Wednesday night after our meetings, we started exchanges, and I went with Sister Inman to serve and teach from the English wards in our area. Sister Ritchell went with Hermana Bonilla with the Spanish ward. Wednesday night I had so many questions and concerns going through my mind, and I prayed fervently to the Lord, explaining my feelings, questions, thoughts, etc. And all day Thursday I could see the Lord answering my prayers. Thursday morning throughout my personal study, the Lord taught me what I needed to do through my reading of the Book of Mormon. Later that morning, I asked for a priesthood blessing of counsel and comfort from Elder Cornish, and Sister Inman took these notes for me and surprised me with them afterwards.
“You will have trials; this life is hard, but you will be able to deal with trial. Be able to step back and view them in a way that you can deal with them better. You will have increased understanding of Heavenly Father’s desires for you and these families you are over. Heavenly Father has so many blessings for you. You have been diligent and obedient in so many things and will be blessed. See into the hearts and minds of people you teach and companions and see from their point of view and understand them. Build a bond and be able to cope. Heavenly Father places His arms lovingly around you. Feel his love and the security His loves provides. You are a diligent sister. Blessings will come because of your faithfulness. Amen.”
I didn’t tell Elder Cornish anything about my concerns, but I could feel the spirit in every word he said. The Lord spoke through him to every one of my needs and concerns. I know the priesthood of God is upon the earth, and He speaks through a living prophet today. This knowledge brings me peace.
Later on throughout the day, I found more joy as I forgot myself and served others. And as we taught, I could see how the principles we explained applied to me and my life as well. I know that this mission isn’t just to help others, but through the process of serving others, I am spiritually growing and spiritually nourished as well.
I feel like I have improved, but then I feel disheartened as I recognize that I have made more mistakes and my weaknesses are taking the best of me, and I feel that have fallen backwards again and lost the distance I have gained. Last night we had another difficult situation, and I was scared and overwhelmed. After dinner I asked for a priesthood blessing from the father in the home (he is one of the counsellors in the bishopric), and I understood every word he said in the priesthood blessing (as it was in Spanish). He reminded me of the importance and power of prayer and to read my patriarchal blessing and see those gifts with which the Lord has blessed me.
One thing I have been trying to learn and improve is being a better senior companion — leading but not taking over. It’s difficult. It’s so much easier just to follow your companion, but to have to lead and forget yourself and focus on your companion and sacrificing yourself….. The process is hard. But then again, it’s a process through which I am being refined. These past four months being with Hermana Bonilla, I have grown so close to the Lord and learned so much about myself. We have at least another three weeks together, and I want to make these next few weeks amazing.
This last week has been a difficult one for me, but I have grown from it as well, and we have seen more miracles. I have time enough to share one of those miracles. One of those miracles.
Tuesday afternoon we felt impressed to drop by and visit a family, and they were just heading out the door, but the wife told us that her husband had agreed to listen to the missionary lessons. We set an appointment, and Friday night we went over and there they were, both waiting! We started by asking some questions (like the purpose in this life, what role religion plays in his life, who God is to him, etc.) and testifying using the HTBT points (trials in life, Jesus Christ, our roles as missionaries, how he can come to know for himself). The husband shared with us some experiences he has had in his life that have witnessed to him that God lives. He had questions about why there are so many churches on the earth if there is but one God, how he can know which church is true, what commandments does this church have, and how much time would he have to wait before going to the temple to be sealed with his family. We bore witness of the doctrines of the Restoration, sharing Ephesians 2:20 and explaining the purpose of prophets and apostles in leading God’s children in the Promised Land (Celestial Kingdom with our Father in Heaven). We then connected his questions and his desire to know the truth to those of Joseph Smith and testified of the First Vision where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith. We invited him to pray to know that what we have testified is true. And he accepted our invitation to learn more about the Lord’s Restored Gospel.