February 10, 2014 – Paraguay
Drum roll….. I`m staying in P! YES!! And I`m going to be training. I don`t know who my new comp is, but I`m going tomorrow to pick her up. The sad thing is that Hna. Trillo and I are separating. She has been such a great friend to me and I have learned so much from her. But I`m super excited for her to go start her own adventure training in E! I`m glad that I get to stay and help strengthen our new converts and baptize the AMAZING B family!
After 2 transfers of WORK we saw amazing success! This week at church, for the first time in my mission, we met the mission standard of excellence for church attendance: SIX INVESTIGATORS CAME TO CHURCH. DO YOU KNOW HOW AMAZING THAT IS? THAT`S WHY I`M SHOUTING IT, BECAUSE IT IS SO AMAZING!!!!!
We are working with this family, the B family. There are 7 of them, ages 12-27. The five kids came to church, everyone but the parents, but si o si. We are going to bring the parents to church this week! Every time we come to visit they`re all waiting with a bajillion chairs in a circle to share together. They all run to get their Books of Mormon and are just amazing! At the end of every lesson we get down on our knees and pray together and the Spirit brings a beautiful peace. Each one of them prays and they say beautiful heartfelt prayers. They are the best!!! For serious!! I love them so much 🙂
Right now is the season of carnival. We tract in danger. This is the month of random water balloon attacks. People run around in their cars, see people walking, and pelt them with water balloons. Yesterday we walked in front of a house full of kids with a huge bucket of water balloons. The kids said GET THEMMMMM!!!! And the parents yelled NOOO! Those are the missionaries! They`re holy!
Whew. Close one.
Also, the clothes they wear are very VERY questionable.
We walk in fear. haha.
Our recent convert, J, bore such a beautiful testimony to us in a lesson yesterday. Every time we visit him he just says over and over again, I know it`s true. Everything I feel, everything I do, everything I see testifies of the truth of the church. It makes me so happy to see such a firm testimony of the truth! He is 2nd counselor in the Young Mens. He`s already passing the sacrament, he`s preparing to go on the temple trip in July, and he is just great!
Our other recent convert, R, moved out of our area and the elders are working with him. But he`s super great too! He`s the ward mission leader in training, and has a fire ball testimony too. He knows so much and the elders love visiting investigators with him!
It’s great to see people who are truly converted to the gospel be baptized. Those who truly receive that witness of the Spirit and are determined to endure to the end. There are so many beautiful examples of that in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 5, The people of Alma, the people of Ammon. It is so inspiring to me to see such great faith. Seeing things like this makes up for every disappointment, appointments fallen through, those days when you walk and walk and everyone is sleeping or busy or is hiding from you. Seeing the miracle of the Atonement changing another`s life (and my own) makes all of this worth it. All of it! If I can bring save it be, one soul into the Kingdom of Heaven, how great shall be my joy with him? But really there`s nothing holding me back from bringing thousands of souls like in Alma 26.22. That`s my goal really. Thousands of souls. Why would I shoot any lower? 🙂
I`m so sorry to hear about Sister LaParra [family friend injured in a car accident], but they will be in my prayers. I know that God gives us challenges because He loves us and wants to bless us. He wants us to grow, to stretch and to change. He wants to bless us for overcoming our challenges. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to suffer for us. Christ suffered voluntarily for each one of us to know how to help us and to succor us. To know how to lift us in times of need and to give us the comfort that we need. He could have received all of that through revelation, but He chose to suffer personally for each one of us instead. I cannot imagine such love.
Missions are tough, but only if you choose for them to be tough. Only if you choose not to be satisfied with average, only if you desire to change and become better, only if you truly desire to save God`s children and do everything within your power to do His will and His work, only if you choose to let the Spirit guide your life. A mission is what you make it. A mission is what makes you.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the role of the Spirit in my life. I have never before felt such peace. For such a simple act as prayer, sharing a scripture, taking a deep breath, this peace just fills me. When we sit down to share with our investigators, this peace surrounds us. When I pray to God and ask Him to bless these people and plead for His help to let me change and ask for His guidance, my heart is just filled to the brim with gratitude to Him and peace and assurance in His son Jesus Christ.
This week I spent a lot of time reading and pondering the Pride talk by Ezra Taft Benson. It`s about as direct as it gets and it cuts you to the core. I think what we try to do so many times is develop those attributes of Christ, love, humility, patience, without addressing the giant wall and mote and army that stands in between me and Christ. Which would be my fat ugly pride. haha.
I get frustrated with myself because I don`t change very fast. I think I only take baby steps on the path. I spend most of my time falling and picking myself up again. But I`m going! I`m not regressing. Eventually I`m going to get there.
Before this earth life we covenanted with the Father that we would return. I believe He counseled with each one of us personally, schooled us, and trained us to prepare us for this life. We knew the weaknesses and trials we would face. We knew that it would not be easy. That it would be tough. But God trusted in us. God trusted in me, that I would be able to complete my mission in this life and return to Him. He trusted in me, so I trusted in Him. I trusted that He would give me all the help that I needed to get there.
That`s what this life is all about. Trust. Trust in God. I trust that He will help me. That He is always there for me. That He has a perfect plan for my life. I trust that if I do my very best, He will make up the rest, that my efforts aren`t in vain, and that He IS my Father, my God. I love Him. And that`s why I trust Him. I know He wants the best for me.
I`m so grateful!
I love you all so much! Thanks for the letters!