Hola! This was one of the most difficult weeks of my mission. Like, really. Whew. It's sometimes hard to work a lot and then not see the results of your labors. This week was very humbling because there are a lot of things I realized I need to change about myself and how I've been doing the Lord's work this transfer. When I first got to this area, I was super nervous because I was the new missionary, and even though I was the senior companion, I felt like I couldn't take the lead because I didn't know the members or the area. This week we went on exchanges and I had to repent of that hesitancy, because I realized that the things I had been trained to do when I first got here are not the things I've been doing in my new area. I let self-doubt get in the way of what I knew to be the Lord's way of doing His work, so I didn't speak up when I saw things that were not being done right. My companion, Sis. Perez, is a truly excellent missionary with an incredible amount of will and dedication to her calling. However, there were some things that have been part of the "tradition" of the area that aren't exactly correct, and she was trained in that environment. Together, we're working hard this week to change that and to work in the Lord's way. It was humbling to admit that I hadn't been speaking up to correct things, but now I have a testimony of the importance of not being ashamed, ever, of what's right. In this case, it wasn't anything major, but it still influences the success of the area. And the same principle can be applied to the commandments. We shouldn't ever change what we know is right to fit the culture that exists around us. The Lord is plain in telling us what we need to do, and we should be plain in defending and acting on what we know is right! And when we don't do what we know is right, the amazing gift of the Atonement is there so we can make the choice to repent and change. I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's so simple, but it's the most beautiful thing there is. Like it says in 1 Nefi 15:14, the gospel tells us how we can come unto Jesus Christ and be saved. The plain and precious truths of the gospel really have been restored in this day and age so that we know EXACTLY what we need to do to come unto Christ. The world will tell us that we don't have to do anything to be saved--just say we want to and then we're saved--or that there is no such thing as salvation, or worse, that there's no such thing as sin. But the truth is that if we have faith in Jesus Christ, truly and sincerely repent of our sins, are baptized by the priesthood authority, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and continue in obedience and fidelity to our covenants, we will receive eternal life. There is nothing more beautiful than the truth that the power of the priesthood has been restored so we can progress through this gospel and be perfected through the Savior. It truly is "good news!"
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Hi everyone! Wow, it seems like it was 100 years ago that I talked to you on the phone. At the same time, the Christmas phone call seems like it was just yesterday. I don't know what to think anymore. This week was really interesting. Poor [G] and [L] didn't come to church this week. She's so scared of the consequences of her family's sentiments against the church. We lost contact with her for over a week, but last night we went by her house and she was there! She told us that she's been reading from the Book of Mormon every morning and every night, and that every time she opens it and reads a scripture, she feels like it's just for her. It was a relief to hear her experiences with the Book of Mormon and to know that she's still having spiritual experiences. Hopefully she'll be able to put those experiences in action and continue to come to church even though at this point she doesn't have permission from her husband to be baptized. Another miracle--[J] Carlos. I have high hopes for him. We contacted him once two weeks ago, but then lost contact again and planned to just write his name down for other missionaries to try again. This week, however, we decided to go tract on his street, and as we turned the corner, we saw him sitting there on his porch. We taught him a lesson right there on the sidewalk. He went to a baptism once in Mexico, over 10 years ago, but he still remembers that the Spirit there was so strong that he started crying. He has the desire to seek after that Spirit again. He's going to face a lot of opposition from his wife, but we hope she, like [G]'s husband, can soften her heart. This week has been a tough one with finding. Tracting here is a little different... lots of doors slammed, lots of hurtful comments. But also lots of good experiences! We met a Filipino lady who said that when she reads the scriptures, she feels filled. She said that she knows God has more for her than what she gets at her church, so she studies the scriptures to receive her own revelation. She's definitely very prepared. We told her about the Book of Mormon and she was open to it. Hopefully the Filipino elders can have success with her. She was a tender mercy in my day--a reminder that there are people who are literally being prepared by the hand of God to receive the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week I've been thinking about covenants. As I took the sacrament this week, I was blown away by how amazing it is that everyone who is partaking of the sacrament is fortifying a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father. He knows our thoughts, our desires, and our sins, and that moment when we renew our covenants with Him is so sacred. I'm about to finish the Book of Mormon again, and this morning I read Moroni 1-6 and I was really touched by how sacred the baptismal covenant is, and how merciful Heavenly Father is in His plan for our lives.
