Monday, August 5, 2013
Becoming a Soldier!
I love being a missionary. I love training and white-washing. More than I love anything else. I am totally lost in the work and I am a little worried that I won't get out ever. Dream, thoughts, everything is surrounded in how I can become the missionary that the Lord needs me to be. But its MORE than that. Its how I can become the woman that the Lord needs me to be. Literally I feel like I am in the "furnace of affliction" and in the "refiners fire". But, even though there are some days that I just want to give up, something keeps me going. And that is the VISION of what I can become when I make it through this. Note to all future missionaries: Missions are not easy, but nothing in life that is worth it is easy---you will be pushed and refined to a point that you didn't know possible--when life gets to rough to stand, I challenge you to KNEEL and PRAY like crazy until you feel the strength you need to carry on. I am doing that A LOT. Probably a lot more than a lot, and yes, I probably have bruises from every time I hit my knees. But it works. It gives me more strength and more happiness than I could ever know. That is my challenge to you. When was the last time you REALLY prayed? When you knelt down and had a conversation with your Father in Heaven. Tell Him everything. I have learned that I can't do anything without His help. I really can't, and none of us can.
There is something telling me that this is my time to run away and become like God. So here I am. The path is not easy, but I know for a fact that I am being refined. I am amazed at how it seems to me that God puts investigators, companions and others into our lives that are struggling with the same weaknesses we struggle with. When you teach something you have to search it out and then LIVE the principle....and that has caused me to rage an ALL OUT WAR AGAINST SATAN. He will not win. And I am going to become the woman, mother and missionary that I was meant to be. With the help of God and with a clear VISION and GOAL and PLAN and ACCOUNTABILITY...I will do it. I am excited. I can see what I want to be...but sometimes it feels like I am drowning in water with all the things I need to work on!
Our mission is starting a 40 day fast....so we can kill ourselves from no food or water...hahaha NO! Actually, we are starting a 40 day fast from the natural man. And I invite all who are reading this email to join the bandwagon and decide to fast from the natural man for 40 days....and hopefully by the end of that forty days it will be part of you not to be involved in bad behaviors, thoughts, actions or habits. Our mission president is really stressing the importance of "becoming soldiers" in the army of God. He says that this is the most obedient he has ever seen our mission, but now he says that he received revelation that Satan is about to attack and that we, as God's army, need to be STRONG in WHO we are. The fast includes this: Start with an actual fast and wrestle with the Lord to figure out what exactly your weaknesses are. Write them down. Then pray every morning and night with the list in front of you asking for help and living the temptation and weaknesses in your head during your prayer and ask for help to never do them again. Then, at night report to the Lord how you have become a better person and a more consecrated servant in His hands. I started my fast today. Man, it was the hardest thing ever to write down all the things that I am horrible at. It was like putting salt in a wound. But, I know that this fight with the natural man and overcoming my weaknesses, habits, and becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ will allow me to become the woman, mom and person that I am meant to be here on the earth and on to the eternities. So, I am giving up EVERYTHING that "pokes at the Spirit" and deciding to totally let God be in control. I have decided that sometimes I think I am smarter than God and that I don't need His help and that I can do it on my own. Boy, I am wrong. When we let God take control of our lives and lead us and shape us into the people we were meant to become, life is SO much happier and so much more wonderful. Why waste time not becoming.
