Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Work of Salvation

Fambam I know y'all already have, but you should bring friends and go watch it some more :) I thought it was SUPER legit. Mormons are real people! I don't know if they are still showing it-- we watched it this week as a mission and it was INCREDIBLE. I felt super proud to be a Mormon when I saw how awesome they are ;)
Also-- it was way hard to watch the family saying bye to their missionary....in a room completely full of missionaries.... I only cried a little...... Okay I cried a lot! I love you all SO much!! Thank you for letting me come on a mission- saying bye was hard but this is all so worth it.
Once again I have no idea where to start. This has been an INSANE week. I guess I will start with the updates on the people.
Uhm. Its been rough-- everyone that had a date has been bailing on their dates... I think I am starting to realize why a mission is hard. You come to love these people SO much, you spend every moment thinking about them, serving them, praying for them, studying for them, talking about them, talking to them- learning their stories and feeling their pains... I feel such an emotional attachment to them! Then you have to remember that they aren't perfect and are going to make mistakes, so you teach them how to overcome their roadblocks through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't think I can effectively explain all this in words... but I will keep trying. You invest your entire self into these lessons, trying to go by the Spirit and teach what they need in order to progress. THEN you bear testimony of these truths that have changed your life and you know they can change their lives too... You invite them to make a commitment, and then they promise you they will. Then the next time you see them, they tell you they were too busy or too tired to read or pray or come to church. Or they drink again. So you start all over with the process. It's exhausting, but because you love these people so much and want them to make these steps, you are willing to go back and start again with them. I don't know if I have done this justice, but that's pretty much life!
I think that all this hit me this week because of Hugo. He is going back to Mexico within the next month, and keeps telling us that he doesn't know about baptism. He knows the church is true, he believes in the Book of Mormon and prophets, but he doesn't want to make the commitment to be baptized, and he doesn't feel ready. I don't know what it was, but something in that lesson just made me soo sad. I cried the whole ride home from his house. I love Hugo!! He has been SO prepared, and SO gungho about every lesson and every reading assignment and church-- but recently he just doesn't feel it anymore. Me and Hermana Perez were feeling the Spirit so strongly during our lesson with him, but he was pushing it away. It hurt my heart, and I realized how hard this is... I didn't care about the language, I didn't care about the fact that I was tired.. I cared about Hugo and was wracking my brain trying to think of what we could do for him. And that's just ONE of the people that has been bailing on his baptismal date!
It just makes me think about our Heavenly Father and Savior. We are all imperfect people, whether we are members of the church or not. We need help!! And our Father in Heaven is SO patient with us when we forget to do the things we have promised Him we would do. He is SO merciful and loving and only wants what is best for us. He wants us to turn to Him and live the gospel so that we can experience the JOY! But that is only possible if we choose to. He knows what is best for us and what will bless our lives, and He tries over and over to let us know what those things are, but if we don't listen and ACT, we can't change. He is always there, willing to help us, but its our choice. All of that is true with our investigators too! At the MTC, they told us over and over that we are God's investigators, and all the things that we invite them to do, He is inviting us to do. All of the blessings we promise to them are promised to us as well!! The Church is true for everyone, and God's hand is extended to all! We are so blessed that we already know and have seen these blessings in our lives, and now we just need to share those blessings with other people! :)
I have felt so motivated this past week especially to work as hard as I can.. This is the WORK OF SALVATION and I am an instrument in God's hands!! BUT ALSO GUESS WHAT?? THE MISSIONARIES NEED HELP!
Did you get the chance to read "7 Lessons on Sharing the Gospel"?? It is AMAZING! I read it this week and it was INCREDIBLE. So... if you haven't read it.... you should read it... :) One of my favorite concepts that I hadn't thought of before was prayerfully "choosing a date to have the missionaries teach someone in your home". If you do that prayerfully and then WORK TO FIND SOMEONE, the Lord will place someone in your path or prepare someone's heart to accept the invitation. Have faith that God can work miracles! I want to start inviting the members to do that, because I have faith that God can do all things-- especially prepare people to hear the message of the gospel. Also I love the thought that people won't be offended if you ask them to listen to the missionaries! They may decline, but if you lovingly invite your friends, family, neighbors to hear something that is so important to you-- they will be grateful that you care about them enough to think of them. Anyways!! Read that talk, Clayton Christensen says it better than I could ;)
The Spirit is so real!! This week I have been really focusing on my studies. I want to be effectively learning during all my studies, especially things that I can teach to my investigators. Mostly what I changed were my prayers-- I would pray as I was learning, and specifically pray for a need that I knew of. I wrote down a question, then prayed about that question. Then as I was reading I would write down everything that came to my mind. I studied by topic, but somehow would be led to other things that I needed to learn, or that I should share with specific families, and I felt so guided!! It was AMAZING and I can't really explain it, but the Spirit is real and our prayers of faith are answered!!
Lastly... It is the end of my first transfer in Houston Texas and that is a crazy thought. I have experienced SO much already and I can't even imagine how much this mission is going to change me. Haha I feel like all my emotions are amplified, which is interesting since they were already so strong. I think that every day I am learning something new: about myself, about the Spirit, and about my Savior. I think that I am truly learning what it means to rely on the Lord because I know that if I were to only rely on my own strength, I wouldn't accomplish anything. I know that Heavenly Father knows ME, Shaelyn Rogers, and He has important things for me to learn here that I couldn't learn anywhere else. I hope more than anything that I will learn how to do His will and teach and love and serve with all my heart and might. I have so much that I want to be able to accomplish on my mission and I know that through Him anything is possible. I know that He already knows everything I am going through, and I can find peace when I turn to Him. I am learning how to counsel with the Lord in everything I am doing, how to pour out all my thoughts and feelings to Him in prayer, and ask for His help and strength. I am so grateful... SOOOO GRATEFUL for the opportunity I have to be here in Texas serving for these 18 months, and I am grateful that I can take the lessons I learn with me throughout my life.
This is a blessing. Its hard, but I know that I am here for so many reasons. I love this area and these people and this ward and this state. I love the Hispanic culture too haha wait real quick funny stories.
So. Hispanics are super blunt and they tell things like they are. Hugo told us one day that me and my companion had crazy hair and it looked like we hadn't brushed it at all.
Then another day I was trying to teach him something in Spanish, and this kid
 that was sitting in said, "Hermana. You should take Spanish lessons!!"
Hahaha ALSO. My companion one day looked at me and said, "I know my hair probably looks really bad right now, but you should see yours!"
Porfilio yesterday, we were trying to teach him plan of salvation, and we asked him to tell us about Adam and Eve (PS he is the one that has been investigating for 20 years.. he could teach us everything) But he was in a weird mood so he starts going off about Adam and Eve and says, "Then God made a woman and Adam said, "No I don't want that one, she's ugly!! make me a different one"". It was great. Anyways! This was a super long email and I have to go now, but I LOVE YOU ALL!! have a great week!! :):) 
Love, Hermana Rogers

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