|All the beautiful young women in our ward!|
Monday, October 21, 2013
This is Incredible
I love LOVE LOVE being a missionary. I can't even express in words how much I love this work. This work and Gospel is incredible. Every day...more and more it continues to overpower me with "awe". Miracles, huge miracles, are happening everyday. It is a LOT of work...but in reality it is the dream life. I just wish I could give more. I love it. All of it. The good, the bad and everything. It is so worth it for THEM. I love these people so much. I am learning so much about our Savior, our Heavenly Father, our purpose in life, and my weaknesses. I seriously can't say thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to serve the Lord with ALL that I have got for 18 months. IT IS SO SHORT! And it is going by way too fast, and there is so much to be done! :) I am giving all that I am, all my thoughts, actions, words and EVERYTHING to Him. Because I want Him to be glorified, not me. That is what this life is about---making our Heavenly Father proud. Even though I am so far from perfect, I know that all of us can become and reach our full potential through prayer and diligence and faith.
There is something that I like to do everyday in my missionary planner. Because I know Heavenly Father sends us miracles everyday, I write down the miracles that I see that day each night when we get home. This week, everyday was PLASTERED with miracles. This area and these people are lighting fire and it is so amazing to see. I am so grateful to be apart of it. Although it is getting freezing, the people are warming up, and cold hearts are being opened. It is a miracle.
We have officially become the singers for every ward activity, mutual night and any other time that the ward wants music. I love it! I never thought singing would play such a huge role in sharing the Gospel. It has been incredible to learn the Hymns in Spanish and be able to share our testimonies through music! This week one of my dreams came true! The young women's president called us and wanted us to come sing for a less-active girl's birthday. She said that she wants to start working really closely with us, due to the new efforts of members and missionaries working more together. We were so excited! The young women's activity was to bring a cake and visit a less active girl on her birthday! It was a dream---I LOVE THE YOUNG WOMEN! The young women in this ward are gems. It was such a great experience to visit the less active girl, Casey, and get to know all the youth. The youth are so powerful, but I know that Satan has got a powerful grip on them. That is why it is so important for the youth to Stand ALWAYS in Holy places. If you do that, Satan is going to have a really tough time getting you. But that doesn't mean life is always easy and doesn't mean you won't trip up and fall. Some of the greatest prophets in the history of the world talk about their sins, and how they, too, were not perfect. They too had to experience the miracle of forgiveness. Don't ever let Satan win...and he will try really hard...trying to get you to believe that to be accepted, like or whatever you need the glory and adoration of the world. But that is vain. What REALLY matters is how Christ sees us. He doesn't look at accomplishments, grades, clothes, beauty, or anything. He looks at our heart. Remember that, and you will never be insecure with yourself and you will be able to accomplish miracles--because you will be living your life in a way to PLEASE HIM....not ANYONE ELSE. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or says....just what He does.
Funny side story: Juana, our recent convert, LOVES coming out with us to share the Gospel with people. She is already an amazing missionary (probably because she studies the Bible and Book of Mormon 3-4 hours a day). Anyways, the other day we called her to see if she would want to come on splits with us. When we called her she was at Costco. Juana doesn't have hardly any money and has been out of a job for quite some time (which recently she just received one...MIRACLE!) and so we were a little bit confused to as why she was at Costco. She then told us that she had taken the bus all the way down to Costco so she could watch the "Telenovelas" (Mexican drama shows) on the big screens at Costco. We asked her why and she told us that "Cable is too expensive and it is better to watch it at Costco." I probably laughed for 10 minutes. But the great thing was is that she was laughing too, only she was dead serious. She is such a ray of sunshine, I love her. So if you ever come to Alexandria and you happen to stop by Costco, you may just find Juana watching her telenovelas. What a gem.
