Monday, March 30, 2015

Guide Me to Thee

Oooooooh, it's time to bring out the sweaters!!! Fall has finally arrived and my companion and I are shouting for joy!  We've had lightning storms almost everyday and so we're always drenched in water by the time we come home at the end of the day.  Husto!  When there is not rain, there is no electricity.  Once again, planning in the dark with our dinky flash lights :) 

So my companion and I have a wild experience this week....we were teaching an investigators in a member's home and we had another appointment to go to and well we tried to leave, the door wouldn't open!!!!  With her sense of humor, Hermana Romana said, "Well, looks like you are going out the window!!"  So....we climbed out the window, with a skirt...yep there's a first for everything.... :)

This week during our district meeting, I taught a class about "Finding the Chosen Ones", Alma 31:34-35

34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

The class turned out to be super fun.  I used a bunch of examples and practices and even better with candy! :) I really enjoyed studying about finding chosen people.  I feel like  you as the teacher, learn 10+ more than those just listening.  One thing I loved about this topic was applying humility.  That as we go out to find people, we need to exercise humility and recognize the help we need from the Lord and have a constant support for His help.  Preach My gospel, page 169 says, "Believe that people who are being prepared to receive the message of the restoration will be placed in your path.  God will also place you where your good acts and words will prepare people to receive missionaries and church members.  In every way you serve, you should do so because you love your brothers and sisters and therefore hope, pray and earnestly desire to teach them the restored gospel."

This week my companion and I have been working with an investigator  named Macarena and she  has been preparing to be baptized, but we're waiting for a marriage date.  So in the meantime, we taught her the word of wisdom and she told us that she, her husband, and her sister-in-law all smoked and one day she decided she didn't want to smoke anymore!! and...stopped!!!  Next, her husband and then her sister-in-law!!  The Lord has definitely been preparing her!  I thought that it was so interesting how east it was for her, but what it really came down to, was her decision, her faith and because she was sacrificing something for good.  God blessed her.  That same day, we taught a little about the temple and I had a picture of one, and she has a little boy who is 2 years and he saw me show the picture and wanted to hold it.  As I gave it to him, he sat down on his little "mini" chair and just sat there looking at it.  He suddenly dropped it and hurried to pick it up and dusted the dirt off of it.  It caught my attention that this little boy is so close to our Heavenly Father right now and just the little things they do are Christ-like.  It reminded me me to be more Christ-like and that little kids are our greatest examples.

Homework:  So General Conference is coming up!  I'm super excited and I hope you all are too!  I invite you all to think of some questions.  Write them down and bring them to General Conference and I promise you, your questions will be answered. :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Senor Que Quieres Que Yo Haga? Acts 9:6

So the newbies arrived on Wednesday!!! There were 16 Elders and only 4 Hermanas.  2 Latinas and 2 Americanas.  During the conference, President asked me to be his translator to help the people understand, as I was the only American girl training HA - my companion is Hermana Child and she is fabulous.  She also has a great sense of humor and she is 19 and is from  Farmington, Utah - like just about everyone on the mission, Utah, Utah, Utah... :)  She can't speak hardly anything and we are starting from the basics from the color blue...poor thing, but has the biggest heart and is ready to learn!!  I've learned so much about her in only three days and it feels like I've known her FOREVER!  She has the best attitude and a huge smile, I'm super excited for this transfer!!

So this week, God threw miracle after miracle at us.  On Saturday, we searched and searched for all of our investigators to remind and invite them to come to church, one was home  :(.  We offered prayer after prayer and we ended up having 1 hour left of our day.  I decided to give my companion 3 cards to give away and to contact the rest of the night.  That whole day we practiced "somos misionarias de la iglesia de Jesucristo" (We are missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ).  She knew she sounded like a Gringa (American) but smiled and was confident and took the lead.  Our first contact she found was a family that was ahead of us and she said, "alright we are going to run and catch-up to that family", so we did.  Unfortunately, they weren't interested, but we went for her second contact and my companion said her thing and then the mom say, "Hola Hermanas", she was a member with her daughter who is 10 years old and still hasn't been baptized!  She said she is in-active but is thinking about going back to church.  I shared with her that we had 30 minutes left of our day to find investigators to come to church and God put her in our path.  We shared a message with her and her little girl and got them both excited abou church!  That night my companion was talking to me about how we really do just about anything we can to talk to people, don't we!! "Running up to people to give just a little card, whipping out the scriptures when you have 3 minutes to talk before the bus/collectivo arrives to take  your investigator away, squatting down to teach someone through their window practically with your head upside down, praying and singing in the streets - and it doesn't matter about the dogs and cockroaches, etc."  I just laughed and said, "welcome to the mission, it will be one you will never forget!!"

