Last week I cut my hair. I wanted to not cut it my whole mission so it would grow super long...but it was definitely time for a little trim. My curls weren´t curling and it was stringy and gross. And I found a member here who has a legit salon in her house (this family has pisto!...aka money), so I trusted her.
We got cell phones! Woohoo!! All the zone leaders and assistants have phones, but we never got them as hermanas (discrimination). But now we have them and the district leaders. I think by the end of the year everyone will have one. It´s an amazing new asset...saves a whole lot of time.
The search for a new house continues.
This week was a pretty eventful and exciting week. But also full of ups and downs.
On Wednesday, we had our meeting with Presidente Spjut and Hermana Spjut to get to know them. It was just two zones in each meeting and it was really good! Elder Lopez asked me and Hermana Peterson to translate for Hermana Spjut cause she doesn´t speak spanish. Hermana Peterson helped her translate from english into spanish when she gave her talk. Hermana Spjut gave the majority of it, because she had translated it before hand in spanish, so she gave the majority of it in her broken accent and Hermana Peterson helped read scriptures and translate various things she didn´t know. Then when Presidente Spjut addressed us, I sat next to Hermana Spjut and translated from spanish into english. Wow, that was an adventure. First, because I´ve forgotten english. Second, because I´ve never translated before. It was pretty easy to translate when Presidente Spjut was talking, because while he speaks good spanish, it is slower and more spaced out. But he asked for participation and so other missionaries answered and that was harder to translate as they spoke faster. But it was fun, I really enjoyed the challenge and the opportunity. I wouldn´t mind having that chance again and to get to learn and become better at it. And Hermana Spjut told me I did amazing and she was really grateful for the help.
One of the things Hermana Spjut said to us in our welcome meeting with them, was she talked about the apostles and in Mark 6, there´s a part where Christ sends out his apostles two by two to preach the Gospel and share. Then they come back and Christ recognized that they are tired and hungry and He tells them to go take a rest. When they go out into the desert to take a rest there are people there waiting for them and they have to keep working, and as the people are hungry, that´s when Christ shares the 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread and he blesses it and feeds the 5,000. "Instead of a rest, the apostles got a miracle." And that is the theme of the mission. We work and work and it´s hard sometimes, and oftentimes when we feel like we need a rest, we don´t get it, but we get a miracle instead. Which in turn, is so much better and ever so powerful to see how the Lord knows our needs and is willing and wants to serve and help us. I have seen this principle a million times so far on the mission and I loved it as it´s ever so true. And I will continue to look for and appreciate the daily miracles that I see, as that is what carries us through each day in our lives. So look for those miracles in your lives.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!! I remember a year ago I was living in Washington D.C. and watching the fireworks from the rooftop of a building in D.C. as they splashed the skyline by the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. It was a moment of special reflection and gratitude as I sat there and watched and was ever so grateful to be an American and to be blessed with everything I have. America truly is amazing! I hope yáll had a glorious 4th of July and got to celebrate it with a nice BBQ and some good fireworks. Although I think mine might have been better.
We had our consejo de lideres (leaders council) on the 4th and it was a great opportunity to learn from Presidente and su esposa (his wife). Presidente Spjut talks a lot about the Spirit and revelation. He is really a humble man, but powerful. He knows how to rely on the Spirit and He knows and understands what that means.
Then Hermana Chiquin and I got super lucky and got the opportunity to have Presidente accompany us to visit with our investigators in the evening. He had planned one night to leave and visit with zone leaders and one night to leave and visit with the hermanas de capacitacion. We live the closest to him, so I think that´s why got the opportunity to leave and visit with him. And it was a night I will forever remember.
We had two visits, that were extremely powerful and full of the spirit. I will share them.
Our first stop was with Ronald. He is 30 or so years old, single, and lives at home with his parents. We are teaching him, and the elders in our area are teaching his parents, Luis and Carolina. Well Ronald has gone to church and he likes it, he´s reading and praying and he says that he feels like God is responding to his prayers. However, he still hasn´t accepted a baptism date and we believe
it´s for his father. Because Luis is a little hard and since Ronald is so close to his parents, we have felt like it´s his father that´s impeding his progress as well as his mom´s progress as she really wants to know. There´s a little background so you can understand.
