Thursday, October 20, 2016
This week has been kind of crazy. We worked hard, had lots of service, and kept things going here in Frederick! Honestly, this week started off pretty great, but was a little disappointing. We have been working hard with one of our investigators, and at the beginning of the week he was looking super exciting. He was excited to meet with us and learn. We met with him twice right off the bat, but then he canceled on us and we rescheduled. We came by, and though he was there, he did not come to the door or let us in. Also, he had said he wanted to come to church, but he decided against it. All in all, it just means that people have their agency. It is sad to see people who want to change decide not to. This does not mean that we are giving up hope on him, but rather we have to stop visiting him until he wants to keep commitments. I hope and pray that someday he will desire once again the light he has felt. Though, on the flip side, our other investigators seem to be making, though very slow, progress. Yotsy is really the one that is showing to me that God is watching over us. Initially he was just curious and just liked talking to us, now, he is excited to meet with us. He is beginning to see the effects of the truth in his life. The difficult thing with him is that he has TONS of questions and does not believe in Christ. The thing is, I can see it in his eyes that he wants to believe, but has doubts for the need of a savior. The cool thing is that things we have talked about in the Plan of Salvation just make sense to him. This week was hard to meet with him because his wife Liz had a migraine. We gave her a blessing. I learned that blessings have to be accepted and have their power because of the faith. I am not sure if they had the faith that what she was receiving was really going to work. The interesting thing was that I knew without a doubt that if she believed then she would have been healed on the spot. This did not happen though. I don't think it was that she did not have faith that God could heal, but rather that the power was actually being manifest to her. To top off the week we had a wonderful Noche de Hispanidad! I was very glad that things worked out because they overused us as missionaries to help set up for that thing! It was wonderful with food and dancing from all the Latin American countries!
So as summary because my thoughts and experiences were all over the place
1. People have their agency and it is a powerful thing. When we exercise it to follow Christ, the windows of heaven are opened, but we can also choose not to let them be opened.
2. The power of prayer in the name of Jesus Christ is amazing. I know that it is because of Yotsy's grain of faith to trust that his prayers would begin to be answered if he did it in the name of Jesus Christ.
3. There is great power in faith. I am convinced that the energy source of the universe is faith. The power comes from God, and through faith, we open ourselves to His love and Mercy.
4. We are all children of God. Though we look different, we all have divine heritage.
I love you all and thank you for your prayers.
This week has been great! So I am not being transferred nor is my companion! This is pretty exciting to me because President indicated in my interview that I was pretty sure to be transferred to a half Spanish and half English(Zebra) companionship. Looks like not though!
This week we had success and interesting things.
1. I learned how much I love the people here, and because of that how much God loves us. I also decided I never want to be told I am leaving or staying until the actual day. It is not fun, but at the same time I learned a lot from it.
2. People recognize the truth of the Plan of Salvation. We are teaching a man and his family. Yotsy Ruiz. They are from Venezuela. He has been looking for truth and has a hard time believing in Christ. He has delved into the 'religion' Scientology but couldn't find peace in it. We have been having a hard time touching his heart, but the other day, we were able to talk about the Plan of Salvation and the premortal life. Things just sort of clicked for him. Also, they mentioned that they like having us over because they can feel a difference when we are there. Awesome!
3. The Spirit testifies specifically to people an their needs. We taught Zadir(This is correct this time) and he brought up baptism and the necessity. Also, he told us some of his concerns and we taught about tithing. It was very powerful and we were better able to direct the discussion to his needs.
These are some of the things that had impact on me this week. I know this letter is short, but I just don't know quite what to share. I feel though that I truly am inviting others to come unto Christ. I love you all!
Holy Smokes! I don't feel like a week has gone by, but that is the way I guess. Life here in Frederick, MD is pretty great! We are teaching new people and doing the Lord's work!
We had an awesome lesson the other day with a man named Ilario. (ilario) I think that's his name, though I am not entirely sure because it was the first time I had ever heard it. He is from the Dominican Republic, which means his Spanish is way different, but he is awesome! We were actually trying to teach his son-in-law, Johnzci, (yo-on-see) but he has six bouncing children so it was a little difficult to teach him. However, Ilario was there and we were able to teach the whole Restoration. The Spirit was strong and we invited him to be baptized the 30 of October. He has many things to change still, but the Lord will make all possible.
Later that day, we taught a man named Samir(In previous letters he may have been called Samuel, or Sadir, or Samil. His pronunciation of his name was weird, and he spelt it wrong last time we asked soooo) He struggles with accepting Joseph Smith and actually following through with commitments. He has a strong desire to learn but has no support from those around him. We visited him, and things just worked out. It was in this time we figured out why it was so hard to keep commitments and we are working hard with him.
Things I learned this week...
Well, I think perhaps I do not have time to share it all and that it may be difficult to number.
1. I didn't really learn this, but it was affirmed. The Apostles are prophets, seers and revelators. They are without a doubt the servants the Lord has chosen to guide His church. As I was watching conference, I just felt the Spirit testify of their divine mantel. It happened on every one of them. I could literally see it in them.
2. The Apostles have been inspired with revelation that we needed. As I was listening and thinking, the more I ponder, the more I realize how needed their message was for us.