Miracles are happening all around and I don't even have time to write 1/1,00000th of them. But I will tell you that my testimony of the fast increased by like 290380 % this past Sunday. The Casteneda family. They are from Mexico and are true and true "tamale" Mexicans. We work a lot with the recent convert mother of the family. She was a stalwart drunk and had a rough past. But now, because of the Gospel she is going strong. Her husband and her two sons have fallen away from the church and are no longer active, even after being sealed together in the temple. We went to visit her the other day and she broke down in tears. She felt shame, guilt and embarrassment that her own husband and children would not come to church with her. She said that it pulls at her heart and makes her cry. We asked her if we could join her in a fast to have her sons and husband come back to church someday and that they will have the desire to come. She gave the most powerful and sincere prayer that I have ever heard to begin a fast. She pleaded that her son and husband would have the desire to change and that they would be able to be united in the Celestial Kingdom today together. It was a really long prayer but the Spirit was so strong in that room I thought I was going to faint. Anyways, we started the fast....I thought to myself, well, they will be reactivated by the end of the month for sure. Little did I know the power of that women's faith. Her boys and her husband hadn't come to church in like 25 years. Yesterday, at church, my companion and I were greeting our investigators and members when my heart jumped out of my chest (I am pretty sure I looked pale and also stopped breathing) but I saw the ENTIRE Casteneda family walk in. My jaw dropped and I couldn't find the words that I needed to speak. God blessed that the father, their sons and their son's sons to come to church. And then they stayed for the full 3 hours!!! can you believe that? As they walked in the mom pulled me aside with tears in her eyes and said "Sister Weenig, thank you. Every member of my family is here. It is a miracle from God." I told her that it wasn't me that she needed to thank, but it was God. After the day was over, we ended our fast. More grateful and happy and praising the Lord than we have ever been in our whole lives. The mom just kept saying over and over again. "I have never been so happy in my life." Fasting works. I used to just think it was a thing that was cool to do once a month. Nope. It is one of the most powerful tools we have. USE IT. :)
Speaking of sacrament meeting....I love Hispanics. It always goes over like 30 minutes. This time it went over like 35 minutes. There was a line from the moment testimonies started!!!! They had to tell people to stop coming up. This ward is on FIRE! I love it so much, and they are such a strength to me. One lady didn't speak Spanish, and there was this guy that was trying to translate for her. She started talking about some pretty weird stuff and that translator just started making up stuff that wasn't what she was saying. I was dying laughing. I love this ward.
Power of laughing. Sometimes in life doors get slammed in your face. (literally or metaphorically). In my case literally. Sometimes the SAME door gets slammed in your face three different times. and sometimes people call you the "weird Mormons" when you don't even know them. Sometimes you get people who let their dogs bite your legs till they bleed while you teach the restoration to them and invite them to baptism (I have scars! Also my companion ran half way down the complex about to scream about the wretched dog that was attacking us). And sometimes (when you are lucky) you get people that look at you and tell you that we are "not for me." I always ask myself.....WHAT IF WE WERE SELLING GIRLS SCOUT COOKIES?! Then they for sure missed out. But actually, they missed out on a lot more than just that. They missed out on their salvation. They will remember us someday hopefully.Then we are given the decision to choose. To cry or to laugh. I have learned from my companion that it is much better to laugh. It is FUN to laugh! Especially while doing missionary work. When life gets rough. Laugh. My companion and I have been praying to find joy in everything and especially to be able to have the talent of good humor. So when something unexpected happens we choose to smile or laugh. Those are the only two options. No frustration or rage. Just laughter. And my companion has the best laugh ever. Also, confession. We may or may not BLAST the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the car. I have been sung to tears at least 3 times.
So, apparently our numbers are the highest in the mission or something. I don't know. But I don't really care. But now we are speaking in front of the entire mission (the Spanish speakers)...thanks? hahaha No, we are really excited! The Lord has literally carried us to find the people that are ready for the Gospel. Both of us are struggling with different things, but the Lord really does help us to become strong enough to overcome them all! It is kind of fun battling the things that are really hard for us. Did I tell you that I am waging an "ALL OUT WAR AGAINST SATAN!!!" ? But the Lord literally is carrying us. The meeting is tomorrow...have we had time to prepare? Um, No. So that is what we will be doing for p-day today! Preparing a speech! YES! my favorite thing. Hahahaha
Anyways amazing things have been happening! Jackie gets baptized THIS Saturday! That is about the best birthday present a girl could ever ask for! And she is SOOOOOOO ready. We had a lesson about tithing the other night with her and the Pena family. I was really worried about the lesson, because Jackie literally lives paycheck to paycheck. They have NOTHING. So teaching tithing really scary. She began to have a lot of doubts during the lesson and that is when our member that we brought to the lesson started telling her conversion story. She found out that tithing was true when she paid it while having nothing, and trying to buy things for her wedding. She was able to get all she needed and more through paying tithing. AMAZING. After the lesson Jackie prayed one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard. She asked God to forgive her for being so selfish and for robbing Him for so long. She decided from that point on---NO MATTER WHAT--to pay her tithing. I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED for her to be baptized. I am literally jumping off the walls.
Thanks so much for all of your support, love and prayers. I pray for you all the time. I am trying to become a more consecrated servant of the Lord so I would love to hear your testimonies, favorite talks, or spiritual experiences that you have. I love you, and I am just trying to be more and more focused on this great work. Please remember who you are and that you can become what you were meant to become through Jesus Christ.
Love, your biggest fan,
Posted by Brooke Weenig at 2:04 PM