Friday, August 29, 2014

Tuesday August 19, 2014 - ¨Me siento FELIZ, y vos??¨‏

Well, another week come and gone. And this one has been FULL of changes, re-focus, and a little bit of reflection. 
Every transfer I have come to eagerly look forward to the changes, and challenges that come. It helps me to put things in perspective. 
This week we´ve had, and will have, a lot of meetings, training's, you know, the usual... but this past week was full of some awesome additions... new people, new comp, new investigators, a LOT of Peruvian food (which isn´t so great for the losing weight plan... but I won´t complain). We´ve got a multi-zone conference on Thursday with Elder Viñas, a seventy that´s coming from Chile. and guess who got chosen to SING. in a little grupito of 4 of us... and I am singing a solo-duet part. Nerve. wracking. (family, I´m telling you this, A. because I am just as SHOCKED as all of you probably are. B. because you KNOW me, and how NOT-up-my-alley this is... was.. apparently the mission continues to just stretch the comfort zone!) 

This week we have already seen lots of miracles! 
Maxi. We have seen some MAJOR breakthroughs with him. He wants this so bad. He knows it´s what he needs, but he´s got a LOT of changes to make, and is scared. We talked a lot this week about changes, how that is really the whole purpose of our lives, and the gospel. We talked about the importance of prayer, faith, trust, even when we can´t see the end result, and the importance of acting on what we know. He LOVES the scriptures, and is reading a ton. He has opened up to us a ton, like night and day difference already, and when he feels the spirit he has to try to hide his smile. Juani the other day told us at church ¨He never smiled before. I think he must really be happy.¨
He PRAYED in front of us for the first time the other night. And it was AMAZING! He was SO sincere, direct in his doubts and questions, and really pleaded with his Heavenly Father.
We´re making progress here.
We have a new investigadora, Cristina. She´s the mom of a menos activa, and abuela of a CR. she´s way great, and after teaching the restauración, she told us that she didn´t need to pray to know... she already felt it in her heart and had been thinking a lot. She knows it´s true... we´re working with her on some other things, but she´s awesome! 
We found and are working with 3 new part-member families from the branch. They´re solid, and so loving! 
We received more awesome member referrals this week than in the last 3 months I´ve been here! 
When hermana Vargas got here, I told her that the work in this zone (because it´s such a small district), is really different. But that I am IN LOVE with Valle de Uco, the people here are amazing, and the families we have really need the gospel. 
I told her I was going to work her hard ;) She was on board, and has been working hard with me these last few days! She´s a ¨runner¨like me, and we´ve been beat, but super happy. ps. She´s got 14 months in the mission... that was a last minute change... long story... I´m not training... but we´ve got that fire! 
After her first Sunday, she loves the branch, feels right at home, and we are SUPER stoked for this transfer. THE MIRACLES ARE COMING!!! 

In this last week, thinking about what I´ve done here, what I want, and WHY i want so badly for these people to accept this message... and the ultimate reason is that I want them to be HAPPY. I´ve seen so many times the truth in what they say that only the restored gospel brings true and lasting happiness. Often times people think that there aren´t things happening in their lives worth being happy about... That the world is dark, unhappy, and hopeless, and therefore, we should be too. Some even say things like ¨Well, if I just had _____ THEN i´d be happy..¨ Or ¨IF__________THEN i´d be happy.¨ Putting a sometimes impossible to overcome limit on their happiness.

I was recently asked by another missionary: ¨Well, why should I pretend to be happy and content when no one wants to listen to me? They treat me like a wierdo. I walk ALL day and rarely see any results. What about any of that should make me happy?¨ 
Apart from feeling extremely sad for this missionary, It really made me think... Am I showing others how HAPPY I am to be here? In spite of hard days, trials, and setbacks, do I show others that I am happy and content in this gospel? That I am STOKED to be a missionary and rather than a constant burden, I see this time as a blessing to joyfully share with others what I have? Do I give them a reason to want it for themselves?? 

There´s a quote from Pres. Uchtdorf that I love, 

¨Happiness doesn´t come as a result of luck or accident. It most certainly doesn´t come from having all of our wishes come true. Happiness doesn´t come from external circumstance. It comes from inside-- regardless of what is happening around us.¨ 

Now I´m not always perfect at that... but I thought about times in my life when I´ve seen that true happiness comes from within. I thought of my time in the Philippines. For many reasons, that trip changed my life forever. But I learned so much from those Islanders. They are so poor, humble... literally have so little. But they are ¨alegre¨, happy, and so giving and always have a smile on their faces. I learned so much from their example.

Happiness is contagious! It literally is like a magnet.
It´s the purpose of our existence, to ¨live happily ever after¨with our Heavenly Father. 
¨Men are, THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY.¨ (2 Nefi 2:25)
Pres. Uchtdorf says: 
¨Happiness is the final destination...but it is also the pathway.¨ 

We have a loving Heavenly Father who has provided us with tools to guide us along in that pathway... HIS GOSPEL. 
Mosiah 2: 41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

If we follow closely those guidelines, we are promised happiness in this life, and NEVER-ENDING happiness in the life to come.

When I was with Hermana Enos, she shared with me something that has really stuck with me. Her grandpa has made it a goal, a lifestyle really, that every time someone asks him ¨How are you?¨He says ¨I´m happy, thank you!¨
Now, I´m sure that even her determined-to-be-happy grandpa has ¨down days¨, ¨hard moments¨and trials of his own... but he keeps a bigger picture perspective, recognizing that even amongst the chaos, hardships and sadness that may surround us, there is always ,ALWAYS something to be happy about.

We, as members of this church, know that we have found, and have access to THE source of true and lasting happiness. THAT, is one of the greatest things that we have to offer the world.
A genuine smile (like the one Maxi can´t hold back), which is backed by the knowledge and assurance that we know God lives, he LOVES each and every one of us SO very much. And because of that great love, he has provided us with a plan. A plan that is designed not only to bring us happiness now, today, or tomorrow, but a ¨FULLNESS of JOY¨, a happiness that endures and reaches even into FOREVER.

and THAT, is a great reason to be happy! 
I love you all so much!! 
Here´s to another great week! 
xoxox Your Hermana C

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