For the last year and a half, I have written emails home every week including stories and experiences of the changes I have seen in people's lives due to the gospel. Sitting down for the last time in a little internet cafe in Guatemala, this time I am going to write a little more personal. This week's letter will be focused on the change in my own life.
18 months ago, I left my home to come to Guatemala...in just three days, I am leaving my home to go to the United States. It's crazy how before the mission, I thought serving Christ for 18 months would somehow repay a small amount of the debt I owed to Him, but I'm just returning in even more debt.
Mark 5:19 "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." I came to Guatemala with my bags packed with new, unmarked spanish scriptures, empty journals, new shoes, an average testimony and a heart somewhat lacking faith. I'm returning with the same scriptures that now need to be rebound because of their use, my journals now filled with notes from conferences and experiences, only one pair of shoes that a widow gave to me even though it only left her with one other pair, a testimony that will carry me throughout my life and a heart that is now filled with hope and love for my Savior.
I'm returning with new eyes that have seen people in the hardest circumstances change their lives through the atoning powers of Christ. I'm returning with new ears that have heard their own testimonies shared with their tears. I'm returning with stories of His angels protecting me from dangerous situations and supporting me through hard days and sicknesses. I'm returning with a greater knowledge of my faults and debilities, but with a great dependance on my Savior to make me stronger. And I'm returning with a greater idea of who I am supposed to be. It will take my whole life to become who He wants me to be, but I finally know that it is possible to be lifted up by His hands. It will also take my whole life to come to know Him, but I finally know it is possible to let Him change us. Before the mission, I knew He was my Savior, but now I believe it. I knew that God existed, but now I believe it. I knew that He loves his children, but now I believe it. And now I feel it.
My greatest convert has become myself and I finally understand what God's purpose is...to help us back to Him. Everything He does is based on this purpose. I know He called prophets in the Old and New testaments, and I know He called prophets in the Americas. All of their writings and stories are to help us prepare to return to Him. I know that a young boy, Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ and they responded to his question. With all the confusion in the world, there was a need for another prophet so that we can know that there is a plan of happiness, that there is hope and faith and that there is a Savior. So that we could recieve the fulness of the gospel with all the scriptures and revelations to give us a purpose, to give us a light in our lives. I love these people, I love this country, I love these experiences, I love the culture, I love my companions, I love the leaders, I love seeing His hand every day... and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it is true and not only has it changed every aspect in my life, it will continue to change me. God sent me here to Guatemala to share His gospel and now He is sending me home to my family and to my friends to "tell them how great things the Lord hath done for (me) and hath had compassion on (me)." Iré y haré.
I'll see you soon,
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
My parents are now officially missionaries as well. How wonderful is this work that continues to spread. I am so proud to be blessed with such an amazing family...it inspires me to work even harder these next few weeks!
My greatest fruit that I saw this week was the confirmation of S and her children. M, her son was the first who was confirmed. I peeked as they started the confirmation and when everyone else closed their eyes and they started the blessing, he just had the biggest smile ever. It's amazing how a boy of just 8 years can already feel the happiness of the gospel. He will be a great missionary one day. Sara's other daughters went after her son and Sara was saved for last. The blessing included that she will be able to guide her children so they will make eternal covenants and that she will be the medio to bring more family members into the church. They all walked back to the wooden bench and S just sat down and had humble tears running down her face. The thought ran through my head of her friend's words just three weeks before of how she "had a friend that was a little sad" and wanted us
|Missionary work Guatemala style|
|a happy family|
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I'm really happy to be here today and I'm really happy to be a missionary. Life is beautiful and fragile and every day really is a blessing. This message is true, I knew it but I believe it more and more very day.
