Sunday, August 30, 2015
The Work Goes On
This week was ALSO amazing!
One thing I love about the mission is that even when you have hard days, you look back overall and just see SO many miracles, and then the hard things just kind of melt away in your mind and you can hold on to those INCREDIBLE THINGS THAT GOD IS DOING FOR PEOPLE!!!
So on Monday we had a 3 family noche de hogar (family home evening) with the Banuelos, the Maldonados, and the Garcia family. We talked about our families and what makes us all unique and special, and had everyone draw out and explain their families. Salvador's drawing was THE CUTEST. He drew a sun coming out from behind these hills and said, "I drew the sun shining over my family because now that we have the gospel in our lives its like there is this light shining on us". AH SO GREAT! I love that family SO much. :) It was so fun to have 3 different families there, plus me and Hermana Andrus talking about our families, because we really just felt SO MUCH LOVE that we all have for each other, and could tell that there is love in the homes of these members :) I hope that the Banuelos really felt that too. There are still struggles to work with, but really the gospel is the way to get through everything!
Tuesday we did a LOT of service! We worked with this member to move into her new house-- she went from a teeny tiny apartment to this MASSIVE house where she will live with her husband, her daughter, and her nephew and family. They were so happy to be moving in and to finally have space, so we spent a lot of time helping them! The daughter of the member is NOT a member, but one of her sons had gotten baptized, and the other was close to baptism. I don't know exactly what happened, but it sounds like they had heard lots of negative things about the church, which uprooted their testimonies of what they did know. It is so sad to me when peoples doubts overshadow their testimonies and cause them to wither…I hope that living with a member couple will rekindle that testimony or at least make them curious again! We will see!
Tuesday night we went and saw Daniel! (Josue's brother that came to the baptism of the Banuelos). Daniel had told us that he had a friend that he had been talking to about the church and invited him to come with him and learn more, so we were waiting Tuesday night for his friend to show up, but while we were waiting, we taught him Book of Mormon. We were able to go pretty in depth with him because he had a lot of questions and was genuinely looking for answers. It was AMAZING.
We also saw Noe, and we had President Garcia with us. President pulled out this comparison thing-- when people are sick, instead of sitting around at home, they go to the doctor where they know that they can be healed! They know their pains will be taken care of, and they are in the hands of people who know what they are doing and can bring them back to health. When people are spiritually sick and hurting, they don't just sit around and pity themselves, they need to look for help. They need to come to church where they can find peace and comfort and healing. They need to be taken care of by the One who knows their needs. They need the Spirit to heal their heart. Noe hasn't been coming to church for a few weeks now, but I think the analogy that President used was exactly what he needed to hear.
Wednesday we went on splits with 2 members in the YSA ward!! Angela Johnson (a recent convert) and Heather Hillan (waiting on a mission call). In the space of 2 hours, we were able to teach 9 MEMBER PRESENTS!!! It was absolutely amazing and such a miracle! We have really been working on teaching as we find, which means every person we talk to, we teach the Restoration to. We want to give EVERYONE the opportunity to accept this message, not just those that remember to call the number on a little card we give them. It's awesome.
Saturday night and Sunday were stake conference and guess who came??
We were able to go with one of our investigators Gloria to visit one of her friends that has cancer- we went over the lesson plan with Gloria before we left, and then when we got there, only her friends husband was there. We started explaining to him about the church, and GLORIA starts chiming in with her testimony, talking about how nice it feels when you go to church. She told this guy all about what we believe and it threw me for quite the loop! I had no idea Gloria knew all this stuff about the church. I mean it makes sense because her mom is a member, and so is her sister, but I thought she had kept her distance her whole life. But instead, Gloria tells him about the Spirit and what it feels like, and how kids can learn there, and that she wishes her kids had grown up in the environment of the church. WHAAAA? So that was cool! :) Her other sister is Carmela, the one that married our branch mission leader....
