Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014 - Purify Your Heart. The 40 Day Fast.

Hola Queridos Míos!! Hello from Hot and Sunny (yes, it´s just hot all over Argentina) Dorrego!! 

Leaving San Juan had a lot of emotions. I was beginning to feel like a permanent part of that Zone, and as you know, I´m too adventurous and love change too much, so I was ready, just not the part about packing suitcases.. Yes, mom the hardest was definitely that I had to say goodbye to Familia Sesma..... via telefono! Yeah, that was sad. But at the same time, they informed me that they have already made plans for our ¨international adventures¨ after the mission. I have no doubt they´ll be a part of my life forever! 

I´m loving things here in Dorrego. It´s super different than my last area, lots more city, and no more San Juan accent ;) But my comp is great(we´ve basically lived the same lives, so that helps a lot)  and we´ve already seen some huge MILAGROS. 
There is a very common theme in this area with a lot of our investigators. Hard drugs. The majority of our investigators are battling with some crazy addictions, and things that really run their lives. But i´ve also seen their desires to come unto Christ, to follow him, and to change. It´s not easy, and will be a process, but a strong desire is a really helpful start. It helps that there are several ward members who have also overcome very similar things, and so the strength of the ¨been there done that¨ testimony helps a lot! 
This past week we had a huge miracle! Roxana y Nicolas. They´re this amazing couple, friends of the bishop, and have been meeting with the missionaries for a long time. They´re not married, and that has been the main hurdle.
Within the first 3 minutes of meeting them, I already loved them SO much. And honestly we were laughing and talking like old friends. The first thing Roxana said to me was ¨Hermanita, there have been a lot of missionaries that have come and gone, hoping to see us get married, but it just hasn´t happened.¨ We had an incredible lesson with them about the doctrine of Christ. The spirit was super strong. And Roxana told us that she knew she needed to be baptized. We set a fecha and she told us that she wanted to start setting goals to quit smoking, too. It´s a process, but she said ¨I know without a doubt that this is what I want.¨ So we started setting goals, and she got so excited. Then I turned to Nicolas, ¨Well, we know what Roxana is willing to do to make this happen. Nicolas, qué está dispuesto hacer?¨ he looked right back at us and as if it hadn´t ever been an issue, he said ¨We´re going to get married.¨ The look on Roxana´s face was pure joy!! We started talking about plans, and the ¨technicalities¨, and he said he would go to sacar un turno, start the paperwork, Monday, today! As we finished the lesson, the spirit was tangible, and it was so easy to promise them great blessings that are going to come along. It´s amazing how willing God is to bless us when we do what he asks of us! 

I went to a meeting the week before transfers, and talked to a few of the girls that had visa waited with me in Seattle. One of the first things Hermana Enos said to me was ¨Do you ever miss Seattle?¨ without even thinking, I said ¨Yes, all the time!also Hna. Cooley wrote me and talked about how much she loves this mission, but how there are sometimes things that she misses. ¨

This work is all about sacrifice. I was thinking this morning about how as missionaries we are constantly asking others to ¨give up their vices¨, to literally surrender all that is holding them back, to give their whole selves to Christ. Cocaine, wine, cigarillos, to get married.  And then I thought, ¨What am I willing to give up?¨

Hermana Lawrence visa waited in California, but when we had our first ¨goal setting and comp inventory¨, we both expressed a lot of the same feelings about what we want to gain in our missions, this transfer, the next, and the few, yes few, months that we have left to give this thing our all. We set those goals, even higher, and then we decided that no matter what we were going to work hard to achieve them!

After all of the miracles we´ve seen this week, and thinking back to the ¨stand out¨ times that I´ve seen throughout my mission, I realized how much I want to be THAT type of missionary....ALL THE TIME! There´s a fine line between being a good missionary and an excellent one. One who returns home with honor, and one who returns home with glory. 

Justo, we read a talk from a stake president, talking about the way that we as missionaries, and really all of us, have to purify ourselves to have that spirit always with us. He talked of how often times in the whole idea of obedience, we sometimes justify ¨Well, it´s not THAT bad..¨Well, the fact of the matter is, we can´t afford to just be ¨not bad¨, we have to be good, great even. Back to that ¨Do you ever miss the Washington Mission?¨thing. Something that was, and quite literally, drilled into us was the importance of obedience, and I realized that a lot of the power that we had came from doing the ¨small and simple¨things. It wasn´t because ¨we had to¨, or because someone was watching over our shoulders all the time. We did it because we knew why we were there, and because we loved the Lord. In this talk, He talked to the missionaries about a really thought-provoking proposal. Starting with a fast, and a humble and sincere prayer, Making a list of those ¨Less than obedient¨habits, and fasting from them for 40 days. He told of the experience he had had with his companion, and of the way their whole lives, perspectives, and success in the mission changed when they surrendered and sacrificed. They were filled with more love, more patience, more hope. They were transformed into instruments of the Lord, teaching, loving, finding, and bringing souls back to Christ with true power and authority.  

This morning I was studying the Atonement. Every time I read the descriptions of those last few days and moments of our Savior´s life, it´s impossible not to cry. He gave everything. He loved perfectly, gave freely, served selflessly, and endured endlessly. Until the very end he was loyal, courageous, faithful, submissive, and OBEDIENT to the will of His Father. He had that ¨eternal perspective¨, that faith and understanding that he had a greater purpose than to do things half-hearted, settle for less, or give up before he had accomplished what was asked of him. 
The Lord´s work is all about sacrifice. Christ is a perfect example to all as to the things we have to do throughout our lives. The invitation is to ¨Become LIKE Him.¨, to ¨Follow Him¨, and to one day ¨Return and Live with Him and The Father¨. We show our desires, our commitment, and our willingness to put those invitations to the test and set his plan in action when we put aside ourselves, and seek to align our lives with His will. 
It´s not always easy, ¨no one ever said it would be.¨ It wasn´t easy for him, and so naturally for us it will be just that much harder. But we´re not in this alone. And with Him, ¨All things are possible.¨

I love you all so much, 
Esta semana que viene. 
xoxox Your Hermana C

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