"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." I have often felt help throughout my mission...walking with my backpack that suddenly felt lighter in the day, escaping dangerous situations, testifying of Christ to a robber with his hands around my neck. But yesterday, I had angels to my left and to my right. To my right was a physical angel, my companion...I can only imagine who was walking on my left. We walked past a huge truck and the driver tried to start hitting on us in English, he was obviously drunk but we just kept walking. A little ways up the street, my companion was on my right and to her right was a stationed car. We suddenly heard a loud honking and the drunk guy was speeding behind us and heading straight for us. To my left, I wouldn't have been able to make it but to my right, there wouldn't have been enough space. Somehow, I found myself to my companions right side, in front of the stationed car as the drunk driver sped by, passing through the spot where my body was, without even hesitating. She had grabbed my skirt as I tried to get out of the way and pulled me to her other side...and by the size and speed of the car as it brushed past us, I would've been under its right tires and I wouldn't have made it. The most beautiful thing is, I felt my companion on my right but I could also feel some pushing on my left side. I know that I have angels watching over me. It's inexplicable how my life was saved in that moment...but I know that I have a lot more help than I can see. Life is beautiful and God is powerful. With my companion scared all afternoon because she thought she was going to lose me, and my thoughts still jumbled with a fast beating heart, I have never been more grateful to be alive. The sun is shining brighter today and the skies look more blue...I hope to remember how every day is a miracle.was also another day that was a miracle. Sara and her three children were baptized. It was a beautiful service but my favorite part was stopping by that night to share a message with them. We passed by their neighbors first while we were waiting for a member to accompany us to the visit. While we were teaching, we could hear one of Sara's children in the next house, singing "I am a Child of God"...and they don't have hymn books, it was entirely memorized. We finished the visit and then went to Sara's house to find her helping her daughter work on personal progress and the Book of Mormon open on their table. They were overjoyed the entire day after the baptism...it's really inspiring to see how happy the gospel can help people become.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I officially have the best companion in the whole mission. The times I have gotten sick on the mission, I have gotten pretty sick and yesterday wasn't an exception. , On Sunday I had a pretty bad cold and was feeling really tired with a little fever. We went to bed Sunday night and I woke up with the stomache flu on Monday morning. My companion cared for me and, she just sat by me and scratched my back.. I love being companions with my best friend.
It was also her birthday so we made it a really special day. Throughout the week, we didn't have very much success and we were looking for people to prepare to be baptized in June. The days before her birthday, we were kind of shut down....a lot. We had three families in church the before but they weren't planning on coming to church this . , all of our appointments had fallen through and I was praying for a "birthday miracle"...a powerful lesson or some positive new investigators. We felt we should go up to go visit a family who have been investigating for some time but hasn't even come to church. The mother is a pastor and knows it is true but can't come to church because she has a congregation that she can't leave...We decided to leave them for some time but we had a feeling to start walking towards their house. It was raining and we just started walking to see if they were home...We met a member walking up a dirt alley and she told us we should walk with her and then loop around to our original destination of the family. We agreed and started walking with her. She then simply said, "One of my friends is really sad right now. And she wants me to go and talk about God with her." She then brought us to her friends house and we met a beautiful mom, named Sara, with 4 kids...one who is conveniently turning 8 and two more who are over the age of eight. We shared a very simple message about the love of God and invited her to church . It was a powerful lesson and I just turned to Hermana R after and said, "I'm pretty sure that was a birthday present from God." It turned out to be even more beautiful when the member brought her to church the following day and they stayed for all three hours. In school, the teacher finished the lesson twenty minutes early and just looked at us to improvise. Another recent convert was sitting by Sara and said, "Sara just asked me what prophets were...you should explain." We then explained the whole Restoration and invited every investigator and convert and member to pray to see if it was true. When we visited them the following day for a second visit, we asked her what she had done to see if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She paused and said, "I prayed. And I received an answer. I felt something in my heart and I know it is true. I will continue in this path and in this church." We challenged her family to be baptized the and they all accepted. It's amazing how whenever we have a period of trials, it's because God is busy preparing the miracles to come. We must always prepare of faith during these miracles so we can always stay strong in the periods of trials. I love my mission, I love this time I have to serve the Lord. My time isn't finishing next month, it's just switching over to giving my time to him in a different place with different responsibilies. But I will never stop giving my time to serving Him.