Holy smokes.:) :) I haven't been able to stop smiling. There are various reasons for this...but want to know the biggest one? I GOT TO SEE AND TALK TO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THIS PAST SUNDAY---MY FAMILY!!! Yes, Dad and Tyler in the hot hot hot HOT Samoa and the family in Orem, Utah! What a great blessing technology truly is! Although we didn't get much time, I loved hearing about you and seeing your faces and shedding a few tears together. We truly are SO lucky to have the guidance of the Gospel, and I am SO SO SO happy I have been taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ (in its simplicity) so that I can live with YOU guys FOREVER and EVER. What could ever be better!? But Mothers day-- It still feels like a dream! You all look absolutely stunning and I am sorry that I couldn't stop crying. I have the greatest example of a mother, and I am so grateful I got the chance to share my love for her and my appreciation for the hero that I have in her over the internet. I loved talking to you all SO MUCH and I love you SO MUCH and can't think of anyone or anything that would make me happier than being able to chat with my BEAUTIFUL family who are my best friends. I was so happy I didn't know what to do with myself! I am so glad that we got to chat about you, and your lives and how the Lord is helping you accomplish all of your goals and dreams. KEEP STANDING STRONG and all that you ever wanted...and MORE will happen. But it takes that continued obedience to the basics and RELYING on the Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ.
I love being a missionary. Why? I am learning a lot, especially the ability to be guided by the Holy Ghost, confidence in the Lord and His will, and most of all learning how to fully dedicate and consecrate my life as a servant to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a lot of hard work. A lot. But, if it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it. I smile and count my lucky stars that I have the opportunity to serve, love and teach the people that Jesus Christ would have taught had He been on the earth today. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary. Too much. I started crying this morning with the thought that I only have 15 months left. So short!! I have been overwhelmed with a sense of URGENCY to find the people out there who are lost, with no direction or true source of happiness. I am loosing track of time, myself and my needs and have begun to focus solely on the people. What do THEY need, what can I do for THEM? How can I love THEM? How can I teach THEM with the power of the spirit and simply, so that they can understand? I lay in my bed at night with my mind racing 10000000000 miles per hour, even though my body is exhausted--asking the Lord what more can I do? I am so anxious and excited to help these people, love these people and teach these people....so that they too can learn "what source they can look to for a remission of their sins" and not only that, but who and what we can look to to truly CHANGE OUR LIVES and BE HAPPY now and FOREVER.
Two things (of the 50050983049830948290380 million things) that I have learned on my mission---#1. I AM NOTHING. but with God, I can accomplish everything. He has prepared a plan for me and for you and for ALL his Children. and it is SO simple, but sometimes we forget. And that is sad. I NEVER EVER want to forget. And I can't believe I get to share that plan with His children--everyday! #2.THE LORD IS PREPARING PEOPLE TO HEAR AND LIVE THE WORD OF GOD....everywhere. Even in Utah. yes, I know what you are thinking. Non-members in Utah?! What!? Well, there are many of them. And for some weird reason....they are ALWAYS put in our path...and for some reason they ALL speak Spanish. Like the scriptures say, "The field is white and ready to harvest," but for me, it is "Hispanic" and I can't wait to find them! I am just striving to do everything possible to do so!!!
JENNY RAMIREZ IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!! MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!!! MAY 25!!!!!!! I AM SO SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED FOR HER! What an incredible decision she has made!!! We still have to review some things before she enters the waters of baptism, but SHE IS SO READY. The Lord has been preparing her for a long time, and I just feel so honored that we have had the opportunity to be apart of the change that she is making in her life! She has been so active in coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying. She says that she can't wait to be baptized. She is so strong, as she will be the only active member in her family. Her parents have given us permission to baptize her and say that she is free to make her own decisions, despite the fact that they are devote Catholics. Surprisingly though, they want to have a Mexican fiesta afterwards and invite all their Catholic family members to come and celebrate! Sounds good to me! I am just so excited for her and the change that she is making. When we asked her why she wanted to be baptized she said "So that I can change, be the person I want to become and have the guide of the Holy Ghost." WOW. The blessings of baptism are endless. SO EXCITED FOR HER!
Me and Hermana Schiess are learning that EXACT obedience truly brings about miracles. With everything that we are and with all the energy that we have we are striving to not only be 100 percent obedient, but to be more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so that we can more fully be guided to the people that are ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whenever we do, there is always someone there to serve, love and then teach. Through doing many role plays and focusing our studies solely on our investigators, Sister Schiess and I have been able to teach in greater unity and peace. We are learning how to trust one another and rely upon the spirit to direct what we will teach. People are changing their lives....and I am kinda obsessed with the changes that all our investigators are making!! One went from smoking 4 cigars a day to only 1! WAHOO!!! They are becoming "new creatures" through the Gospel. Isn't that AWESOME!? We can ALL become who we want to become...change and leave the OLD us behind....but only through the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this. I have seen it. Everyday. If you want to change, don't wait another second. Come unto Christ. He is WAITING for you with open arms.
