This week we have seen lots of miracles.
Tuesday night we ate with a recent convert family. Afterwards, we shared Ephesians 4:11-14 and talked about the purpose of prophets and apostles. Our fellowshipper shared his testimony of the power that General Conference can bring into our lives. We read Mosiah 2:1-9 and they were amazed at how much these verses can apply to our day and the relation seen in preparing for General Conference. The father shared an experience from his childhood when he felt the spirit as President Hinckley spoke in General Conference (even though he did not speak English). We invited them to prepare for General Conference this next week with questions and concerns, and we promised them that the spirit would teach them.
Later that night we visited another sister. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ using the picture of the path of faith in Jesus Christ leading to the temple with repentance being the way back to return to the path, baptism as the door and the priesthood as the key, the Holy Ghost as the gift, the sacrament, and enduring to the end. The ward missionary couple who accompanied us shared their testimony of repentance and of the gift of the Holy Ghost. At the end, we looked her in the eye and testified of her identity as a daughter of God and of His love for her and her family. We invited her to continue to CPR, and to watch the women’s session of General Conference.
Wednesday we had a Mission Tour Conference with Elder and Sister Wilson. It was AMAZING! We learned about the concept of having Reading Mentors, who are people who are true fellowshippers for returning members and individuals developing testimonies of the gospel to help them learn the language of the scriptures and understand what they read. It was an amazing, spiritually filled conference based on Chapter 5 from Preach My Gospel. Afterwards Sister Wilson also talked about the Atonement and how we as sister missionaries need to be kinder to ourselves. I felt like she was talking to me.
Wednesday night we visited Juana. She was having a rough day and feeling really discouraged. We talked about the atonement, and that she was worth it — that nothing could take away her value. She later shared an experience with us that she had while reading the Book of Mormon. She had felt the spirit. It was really exciting to hear that not only had she read but had received comfort from doing so. Then we reread some of the things she had read in that chapter. She is understanding more, which is great!
Saturday morning Juana and Kevin were baptized. Hermana Peterson and I were in the little doorway of the font (like the sisters were in the Preach My Gospel videos) and we held the towel for Juana. As she walked down the steps into the font of water, I began to cry. Our journey together these past months flashed before my eyes, and a surge of love and happiness filled my entire being. I cried. I never thought I’d see the day that she would enter the waters of baptism, and now she just glows. The spirit was present, and it felt as if God and His angels were there shouting for joy. As she came out of the waters, we hugged and cried together. It was absolutely beautiful, and I will cherish that moment we had together forever. That afternoon we saw them in the park, and Kevin ran up and said, “Thank you for letting me be baptized! I am so happy!” They feel the difference in their lives. It was also wonderful to see Hermana Bonilla again. We gave lots of hugs. It is so wonderful the relationships we build as we serve the Lord.
Saturday afternoon we went and visited another sister. We read the title page of the Book of Mormon, stopping every couple phrases to explain and ask questions. We talked about the story of the families in the Book of Mormon and its purpose. We invited her to start reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon. She is excited that she is learning and understanding what we read with her.
Sunday morning as we greeted the members in the chapel, we met a man who just moved into the ward. After talking with him, I went and greeted another family with hugs, kisses (air kisses — cultural), and questions about how they are doing. Afterwards, I was walking to greet another family when the man we just met earlier stopped me and said to me (in Spanish), “You know why you are having success here? Because you love. You are loving. There are not many ‘gringas’ who are like that. Keep it up. Keep loving. And teach your companion to do that as well.” His comments surprised me. It reminded me of what President McCune, my mission president, told me one day: “Just go and love them. Love the people.” During Sacrament Meeting, I reflected on the change I have seen in me during my mission. I am seeing how the blessing I received when I was set apart as a missionary is becoming real. Spanish is coming. I am not dying from milk. And I am truly learning to love. I still struggle with my perfectionism tendencies, but Hermana Peterson is working with me to help me see the good in me and enjoy the work despite my weaknesses.