Hola queridos míos!!
First of all. I have to tell you what happened with this whole ¨Bryan´s mission call thing¨. So when mom told me that he had turned in his papers, and was waiting anxiously due to what his patriarchal blessing said... we left cyber in deep thought, and my response to Hermana Hales and what I wrote in my journal was:
¨Welp... I wonder what my parents are going to think when he gets his call to Argentina...¨
My entire district was blown away with the news... but a little humored at the accuracy.
HOWEVER. with that being said. BRY. I am So thrilled for you! Although I seriously do not feel like you are old enough to be joining me out here in the mission field. But I know that the Lord has special plans for your mission, and I´m excited that I will get back a few months before you leave so that I can fill you in on all things Argentina. AND we get to speak Castellano together, CHE!
These last few weeks have without a doubt been some of the longest and most emotional that I can remember.
With all of the ups and downs, I was sure that I was ready to get answers, get results, and that everything was going to be fine.
Sunday was rough. Monday and Mom´s ¨Tough question¨ got me thinking a lot. And all of that came together as I went on Tuesday to meet the Goates for the first time and within the first 5 minutes of talking, President Goates, ¨being real¨ with me, asked ¨I know that you are suffering. And it worries me that we might not be able to get you the help you need here in Argentina. Do you feel that you need to go home right now?¨
No missionary ever wants to be asked that question, and I´m no exception.
I asked him to wait until we got results, could talk over all of the options, and then, I would be realistic in making a decision.
Spending 4 days in the mission home this week, waiting while results were discussed, and being told time and time again of the high likelihood of going home, made for the longest week of my mission... and a lot of overwhelmed emotions.
My heart was extremely heavy, and my eyes a little teary having to face that reality that I never thought would be an issue on my mission.
I prayed long and hard that somehow the ¨not so impressive¨ results and numbers wouldn´t leave me without an option...
Back in Seattle, I heard a talk by Emily Watts called ¨How to survive your greatest blessings¨. In it, she explains how often in life, some of our greatest blessings are often tied closely with some of our greatest trials. But how it is then our choice to work to ¨see the blessing side of the coin¨.
She tells a story of a pioneer girl in the Martin handcart company. She´d walked thousands of miles, suffered much, and could not have been more overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when the rescue party arrived. Loading all of the survivors onto a wagon, on of the rescue men looked down at this skinny, starving girl and saw that she was without shoes, and as a result her feet were severely frost-bitten. He realized that if she climbed into the wagon now, she would surely lose her feet. Thinking quickly, he told her to grab on to the side of the wagon. she did so, and he signaled to the horses to go faster, faster. She struggled to keep up, and then found herself running. She didn´t want to get left behind. He kept the horses going, kept her running, for several hundred yards. and then stopped and helped her up into the wagon. She looked at him in bewilderment, but then he told her ´The circulation to your feet will save them now.¨
Later, when asked about the experience, this young girl said that in that moment, as she started to struggle to run. All she could do was ask herself: ¨What is he doing? I´m exhausted. I´m not going to make it! Why isn´t he picking me up?¨ She said it was after that she realized in that moment she couldn´t see it, couldn´t understand, but really he wasn´t making her suffer needlessly, he was saving her feet.
There´s a scripture in 1 Nephi 11:17: I know that the Lord loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
There is so much that I still don´t understand of the Lord´s ways, His divine plans. But I, like Nephi, know that HE LOVES ME, that He is aware of me, and that He is providing me with ¨pruebas¨ to try me, grow me, and help me to see things more as He hopes I will.
There are two stories in the scriptures that I love. one is in Deuteronomy 8, the other in 2 Nefi 1. Both tell the story of a people wandering in the ¨wilderness¨.Often times they asked themselves if the Lord had forgotten them, if their sufferings were for naught, if they were really capable of reaching their ¨destinations¨.
But as always, along the way, the Lord provided them with means (food, clothes, guidance, directions, divine help). Just has He has with me.
¨The Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land... (after) then shalt thou bless the Lord thy God for the good...which He hath given thee.¨(Deut. 8:2)
¨Notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise.¨(2 nefi 1:5)
Theirs was a literal wilderness. But so many times I have been able to liken their experiences to my own ¨journeyings¨here in Argentina.
The Lord has been SO good to me!
Right now I can´t think of anything greater, or of more value that the Lord could have granted me than the privilege of being here as an instrument in this, His great work.
Yesterday in church, I had another realization all over again of just how much it means to me to wear this placa. To represent the Savior, Jesus Christ and His church.
There´s nothing more motivating or that makes you appreciate, value, and want to fight for this great opportunity than almost having to give it up early.
I´m so grateful that the Lord has given me this time to be able to stay here for now, with high hopes that all will be well, and that I can finish strong and continue working to find those who are prepared. To share with others what I KNOW without a doubt to be true.
God loves His children. There is undeniable evidence of that all around us. Prayer brings an indescribable power and peace into our lives. He hears us and answers us. Those answers might not come in the way or in the time that we think we need. But just like the handcart girl, we must trust enough to hold on, keep going, and think of what he´s saving; what he´s preparing us for.
Jesus is the living Christ. Anything unfair, difficult, or seemingly impossible in this life can be made right through His unwavering love and the enabling power of His atonement.
Yes, He has given us power over sin, the ability to repent, to change. From bad to good and good to better. But He also gave us the power, strength, and grace we need to rise above heartache, sickness, despair, and the often unexplainable trials and tests that inevitably come in this mortal life.
I´m still far from perfect at accepting graciously and coping patiently with afflictions and hardships. For that I´m grateful that the Lord knows me so personally. What I need. And that He loves me enough to continue giving me opportunities to humble myself, submit to His will, His plans, learn more of my dependence on Him, and to come to recognize ¨the blessing side of the coin.¨
I love you all so much!
Thanks for all the love, support, prayers and strength.
Here´s to an amazing week!
xoxox Your Hermana C