Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monday July 14, 2014 - Slow and Steady Wins the Race

So how about those Mundial finals?? We ALMOST made the Argentine dream a reality. We of course didn´t watch the match... but as you can only imagine, things have been quite exciting around here lately.
I thought I got asked a lot before if I was German, but lately it´s been a constant obsession for all of us ¨gringos¨. 
But apart from the endless fútbol hype... This week was an exciting one for us as well.
Tuesday night after we got back from Mendoza,we had planned to go visit familia Salvatierra. I´m pretty sure I´ve written about them already... But they´re a part-member family, the first we met here in Urbana. The grandpa,Angel, has been a member for years, but is SUPER inactive. Juani, the 10 year old grandson got baptized about a year ago, but can´t ever get to church because he can´t walk the whole distance sólo. The house is FULL of parientes...but they´re the only two members. Juani´s mom, Débora, has been a focus of ours since we first met her. Young (super young, onlya couple years older than me), single mom, and her 2 kids are her world. She and Juani, and her 2 year old, Xiomara, captured my heart the first time we visited, and since then I´ve come to love them so much! 
They have a super crazy situation, crazy lives, but are SUCH amazing people, and need this gospel. The light of Christ is visible in each of them. They have such specific needs, but true desires to come to know  Christ.
Débora was a little hesitant at first...she´s very aware of the topic of ¨bautismo¨... for several years, as she´s watched the other members of her family investigate, she says she´s seen how they haven´t really been prepared, and as a result, aren´t active. She says that she wants it, but wants to be prepared, to do it right, and have it be a real change.
Solid. We assurred her of God´s love for her, and that this is His church. That we´re here to be ¨guides¨ and that our message will bring her the purpose, light, and happiness she is looking for in her home. 
...another background story: Maxi Salvatierra (tio of Juani, Débora´s 18 year old brother)answered the door a few weeks back, but after letting us in, disappeared. We went back another time to talk to Débora, and Angel asked us to give Maxi a Book of Mormon so he could have something good to read. We introduced the Book of Mormon, and committed him to read.
... okay, so back to this week. 
We went over to see how Juani and Débora were doing with their committment to read from the into... turned out they hadn´t read. So we sat down to read all together. While Débora finished cleaning, Juani wanted to sing a hymno. While he looked, Maxi came out of his room. ¨Hey! Are you going to come read with us??¨I asked him. He kind of just shrugged sleepily and went back to his room. Juani told us that Maxi has been in rare form lately...super rebelious..Just then, the dogs came running in, chasing their huge pet white rabbit. Xiomara then fell off a chair and started crying. Things just went completely nuts. I looked at Juani,and we started to sing: ¨Soy un hijo de Dios...¨ Débora came and sat down with Xiomara. She immediately stopped crying, and looked from Juani, to me, to Hermana Hales, and to her mom, smiling and singing along.
We finished, and it was so peaceful. ¨Otra!¨ Juanisaid and pointed to ¨Families can be together forever.¨As we sang, Maxi came out from his room and pulled up a chair by the fire. Hermano Angel came in the door from work.
Juani said the prayer,and we decided to start reading. We started with Juani, reading one-by-one,explaining the story to Maxi and Débora. Then, I handed the Libro to Maxi. He took it and read, then Débora, then Angel. I looked over at Juani who grinned and winked.
And so we went, reading in our little circle around a tiny kitchen table in a smoggy dark room, lit only by the giant fire.
The spirit was tangible, and the peace was incredible. Even the giant white rabbit stopped hopping everywhere and sat quietly at our feet.
We reached the verse in 1 Nefi 1:12 where it says ¨As [Lehi] read (the scriptures), he was filled with the spirit of the Lord¨.
I testified to them that the peace they were feeling was that same spirit... that this Book, the Book of Mormon is true, it is the word of God and as we´d read in the intro, has the power to bring us closer to Him than any other. It testifies of His great love for us.
It got quiet, and then Hermano Angel straightened up and said ¨I´d like to share my testimony...¨He shared a simple but heart-felt testimony of how he´d personally found happiness in this message. And how although he´s not going to church as much as he should right now, he knows this is God´s true church, that Joseph Smith is a profet, and that the scriptures bring power. He then invited his grandkids to read it and learn for themselves.
It was an incredible and powerful moment. And I was immediately so grateful for all of those little miraculous moments in this work. Just to help set the scene of what it´s like. It´s experiences like that that make this work the most rewarding thing I´ve ever done.
We saw several other miracles this week. Got into houses of some amazing people, and we´ve got plans for each of them to help them to really move forward. These things might not happen over night, but we´re happy to be back in the game!
This week I read a talk by Presidente Uchtdorf from a few conferences ago:¨Of things that matter Most¨. In it he discusses how so often in today´s world, our lives become hectic, so full of ¨things to do¨.. it´s easy to be ¨busy¨,but ¨life and it´s rushed pace and many stresses may make it difficult to feel like rejoicing.¨
He then, as usual,likened it to piloting. He said upon encountering turbulence inflight, ¨a student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand there is an optimum turbulence penetrationspeed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed.¨
The same applies to our lives. When things get bumpy, out of our control,¨Whenstress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow the more rushed our pace, the better off we will is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.

Sticking with my goal to have a ¨theme¨or ¨motto¨for each transfer, I had decided that this one would be ¨so RUN. that ye may obtain¨ I wanted to work hard, push far, and not let up...But just as Pres. Uchtdorf explained with turbulence, I realized I would ¨do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for (my)circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up (my) eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.¨ Doing it right, being smart, being thorough, sincere, and constant, brings joy, satisfaction, and feelings of true success and cotentment. 
He says:¨The search for the best things inevitablyleads to the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ...these core doctrines and principles, though simple enough for a child to understand, provide the answers to the most complex questions of life. There is beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.¨
He tells the story of Vince Lombardi and how at the beginning of every season, he takes his players through the very BASICS. because he knows that no matter their skill lever, or years of experience, they can onlybecome great by mastering the fundamentals. 
Leonardo da Vinci said ¨Simplicity is the ultimate  sophistication¨. It goes back to that idea of working harder vs. working smarter. 
¨All these things... in wisdom and order, for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength.[But] it is expedient that [we] shouldbe diligent,[and] the prize.¨
The Lord sent me to this quiet, sleepy little town to give me a change of pace to teach me that ¨fast paced¨isn´t always what this work is really about. Yes, the Lord is ¨hastening¨ His work, but if we work hastily and without the right focus.We are sure to reach that burn out point, and miss the beauty and the little miracles along the way. 
¨diligentlydoing the things that matter most willlead us to the Savior of the world... in the complexity,confusion, and rush of modern living, this is the ¨more excellent way¨.¨
Like Vince Lombardi with his players,I´ve realized the imporance of ¨mastering the fundamentals¨.No matter where we´re at in life... it´s always wise to ¨check our progress¨, CHECK OUR VITALS, and remind ourselves of the basics.
To keep at the forefront of our minds a balanced perspective, and to redirect our focus to the most important things in life.
I love you all so much, I hope you have a great week! 
Esta semana que viene! 
xoxoxo Your Hermana C

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