I am going to be 100% honest, the Lord is trying to teach me patience. 3 weeks ago I thought I was headed to Argentina, and I was so excited. But then plans changed due to the Argentine consulate and VISA, and I was reassigned to the Ogden, UT mission. Even though it has been a huge trial of my faith and a huge mental barrier (with my family just living in Orem), I have decided that missionary work is NOT geographical. Missions are exactly the same wherever you go, and I am here in Brigham City, UT learning all about the glorious work that our Father in Heaven is bringing about the children of men. What an opportunity! I am kicking myself for even being a little sad/dissappointed at one point. The point is, is that Heavenly Father knows each of us WAYYYY better than we will ever know ourselves, and right now I am learning patience, humility and faith in ways that I never thought I would. I get to serve all day everyday, and I love the people here SO much already, I never want to stop serving them. People are incredible and the Lord finds incredible ways for us as missionaries to get inside their homes and to start teaching them. But it isn't us that does the work, we are merely the instruments. It is the Spirit of God that teaches them and brings to much joy into their lives. I have witnessed that over and over again and I have only been here a week. Can I just tell you how lucky I feel to be a missionary and tell you a little about my days here.
5:55 a.m. Hermana Murillo (my awesome companion) and I get up and go running and exercising. Lately, we have been running to the Brigham City temple and back! It is such a great way to start the day! We also try to say "Hi" to everyone who is also crazy enough to be out on the streets that early in the morning.
7:00 a.m. Eat Breakfast and get ready for the day.
8:00 a.m. Personal study--What I have been studying has been preach my gospel, spanish and "Jesus the Christ". It is so fun to study the gospel. I am learning so much! I learned this new way and system to mark my scriptures and I can't wait to get going with it!
9:00 a.m. Training and Companionship Study--since I am WAY fresh and WAY "Green" in the field I get 1 hour of training where we do role plays of lessons with potential investigators! All in Spanish, of course! It is a lot of fun, but I have A LOT of practicing to do before I can become the type of teacher that the Lord needs. The second hour my companion and I plan the lessons for the day and we study whatever questions are investigators have so that we can answer them. Before each thing we do though, whether its studying, tracting, or role playing, we say a prayer to be guided by the Spirit to know what to do. The Spirit is so important as we plan, prepare and learn things. I have never learned that significance as much as I have now. The Spirit is incredible, and because of Him I am learning more than I ever could on my own. I just hope to remain obedient and worthy of His constant presence. :)
11:00 a.m. Language Study. SPANISH SPANISH SPANISH. I study and memorize scriptures, phrases, words and quotes for the lessons that we are teaching that day in Spanish. Even though I feel like I can't totally memorize everything that is in my textbooks, through the Spirit I am able to remember all the things I studied when I teach a lesson. It is amazing. My Spanish is coming along slowly, but surely. I live with all Hispanics and they all speak fluently, so I learn SO much from them. I love them all so much. They help me learn, and I am so grateful for them. FUNNY STORY: we went to a dinner appointment with a member (the 4 of us) and the guy said that I look like a stray.....(due to the blonde hair and white skin). It is kinda funny though because now I just feel like I am Hispanic, because those are the people I am with 24'7. I love it.
12:00 p.m. Lunch. Usually actually just more study time for me :) I'm trying to learn all I can and soak up all the information I can to help our investigators.
1:00 p.m. Out of the house for FINDING PEOPLE. Since I am in an area where I am Spanish Speaking, we go door to door (tracting) trying to find people who are ready to hear the Gospel. Tracting is actually WAY fun--I love it. So much, like for real. Since we have a car (because our area covers like 5 cities), we drive to a trailer park or to a neighborhood and start knocking. It is amazing how many non-members there are here in Brigham. It is really difficult, because if they aren't members there is ALWAYS a reason, because they all have at least heard of our Church. Some people hate us and slam the door in our faces, others try to bible bash with us, and other people (the members) bring us inside and keep us warm. No matter where we are or who we are talking to at the door, we always invite them to come unto Christ. We always bear testimony about what the spirit tells us to say, and we try to find some way to serve the people in which houses we knock. Some, of course, just open the door and scream "NOT INTERESTED" without even saying hello. It breaks my heart, not because the door gets slammed in my face, but because they are missing out on the one thing that makes me who I am and what makes me and the ones I love SO HAPPY. All the people we meet at the door, when I talk to them-- I feel such an honest, geuine concern for them---weird, right? I also just have this immense amount of love for them, even if they hate the Mormons and hate the missionaries. Other than that we just keeping smiling and keep asking everyone we see for referrals! We actually get tons of referrals, the problem is is that they are Englilsh speaking, so we have to give them to the Elders in the area. So from 1-5 we are constantly finding ways to SERVE, to TEACH and SERVE and to demonstrate the Savior's love to all that we see and come in contact with. The coolest part about all of this, is that this is what the Savior would have been doing if He was here. So when things get rough, or I get down on myself, I try to think about who might be in the next house that needs a friend and to feel the love of our Savior? and then--we find that one person who needed some comfort. And then it is ALL worth it.
5:00 p.m. Dinner. Usually with the members. I have met so many amazing families and made so many great friends. The members here are wonderful. I usually eat Mexican food, because I am in the Spanish Branch so all the dinner appointments we have are usually Spanish food, and MAN! THOSE PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO COOK! I need to get all their recipes. We always pray and share a message with them at dinner, and that is my most favorite part!
