Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday September 1, 2014 - Miracles Happen... when you BELIEVE!!!‏

The days feel like weeks, the weeks feel like months... the months feel like days... then suddenly... It´s September!!
Time is FLYING!
 This was another one of those weeks that went by in a blur.
We saw some major miracles this week:
*Federico (21-22). One day, knocking doors because everything fell through, we knocked a bunch, and nada.... after several hours, we knocked one more, and out came Fede. He told us that he´s been Catholic his whole life, but always wanted something more... he went this last summer with a bunch of other youth as a missionary for the Catholic church.. and loved it... We started talking to him about what we do... He invited us in, and we taught him the restauración. He LOVED the apostasy..´It makes so much sense!¨ and he loved Joseph Smith´s experience. We committed him to read and pray, and he said he´d do it. We saw him a few days later and he´d read and loved it! We have a cita with him later this week. He´s golden!
*Marcos (24) . We did a tormenta blanca this week in Tunuyán to help the hermanas in their area. They split their area into parts for all of the companionships, and Hermana Vargas and I got the terminal and all of the HUGE houses surrounding it. You can´t even go up to the doors because they all just have gates with the little speaker thing. I HATE THOSE!! So needless to say, we spent quite some time just talking into the speakers, and never hearing a response. We decided to walk further until we found some ¨more humble looking houses¨... as we walked down street after street of mansions, we came around a corner, and I saw this cute little white house, as I said ¨Here!¨Hermana Vargas looked at me and pointed. There we found Marcos. A young fireman, who after explaining who we were, invited us in, he ¨needed to hear our message¨. We taught him the Restauración and he explained how this was what he needed, and his girlfriend and family as well. He invited us to come back and teach them.
*Maxi. after 3 weeks of not being able to go see him... things just kept coming up... Angel and juani came to church yesterday because they thought something bad had happened to us. haha. But we went last night to visit all of them.... In all the months that I´ve been here, I have never felt so much happiness, peace, and just a visible tangible change in that house. Everyone was there, we had and AMAZING lesson about the gospel of Christ. Helped (with a little bit of firmness) Maxi understand that he needs to put in his efforts if he wants to be baptized. He accepted a new fecha for 20 septiembre!! Later, they told us that the changes in their family is because they have been reading and praying as a family!!! The Lord is working MIRACLES!!!
We´ve been finding so many jóvenes! Seriously the youth of today are incredible!! (ja, I say that like I´m old or something!) But really I´ve seen how it´s true that the youth are the most ¨attacked¨... but honestly they are a chosen generation. I learn so much from them. They are so valiant and prepared!
*Probably the greatest miracle of all came last night. After our leadership meeting, we left and went to go work in our area... about 35 minutes later, Presidente Chacón called us to tell us that there were two young men in the chapel, waiting for missionaries... they´re from the elders area, but they weren´t answering their phone. So hermana Vargas and I tried and tried to call the elders.. nothing.. and so we went to the church. When we arrived, we saw the first counselor talking to two of the roughest looking teenage boys I´ve seen in a long time. Covered in piercings, tattoos, long hair, rugged clothes. We walked in, and he introduced us, and told us that he´d already showed them the chapel, and each of them had a Liahona in hand. capo. So we started talking to them, getting to know who they were and where they´d come from...
Then the story got even more interesting. The two of them were walking along the ruta.. they needed to get somewhere, so they hitchhiked... a lady brought them from where they live out in the campo... and as they got out, they thanked her, and she just said ¨Well, I just have one favor....Go to the church!¨ They told her they would... and feeling like they should follow through, they walked until they found a church... it wasn´t ours, but they said they felt like they were in the wrong place, and decided to keep looking. So they walked and got to our chapel. They walked in, and that´s when they met the branch presidency.
They´ve never talked to missionaries or members before... Their families are Catholic, but they´ve never personally prayed or tried to have a relationship with God. They were a little timid at first, and openly surprised that two ¨chicas¨from far away places were there to now teach them about Jeus. But we got them to open up, got to know them and then we said a prayer.We taught them the Restoration, talked about baptism, Christ´s example, the opportunity that we have to be free from sin. As they sat there, visibly touched by what we´d shared, soaking it all in. I felt like I should ask them if they would be baptized. As I extended the invitation, they both looked up at me from the floor, and with a whole new excitement, told me that Yes, they would follow Christ´s example and be baptized. That it´s exactly what they need in their lives.

