Friday, March 21, 2014

March 10, 2014 - I Will Not Shrink!

well, first, i have now tried 3 different keyboards in  the cyber, but they are all struggling, so i apologize ahead of time for the typos. 

So I have to say, I¨m sorry if  my last few letters have  been scattered, or not made sense.... such is my brain these days...
These past two weeks we have hit a whole new level in the work! I am SUPER grateful for my compañera. We both came out of less-than-satisfying transfers, and decided to pound the pavement!  This past week, we saw so many miracles, and our numbers, although not normally a focus, finally started to reflect the hard work we´d been putting in. The district and zone leaders noticed a huge change, and also we had correlation with Alan, the Ward mission leader, and after talking about all of our Super start progressing investigators, he said ¨Hermanas, these resultados are much better than before. What´s making the difference?¨ The answer is Obedience, TEAMWORK, LOVE, communication, and balance. We have FUN, and we get work DONE. I am SO happy. I love this work.
*This week numbers went up. but not just numbers. PEOPLE.prepared people. 
*we started our English class this week
*Elder Ballard came and did a seminar for the leadership in the missions of South America, and they changed the daily horario for proselyting. now instead of finishing all of our studies in the morning and not leaving until 11:30 or after lunch, we go out at 9:30  am! 
It´s a huge change, but man we have already seen the miracles. Friday alone we had 3 unexpected lessons BEFORE lunch!! (before there were some WEEKS where that was all we had!) 
*There has been a whole new focus on unity in the mission. we had consejo last week, and Presdiente Ávila asked ME to give a training on ¨improving  elder-hermana relations¨. focused on verification, teamwork, respect, love, and unity.  even to include a role-play with a mustache :) but it actually went surprisingly well, and we´re still working to make strides in that department. 
* as i´ve mentioned before, I honestly have not been this tired on my whole mission up to this point. But the phrase ¨With ALL your heart, might, mind, and strength¨has taken on a very literal meaning for me. 

*Elsy got baptized on Saturday!!! After one of THE  most hectic weeks, and a 30-minutes-before-the-baptism meltdown. But thanks to scriptures, lots of prayers, and an amazing bishop. She overcame her fears and went through with it, and the results have been so worth it! She came out of the font crying and thanking everyone for how ´beautiful´she felt.
Her confirmation on Sunday....amazing. She was so overcome with emotions. She stood up and just thanked everyone. Then she came and sat next to me and just hugged me, sobbing. after a few minutes, she pulled back, concerned-looking. ¨Why do I feel like this? It´s the most beautiful feeling, but why do I feel so strongly the need to cry?¨ I just smiled ¨THAT¨S the spirit!¨ I told her. Her eyes got big ¨That´s what that is? Give me a pen, I need to write down how I´m feeling before it goes away!¨ She couldn´t keep the tears in all through the rest of sacrament meeting, she just kept saying ¨thankyou, thank you!¨ 
*Claudia and Silena are INCREDIBLE! every time we have lessons with them I just leave walking on a cloud! Silena is telling EVERYONE about her baptism on the 22, and she is so excited that it´s the same night as the Young Women´s night of excellence. ¨Best Day EVER!¨ The gospel has already working miracles in their family! 
*We had several days this week where we stumbled upon the most prepared people. The Lord has an 
amazing way of showing you the power of HIS plan, and HIS timing when we do what we can with our plans, the time he has given us, and then when that falls through, putting our trust in him, and working diligently regardless. 