Thursday WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE :) The Beaumont zone all went! President and Sister Drake were there and it was sooooo nice to go, I really needed it! :) I loved the opportunity to reflect on all the blessings we have as members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know that God's plan is to provide us with HAPPINESS. Even though we have times of sorrow, Heavenly Father has given us the way to receive a FULNESS OF JOY.
Friday we went back to Maggie's!! :) we brought her a bunch of baby clothes from President Garcia and she loved them! She seemed so happy to see us, and it was AWESOME to see her again, even if now isn't the time she chooses to be baptized, I want her to feel God's love from us.
There is this less active in our Ward that we went to visit and she is the biggest sweetheart! She was telling her conversion story and said that when the elders came to the door she said she knew she had been waiting for them. The gospel filled a vasio she didn't know she had. She literally was soooo happy we had come to visit her...she almost cried telling us how much we meant to her and how happy she was we came by.
Then we went to Josue and Daniel! Daniel had said they were going to Houston, but Josue had told us we could come over so they stayed late and waited for us to get there and teach them before they went to Houston, so we explained Book of Mormon and then Daniel explained it to his brother Josue and it was so cute! He said like, "It was written by a prophet Mormon on planchas y el los escondió en un montaña y después josé Smith los descubrió porque un ángel moróni hijo de mormón se le mostró a el donde estaban. Verdad?" Like dead on perfect description. So we shared our testimonies a little bit, then asked Daniel to tell us why it would be important to have the Book of Mormon, and he had some perfect answer like "Well it is important because it shows us the way to God right? And if we want to do good, we have to read this book and it will tell us what is good and what is bad, and it will teach us how to follow God" etc etc awesomeness. This guy is so amazing!!! Oh also one of his friends that lives with them was there and Daniel was like, "oh by the way this is my friend that I also invited to come to church with us, and he wants to listen to you! I also told him all about you, he lives with us" and it's not Henry, the other one he had already invited! He's already such a bomb missionary!
He also told us that he always feels happy when he is with us and when he goes to church, but then when he left church on Sunday, he felt sad. Told him that was the spirit in his life, and that he can keep the Spirit with him by reading in the Book of Mormon :)
SATURDAY WE HAD A MISSION CONFERENCE WITH LAWRENCE E CORBRIDGE FROM THE SEVENTY! LIKE THE ONE THAT WROTE THE FOURTH MISSIONARY!!!!!! It was AMAZING, I took notes, so I will copy and paste them now :)
in order to have faith:
1- idea of the existence of God
2- correct understanding of the attributes and characteristics of God
3- actual knowledge that the course you're pursuing is acceptable to Heavenly Father
When you think you're not good enough, hate to be bearer of bad news but..you're not!
If you feel like you don't have what it takes, join the club!
EVEN THOUGH YOU AND I ARE NOT ABLE, THE LORD IS ABLE.
All YOU need to be able to say is "I'm on the path, moving forward. I'm weak, Ive done idiotic things in the past, I am imperfect. But I regret past mistakes and am on the gospel path giving it everything I've got, not holding anything back."
That's all we need to be able to say! That is the 3rd part of faith, the actual knowledge that the course we are pursuing is acceptable to God. A belief in yourself is an aspect of faith and will allow us to have confidence in the presence of God.
THIS IS GODS WORK. IT DOES NOT DEPEND ON YOU AND I. HE CAN RAISE US UP. ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT ABLE, HE IS ABLE, AND HE WILL MAKE US ABLE TOO.
LIFE IS HARD.
We have 2 alternatives:
1- We can be faithful and obedient, be endowed with God's power, have strength, confidence, light, joy, peace, love, wisdom, follow the Spirit
2- or We could do our own thing and be in darkness, confusion, weakness, without power of God on our side, without the Spirit's guidance, etc.
ULTIMATELY, LIVING THE GOSPEL IS THE ONLY REASONABLE WAY!
BE OF GOOD CHEER! But if it's hard, just remember that a lot of other people have done a lot of hard things, all for the purpose of this greater good!
