Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014 - ¨Have we not great reason to rejoice?¨‏

This week has been one of those ¨How did we even survive that?¨weeks. I´m at a loss for words as to where to start! 
The days and weeks are seeming to fly as we keep ourselves more than occupied with lessons, leadership meetings, planning exchanges with the other hermanas, coping with the unexpected, and all the while counting miracles, and finding the joy along the way. 

Jorge was baptized this week! 
When I got here, Hermana Lawrence told me that he had stopped progressing because of some trials that had happened. I looked at his record and saw that he has 8 asistencias! 8! and he hadn´t been baptized. So I told her I wanted to go visit him. We had an awesome lesson, and he told us that he´d missed the feelings he´d had at the church. We invited him to prepare to be baptized on the 25. fast forward, and we couldn´t see him because he was always working or with his son in the hospital. But last Monday we prayed, and we really just felt like he needed to be baptized. We set up an appointment for Wednesday (the 22). I looked at his teaching record and realized they hadn´t taught him the word of wisdom, the law of chastity, or tithing. basically ALL of the big commandments. But, we still felt strongly that this baptism was a possibility. We went, and reminded him of his fecha...coming fast. We started with the interview questions, and he just expressed his great desire to be baptized. Wednesday we taught Word of Wisdom. I read him the scripture in D&C where it talks about ¨Run and not be weary, walk and not faint.¨ He loved it, and He told us he would willingly give up beer and wine if it meant he could be baptized. Law of chastity, ¨easy¨. 
That night we called the District Leader, and told him to plan time for an interview for Friday night.
We thought it would be fun to bring something to help him with giving up wine. So we bought a big jug of grapefruit juice, and wrote ¨For Jorge, So that you can ¨run and not be weary, and walk and not faint¨! We love you! Love the Hermanitas¨. 
Thursday, we taught him tithing, and sabbath day. He was ready. 
Friday, he had his interview and it went awesome! 
Saturday, He was BAPTIZED!!!!!!! 
Sunday, Came to church in his new shirt and tie, and was confirmed. The change in him was so noticeable, and he got up and thanked everyone and told everyone how ¨proud¨he was to be a part of this ¨family¨. 
In Sunday school, he told us about his ¨trial of faith¨that had happened right after his baptism. All of his friends showed up to have their regular Saturday night beer. He told them he wasn´t going to drink beer anymore. They started to laugh, but he told them he had something to share with them. He went inside (meanwhile, an hermana from the ward that always goes with us to lessons shows up and sees what´s going on) ...But then out walks Jorge. Proudly holding the bottle of juice with the scripture that ¨His hermanitas¨ had given him. They all shared a shot of grapefruit juice in honor of Jorge and his ¨New life¨. 

It was one of those days when my cheeks hurt from smiling, and I just couldn´t stop shaking my head. Sacrament meeting was the ultimate. We had 4 unexpected investigators come, and 3 menos activo families that have been ¨unsure¨for a long time now. M-m-m-m-m-m-MIRACLES!

I was reading in Alma 26 again, always one of my favorites.
¨And now I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? ...... Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren (the Argentines), were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.¨

that basically sums up the feelings I´ve had this week as we´ve fun from place to place. HOW GREAT IS BEING A MISSIONARY!

Of course Ammon, always a realist, and great about accurately expressing the highs and lows of missionary work. It honestly helps me to feel not quite as crazy about the extremes of emotions that I sometimes feel day to day...okay, hour to hour. 

He says: ¨And now, behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yeah, we have traveled from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world-- not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.¨

This week has been full of privations. As we´ve made a conscious effort to ¨purify our hearts¨, to be just that much more obedient, that much more diligent, and sacrifice. On top of that, severe cold, severe heat, food poisoning from some less-than-cooked chicken, sleeping on the floor of the church with 102 degree fever while we prepared for a baptism. 

¨And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills.... and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon (literally happened), and smote upon our cheeks....and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.

¨Therefore, let us glory, yeah, we will glory in the Lord; yeah, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? .... Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.¨
Like Ammon, this week was one of ¨recompensas¨for me. More than anything, yesterday I was overwhelmed with this sense of gratitude. I´m grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. For answers to desperate prayers. For the strength he gives us to keep going when we have every physical reason to quit. For the peace and the feelings of ¨Don´t you know how much I love you?¨. But more than anything, I´m grateful that the Lord trusts me enough to put me into places, and lives where he can use me to bless them for good. 
Sometimes (like this week) I wonder why he trusts me to handle so much. Like trusting me with his children, other hermana missionaries, and with the responsibility to train and teach in consejo in front of ALL the leadership in the mission. But honestly in those moments of insanity and wondering ¨How can I do this??¨I realize, I. alone. don´t have to. If we calm down. Sometimes easier said than done. And trust in Him. He has this way of giving us capacities and strengths we didn´t even know we had. 

¨Therefore, I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in His strength I can do all things.¨ 

My joy has been so full these last few days as I´ve thought back on all that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of here, and throughout my mission. There is nothing like being part of this great work. 

¨Now have we not great reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men (hermanas) that had so great reason to rejoice as we.¨

xoxox Your Hermana C

 *you know you´re in Argentina when Walmart has an ENTIRE isle just para mayonesas.
*Jorge´s baptism! 

*nutella and peanut butter. my true loves.

*gluten free alfajores. real ones.

*Hollywood boulevard??

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