6:00 p.m. Out tracting again or going to appointments with investigators. I have meet some INCREDIBLE investigators and in-active members, and I am going to try with all my heart, mind and strength to either get them baptized or reactivated! I truly believe that these people are some of the most humble people I have ever met, and are such examples to me. Let me tell you about them.
Armando--our #1 progressing investigator. He has been through a lot and still has some bad habits to kick, but we taught him that through the Atonement of Christ, we can do the impossible....and he believes that he can too. We just challenged him to get baptized last night....AND he said he wants to, but he isn't quite ready yet. Last week we challenged him to read the book of Mormon (the first little bit) and he did!!! One of the coolest miracles was that he told us that he KNOWS that the book is true. Amazing. He is from Mexico, and he is such a funny guy. He is trying to learn English and we have been trying so hard to get him to pray on his own. Finally, after a lot of prayers on his behalf, he prayed for the first time last night out loud in front of us. My eyes started tearing up, because it was the most sincere and powerful prayer that I have ever heard. We taught him the plan of salvation last night, and it was amazing to see how his face lit up when we told him that one day he could live with his family happily in the celestial kingdom. I think that he will be ready for baptism soon. I hope and pray that that day comes while I am still here.
Llorena--Wife of Armando, but a die-hard Catholic. It is a little tricky, because in Mexico being Catholic is like APART of your culture, so she has had a really hard time changing religions. But, last night after we taught the plan of salvation she said that she felt "peaceful and calm" which are both feelings of the spirit. We told her that this is the Holy Ghost testifying that what we said is true. She said that she is "Catholic and will always be Catholic, but if she were to change, it would be to Mormonism." I just smiled and asked her to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it was true. She accepted. I'm so excited for her, especially because she already is EXTREMELY spiritual. She prays and serves people, and she is extremely receptive to our lessons. I love her a lot. Such a wonderful woman.
Hermana Flores- Less active for 2 years. She is a wonderful lady, but stopped coming to church because she didn't feel worthy. We taught her about the atonement and we taught her about repentance. She said she wants to come to church, but that she needs to pray more to know that her sins are forgiven. I am excited to see where that goes!
Cheri-A schizophrenic. She is a single mom, who is active in our branch, but is severely depressed and has a hard time focusing. We spent all last Saturday helping her clean her home. It looked like 100000000 tsunamis and earthquakes had hit her house. Dishes for weeks on end hadn't been done, and so me and my companion got to work. But I learned something so valuable from Cheri. Despite all of her problems and hard trials in life she told me that the Lord blesses her everyday. She said that we were "her angles" and that just the night before she had prayed for help, and then we called. That was such a miracle. She couldn't make breakfast, so I got to cook! I make chocolate pancakes, eggs and bacon! Her and her boy scarfed it down, like they hadn't eaten in a while! Some of the most grateful people I've ever met. It was a miracle that we even found her. A member gave us her name, and she said that if we hadn't come she would have not been able to make it. That was such a testimony to me and she is so grateful to the Lord, and I need to learn how to be more like her in that aspect.
Other than that we have a baptism in a couple of weeks!!!! BOOOO YAAA!! Her name is Adlia, and I will tell you more about her soon--when I know more. We just found out that me and my companion are going to take over the entire Brigham area and the other sisters are being moved out. I am so excited! So we actually have I think like 4 other investigators, two that already have baptismal dates. I am so excited for them and to get to know them even more. More so, I am just grateful for this grand opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. THE CHURCH IS MOVING FORWARD BECAUSE IT IS TRUE!!!
ALSO we are doing secret service AKA "Strikes". My companion and I decided that we need to build stronger relationships with the members in our Spanish Branch (to get in their friend circle for referrals) so we are starting to do secret service to them every night before we turn in.
9:00 p.m. Planning with my companion. We try to figure out all that we can do to help those in need.
10:30 p.m. BED. I am usually in bed a little before (if I can finish everything I need to) because I AM EXHAUSTED.
So that is what everyday is like! Even Sundays! Except we get to go to church! :) It sounds kinda crazy, but I love it. Even though it has been really hard, it has also been the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I feel like everyday has the high of highs and the low of lows, but that it is because of that that I am able to be molded and shaped into the person and woman that my Heavenly Father needs me to be. I am trying with everything I have to serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength so that I might find those children who are lost or are in need of help. I love this work. The work is ROLLING FORWARD like a TIDAL wave with all these new missionaries. And I am SO excited for all those coming into the field. IT IS AMAZING, and it WILL blow your mind how incredible these people are and how your desire to help and to teach reaches bounds that you never thought were possible. How lucky we are to take part in this great work---if you are a full-time missionary or not. We WILL bring the world His truth. As a communications major, I'm always trying to figure out what is the MAIN thing I am trying to get people to do and what I am trying to say. And that is to come unto Christ and to take the steps necessary to live in eternal happiness with Him again someday. What a glorious message! SO AMAZING!
I love this work. I love being a missionary!! It is wonderful. I miss all of you dearly, and I can't thank you for the love and the support that you send me. It keeps my spirits up!!!
Make this week the best week ever! Serve someone today!! It is amazing how much happiness you will feel!!!