Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spreading Seeds

HOLA!!! Mi Amor!!! Como estan? Ojala que te vaya bien este semana!!
My dear beautiful family and friends,
I love being a missionary. Spring is FINALLY here (no more freeeeeeezing days--hopefully). And guess what? The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again on the earth today--for real. The principles we learn by immersing ourselves in the gospel are real, and they have the power to change us into the people that we want to be---if we let it. This week, more than ever before in my life, I have seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ CHANGE LIVES. I have seen people, just within the last few weeks that I have been here stop smoking, sacrifice work to come to church and make huge commitments and sacrifices to step into the waters of baptism. I look at these people and think---WOW, how can they do this? But then I realize it is because they FEEL a change through the Holy Ghost and through the joy that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our lives. The work that we are involved in as missionaries and members alike (for we are all enlisted) is more powerful than I could've ever imagined. I have so much to learn and so many weaknesses to overcome. I am nothing, but a servant to my King. But I know that through Jesus Christ and His atonement I can become exactly the woman He wants me to be. And I know He can do the same for you. Our weaknesses can become strengths---if we rely on Him to help us reach our full potential and more. We are children of a King, how cool is that?! I hope all of us remember that, no matter how tough the road gets.
Okay, I am getting WAYYYY to preachy. :) Sorry!  But listen to this.You won't believe this! I finally have my first tracting battle wounds!! I am so happy! My companion and I after we tract all day we laugh about our battle wounds. Whether it is when we fall from not seeing a curb....or haha or just walking a lot! Man, tracting is one of my favorite things. We get to meet the most amazing people and people of all different types-people that hate us and people that give us homemade jam! I love it! I have learned how important member missionaries are, as they can help guide us to the people who are ready to hear the message of the restoration. We ask everyone we meet for referrals and this week the Lord had prepared a LOT of people for us. We can bearly keep up! We are indeed weak servants of the Lord, and everyday it is a battle--but finding just even that ONE person makes the hard day all worth it.
I love this area in which I am serving right now. The only thing is, is that I can't wait for it to stay warm--Dear Summer, come as quick as possible!!! :) Even though I am in Brigham City, UT, I feel like I am in a foreign country. (p.s. sorry if this email has really bad grammar this is the first English I have written/spoke since last week) Since people from all over the world live here I have had the opportunity to meet and teach people from Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Guatemala and get this---CORDOBA, ARGENTINA!!!!!! Can you believe it!? The Lord puts people in our path to inspire us and to let us know that life is WAY too good. Yesterday, we got to teach a woman from Argentina! Her father came from Cordoba and was there telling me all about it! I learned so much! I am excited for my VISA to come, and I know that it will take a lot of patience...but I am supposed to be here right now, because that is where the Lord wants me to be. The Lord knows me SO much better than I do, and all I can do is focus on the things I can control, and getting my VISA faster is not one of those things. I seriously LOVE the people here so much, and can't wait to get to know them even better. Also I LOVE the food and the cool thing is....is that I am learning how to cook Mexican, Argentine, and Italian food!! Since all the people we teach are from a different country they also know how to make delicious food! So that has been a blast learning all these different cultures, foods and accents! I have loved it!
For the most important part of this letter....
The work. Missionary Work is a LOT of work. But I think it is the most rewarding kind. The tricky part is, is that it demands faith. In Alma, we learn that faith is like a seed, the seed being the word of God. In order to have faith and to build faith it requires that we "treasure the word in our hearts" and that we act according to what the word says. That is really hard sometimes. But I know if we will do it the Lord will bless us as it says in Alma 32:43 "Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you." Sometimes I feel like a lot of the work we are doing here is merely planting seeds. A lot of people don't want to talk to us because they are devoted Catholic, but I know that everyone has their time. I just hope our testimony that we leave with them will someday bloom and open doors for them in which they can receive the Gospel. I have faith that it will, even though it is really hard to believe sometimes.
My companion and I have become great friends as we have had the best of times and the worst of times. We have tried in every way possible to stay busy and to be working every second that the Lord has given us to work. Right now we are focused on finding people (tracting) and building relationships and strengthen the members in our branch. I don't know if I have said this before but my companion and I are over the Sycamore Branch here in Brigham City. But the branch includes people from all around the 20 mile radius of Brigham City. So it is a large area. There are about 100 members in our Spanish branch. There is a lot more that are inactive. My companion and I are doing everything we can to strengthen the relationship between us and ward members so that they can learn how to be powerful missionaries and how they can play a vital role in reactivating those that are less-active. This week has been a lot of strategic action. We have been meeting a lot with our  ward mission leader to get him involved in the work in every way possible. We have had to develop that relationship with him, but I think that he is finally on board, and more and more members are starting to trust us. We also have been doing a lot of reactivating!! A few of the people we have been teaching are finally starting to come back to church!! I am SO happy!! Sometimes they just needed to be reminded of the joy they felt when they attended church, and other times they need to be reminded that church isn't about the people---it is about the PRINCIPLES that are taught and reinforced there.
