Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 2, 2013 - Pinch Me Please!

You know how sometimes you hear of missionary stories...like in the Ensign or in conference or something...and you think ¨Yeah, right. That´s unreal.¨ Well, okay so maybe just me, because admittedly, 
I´ve had a lot of those moments, and as missionaries we definitely all want moments like that. That ¨magical house at the end of the street¨story, that ¨golden family¨. Well, I´ve learned that sometimes in the mission you have to look hard for those silver linings, but then other times they come smack you right in the face, and even then it´s still hard to believe it. 

This week was full of miracles of that sort, great and small. 
The lady with the little kids that were the key to getting in the door. The first time we visited her she was pretty open, and invited us back. We called her last week, and she was more than pleasant about setting up an appointment. So we showed up, and she had made sure that all of her kids were occupied, so that she could give us her undivided attention. At first, we talked, got to know her a little more. She told us more about her sister who was a member, and how 20 years ago she´d gone several times to primary and loved it. But then she told us, ¨I´ll say what i´ve told the other missionaries, I´m Catholic, and really don´t think you´re going to change that.¨
But then, we started the lesson, we sang ¨Families Can Be Together Forever¨, she got a little emotional. We taught her the Plan of Salvation, in the beginning, she kind of had that ¨Yeah, I know this....¨attitude. But then we talked about the kingdoms of glory and the hope we have after this life and testified of Christ´s sacrifice. She softened right up, and said she wants to keep learning, but that she doesn´t know how because her kids won´t understand. Then I asked her ¨Your son is 11 right? The same age that you were when you visited church. He might not únderstand´everything, but he can FEEL that difference just like you did, and with time, they´ll understand.¨ She said she really liked that idea.
We asked her to pray at the end, and at first she hesitated, but then said that she thought she remembered from Primary. She did! In her prayer she said ¨Father, I´m going to open my door and my heart so that these hermanas can show me your will for my family.¨ She made me cry.
After, she told us that as soon as her baby grows up a little bit (the 9 day old baby). She wants to bring her entire family to church!!!

Solid GOLD!
We had a lesson with them to see how their experience was at church, they LOVED it. We had a lesson with just Viviana and Mauricio on Wednesday, and taught the doctrine of Christ. They said ¨We´ve been talking a lot and we´d really like to ¨renew¨our baptisms as a family.....¨ um OK. So we invited them to be baptized on December 14. They happily agreed!
We went back the next day to take them the Children´s Libro de Mormón, and a copy in English for Viviana. They had already talked to their kids about everything, and told them that they are going to be baptized as a family on the 14. We explained a little bit about that to the kids. They were stoked to read the Book of Mormon as a family. They´ve been praying and reading out loud every night!
Saturday we went by and taught The Doctrine of Christ again, with emphasis on the Holy Ghost.
Oh, story... so in school, catholic school, they explained that the Holy Ghost was in the form of a ¨palomita¨ a pigeon/dove.... There are pigeons and doves EVERYWHERE here. So everytime Lourdes sees one she thinks it´s ¨Espíritu Santo´! hahaha super cute.
But I used the object lesson that I used for Emmi´s baptism, the one with the blanket, flashlight, compass, whistle, ruler. To explain the different roles of the Holy Ghost. The kids loved it, and Viviana and Mauricio, too!
They are already planning for their baptism, and the kids told us they want to be missionaries like us! AH!
Sunday. THE WHOLE FAMILY came to church with us. The ward was stoked, and the whole entire attitude of everyone was so different. They all were anxious to welcome them all,  and everyone´s classes went great! 
As I was sitting in fast and testimony meeting, I had one of those ¨Out-of-body-observer¨experiences. I sat there looking around at all of the members, carefully watching our beautiful family of already-feel-and-act-like-members investigators. Listening to them sing along even though they don´t know all the words, carefully listen as testimonies were born. Nodding as they absorbed all of the new information. My heart wanted to explode!
It was one of those ¨This cannot be real¨moments. The moment in missionary work when all of the ¨bad days¨seem so worth it!
We´ve worked so hard these past few months to really gain the trust of the members. It´s hard when the missionaries before you do things to really dash their confidence. But we have seen the changes, and the hand-in-hand work with this ward is incredible right now! We´re receiving references, they are eager to come with us to lessons, our lunch calendar is full, and 3 families already invited Viviana and her family to a noche de hogar. THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED! 
The Familia Sesma is going to be a much-needed and MARAVILLOSA addition to the ward family. Everyone´s ¨eye of faith¨has been opened, and I know that this is just the beginning!!

We received transfer calls yesterday, and Hermana Lybbert is leaving to an area close to Mendoza. It´s going to be really hard to say goodbye. We´ve been through lots, and she has become a dear friend and more of a literal sister than a companion. But change is good, and we´re banking on being companions later on :)
Hermana Flores and I will stay in San Juan for at least one more transfer. Training her is FUN, and I swear some days I´m learning just as much as she is, if not more. 

My heart is full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the time that he´s given me to serve a mission here with the beautiful people. This work isn´t easy. In fact most days it kind of seems downright impossible. But the Lord has his hand in every detail, and his timing is perfect. There are prepared people out there. There are those families that you meet one week, and a week and a half later they´ve been to church twice, want callings, and are planning baptism, missions and temple trips all in one swoop. MIRACLES exist. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. THIS is his church. And HE LOVES EACH OF US SO MUCH!

I love you all.
Cuídense mucho!
xoxo Your Hermana C

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