Side note he talked a little bit about family history and said that "All that came before comes down to ME. I AM THE COMPLETE BENEFICIARY OF EVERYTHING THAT COMES BEFORE ME". It made me feel a great sense of responsibility. My heritage, the legacies that my ancestors have left, were all to bring me to where I am today. I am the result of generations of sacrifice, and it also made me feel an extreme sense of gratitude. Especially for my family that joined the church- BECAUSE OF THEM I AM HERE TODAY. it is a responsibility but such a blessing. I am so grateful, and want to live up to my heritage and leave my own legacy.
Then he talked a ton about how IT ISNT ENOUGH TO FAITHFULLY SERVE MISSIONS, HEAVENLY FATHER EXPECTS US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! He expects us to BE FRUITFUL, because "BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM".
Part of the Texas Houston East purpose that we recite every day includes the scripture 3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life". Elder CORBRIDGE re-wrote that and said, "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ...I am called to DECLARE HIS WORD, in such a way that people understand it, so much so that something happens and the people make changes, which will lead them THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE."
It is my responsibility to teach so people understand.
In order to make a difference, I must work by the gifts and power of God. Which means I need to be endowed with power and have the companionship of the Holy Ghost in my life. Having an actual knowledge that what I am doing is pleasing to God, as well as working under His power and the Spirit's influence is what will make a difference in the lives of those I visit and teach.
In the scriptures, the people were ASTONISHED at Christ's doctrine. Elder Corbridge read a lot of scriptures about how the people were astonished at Christ's doctrine for the word was with power and He taught as one having authority from God. THATS ALL I HAVE TO DO! Declare His word with power, in a way that they will understand, and I will be able to astonish people.
He talked a ton about effective teaching and what that means, which was AWESOME. I learned SO MUCH. Basically, EFFECTIVE TEACHING IS TO UNDERSTAND THE WHY OF OUR MESSAGE. WHAT IS THE END DESTINATION AND HOW DO WE GET THERE?
For example, the end goal of everything we teach is ETERNAL LIFE.
The route is to keep the commandments
Conclusion: Keep the commandments, endure to the end, and you will have eternal life!
He gave this example as well.
DESTINATION: Be redeemed of sin, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and inherit eternal life.
ROUTE: THROUGH THE ATONEMENT, we can be forgiven, receive the Holy Ghost in our lives and ultimately inherit eternal life by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Have faith, repent, receive ordinances by priesthood authority which was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. (Be baptized for the remission of sins and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost). You can know the truthfulness of all of these things by reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.
CONCLUSION: we want investigators to say, "I will read and pray about the Book of Mormon, have faith in Christ, repent, worthily receive ordinances beginning with baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost". We want this BECAUSE we know IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE WITH HEAVENLY FATHER!
What keeps me going as a missionary is knowing and understanding the path. Jesus Christ has provided His gospel, his doctrine, to show us that HE IS THE WAY. Understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ helps keep me going, having that desire myself to receive the fruits of His Atonement and a desire to help others as well. The greatest blessings we can receive in this life are the blessings of the Atonement! MY PURPOSE IS TO INVITE PEOPLE TO DO THE THINGS THAT WILL QUALIFY THEM FOR ETERNAL LIFE.
Okay THAT HAPPENED, also me and my companion Hermana Andrus were asked by the Assistants to the President if we would SING AT THE CONFERENCE. LIKE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. it was terrifying but also way fun. My companion has an AMAZING voice.
JOSUE, DANIEL AND THEIR FRIEND ARMANDO! :)
Josue and Daniel had been in Houston on Saturday and were supposed to be there until Sunday, but THEY CAME ALL THE WAY BACK SO THEY COULD GO TO CONFERENCE!! They are seriously amazing. Saturday night the Spanish branch (us) sang in stake conference so they had to sit by themselves while we sat on the stand, but SO many people went over and helped them with headsets for translation, said hi, etc. I think like 3 different members offered to bring them over for dinner, it was great! I love them so much! :)
ANYWAYS THAT WAS MY WEEK IT WAS SO GREAT, sorry this got so long, there are just so many stories! I love you all SO much. Thank you for all the support and I hope all goes well in Utah and you travel safely back home!
Love ya with all my heart!