OH MY!!!!! Guess what?!?! NATE AND DANIEL RESENDIZ ARE GETTING BAPTIZED A WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!!! I can't tell you how excited I am for them. I feel like they are some of my best friends already. We have been teaching Daniel (the father) and he has been so prepared by the Lord, that every thing we teach him he understands and accepts. The spirit is so strong whenever we teach Daniel, he finished up his last lesson yesterday night, and shared a very simple, yet powerful testimony with us last night that gave me the chills! Daniel has nothing, and he works 3 different jobs. Yet, he has given up time, energy and money to meet with us and to come to church. It is amazing, I hope I can be as strong as he is someday--he is such an example. But his whole countenance has changed and he and his wife gave up coffee and tea this week! I am so proud of them!! His boy, Nate (age 9), is also getting baptized! It has been quite the experience teaching him from square one. I have learned that teaching children has to be entertaining, short, sweet and simple. So a lot of my studies this week have been focused on the simple truths of the Gospel and how I can teach it clearly. We taught Nate the restoration last night, and man. Even though he is only 9, he is such a smart boy. After we read the first vision, he said he felt so happy. Ah man, I know Joseph Smith saw what he said he did. The power of that happening is what brings people to this Gospel. I gave Nate a CTR ring in Spanish! He absolutely loved it! He said that he is going to do everything he can to "choose the right" or "Haz lo justo" in Spanish. I am so grateful for him!
There are so many stories and not enough time to tell them all, but let me just tell you about this other family we are teaching! The family's name is the Rodreguiezs. The dad is waiting for his Green Card so that he can be a legal citizen of the USA, and lives with his girlfriend and they have two kids. More than anything they want to be baptized, but they can't because they aren't married. We asked why they hadn't been married and it is because he registered for his green card as a single man and has been waiting 10 years for it. If he gets married, then all of that waiting will go to waste, as the process starts all over again. They are the most amazing couple I have ever met though. We have been teaching them all about the church and this past week we took them to the chapel to do a tour. Their eyes sparkled as we showed them what church is like and all the things that they can learn within its walls. They are so anxious to be baptized, and I pray that their papers will come soon so that they can be married and then baptized as well. It will take a miracle. But I know through faith that miracles  can happen! I hope they remember that, we tell them to keep praying and keep working hard. The mom said her favorite thing about going to church is the music. And so my companion and I decided to end the tour in the chapel and do a lesson on the importance and significance of the sacrament. I then got to sing them my favorite Hymn "I know that my Redeemer Lives". It  was in Spanish and it was rough, but I know that the Spirit was able to communicate the peace and the message that is present in that song. We also brought a member from the branch to fellowship them, and they went to Temple Square on Saturday with the member and her husband! We are so excited to see what is happening with this family! I can't wait to see them together and sealed as a family for all time and eternity. :)
Other than that, we have been doing a lot of contacting, referrals and finding. I've never realized till now the importance of the Spirit. When we rely upon Him, we are led to exactly where we need to be, and we learn the things that help us to become the missionaries and people that the Lord needs us to be. Cheri, another less active, has been a smoker for years and was abused by her husband. She hasn't gone to church in 20 years and we found her living in a beaten down trailer park. 3 weeks ago you wouldn't recognize her as the same person. She has cleaned her house, is reading the book of Mormon and bought brand new shoes to go to church in and she is starting to give up smoking!! She said "you girls were the push from God that I needed to get my life back together." But it wasn't us, it was the Spirit. I am so excited for the changes she is making. She is so much happier and so much more confident in who she is.
We also do service every week either teaching English or singing for the people in the Senior Center. I love it so much.
I have noticed that God really does know us. And He really does watch over us in everything we do! I've learned to pay close attention to the people that He puts in our paths. Because it is usually from those people that we learn the most important life lessons. I learn so much from everyone we meet. I love the mission. I feel like it is INFORMATION overload. I just hope I can soak it in. (especially the Spanish language.)
I haven't gone inside the Brigham City temple yet because it has been closed for cleaning. But I see it everyday, and seeing that temple reminds me of my purpose as a missionary. I have left my family for 18 months, so maybe even just one family can be together with their family forever. It also reminds me that I need to work hard everyday to stay worthy and to stay focused on how I can gain eternal life. I want to look back on my mission and on my life and know that I did everything I knew how. I am not perfect, in fact I am FAR FROM perfect. But my Savior Jesus Christ IS perfect. And through my Savior Jesus Christ, I can make it back with my family someday to live in God's presence. That is what I want. More than anything. And more than anything I want that for everyone, especially those I meet here on the mission.
The Lord continues to pour out His blessings here in Brigham City, UT. Everyday I feel like there is a door opened. And when one closes another one opens--sometimes we just have to be looking for that open door.
I hope that all of you are so happy and that you are safe, healthy and enjoying this journey called life. There is so much to enjoy in life and so much to learn. People and those relationships we build with those on this earth and our Eternal Father and so vitally important. I never want to take them from granted. NEVER GIVE UP. LIFE GETS HARD, BUT YOU CAN DO IT. I KNOW YOU CAN!!
Challenge of the week: Every night write down at least 1 thing that you are grateful for. It can be a person, a place, an idea or anything. I find the more we look for the blessings in our lives the happier we become. I want to hear about what blessings you find!  We are so blessed and the Lord gives us so many things to bless our lives. I hope you all know that you are all HUGE blessings in my life, and for that I can never thank you enough.
I am so proud of all of you and all you are accomplishing and doing. REMEMBER---"Through God, all things are possible" and that we can do anything with the power of faith. Know that I am always there cheering you on and praying for you everyday. I love you all so much and can't thank you enough for your examples and support. The work is ROLLING forward.
STAND STRONG. Helaman 5:12
Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig :)

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