That same Saturday, we found a family.  Our second visit, we came to invite them to come to church with us.  She has 4 kids, super young, all of them under the age of 11.  She and her husband, which btw are MARRIED!! Who Hoo!!!  When we came to visit, her kids ran up and gave us a huge, "Welcome".  We shared a message with the family but the mom is super scared because she is comfortable at the church she goes to and has church the same time we do.  Well, I decided to ask if we could offer a prayer together as a family.  So I whispered in one of the kid's ears to go get her other brothers and sisters to join us.  I said to them that with my family at home, we kneel on our knees as a family and so we did - right on the dirt!!  Haha.  We had all the kids put their hands in the middle, "spirit fingers", and then folded our arms, bowed our heads, and closed our eyes.  As we offered the prayer, the atmosphere was super peaceful and reverent.  We talked to the mom a little bit more and committed to listed to the lessons with her kids and her husband which we still haven't met.  Right as we were about to leave the littlest girl whispers in the mom's ear and says, " Mom, I want to go to that church".  As we left, I asked for a kiss on the cheek "their culture greeting and goodbye" and instead, she threw her arms out wide and gave me a huge kiss on the cheek and a great big hug at the same time.

I will never forget this moment I had with this family.  I know that in my heart, this family has been waiting for the gospel and as we work with them more, they will find answers and become an eternal family.  I know that God puts people in our path to help others.  There are people waiting, even if I have to get my skirt all dirty and kneel on the dirt floor.  I'll do it!  or  Throw myself out of my comfort zone to share the gospel.  I'll do it!  Because I love them and I'll do it because I love this work that I was called to do.  I know this gospel is true with all my heart, might, mind and strength.  It is the only way to our Father in Heaven and I'm willing to give up all that I have to be faithful members in HIS church and do what HE asks me to do.  I know that He lives and loves us and He wants to bring us nothing but eternal happiness.  

Homework:  Acts 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What Will be Your Greatest Creation?

I can't believe it's transfers already!  Our leaders called and I'm staying in, The Falda.  I'm not sure who my new companion is.....yet.  ...because the "newbees" don't arrive until Wednesday!  I'll be training this transfer :) so this week we celebrated "The day of the Women".  Argentina has a holiday for just about everything!  Ha, we had an activity for the branch and all of the men did something special for the women by giving them treats/goodies and played music all night long.  We have also been visiting a less active and she came to church on Sunday!  We were in the middle of singing our first hymn and she walked in and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face when I saw her!  What a blessing and she also gave a wonderful heart filled testimony during sacrament meeting.  It's good to have her back.  We also had lunch with Norma and her kids and Norma told us she has been bringing her Book of Mormon with her to work to read during free time and she told us that instead of getting married, the best thing to do is separate.  She has been waiting for an answer from the Lord because she knows with all her heart that as she continues to grow closer to the Lord, she has seen miracles and wants to do what the Lord has in store for her.  She will obtain many blessings a s she continues to be faithful.  My companion and I are praying for her and with hope in the Lord, "All things will fall into place."