So, we showed up and we visited with Ronald and his father Luis. His mom wasn´t there. We started and Ronald told us how he´s reading and learning about the LDM (Libre de Mormon or Book of Mormon) and he likes it and he feels good and feels like he has his answer. Then Hermana Chiquin started sharing 2 Nephi 25:26, at first I was thinking, "what are you doing? what about our lesson plan?" as that was not part of the "plan". But then I stopped thinking that and started focusing on the lesson and the spirit and what he needs. When we finished we looked at Presidente Spjut as he was thumbing very carefully through his scriptures. He shared 2 Nephi 33:10, but he shared it in a manner ever so powerful. He read it slowly and did pauses and asked questions throughout to be sure that hermano Luis understood the scripture and the point he was trying to make. It was powerful to watch his example and learn from him. He asked Luis if he´s read the BOM and Luis said that one or twice, but that he is really "haragan". Presidente Spjut asked what that means and when we told him it means "idle, or slacker", he responded with a question to Hermano Luis: "Do you think the Lord will accept that answer?". Wow. It was powerful, it was full of the spirit, it was direct, and invited him to change, but in a way that helped him understand the importance of the Lord in his life. Hermano Luis said no, and Presidente continued sharing and committed Hermano Luis to read the BOM.
As the lesson continued we were trying to commit Luis to go to church with Ronald, but he
wouldn´t commit. We weren´t sure why, and as we asked him questions, especially as President asked him qeustions, we waited for his responses. There were many times when there was silence in the room, and lots of it, but we let it be silent. We let the Spirit work. And that´s what he needed. He finally responded by saying something to the sort of, "I´m going to give you an answer." and he grabbed the Book of Mormon ever so tightly in his hands. And he said, "I´m going to read this book. And I´ll tell you why. I´m going to read it because the people that have taught me or invited me to read it, their lives and the type of people they are are much better than the people who have told me that I should not read it. And then I´m going to pray to God. And I am sure that He will respond to my prayers. And when he responds and I feel it, I will be in the church every single week and I won´t lack a week." And it was powerful. The spirit was ever so strong and I was amazed. Then Presidente said, "that´s great, I am pleased with that answer". And that´s when we invited him to pray with us right there together, so that we could all kneel together, and that he could offer the prayer and ask God for the answer. We shut the door and knelt down to pray and he started praying. And it was real. It came from his heart and he was really pleading with the Lord to know what to do. He told the Lord that he´s confused, he told him that he wants to know and that he needs guidance. He asked to know if this is the church that´s true, and he pleaded for an answer saying that he will follow it. It was powerful and the spirit was ever so strong. And I was pleading in my heart with the Lord to give it to him, to give him the answer that he needs. After he asked for blessings for us and thanked the Lord for sending us to his home, he finished the prayer and we all remained kneeling. Nobody moved, only hermano Luis raised his hands to wipe the tears from his eyes that were streaming down his face. We remained for a good minute or so kneeling and waited, nobody wanting to ruin the spirit with speaking. President Spjut then spoke and asked him how he feels. He said he feels good. Presidente invited him to read and offer the prayer again and we left. It was powerful.
Second, we headed to the Familia Sanabria. A little bit about them. Julia is the mom and she has a bad habit of smoking. Julita is the daughter and she is catholic and attends her catholic church regularly with her daughter, Adriana, because Adriana sings in the choir. Hermano Miguel is the husband of Julia and he also smokes. Hermana Chiquin taught them a lot before I came, and then since I arrived we have been, but we felt like we shouldn´t keep teaching them and then we had some answers to our prayers on Thursday that indicated that no, we need to keep teaching them.
They both said that they feel they have their answers, but that they are scared to do it (be baptized). My companion asked them what their fears are. Hermana Julita is scared because she attends the Catholic church and Julia the mom said smoking and she knows she needs to dejar a hacerlo, but she is scared she won´t be able to.