Hi everyone! It was good to talk to you! Also it was a little weird. But so good! It was good to hear your voices. And Elder Croft--wow! Haha, I wasn't expecting that at all. That kind of freaked me out haha. Thank you for being such an amazing family. I am so blessed to have a family that is faithful in the church and is living the gospel. Please keep doing what you're doing. Every day I become more and more grateful for everything that I've been blessed with in my family. The fact that the gospel has always been the center of our home is something that is such a huge blessing, and it's a blessing that many people don't have. Please always stay faithful to your covenants and keep moving forward! This week was interesting. We had some disappointments, but it's helping me learn to trust in the Lord's plan. This week [G] and [L], two of our investigators with a baptismal date for May 27th, decided to not come to church. They're facing some pretty strong opposition from [G] husband ([L]'s dad). He's totally against what they're learning and doing as they read the Book of Mormon and go to church. He told her not to listen to us because we're out to destroy families. He told her "They're trying to break up families. That's why they abandoned their families!" When she told us that it was hard to not get angry at him, but I know that if we don't try our hardest to have charity for him, we'll never be able to help him feel the spirit that his wife and daughter have felt. We're praying hard that his heart will be softened and that Graciela and Lupita will have the courage to be able to choose what they know the Spirit has told them to choose. Our teaching pool is pretty small right now, so we're spending a lot of energy trying to work with members and contact new people. If the mission is a refiner's fire, then tracting is the "slow-cooker" stage of that refiner's fire. It's definitely challenging to develop patience, but it's one of the attributes that I most need to work on, so it's good.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Here I am in San Francisco! More like Daly City, but still San Fran! I'm really sorry that this letter will be super short and I probably won't be able to reply to everyone's emails because I'm on a 15-minute limited computer. I don't have a library card yet, so I'll have to be short. My companion is Sis Perez and she's great! She's originally from Mexico but came to the mission from Los Angeles. She's super sweet, knows the area really well, and is really sensitive to the Spirit. I can already tell I'm going to learn a lot from her. This city reminds me a lot of Taiwan, except it's freezing cold. Like REALLY cold. But it's great and there are lots of people everywhere. It's really shocking to see how MANY people there are in such a small area. And they all need the gospel! Driving here is definitely a challenge, but I haven't crashed into anything yet. We have two amazing investigators right now who are preparing for baptism on the 27th. Their names are [G]and [L]. THey're so special and learn completely by the Spirit. [L] is slightly mentally disabled, so sometimes it's hard for her to remember everything we teach, but she feels the Spirit really strongly and has a strong desire to be baptized. They're truly a miracle, and very prepared. I'm assuming that my Richmond investigator, [J], got baptized this Sunday. I wasn't able to go! The baptism had to be scheduled at 3:30pm and I couldn't go because our sacrament meeting here in SF starts at 3:00. I was super super sad, but I'm sure everything went well and he got baptized. It's hard to transition away from my old area because another of our investigators that we taught a lot accepted a baptismal date for the 27th! I almost cried when I got the news. He is so, so, SO special and I can just see him serving a mission. I won't be able to go to his baptism either because of the baptism we have here. My heart is living in little pieces all over the world--part in Utah, part in Washington DC, part in Richmond, part in SFO, etc. It's a weird feeling. BUT, it's good because it's evidence to me that we really are brothers and sisters. Being a missionary is so unique because we get to experience love for God's children in a way that isn't possible outside of a mission. Like Derek said, when we serve others, they win a piece of our hearts. This is the work of the Lord! Every day, people try and attack our testimonies and beliefs. Somehow, that doesn't matter! My testimony of the gospel is growing stronger every day and there's nothing that could make me deny the spiritual witnesses I've received of the truthfulness of the gospel.