So the other day, my companion and I were on our way back home right when the sun had hit a certain point in the sky and created a beautiful sunset.  Well I got to thinking of the creation of the earth, but then the creation of man.  But even more deeper, our creation as human beings.  God created man, and not only that, the earth.  If His creations are so great, what can we create?  What will be our greatest creations?  My companion was reading some talk the other day and I asked, "what are you reading", it was a talk from Lawrence E. Carbridge and he said,

"I realized that it isn't about the things we create that makes us great like becoming the world best sargent, or a professional basketball player, but our purpose is to become more like the Lord.  And to realize the full measure of our divine potential.  It's what we make of ourselves as human beings from the inside.  "The charity."  We can change ourselves and become more like the Lord or stay on the path that everyone else walks on and let the "natural man" become whatever life makes of you.  What is our goal?  To become the natural man or like our Savior?  The greatest example on the earth!  I love that our Father gave us agency so that we can "choose" good over bad, great over excellent.  But not only that, we can "choose" to change.  Change to be better or change to be weak.  Like the choices that we make, confident or insecure, happy or miserable, loving or kind.  "To believe that weaknesses and deficiencies in our character are unchangeable is to reject the central truth of the plan of salvation.  We are dynamic, change, evolving beings."  "We cannot stand still." 

I've realized that this change begins from the heart.  We cannot become like God if we are still fighting from with-in.  We need to give unconditional surrender and unconditional love, in order to create the change.  To kill the natural man and let God give himself in exchange to make a "masterpiece".  I know this to be true.  My goal is to become more like the Savior, I know I cannot become perfect by any means, but to be a worthy instrument to do what the Lord wants me to do.  I have also learned that it is not easy to do everything the Lord asks, but as we strive to be obedient, He will magnify us, not only for this life, but for the future.  We will be prepared to meet him "worthily" when that day comes.

Homework:  Who is your righteous idle?  Become like them!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Armor of God

Well, where to start...First of all this week we had our district meeting and the whole district decided to go on splits for three days.  It turned out great, the whole district had a bunch of success and it was super fun to get to know Hermana Leavitt for three days.  We had a ton of success in the Falda this week but we had to drop a few of our investigators and are working hard to find new references with many contacts in the streets.  

During the district meeting, I've watched a short video called, "The Atonement", by Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf.  I remember watching it twice before the mission and then this was my first time during the mission.  You understand it in a different perspective every time.  This time I understood how important the responsibility of the priesthood is and as a missionary the "Authority" we have to teach the gospel.  That we are "Called" and set apart by "God".  How crazy is that!  Something also stuck out to me was that as missionaries the work is NOT  EASY.  Especially when people are mocking us and laughing or slamming doors in our faces.  But that God is standing right next to us as they are doing the same to Him.  I noticed 3 points that I loved:  1.  When we communicate to God, give thanks (gratitude) 2.  Ask what you can do...(What can I do that needs to be done)  3.  Promise Him that you will do it.  I encourage everyone to watch this short message as it will touch your lives as it did mine.  This week we also had stake conference and "ruban" one of our investigators came to listen and it turned out great!  Our President and Hermana Parreno spoke and right when Hermana Parreno got up to speak she said, "I'm so happy to be here but for how short I am this plant in front of the pulpit is taller than I am, so I'm just going to use the little kid stool"  Ha!  She is so great!  She has the best sense of humor but gave such a powerful talk. It probably threw everyone over the edge.  She may be little but has a heart filled with a very strong spirit!!  This week we also planned a family Home Evening for all of the young adults, investigators, and recent converts as well as members who have young kids.  

We centered it around "The Armor of God".  We found random clothes and dressed one of the girls in her "Armor of God" apparel.  We based it on the talk, "Prepared Against the Day of Battle".  "May we by placing our trust in the Savior, the Lord of Hosts, be prepared and not stumble on the field of battle.  We applied it to the gospel and how the world is a battle field especially for the young ones.  At the end of the talk, it mentions some principles we should do at home.  "What practices are missing in our lives and our family?  Are we neglecting personal or family prayer?   Diligent study of the scriptures?  Service to our brothers and sister?  Sabbath day observance?  Temple worship?  Love for our neighbors?"  At home, what are we lacking?  What is it that we need to work better on and firmly in our lives?  We CAN study our scriptures but NOT say our prayers, and it is like going to the battle field without a helmet!  We aren't properly prepared.  We need to remember to use the FULL Armor of God and be prepared to stand against our enemies!

D&C 27:15-18
15 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.
 16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;
 17 Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;
 18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.

Homework:  The video, "The Atonment"