For example--the story of Holly. Holly was active in the church about 40 years ago and never went back because she said that she had a bad experience with the people in the church. The people aren't perfect, but the Gospel is. Well the first time we met Holly she was really rude to us and wouldn't even talk to us. But for some reason we felt prompted to go back. We went back the next day, but this time we were prompted to ask her if we could bless her and her home. She timidly accepted. After we got in the house we could tell she was bitterly depressed. We blessed the home. Her face changed---it was like a light bulb turned on. She continued to tell us that her husband had died, and she felt that there was no reason and purpose for her on the earth today. As directed by the Spirit, we asked her what she was missing. She continued to tell us that she didn't understand her purpose anymore without her husband and didn't think God really loved her. She said that she had bought all these books about how to be happy again and how to understand what happens after this life. We asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon. She said "No, not in 20 years." We continued to testify and tell her that the Book of Mormon IS THE ONLY TRUE book of happiness. It is ONLY book in which we can find the answers to all of our questions. All of the comfort in the world comes through reading that Book. Also we can find our purpose and our need for this life IN THE PAGES OF THAT BOOK. She looked at us in awe. She said "Give me this book. I want to read it." We gave it to her. The next time we saw her, I have never seen a happier human being in all my life. The physical change in her was un-real. NEVER ever forget the power of the Book of Mormon. I KNOW it is true. Every word. It is the proof that God loves ALL of His children, that ALL of His children have purpose and I know that we can find ALL the answers to life's questions through the pages of that book. After walking out of her house we were so spiritually exhausted, we nearly collapsed. The Lord led and guided us to talk to Holly that day. She is changing her life.
We are teaching a lot of lessons and we are trying to pull out ALL the stops to get members to come with us so that our converts are truly converted to the Gospel, not us. We have been working so hard to build member trust, trust from our branch presidents and trust from the Bishops, ward mission leaders and stake presidents (something this area was lacking when we first entered). Funny Story: After the last correlation with ward and branch missionary leaders the Elders in our zone where asked "Elders, what is wrong with you? All the baptisms are coming from the sisters!!" The Elders weren't too happy about it, but I thought it was hilarious. It isn't us that does the converting anyways....IT IS THE SPIRIT. We have been super involved in strengthening the families of our branch through FHE and encouraging them to take hold of sharing the gospel to their families and their friends. Almost every single person in our branch of 30 is a convert to the gospel, and the rest of their family is Catholic. These people are so strong, but are often scared of sharing their testimony. We are doing trainings in the homes of branch members so that they can practice and learn how to bring up the Gospel and share what makes them happiest with their family members! I hope that these trainings are helping them become missionaries!
We are truly striving to teach whenever we find and to find whenever we teach. Just as preach my Gospel says, the Lord always puts the people who are ready to hear the word right in our pathways, it is our job to recognize those promptings and apply it to their lives. We are teaching 4 progressing investigators! We couldn't be more excited for the decisions that are making to better their lives. We are striving to teach simply, powerfully, and with the spirit. It is a work in progress, but we are a little bit better everyday.
Sundays as a missionary are LITERALLY insane. They are my favorite days, but by the end I literally feel like I just ran 30 marathons. This Sunday, Mother's Day, was a HUGE miracle! We had ALL 4 of our investigators at church! The cool part about this was that we didn't really have to do much to get them there! We invited them and reminded them, and they came...mostly on their own!!! Me and my companion where literally jumping through the roof when we saw each one of them walk into sacrament meeting. what a
miracle! The Lord is literally blessing every effort. Even if it seems small. Even cooler than them coming to church was the comments that they made after..They said that they felt happy, peace and joy--and that they learned a lot about things that they can do better in their lives. They all want to come back. WHAT?! I am so so so so so excited for all of them. The branch has been amazing as we have coordinated who our investigators will sit with, meet and talk to. The branch is really taking them under their wing as they are making these huge changes in their lives!! Our district leaders almost passed out when we told them we had 4 investigators in church....my companion and I will now be training the Elders in our district on how to get investigators to come to church. I am super nervous and don't know what to train them on, but I just know that it is the Spirit that does the converting--not us! We have just been praying and fasting a lot to know the needs and concerns of our investigators. That has helped us be able to apply the Gospel to their lives and help them understand how doing this things will BLESS their lives forever.
I have never worked so hard, served so much and been so focused on others in all my life. From cleaning, to yard work to WHATEVER IT TAKES for someone to listen to the GREATEST message in the word....we do it. I am striving to become the best missionary I can be. I know that I am weak and need the help of the Lord but I am learning so much. I love the people and I love the work. There is SO much work to be done here, and although it is stressful at times, I know that the Lord will help us accomplish the things that we need to.
I love this work. I love YOU SO MUCH. I am so happy to hear from you, and can't thank you enough for all your support.
Your biggest fan,
P.S. No word on Argentina yet, but my VISA will be here---I know it! Just on the Lord's time....that's all. :)
|Cintia showing up to church in her Black Cadillac. She said she would go
to ALL three hours of church...only if she could do our hair!! WHATEVER
IT TAKES TO GET HER THERE! That is why we are rocking the awesome hair!