Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 27, 2013 - "A very good place to start"

Hola!! Como estan? Espero que todo estebien!
So.... where do I even begin. This week was....long.
Every week we have a day when we spend the whole morning, and up until 3 just planning the week. The entire week. And we have to have a plan for every hour of every day. Well, you can imagine, that being new to the area, not knowing faces to the names in the area book, and not being able to tell the difference from one street to the next, I didn't exactly have an idea of where to start. So I decided to start from the very beginning. since "that's a very good place to start".
This week was another very emotional and crazy one. We had a lot of low points, but also a lot of high points. Oh the joys of the roller coaster.
For starters. We have one of our investigators, her name is Justina. I met Justina for the first time my second week here. She is the greatest! And she has the most amazing story. So she and her family came here from Mexico several years ago, but then her son had some problems with addictions, and he and her husband decided to go back to Mexico to get everything sorted out. So fast forward to last year, the missionaries in Mexico found her son and her husband. They were then baptized 6 and 9 months ago. After that, they were praying and praying that somehow missionaries would find Justina and the rest of their family here in Kent. They sent in a referral to the church system, but somewhere along the way the referral was lost and  never made it here. about a month and a half ago, the sister missionaries that were here before me were knocking doors, and they found Lorena (Justina's daughter) at their house. She was very apprehensive at first, and wasn't even going to let them in. But then something told her to listen to them. So she and her mom started taking the lessons.
When I met her, I seriously couldn't figure out why she wasn't already a member! She is incredible! She has so much faith in Jesus Christ, and is so prepared and willing to learn and do whatever it takes to follow Christ. During my first lesson with her we talked about faith and the atonement. Then, before I could even ask, she said that she knew she needed to be baptized. But then she said that she didn't know when she wanted it, because she wants her husband and son to be here, but they have no idea when they'll be able to move back here because it's so expensive. She really opened up and told us everything, she was crying, laughing, and was just so raw and honest. It was a major turning point for me because I could feel of the love that I have for her, but more importantly of Heavenly Father's love for her.Her spirit was so strong, and we expressed that we understood, but that we know the importance of being baptized and taking that step so that she can one day go to the temple with her husband and family.
She said she knew it was true, but that she still was unsure. We told her to pray, and to really ask God what he wanted her to do. Then we invited her to come to church again on Sunday.
That was on a Tuesday. On Thursday we had another meeting with her, we talked about the doctrine of Christ, and the steps that we need to take in this life, we talked about some of the commandments, she's very diligent in her reading, and had a lot of questions about the commandments and the consequences of not living them. She's so smart, and she just gets it! We asked her if she'd thought anymore about her baptism, she said she'd prayed, but she still just wasn't sure. We encouraged her to keep doing all the things she's been doing, and promised her that Heavenly Father would answer her prayers.
She came to church that Sunday, and in Sunday School we watched the Joseph Smith Movie. She was so actively engaged in the movie, and really took it to heart. And in Relief Society and Sacrament, she just is so eager to learn and absorb everything.
Tuesday we went to her house and had a lesson with a family from the branch, the Lopez Family. They were awesome and so inviting. She opened up and just told us all about her feelings about Joseph Smith and the restoration, and how she knows it's all true. Then, she turned to us and said "I'm ready to be baptized, don't I need to have a discussion or an interview or something?" It totally took us off guard. President Lopez turned to us, and repeated what she'd just said. Pretty sure I got a super goofy grin, and we stammered out "oh, yeah, let's uh, set that up." in my head I was just shouting for joy that she'd finally gotten the answer. She is so prepared, so amazing, and I know for a fact that she's taught me WAY more than I've taught her.  
Long story short, she is being baptized THIS Saturday, June 1. We are all so excited, they announced it in church yesterday, and she was just glowing! She's an incredible example to me and is going to be such a great example to all of the rest of her family.
Stories and moments like this help remind me that there really are people out there that are prepared by the Lord to receive this gospel. There are so many that aren't and a lot of times we go whole days without talking to anyone. It's hard to repeatedly have doors slammed in your face, people laugh at you, tell you what you're doing is crazy and a waste of time. It's hard. Especially when you know that they're all God's children and that he loves them. Sometimes agency is a funny thing.
I was reading this morning the talk that President Uchtdorf gave in the Young Women's General Broadcast: "Your Wonderful Journey Home" I loved how he said "Every life is a collection of journey stories". I think about that a lot actually, how every day, even the small and seemingly insignificant moments are all a part of our "journey". Every person that I meet has an impact on my life, and I hope that in some small way, I can impact theirs. He talks about our purpose in this life and how we have the opportunity to have "the good news" He says "Life can be difficult, and it can harden hearts to the point where certain people can seem unreachable. Some may even be filled with anger. Others may mock and ridicule those who believe in a loving God. But consider this: though they do not remember, they too at one time yearned to return to their Father in Heaven." That is what keeps me going. Every day, 9.7 times out of 10, people don't want to listen, many don't even let us finish saying who we are. But I know that they are all children of our Heavenly Father, and that he loves them so perfectly. It breaks my heart to think that they knew it once, and they just can't quite get there now, I'll admit sometimes I catch myself saying "Maybe if I was more pushy" "Maybe if I knew Spanish better", maybe this.... but President Uchtdorf says it perfectly "It is not your responsibility to convert anyone. That is that work of the Holy Ghost. Your task is to share your beliefs and to not be afraid..." That's what I'm doing, every hour of every day, searching for that one person that is prepared and waiting to hear the gospel, from me. I know that even on those hard days, the Lord is by my side. I know because on the days when it's the hardest, there's a voice pushing me "Keep knocking", "Keep walking", "Go talk to that person", "I love you." For some reason, I've been so blessed during my mission with a strength and a desire to go on that I never knew I had before. And I know that it's not me. I'm just the mouthpiece. But I'm so grateful that I have the promise that when I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, when I'm trying and giving all that I have, then, when I've done my part, the Lord makes up for the rest. And he does. Every day I see his hand in my life. I'm so grateful for his faith in me, even with all of my imperfections, he is aware of me, and never lets me forget it.
I love this work, this gospel, my Savior, Jesus Christ, I love the people of Washington, I love that I get to wake up every morning and put on a name tag, with the name of my Savior, and represent him every day. I love all of you, more than words could ever express.
I hope that you're all well, safe, happy, and knowing and feeling of my love and the Lord's love for all of you.
Te Amo Muchisimo!
Your Hermana C

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