The spirit was incredible, the lesson went So well, and these two unexpecting boys recieved answers to some questions that they hadn´t even really realized they´d had. We took down their information for the elders, said a prayer with them, and they left smiling and thanking us for sharing with them. hermana Vargas and I just looked at each other smiling from ear to ear, it was an unexpected miracle! 
The miracle with Darío y Jonathan, I seriously was so humbled as we left the church. Thinking about how well and personally the Lord knows those two ¨pibes¨ and prepared a way for them last night. It made me feel so grateful and I realized how SMALL my part is compared to the greatness of the Lord and His designs.
These past two transfers were honestly the most trying time of my mission as a whole... it was like the dark night that just didn´t seem to really have an end. We hit the lowest of lows. But now, we are starting to see MAJOR blessings as a result of diligence and lots of prayers. With investigators, lots of teaching opportunities, and we´ve also seen a LOT of growth in the rama. In 2 weeks, they are going to combine the branch with Tupongato, so we´ve been focusing a lot these last few weeks on ¨Unity activities¨ and we´ve had 2 awesomely successful Noche de Hogar, Karaoke, and seen a huge increase in ánimo for the obra misional! the changes are coming!
I was reading yesterday in Jesus the Christ, when Christ is instructing the Phariseos and also his disciples once again by parables.
He ¨admonished them to diligence¨ in all of their endeavors, but impressed ¨the absolute necesity of unselfish devotion, toleration, and forgiveness.
The apostles, realizing the whole-souled service required of them, implored the Lord, saying: ¨Increase our faith.¨ They were shown that faith was less fitly reckoned in terms of quantity than by test of QUALITY¨... and then he told them again of the analogy of the mustard seed.

Lately I have to admit that I´ve been completely exhausted. After being so sick, my energy levels have still just been a little less than desirable, and sometimes I get frustrated that I don´t quite feel ¨up to par¨...
We´ve worked SO hard these last few weeks, and seen SO many results that the exhaustion is ¨the good kind¨... but there are still days when I feel a little bit incapaz, overwhelmed, and I realize that I, alone, don´t have the strength to do it all. Like I too need to ask ¨Increase my faith!¨
The other day, we didn´t have meetings, all of our appointments fell through, and so that made for a LONG day of knocking and walking. After several hours in the hot sun, the STRONG zonda wind, and sand blasting us in the face, it was almost as if my body just said ¨Nope. that´s enough...¨I kind of just melted into the closest curb for a minute.
As I sat there, feeling pathetic, I said a prayer. ¨I´m sorry I´m so weak... Help me to be able to just work, make me stronger.¨
I realized that I´d been praying for that same thing for a while now... maybe I needed to change what I was asking for. I realized that I was still trying to ¨do it all on my own¨... that what really mattered wasn´t ME being able to do everything myself, but trusting that the Lord can do all things, and instead of asking him to ¨Increase my faith¨, or MY personal strength, I needed to ask Him to DEEPEN my faith and trust in Him more to help me to do what He needs me to do.
After the analogy of the mustard seed, the Lord tells the apostles that ¨Their faith could best be gaged by obedience and untiring service¨. Then he tells them the parable of the Unprofitable Servant.
Talmage says: ¨The servant might well feel that after a day´s work in the firld he is entitled to rest; but on reaching the home he finds other demands made upon him. The master has a right to the servant´s time and attention; such was among the conditions under which the servant had been engaged; and while his employer might thank him or give some substantial reward, the servant cannot demand such recompense.¨

I often say ¨I´ll sleep when I´m dead!¨ for now, my time is short, and honestly, if you´re not giving your ALL to this work, well, you won´t see any results.
In another instance, to show his sometimes doubtful disciples just what awaited them if they continued faithfullly, the Lord told them: ¨everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name´s sake, shall recieve an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.¨
I have seen that over and over again on my mission. The things I´ve seen, learned, people I´ve met, there is no way to explain the ¨reward¨of this work. Just like in the example of how we are always unprofitable servants, I don´t ¨call the shots¨, or establish the ¨when¨or ¨how¨those blessings will come... in fact, more often than not, they´re very different than I think, unexpected, unplanned. But the promise is real if we´re faithful and diligent, the Lord blesses us in remarkable ways. Always in His way and in His timing. Reminding me salways that He is in charge, this is HIS work, and in the end I´m always the one that comes away indebted... heart and hands full of blessings and gratitude for how VERY GOOD the Lord has been to me.

I hope that you all have a great week! I love you!!
xoxox Your Hermana C

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