Prayer works. I know it does, because I have seen it work in so many people's lives including my own. The BIGGEST miracle of the week came through prayer. We were following up with some potential investigators in Sacrament Dr. Apartments, and weren't having any luck. We decided to pray. When we prayed we were guided to slowly walk over to a corner of the street and just stand there. I was a little bit confused at why the Holy Ghost would guide us to do such a thing. But, we did it. We waited there for a couple minutes and saw some Hispanic moms waiting to pick up their kids from the bus stop. I thought, "maybe we are supposed to talk to them?" but it didn't feel quite right. That was when we heard, "HERMANAS!!" It was Viriana. A ward member that we have been trying to contact for WEEKS. She is from Bolivia. She is a single mom that is 28 years old and absolutely stunning. She has always been so happy and nice, but little did we know she has been depressed, burdened and devastated for the past couple of months because of sin. When we saw her she seemed happy and everything, but her eyes said differently. We sat down and she introduced us to her non-member friend (she is super interested in the church---SO EXCITING) and she asked us to sing. We felt inspired to sing "I am a child of God". As we sang, Viriana started to cry....(hopefully it was the Spirit and not the horrendous sound...haha). She said that we had been an answer to a prayer. She said she has been caught up in a lot of sin and a lot of hardship, and had prayed earlier that morning for God to send her a sign that He loves her. She said we were the answer to that prayer. She said how she had forgotten what it actually means to be a child of God. I learned in that moment that not everyone who looks perfect and happy is actually perfect and happy. EVERYONE needs a friend and a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes they are the ones that need it the most. As we continued talking, Viriana looked me in the eyes and said, "Hermana, I know I knew you before this life. Thank you for coming on your mission to tell me, teach me and love me in the way that you have. I feel happy for the first time in 6 months." Chills went up and down my spine as I looked her in the eyes and saw her Spirit. I too know that I knew Viriana before this life. It was like seeing an old friend. That made my entire 18 month mission worth it. Just to see her smile. As we talked, we told her that God loves her and wants her to be happy. He wants her to be clean, He wants her to accomplish her dreams. But it takes patience, virtue and bravery to face the fact that we aren't perfect. Repenting and becoming more and more like God has been on my mind a lot lately, and she said something that really hit me...."Each time you say 'no' to a temptation or to a vice that you are trying to overcome, you become more perfect." It is so true, and Jesus Christ is our best friend that is right by our side supporting us to overcome whatever weakness or trial we might have. She kept saying, "Why not me?" and she is right! "Why not be the most virtuous person you can?" "Why not serve with all you have got?" "Why not?" God is on our side and ready to help us accomplish any goal He sees fit. She is striving to become temple worthy, so she can get married there someday. We are going to help her through this rough time, and I know that if she follows the steps of true repentance, she will be able to go back to the temple and enjoy the blessings and the happiness she knew long ago. She keeps telling me that she is going to invite me to the wedding! I am so excited for her goals, and know that she is on the right track to accomplish them! Had we not been on that corner right then, we would have missed her. The Lord works in incredible ways. Prayer is real.
Jill needs a little more prep time before getting baptized...a little bit of tea and coffee...but we know that she will be getting baptized soon! We helped her move out this week, and she is loving reading the Book of Mormon. We are really excited to see all of the changes that are happening in her life!
We were walking to one of our lessons in the Audubon trailer parks to visit Jose and Ramon. They were the two that we met by a miracle last week. When we were walking down the street, we saw Jose on his porch...he was reading the restoration pamphlet we left him!!! AMAZING! What a miracle! When we started teaching the lesson he had a billion questions. He said he also read all about the Plan of Salvation and loves it. He has been so prepared by the Lord. We taught him about the Book of Mormon, and he says that he can't wait to read it. Both Ramon and Jose have been carefully prepared by the Lord. And every time we leave them passages in the Book of Mormon to read and things to think about---they do. And when we go back to teach them, they drill us with a thousand questions. They are really thinking about getting baptized and I am SO excited for them!!! I know that they will, and they will be incredible disciples of Christ. Miracle. They offered us coffee, and when we told them we don't drink...Jose immediately decided to stop drinking coffee. MIRACLE.
We were walking through "Little Mexico" and this little girl came biking up to us. "Hermanas!" She kept saying, "please sing, please sing!" And then we remembered that she was one of the little girls that we had sang to a few weeks ago. We said, "Of course." And she screamed with excitement, and then she said, "WAIT! Let me please get my mom!!" She ran inside to bring out her mom. All the sudden a whole bunch of little children gathered around. They asked us to sing "Soy un hijo de Dios" (I am a child of God.) We did. They sang a long with us! In fact, one of the little girls knew remembered the song! AMAZING! I hope that they never forget that they really are children of God. What was even more amazing is that through that experience we are now teaching the little girl's mom! Miracles.
We are working with a in-active lady named Hna. Garcia. She got baptized in a different church, and doesn't really want anything to do with us. The other day we asked her to pray about whether or not she is in the path that God wants for her. Apparently she got her answer. The day she prayed she was sent to the hospital for 8 days straight. We just happened to knock on her door the day she got back from the hospital. While in the hospital, she told us, she did a lot of thinking. She says that she know it was a sign from God that she needs to come back to church. AMAZING. She really is having a change of heart, and I am excited to see where it takes her.
The ward is on fire still. They are bringing non-member friends to church. Jelitza Oliva grabbed my hand in sacrament meeting and pulled me to the front to introduce me to her best friend. Miracle! Maria is her name and she loved church and wants to know more about how she can be baptized. :)
I love this ward so much, the people are incredible. I love all of the investigators, less actives, in-actives and all we come in contact with. I just hope that they can feel of the love that Heavenly Father has for them. I know that I am not much, but I want to be an efficient and powerful tool in His hands. We taught a lot of lessons this week and were exhausted. The Lord really is opening up the windows of Heaven in this area. I am so excited for the miracles that are in store.
Thank you so much for all your love, support and prayers! I love you all so much! You all mean the world to me and you are always in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for everything and for the examples you are to me! This really is the greatest work that there is!!
Posted by Brooke Weenig at 3:37 PM