First of all, I just want to thank all of you for your fasting, prayers, and all of the notes and thoughts of encouragement.
this week... okay this past month... has been a real trial for me. It´s been hard to feel helpless, at a loss for knowing really who can give me what help I need. It´s been hard not being able to go out and work how I want to, how I want my comp to be able to, and just feeling completely exhausted, sick, and overwhelmed.
But I would be completely ungrateful and blind if I didn´t acknowledge that I´ve seen the hand of the Lord in my life. Guiding me, strengthening me, and putting people in my path to help. He has been so good to me.
Last Monday night, I was feeling really sick, and anxious and scared about having to go to the hospital here... So I asked for a blessing from my zone leader. It was honestly one of the most incredible experiences I´ve ever had. I could feel that the Lord is aware of me, loves me, and will make all of this work out. I really can´t explain how I felt.
During the week though, I hit all new levels of sick... being out here in Urbana I´m kind of isolated, and really until we get results back from the doctors, there´s not much I can do... I thought several times this week ¨At this rate, with how my body´s fighting, I will have fought the whole battle myself before they even get me any results!¨
I kind of had another little moment of doubt and WHY? and kind of feeling a little sorry for myself. But then I had a thought. Well, what are you going to do about it then? The Lord wouldn´t just put me in this position to suffer, or to ¨fizzle out¨.. justo. I opened my English scriptures where I had a sticky note with a quote from Elder Orson F. Whitney:
¨No pain that we suffer, no trail that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all tht we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God... And it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven...¨
I went to the scriptures, and decided on Alma 26. I know there have been several times when I´ve used this chapter.. but again, it changed my life, my perspective, an every time I read it, I receive so much peace in what I´m doing.
He starts out right at the beginning saying ¨How great reason have we to rejoice!¨ Could we have (imagined when we left for our missions) that God woul have granted unto us such great blessings?¨ Then he asks them to name some of the blessings they´ve seen.. but without waiting for the answer, he says basically ¨Well, I´ll tell you!¨
¨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 hit me hard. This really really is the greatest blessing the Lord has ever given me. the chance to have come out here and been a part of His work.
Later on, Ammon tells them, ¨Behold, the number of your sheaves.¨ or rather, look at all the Lord has entrusted you with!
He then starts from the beginning tlaking about all of the trials, mockings, persecutions, failures, hardships. How many times they had reason to stop, go back.
But then he says ¨(We came) with the intent that perhaps we mightsave some few of their souls.¨
¨Now when our hearts were depressed, andwe were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.¨
And he says, we have suffered... ¨all manner of afflictions¨. BUT.
¨Behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you nay, they are many; yea, and we can witnes of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us.¨
In the middle of everything that happened this week, because we were in Mendoza for leadership trainings, pdays, farewells, and everything, I had to glimpse at a lot of the ¨fruits¨from my mission.
*I got news from the Seattle missionaries, that they are now getting a Spanish BRANCH started in the May Valley, where Hermana Cooley and I opened! We were so excited to hear that the seeds are growing, and that our ¨effectual door¨has been opened so that the work can really move forward there!
* I got to be back with all of my comps for several days. All of us (from the MTC) are now leaders together, and it was a blast to hear about everyone´s missions.
* Hermana Flores´comp was sick too, and so she came into the offices, and I got to see her for an hour and catch up.
* I got news from familia Sesma from the hermanas that are there now. They are rock stars, like always. and always send so much love and gratitude.
*Our last night in Mendoza, they had to move us from the offices because they had to repaint, so Hermana Hales and I got to go stay in Dorrego, where I got to go and visit Camila and Sofía. WHO GOT BAPTIZED. it was a last minute surprise for all of us, and their reactions were priceless. I love those girls. and their family has already started seeing so many blessings and miracles for their faithfulness.
They were moments of tender mercies, allowing me to see all of the ways the Lord has blessed me during my time out here on the mission. Seeds become little sprouts, that when nourished with time and the gospel, spring up and become great ¨fruits¨. and they are MANY.
I thought about Ammon´s recounts of the ups and downs, but also how he tells that they experienced the greatest joy they could have ever imagined. Inspite of all of the trials, hardships, and the fact that the mission isn´t always ¨easy¨.
I thought back to President Uchtdorf´s last talk about ¨Being grateful IN your circumstances... whatever they may be.¨ It may not be preferalbe, comfortable, convenient, timely, fun... you get it... But even in the most seemingly unfair and hopeless of circumstances, I´ve realized taht there is always something to be learned, and that if you look for and focus on it, there is SO very much to be grateful for.
I´m grateful for all of you!! I´ve always been so blown away at the great support system that I am so blessed to have. I really do feel so very blessed and loved!
Con Muchísimo Amor,
xoxox Your Hermana C