This past week I¨ve been thinking a lot about all of you. It´s always hard in a chaotic cyber to really take in everything I¨m reading. Last week, I got a glimpse at all that was happening with Davis,  but it wasn´t until later,as i was re-reading your letters that the reality and the magnitude really hit me. 
I prayed. A LOT. for Davis. for each of you. for our family. 
Then I found a talk by Elder Bednar. ¨That we  might ´not...shrink´. (D&C 19:18). 
He tells about the story of Elder Maxwell, his battle with cancer, and then also recounts the story of a young couple whose lives were impacted drastically by the finding of cancer just weeks after their wedding. 
The main focus of his message was that in the midst of trials, tribulations, and the hardships of life that are often not understood by us alone, ¨We too can plead with the Father, just as Jesus did, that we ´might not...shrink¨--meaning to retreat or recoil.¨ Christ himself  pleaded that if it were possible, the burden might be lifted from him...but if not, that he was willing to submit to the will of the Father. He emphasizes the importance of this concept:   ¨Not shrinking is much more important than surviving!¨ Our purpose is not merely just to survive, it´s about learning, living, and becoming. Facing with hope, faith, and grace the things the Father asks of us.
Elder Bednar said ¨I do not know why some people learn the lessons of eternity through trial and suffering-while others learn similar lessons through rescue and healing. I do not know all of the reasons, all of the purposes, and I do not know everything about the Lord´s timing.With Nephi,you and I can say that ¨we do not know the meaning of all things.¨¨

yesterday in Sunday school we had a lesson about D&C and the teacher asked me if there had been a specific section that has really impacted my life. there were several that came to mind, but I thought of section 100. words of comfort, reassurance, and promises of success to Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon as they were called to leavetheir families in a moment of trial to go and serve missions. In the beginning stages of my mission, when things were looking rough at home, and I wonderedif it was fair for me to leave my family in such an ¨inconvenient¨moment, this section brought me a lot of comfort. And still now (almost a YEAR later) I find that those words still ring true. 
I know that the Lord is aware of our struggles, trials, and that while I¨m out here, you are all in his capable hands. I know that because I¨ve seen that although trials may continue,he has (in Davis´words) ¨Made the burden lighter¨and brought an unexplainable peace. I¨ve watched as my baby brother (who was once of few words) has, through his trials and hardships, become a strong, determined, faithful MAN who expresses so eloquently of the trust he has inthe Lord and HIS plan. Who despite all odds looks forward with unshakable faith and a powerful and inspiring testimony. Who keeps dreaming big, and with great willpower makes the most of every day.Always choosing to live true to his motto of ¨living life to the fullest¨.  Who in every way refuses to ¨shrink¨. 
I¨m amazed at the depth of his character. The calm he´s  maintained  in the most chaotic of moments. And the way he so fully gives his will and trust to the Lord.

I know his ¨mission¨started 4years ago. A mission that has helped to build and strengthen him personally, but also a journey that has had the purpose of touching hearts, strengthening faith, and bringing hope to those around him. 
Especially  me. In his last letter, he said ¨The last thing I want is for you to be distracted worrying about me.¨ Well, he is my baby brother... But then he said ¨My goal is to keep a positive attitude attitude and not worry about things I can´t control.¨ There I was  back in that  moment of briefly feeling useless. So far away, and wishing that there was more I could be doing.
But then, just as Davis told me he hoped would happen, that peaceful ¨Everything´s going to be okay.¨ Feeling came over me. 
I knew when I left that it was going to be one of the hardest things I would have to do. I knew there would be trials, that there wasn´t really an ¨expectation¨of what could happen. But I felt that promise peace from the Lord, and up until this point, He´s been good to His word.. 
Seeing the trust Davis has, the strength that you (my parents) have, and the way you are all working together and putting wholeheartedly your faith in the Lord, has helped me time and time again to see that I have nothing to fear. I know why I¨m here. I know you know why I¨m here. I¨m working hard to make the most of my time our here away from all of you. I know that the Lord is aware of us. He knows us. What we need. I know that even in those times when we don´t understand the ¨why¨ or the ¨how¨ behind the things that have, are, and will happen, we can hold fast to the promise that the Savior knows. and that He will provide the way for us to move forward. With faith. Helping us to feel that we know what we need to know. Are learning what we need to learn. And ultimately becoming what He needs us to become. 


I love you all. 
xoxox Your Hermana C

*Happy Baptism Elsy!! 

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