When Julita was talking I could only think about my personal experience with the mission and I felt like I should share it, so I did. I told her how I was similar. A mission wasn´t part of my plan and that I wasn´t praying about a mission or asking about a mission when I felt like it was something I needed to do. And I was scared to be honest, because I knew it wouldn´t be easy. And I didn´t want to accept that answer and that feeling so I fought with it for a few months. I told her how it was similar, she hasn´t asked, but she feels she´s gotten her answer, and while she´s scared to accept it. I told her how I finally learned that the Lord wants the best for me, and He´s never led me astray and so if I know that, I needed to confide and trust in him more. So I invited her to trust in the Lord more, and look for what His will is for her and let Him be her guide.
I shared that without crying too. So that was a good time.
Later Hermana Julita told us how she´s also stopped drinking coffee. She said one day she got a really bad stomach ache, and she hasn´t been able to drink coffee since then. She is a coffee aholic, she drank a huge giant cup, like a big gulp of coffee and multiple times a day. Well ever since that day she can´t do it. She´s even bought the more expensive brands to try and see, but no, they all taste super feo (unpleasant) to her. And she said, "I told my mom, the hermanas must be praying for me or something." She knows it´s true. She just needs to confide in the Lord more and not be scared to make a decision.
Overall, this night was unforgettable. And it was an answer to my prayers and also the prayers of my companion. In these weeks, but especially in these days I´ve felt overwhelmeed. I´ve felt a big burden on my shoulder and I´ve felt desperate for ideas and direction as I know we need to change and be better, but not sure how to do it or what to do and at a lost as It´s been hard to work with my companion a little bit. I´ve been worried and overwhelmed and grasping for direction and ideas of how to change and how to be an instrument in God´s hands and how to change this area, as it needs changing. And this night I got my answers. Really, we´ve been trying too hard to do our work, rather than the Lord´s work. We´ve been trying too hard to help them understand all the doctrine and accept to be baptized. We haven´t focued on what the Lord wants and we haven´t let the spirit guide us. I learned really well that the spirit is the key. I´ve always known that, but I think it just hasn´t sunk in these days that that is the only thing we need to change. I watched as President thought carefully before speaking, he thought carefully about what scriptures they need, and he let the spirit work. He let there be silence, and he let the Spirit do it´s work, because he knows that he can´t do it. He knows the only way they are goin to be successful is with the spirit and that´s what we need to do, to create environments and lessons where the spirit can dwell. They need spiritual experiences like the ones we had together tonight. That´s what everyone needs. They need to feel it. And that is what I´m going to work hard to do...to rely and depend on the spirit and to let the spirit work.
I feel re-energized. I feel relief and motivated to work and I feel like I know how to change and what to change so that we can change this area. I am ready to go and I am working towards this grand goal. I want to be a missionary that teaches by the spirit. I want to rely on the spirit. I want to depend on the spirit. I want to be an instrument in God´s hands to teach by the spirit, and bring the spirit into the lessons and the to help others FEEL it. That´s my goal. And I´m going to work to do it. I going to forget about myself, and rely on the Lord.
God is real. He lives. He loves us. He answers prayers. He wants to help us. He wants to guide us. And He wants what is best for us. So if we can let Him guide us, that is when we will be happy. When we can trust in Him, look for what His will is for us, and then go for it. If we come to Him with a willing heart and a desire. If we really look for Him, He will guide us and help us. He will answer our prayers. He is always there for us. Oftentimes we don´t let Him guide us as we think we know what´s best, and because we´re scared. But fear doesn´t come from Him. So let your fear go, let your heart open up to God´s love and His direction. That is when you will find true happiness and joy.
And that Friday was an incredible day. Then Sunday was a rough day. I felt super sick to my stomach...diarrhea and the whole deal, I might have parasites again, but I´m going today to get tests done. But on top of that it was hard working with my companion, she does things in her way and in her time, and its hard to try and know how I can become better and help this area personally, but I have to learn how to do it with my companion. And that´s the challenge which is frustrating at times and especially in this time. But I´m praying for strength and help and I feel your love and prayers.
I´m stoked to be able to learn and grow from Presidente Spjut and Hermana Spjut. They really are powerful and amazing!
Thanks for everything. I love you guys a whole lot!