Mission & Speaking the Spanish
I do not think I am a fantastic missionary by any means, nor do I ever see myself thinking that...but, I know they need me here. Speaking the language of the spirit is the most powerful and everyone can...but when we first meet people, being able to speak spanish conversationally gets in the door. Out of the 5 here and from what I understand the 2 coming...I am the strongest spanish speaker of the Hermanas, so I feel the pressure, but I feel fine because it has been coming out naturally...even when I make mistakes and I have yet to meet someone who has not felt comfortable with me and Hermana Grass. Anyway, blabbing. The Lord loves me and I love speaking spanish way more than I ever have.
I am barely at the beginning of my mission and I can feel that the Lord has let Hermana Grass and I be companions now so that we can strive for that standard the rest of our missions. She is 2 months away from her 1/2 way mark, so all we are saying/predicting is that it will be pretty unlikely that we'll be companions again with an Hermana coming back on her mission and my first MTC companion Hermana Alberts after January 10. Anyway, we'll see...as of right now we have 6 progressing investigators (meaning we've taught them more than 2x and they are solid.), 2 on date to be baptized and several on the brink including Juan and Ana's family so yeah, keep praying! :)
We got our on date investigator Olivia and her family to church yesterday and it was a really spiritual experience for her...I'll tell you more later but there is a lot of mess we've got to get her out of, but she is in love with the BOM and her 2 sons want to be baptized too!
We gave Sister Wise an ornament with our picture in it because of our sweet memory of decorating the tree with her and because she cherishes the ornaments all of her students in past years have made her so much. She loved it. She was very lonely yesterday, but our cars had to be parked at 7, so after talking with my family, I baked the muffins they sent me and we chatted with her for a long time. We would have never had time to bake and chat like that if it had not been for Christmas and I think it cheered her up...at first I wasn't so happy that we had to be home and not drive because I wanted to be out and about on Christmas because it is such a golden day...but believe it or not I do follow rules when I don't talk to my family on the phone for so long. ;) And it makes sense because the roads are full of unsafe drivers on holidays.
The New Year flooded in and we are barely breathing with our heads now above the water today...yesterday we had 6 INVESTIGATORS COME TO CHURCH!!! So now we just need their heads to be under water! (hahaha...did ya see what I did there...I'm having a good time with the corny mission jargon.) E. (Elderly Peruvian woman), Z.(M’s 17 yr. old sister), The Gonzalez family (J, A, H 13, J 11, M 7, A 4) It was crazy! We prepared well notifying all the presidents etc. that we had visitors coming...but you never know who will actually show up...and they all did! We had one or more in every class/part of the church: RS, EQ, SS, YW and Primary...and they stayed for all 3 hours!
E is a new progressing investigator, but the rest are all just about to tip over into the waters of baptism! The Gonzalez's love us...listen and particpate in every lesson and they are so kind and fun...they came to the Christmas Dinner and they invited us to their family Christmas Breakfast and for a New Years Eve dinner...they already act like members and we hope to put them on date this week and start teaching their kids separately so that they can choose/know for themselves that the true gospel is alive and well today. Then Z is prime time..she's watched her sister's life change and she wants it too. She feels so close to us and says that she misses when she doesn't see us because she feels so good when we are teaching...she is coming to recognize that that is the spirit testifying truth. She is pumped for YW, she's been reading the BOM and praying and believes that Joseph Smith restored the exact same church that Christ established when he was on the earth...she and I have had some good talks about self-esteem and YW and she knows it is all true and fell deeper in love with the gospel after church yesterday and told everyone that she is definitely coming back. M is overcome and so are we...M also has a friend named Chelsey that sat in on a lesson we taught and we discussed 3 Nephi 11 and she felt the spirit so strong that she has already talked to Z and M about being baptized so we will be teaching her too! One person makes all the difference...M's conversion is a beacon to all around her.
I've been thinking so much about the effect one person can make...in fact, all of my thoughts lead back to I've how one boy's earnest prayer has brought millions back into the fold. How Joseph Smith and every prophet before him asked of God and received (Adam, Moses, Lehi etc. ) and because they chose to do that on their own, generations were blessed. No, we are not all prophets...but we are all capable of receving personal revelation...the ability to know for ourselves what is true because God loves us...but the "turning point" (Eh, eh, Ironic that so many english speaking investigators use that to describe conversion! I LOVE IT!) is when they use their agency for good...when they choose what is best even when that is not the easiest, when Satan is telling them no or flinging confusion into their minds or waving temptation in front of their face..but they persevere and make that decision to follow the example of Jesus Christ and as soon as they do their lives do become easier. Challenges do not disappear, but the Lord carries that weight for us...the weights of sin, sadness, poverty, confidence, bitterness, sickness etc. But it is that choice that makes all the difference...the choice to follow the Savior; and because of that one person's choice, many more follow because they can now see the path...the pathway back to our Heavenly Father...all they needed was some light. What father doesn't want his children to come home? Heavenly Father wants His children to come home...and to be able to recognize Him and our big brother when we get there. Yes, I am rambling...but these are my thoughts. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet because just as prophets of old restored the priesthood in their dispensations he has for ours so that we may know what choice to make and here we are today with President Thomas S. Monson leading and guiding us back to God. There are people searching for truth...yes, even in Utah and in someway more so in Utah my dear friends and family...members and non-members alike can be in darkness and all it takes is one person to be a beacon for all to see their way back. I guess what I am saying is what Matthew says "Let your light so shine that others may see your good works and glorify your father which is in Heaven." (total paraphrase...Matt 25 I think.)
So, for this New Year, let's all MAKE THE CHOICE TO BE THE BEACON! This isn't just advice that I want to force on you...this is advice mostly for me as I am becoming increasingly anxious for Hermana Grass to be called elsewhere early and me to be in charge of this area without her. The Lord has laid a lot in our laps and this email is just scratching the surface of our investigators...it is unusual to have our load...but I am grateful and honored to have it and just pray to have the strength to care for it how the Lord wants it to be cared for.
Hope you all had a fantastic New Year...you ROCK! Lovin the Love.