Tuesday, May 20, 2014

April 21, 2014 - GRACIAS A ÉL.

This week has been another one just jam-packed with opportunities to learn, work, teach, serve, and gain a greater appreciation for and trust in the Lord.
I think because of our new resolve to really purify ourselves, better our work, and promising to give ourselves completely to Him and His work, we opened up a whole new door for Him to test, try, and really prove us.
This week has been full of ¨proving your faith by fire¨moments. Our patience and determination were tested by countless hours of tracting during ¨semana santa¨(holy week), trials and crazy setbacks with different events, huge hurdles and disappointments with several of our most promising investigadores. Every we turned it just seemed like there was SOMETHING.
But with that, as we prayed more fervently than ever for the guidance and strength to keep working, we weren´t disappointed by the miracles. 
*Ivana y Mauricio. After several head-splitting medical reviews, waiting in lines for documents, and trying to work around work schedules. They ARE getting married this Friday morning. As of right now his baptism is scheduled for right after.
*We found an incredible new family. Familia Sanchez. Jesica y Ariel. we came around the corner and I saw him get off his motorcycle, scoop her and their son into a big hug, and knew that I had to talk to them. I had barely opened my mouth to explain who we were when he said ¨I´m just leaving....But can you come back tomorrow? We´d love to listen to your message.¨
We went back the next day, and he had to go to take a test, but we had a lesson with Jesica and their son, Joaquín (who is apparently my newest adopted nephew).We were all dying throughout the lesson as Joaquín right from the start wouldn´t stop shouting at me ¨Tía! Tía!¨(auntie) I spent half of the lesson on the floor building and destroying jenga towers with stuffed animals to keep him quiet and allow his mom to focus. The spirit was incredible, she is so prepared and has been SEARCHING for the guidance and love of the Lord. They are fantastic, and we´re excited to go back again!!  
*Sofía and Camila proudly announced that they had been praying a lot and really want to get baptized! (before we´d even taught them about it!) We are working with their parents more on that to get them permission! 
*Church on Sunday was amazing. We had 4 recent converts that haven´t been to church in forever that showed up. And two menos activos that haven´t come in years. It was a great recompense from our week of focusing on them and visiting them! 

Several times throughout the week, the thought of President Uchtdorf´s talk from this last conference came to my mind. The whole idea of being grateful IN your circumstances, the concept of keeping a disposition of gratitude. 
¨It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach? 
Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I´m suggesting instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances--whatever they may be.¨
Then he goes on to share the story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, when he wrote in D&C 123:17
¨Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still; with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.¨
I´ve thought a lot about that throughout my mission. The importance of doing all that I can, but then knowing that people still have their agency to choose whether or not they will accept the message. It´s beautiful, but also as I´ve often said before. IT¨S SO TRICKY! 
But there´s so much to be said about having an attitude of gratitude in EVERY circumstance, every day, and for EVERY thing that the Lord has given us. 
Pres. Uchtdorf said ¨How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?¨
That stuck in my head, and I used it several times throughout the week to remind me to take time to notice the ¨tender mercies¨and small miracles that the Lord plants all along the way. 
¨Being grateful in times of distress does NOT mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It DOES mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.¨
He talks about how ¨It must have been this kind of testimony that transformed the Savior´s apostles from fearful, doubting men into fearless, joyful emissaries of the Master.¨
I thought about how important it is to let that unwavering faith, that solid testimony, and that hope that comes through the knowledge we have, carry us through EVERYTHING. The good times and the bad.
It made me think about the goal I made to be more focused on developing the attributes of Christ. The best way to do that is to study His life.... come to KNOW him on a more personal level.... and then, doing everything in our power to show our gratitude for all that he has given us.
¨Gratitude is the catalyst to all Christlike attributes.¨
Justo, we were online on mormon.org last week looking for ideas for ways to find new people to teach, and we ran across the video the church did for Easter. ¨Gracias a Él¨.... i think in English it´s ¨Because of Him¨? 
I know that Easter was yesterday, but if any of you haven´t seen that video.... go look it up. It honestly hit me so hard, and changed my entire attitude about this week.
In the video it talks about the magnitude of Christ´s life. The many miraculous acts that he performed. 
He lived. He died. But there was a difference. He was resurrected. He lived again. HE LIVES. and because He lives, each and every one of us will live again. BECAUSE OF HIM. GRACIAS A ÉL. 

I love Easter and the opportunity it gives us to really reflect on Christ´s life. Who he is for each of us. And to figure out how we can better align our will with His and change our hearts and our minds to be better disciples, servants, and followers of HIM. 

Because of Him I have the opportunity to be here as a missionary. Because of Him I can teach and testify with power that there is hope in a world that seems lost and dark. Because of Him I know that no pain, trial, struggle or hardship will be more than I can bear. Because of Him I know that this life has purpose, that death is not the end, and that there is so much that awaits us if we live faithfully. Because of Him I know that our family is forever, eternal. Because of Him I can start over each day with a new resolve to be a little better, work a little harder, serve a little more selflessly, dream a little bigger, and love a little more completely. Because of Him I can bear testimony of God´s love for us. I can promise blessings. and I can sing with conviction the words ¨I KNOW that my Redeemer lives!¨. 
I know that Christ is my Savior. That he guides this work. That he lived, died, and was resurrected to provide the way, the ONLY way, for each of us to do the same. To overcome the things of this world, to strengthen our hope of a better world to come, and to lead us to that straight and narrow path that will lead us back to our Heavenly home. Through Him, and His infinite love, hope is not lost, life is beautiful, and nothing is impossible.


I love you all so much. 
xoxoxo Your Hermana C

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