3. They are missionaries as well. I found that throughout the conference, all the points of the lessons were covered.
4. The (again reaffirmed) Book of Mormon is without a doubt the true word of God and has been written for our day. Both because of the testimonies of the Apostles, and the manifestation I received, I know that it is true. Along the same lines, I know that the words written are written for us. I have been studying the war chapters this week and have been trying to apply and see the purpose behind why we needed them written for our time. Very interesting. Other thought, there is a devotional or something given by John Bytheway that helps get you set in the mindset.
5. Preparation is key to receiving personal revelation. I don't think that I have ever been as prepared to listen to conference as I was this past weekend.
If there is any doubt that the Atonement can heal all, go and listen to the messages shared at this conference. There is no doubt to me of the infinite healing power that comes through Christ. Also, there is none on this Earth that doesn't need the relief it can bring. Consequently, there are none who do not qualify to receive these blessings. Repentance is not a burden, nor a means to make us feel guilt, however, it is a healing process that is one of the greatest gifts we have been given.
Words, and thoughts.
This week has been way awesome! We had the opportunity to hear from many General Authorities including Elder Dallin H. Oaks. You would be way surprised to know that he has a wonderful sense of humor! Who knew? I was expecting a throw down of repentance on our mission, but apparently we are already one of the best and we have been doing well so he didn't need to throw down. That does not mean that we are perfect, but just that we are doing well. He gave this wisdom:
1. Don't measure success as a missionary by the exercise of someone else's agency. We do all we can, but that would defeat the point if people didn't get to choose.
2. Work to convert people to the Gospel pf Jesus Christ, not the church.
3. In teaching don't assume too much. These are young children in the gospel.
4. Teach investigators the importance of commitments. The gospel is a series of commitments made and then kept. It is an eternal principle.
5. --The rest of the meeting, the majority, was spent on recognizing the Spirit and the guidance of Him especially in personal revelation.
We had some really neat experiences this week
1. We received a referral named Oscar Hernandez. We were able to meet them and teach him a little about the Plan of Salvation, but mostly that God is there and does answer us. We are teaching him again today!
2. We contacted another referral late in the day, like 8:40, about a mile from home, and we were on foot. This didn't stop us! We taught Ivan about the Book of Mormon and set a return appointment. We then were in the area and were able to teach him again and asked about baptism. He is not on date yet, but he will be soon!
3. We have been teaching a man named Gregorio and he has been progressing, but slowly. He would be baptized, but his "wife" does not want to get married because she will lose government support. She does not like missionaries. But, a wonderful miracle happened! She came to church with him yesterday! She didn't stay the whole time, but the fact that she came shows the Hand of the Lord.
4. So, last week my companion got really heated talking to this one man. It was definitely a learning experience. We actually saw him again and my companion did something wonderful. He started going to him and I just thought, "ohhhhhhh no... not again!" However, my companion showed me something very great, he went up and apologized to the man. What an example of humility.
Just some of our adventures walking!
I love you all,
As you can probably notice, my preparation day was not yesterday, but is in fact today! The reason for this is that we had Zone Conference with Elder Robert C. Gay of the 70 for our mission tour. This week is pretty exciting because we are having an Apostle an two more members of the Seventy. I do know who they are, but they have been pretty tight with who it is so I'm not sure if I am supposed to share that quite yet. I am way excited for this.
My mother asked me to tell a little more about my companions so I will.
Elder Skarda was pretty cool! He was smart and always trying to do good. He has lived all over the place but will say he is from Minnesota. Elder Skarda is very obedient, but knows to have fun too. He has been out a year as of last transfer.
Elder Baum is the BOMB! He is super great and what a trooper! He has been sick all but the first two transfers of his mission. He is from Spanish Fork Utah. His family was inactive growing up, but he gained his testimony through prayer and study of the Book of Mormon.
Elder Garcia Cordero is from Bogota Colombia. He is 23. His family is half Catholic and half LDS. He lives with his mom's side in Utah and has for 9 years now. He was baptized when he was 14, but didn't gain a testimony until a little over a year ago. He has had to work hard for it and is committed.
I had many experiences this week that I learned from
1. Listen- No matter how many times they keep telling me this, I always feel I can work on this one better. Not only is it important to listen to other people, but even more is to listen to the promptings of the Spirit. They are there, we just take a little while sometimes to hear. Elder Gay talked about this quite a bit yesterday.
2. The Book of Mormon has Power in conversion. We have been working harder to get people to read and progress and it is amazing the difference it makes.
3. We have an impact on people. One of our investigators named Giovani asked if he could take a picture with me. I wish I had used my camera as well, but sadly I didn't think about it at the time. Apparently I had an impact on him, more than I had even thought. Sadly, he had an emergency and had to return to El Salvador.
All in all, everything is well, the work is moving forward!
I am a little short on time because I took a little longer to email President. All is well here in the good ole Frederick Spanish branch! My new companion is Elder Garcia Cordero. He is pretty great and also likes chess. We had some pretty good games of chess during our meal times. All in all, things are good.
The good stuff!
Because I am short on time, I am going to share this experience from this week because it was plain amazing!
One really cool experience, and this has happened twice now, is that we were in the right place at the right time to bring a soul to Christ. We were trying to meet with one of our investigators, but he wasn't there. As we were leaving we went up to an English speaking lady and just started talking. We ended up teaching the restoration and she said that this was what she has been looking for for a long time. She told us that many people had come up to her and talked with her about religion but none just felt right. We invited her to be baptized and she said that she would because she knows that this is where she is supposed to be. Her name is Sally.
I know that the Lord blesses each and every one of us and knows us as individuals.