Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 9, 2013 - "Do you know how much I love you?"

This week was extremely abnormal as far as the work goes. We had transfers on Tuesday, and so there was a lot of traveling, a lot of changes. We had to do some moving with the pench so Monday night we didn´t sleep. Tuesday morning break of dawn we said goodbye to Hermana Lybbert. One of the new hermanas coming in missed her bus at the opposite end of the mission, so she arrived at midnight. There were lots of changes in the zone, and we received 4 new hermanas. lots of pench changes, and lots of missed sleep. The leaders in the mission also had their consejo in mendoza, so the Zone Leaders had to travel there. I got a phone call mid-day, panicked elders ¨we need your help!!!¨ I had to do a lot of ¨hoop jumping¨to figure out bus schedules, ways to get suitcases to 3 different pensions, 4 hermanas arriving at 3 different times, try to keep appointments, and coordinate with members to drive people where they needed to be. All on minimum sleep and in an area that was NOT my own.
It was INSANE. But the new hermanas all made it safely, snug in their pensiones. AND through it all, I learned to have a whole new level of respect for the leaders. It´s amazing to me how they keep track of all of the missionaries and know us all so personally. I´m grateful for the organization of this church!!!!

More than anything this week, I´m at a loss for words with the emotions I have about things that have happened. 
We had Stake Conference this week, and it was INCREDIBLE! 
There was a huge focus on Missionary Work, and the importance of the members. 
As a zone we prepared a musical number ¨A donde me mandes iré!¨ (I´ll go where you want me to go). I got chosen to sing... because apparently people from Utah know a lot about music..... did you all know that? Because I´d never heard of that requirement....
We watched the video from the Worldwide Leadership Training. The one that shows all of the kids in their lifelong ¨preparation¨for their missions.
This might sound funny, but I had this ¨AHA moment¨... sitting there watching the video, I saw myself. The things I did in my life before to get me to this point. And then I had this moment. I AM A MISSIONARY. I mean, I know it. I do it everyday. But it brought tears to my eyes to realize that I am now that ¨symbol¨ that was something so far away when I was a kid. This is MY time to be the Lord´s servant. 
Several times throughout this week, a voice came into my head and my heart: ¨Courtney, do you know how much I love you?¨

Mauricio, Viviana, and their kids are without a doubt THE world´s most incredible investigators. They are FLOURISHING in every sense of the word. They´re stoked beyond words for their baptism THIS Saturday, and they´re already inviting others to learn more about the church.
The entire family came to both sessions of Stake Conference. And they got to meet, and talk for quite a while with Presidente Ávila!!!
*Viviana´s mom (who was skeptical and thought all churches are the same) Happily announced ¨They´re not all the same! This church is something incredible!¨She loves the order in the church, the focus on the family, and the ¨feelings¨she has with the members! 
*Viviana is like actively involved in Relief Society functions. She rocks!
*all 3 of the kids have parts in the Christmas program this Friday, and are loving singing songs about Christ.
*Mauricio told us that he wants to ¨re-do¨his marriage ¨right¨with Viviana, and that they´re excited to do it ¨the way the church does it¨. We hadn´t even taught about temples yet!
*We went to review the Restoration yesterday, because the kids weren´t there for the whole lesson the first time. But because they´ve been ¨challenging¨each other to read in the Book of Mormon, we decided to ask them what they already knew.
Lourdes, who is NINE years old, recounted the ENTIRE Joseph Smith story, and the coming about of the Book of Mormon.
Felipe told us how much he LOVES the story of Nephi and what a great example he is!
*5 young men with mission calls in the stake bore their testimonies on Sunday, and Felipe sat up straight as can be. When we went to their house that night, he tapped my arm and asked ¨How old do I have to be to serve a mission?¨ ¨21!¨Viviana shouted. ¨No, 18!¨I told him. He got a smile on his face. ¨Bien.¨¨Why?¨ I asked. ¨Because I´M going to be a missionary!!!!¨ He said with a whole lot of conviction!
*We´ve had countless ¨noche de hogar¨, incredible lessons, and in between moments of just laughing, crying, and sharing. They´re the epitome of sincerity, and it makes my heart want to explode to think of how happy their Heavenly Father is that they´ve found this gospel.
Several times throughout this week, a voice came into my head and my heart: ¨Courtney, do you know how much I love you?¨
I´ve thought a lot about the intense impact of a knowledge of being loved. 
Mauricio and his family said to us yesterday ¨We want you to know how special you are to us and how much we love you. You´ve changed our lives, and although we know other missionaries will come and go, I said to Presdiente Ávila, ´there will never be others like OURS´. We want to share the days of our baptism with you, and we hope you can be there when we ´get married´. (it´s still a new concept). 
I thought of Elder Ballard´s talk from conference: ¨They will remember your love.¨
Love is one of the strongest powers I know. It breaks down barriers, closes gaps, softens hardened hearts, transcends differences, and changes lives. 
This week was very emotional for me as I thought of all of the manifestations of love in my life: 
*Plan of Salvation lesson with Flia. Sesma. Talking about our relationship before this life, that we promised to come find them. Promising them their beautiful family can be together forever. Crying with them as we talked of loved-ones lost, and the hope of a brighter future and a promise of togetherness.
*Looking down the row at this beautiful family, in their Sunday best, faces intently listening to speakers and testimonies. Their journey is just beginning.
*singing Christmas carols at family night with familia Sesma and another family from the ward.
*opening a letter from my family with a ¨BIG GROUP HUG¨ inside, just when I needed it. 

Each time the words in my head ¨Do you know how much I love you?¨

I thought of the story of Peter. The Savior asked him 3 times. ¨Peter, do you love me?¨Each time he answered yes, growing more and more earnest that the Lord understand ¨YES. You know I love you!¨
The Lord answers then, with a simple request: ¨Feed my sheep.¨It´s a call to action. The Lord knew, that in his way, yes, Peter loved him. But he needed him to do something about it. 
What do we do to show our love? It´s not enough ever to just assume they know.

1 John 4:7-9
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for GOD IS LOVE.
 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
We love Him, because He loved us first. 
Sometimes in this very shallow-minded way of thinking, I think that by serving a mission i´m somehow giving something back to the Lord. But the reality is this, every day that I spend on my mission, I am more and more indebted to him. The time that I have to be here, doing this, my small part in this great work, the opportunities he gives me each day, the miracles I see, and the manifestations of his love in my life and in the lives of those around me. His love is something I know I´ll never fully comprehend, but something I know I cannot live without.
Family: Do you KNOW how much I LOVE YOU???
xoxox Your Hermana C

No comments:

Post a Comment