wouldn’t use. And there was a HUGE black trash bag and three other smaller bags of items from this apartment that had been left by other missionaries (I don’t even know how long ago for some items). One of the senior couples came, picked it all up, and took it to the Deseret Industries for us. Now our closets, shelves, and rooms look much nicer, and (at least for me) I can focus better and feel the spirit more easily during my studies. It’s interesting how our surroundings really have an impact on us — more than we think.
Training is going well. I love every minute of it, and yet I have cried so much. I feel like the Lord is refining me and helping me realize I have things I need to let go of and hand over to Him (excess baggage — Éter 12:27, Mateo 11:28-30, y Juan 15). He’s teaching me to be humble. He’s showing me that I can’t do this work on my own and I need to really work at this. And I feel like Satan is saying trying to place negative, degrading thoughts in my head to make me feel like I can’t do this work, that I’m not good enough, that my Spanish isn’t good enough. And this drives me to my knees, pleading with the Lord to help me see why I am here on my mission to and to walk beside me and help me see that I can do this WITH HIM. And training helps me and motivates me to be better and help and serve others more. I hope one day I won’t be so hard on myself (and that the Lord will help me throughout my mission with this weakness) and I can see what good I have done here and what I can do now and forever to work alongside the Lord in His work.
My favorite people this week are the leaders in our ward. This past week I had some experiences that made me realize how vital and important and significant their work and service is in the ward and how much good they are doing. We are here to serve them and work alongside them and the Lord in leading His children back to live with Him. I am so grateful for their constant service and undying love for the people here. I love this area and am honored to have been here for so long (since October 2014).
Last week (the 14th and 15th of February), we had Stake Conference. Elder Allen ( the managing director of the missionary department) presided and gave the members of the stake a promise: that if they will invite the missionaries into their homes and listen to the 5 lessons (La Restauración, el Plan de Salvación, el Evangelio de Jesucristo, Los Mandamientos, y Las Leyes y Ordenanzas) with real intent, a sincere heart, and faith in Christ, by the end of the second lesson, names would come into their mind of people who need the gospel and this knowledge and assurance in their lives. And ever since that promise was made, we have had the amazing opportunity (pleasure) to visit the members in the stake and share the lessons with them in their homes. And the spirit is so strong, and this experience is teaching me and changing my view on what it means to be a successful missionary. In Preach My Gospel it states:
“You can know you have been a successful missionary when you:
- Feel the Spirit testify to people through you.
- Love people and desire their salvation.
- Obey with exactness.
- Live so that you can receive and know how to follow the Spirit, who will show you where to go, what to do, and what to say.
- Develop Christlike attributes.
- Work effectively every day, do your very best to bring souls to Christ, and seek earnestly to learn and improve.
- Help build up the Church (the ward) wherever you are assigned to work.
- Warn people of the consequences of sin. Invite them to make and keep commitments.
- Teach and serve other missionaries.
- Go about doing good and serving people at every opportunity, whether or not they accept your message.”
It’s not about quantity — it’s about quality. It’s not about numbers — it’s about children of God, and that children of God have hopes, dreams, personalities, families, and a grand potential in this life and the next. And they are OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. We are family. All of us. And as we help strengthen the members, when we bring in our investigators, they will have a strong background and foundation with the other members, who can help them keep holding on the iron rod on our way back to the presence of our Father in Heaven.
I have also been learning how the Lord works with us. This last Monday, all our appointments canceled, and we decided to go visit a family whom we had felt inspired to place as a backup the night before. And as we walked towards their home, we walked past a home and noticed an older sister getting out of her car. And then came the moment of decision — do we go talk with her or do we walk by and continue onward towards the home of the other family? We decided to go talk with her, and she invited us in her home. She was so excited and told us that she had never had missionaries in her home before. We know the Lord had His hand in this. As we talked, she suddenly had a small attack and was instantly weak. My years in BYU-Idaho kicked in, and at times I wish the Lord would let me remember more of what I learned in my health and disease classes. We were starting to really worry, but I just sat by her, held and rubbed her hand, and talked with her softly, letting her know that we were here. And then in a few minutes, she recovered and was better. She was so grateful that we had been there and followed the Spirit’s direction. As we left, there was a special peace in our heart. Yes, we didn’t have “numbers” to add to our key indicators that night, but the Lord knew what He wanted us to do. He sent His angels to His daughter that night to help her know He is aware of her and loves her. And that is most important.
Haha, and sorry if my English has gotten really bad — I may need to take a refresher from you after I get back home and before I head up to college. I’m learning and understanding the grammar of Spanish, but explaining why certain things are in certain ways in English is something I can’t do — I just know it sounds right and that’s the way it is.