Companion: Hermana Hillary Harris
Companion's Blog: http://hjhmissionabroad.blogspot.com/2014/03/we-must-put-our-trust-in-lord.html
I am super grateful that my letters FINALLY made it to the states. What the random? I hope that JoJo's Flat Stanley makes it there much more quickly! Wow, this week flew by ... holy guacamole. Hermana Harris and I are working so so hard to be better missionaries and Heavenly Father has been totally blessing us for that! I know that numbers are not an indication of how much work we are putting in, but we reached our goals for contacts, new investigators, progressing investigators -- WOW! This was an amazing blessing, especially because we are so new to the area. Every day, we learn something completely necessary and completely different.
In Sacrament Meeting yesterday, we sang There is a Green Hill Far Away for the Sacrament Hymn. Of course, it was in Spanish, but I thought about the verses in English while the Sacrament was being passed around to our ward.
"Oh, dearly, dearly has He Loved, and we must love Him, too;
and trust in His redeeming grace and try his works to do."
I thought about how applicable that was to my status right now as a missionary ... as a representative of Jesus Christ. Because He loved me, I must do all that I can to love Him. The only way that I can stay afloat out here in a place where I really don't know how do anything. I just have to trust that His grace will help me where I don't know how to function and try my hardest to do what he wants. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have seen this so far. It is really amazing what Heavenly Father can do with little kids called to be missionaries.
We had a Youth Missionary activity, and all of the missionaries from Coyquen were asked to attend and answer questions on a panel. Oh my word, I had a mini-inside my head freak out session. I have gotten to a point in Spanish where I can understand what people are saying and say, "Ah, yah." or "Mich." in the right places. This helps me to carry on conversations without saying much. But to answer questions is super hard for me, especially with the jovenes (youth) that speak SUPER FAST. I was worried that I wasn't going to know what to say, or that when I said it, it wouldn't make sense. But, I love the ward and I LOVE the Youth. I know them all by name and try to talk to them all of the time. Entonces, I didn't complain and just decided to grin and bear my impending failure.
The panel discussion was SO GOOD. Each of the Youth got to ask us questions going down the line of missionaries. I didn't really get much out of what the other missionaries were saying because I was just really praying that I wouldn't be afraid to speak and that I would talk decently, but I could tell that the youth were captivated by what we were saying and were really interested in la obra misional. It got to be my turn and one of my investigators (Benjamin) asked me a question that was really interesting. "Do you know people that aren't members of the church that come to activities and enjoy them? What would you tell me about going to church." In less than my average Spanish, I answered his question. I was so embarrassed because I had a lot of great things I wanted to say, but I only got out a few words led by the spirit. I felt a little bit of stress bubbling in my stomach, but I chose to laugh and remembered that I was just learning Spanish and that eventually it would come.
Yesterday, we visited Benjamin with his family and I asked him what he learned from the Activity. He talked about having such a good time with the youth (which was awesome!). Hermana Harris further asked him about the panel and what he learned. He said, "I really liked your anwer Hermana Blau. It was super bueno. In all honesty, I felt like crying ... but I couldn't because there were so many people around." Baaaaaaaah, what in the world? I didn't do this at all! It was totally just the spirit helping me to know what to say and proof to me that Heavenly Father can use me, the definition of an awkward instrument, and help other people to feel the spirit.
Update with Cesar and Carolina! They are with FECHA (baptismal date)!!! Yay! This was such a struggle for Hermana Harris and I, because Cesar and Carolina both felt super pressured to be baptised and they didn't like it. We prayed and made a plan to help them to see that a fecha is more like a goal to work towards and less of a set date and it worked! They LOVE church and they are SO ENTHUSIASTIC about everything!! We are having a Pioneer activity or something next week and they are super stoked to come. I love them so much, and even though I can't communicate with them really well, it is obvious that they love Hna. Harris and I as well.
Ah, so many sweet stories this week ... but I think that this one is my favorite. There is a familia in our ward that is más o menos menos activo (more or less less active)because the dad is super, super sick and it is DIFFICULT for him to get to church with his family. The Chileans don't really have cars, and to get to a bus from his house would be super hard because he has to go in a wheel chair. Anyways, we went to visit them as a spur of the moment thing after a lesson one day this week to get to know them better. As we walked into the room where this sweet man (Juan Reyes) was, I felt this overwhelming sense of compassion for him. Without saying much more than my name and where I was from, I started to cry. Here was this faithful, faithful man in so much agony that it was difficult for him to speak.
His sweet wife came in with muffins and told us more about their story. They met when they were jovenes -- he was a member and she wasn't. He baptized her and they got married soon after. He was called to be a Bishop around the time when they had their first child. She explained that she was a teacher in seminary and in theSchool for a very long time and that she had learned so much that had prepared her for the trials that she was now facing. At this point, Hermana Harris and I were both crying, and both Hna. Reyes and her husband were crying as well. They just radiated with the hope that only the Gospel and reliance on Jesus Christ can bring. I cannot give this experience justice in words. I am just SO grateful that we made an impulsive decision to follow the Spirit and to be in the place we needed to be at that moment.
I am working really hard at the moment to improve my teaching methods. Before this week, my priority was listening and trying TRYING to understand what was going on and contributing my part. This week, I have been studying and thinking a lot about the way that the Savior taught the people. He always taught doctrine and used different methods to apply it to the people he was teaching. He was always compassionate. He was always prepared. He was always ready with an answer that was so simple that a child could understand. HE WAS THE MASTER TEACHER. I have been trying really hard to observe what he did and then apply it to my teaching. Obviously, I am not perfect, but I have found that when I focus on the Savior combined with the love I have for the people, I can speak. When I am focused on ANYTHING else, I can't. It is crazy!
I just love this gospel so much. I love missionary work! I read a quote from Thomas S. Monson this week -- SHALL I FALTER OR SHALL I FINISH? I feel like Heavenly Father has been so good to me in my life. It is the same for my mission. The days wouldn't be so satisfying if I just gave up mid way through and stopped working my hardest. The huge meals wouldn't be so delicious if I gave up eating my third completo or chicken steak (actually, this is a mentira (lie). The meals are ridiculously big and delicious and wonderful).Even though there are hard parts of every week (every day), I always have in the back of my mind HOW INCREDIBLE it is that I am really, actually doing this. I am thinking about how my mission is already changing my life and how it is going to FOREVER change me. Yay for life changes! I am loving every day more and more as I start to lose myself in the work. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
Anyways, this week was wonderful. Lots of fun miracles and lots of new experiences and teaching opportunities. The little bright spots of Benjamin, Cesar and Carolina, and the Familia Reyes were incredible to witness. Each bright spot makes EVERYTHING WORTH IT. The hot and dusty days spent walking (yes, it is super hot here. It is so nice! I forget that it is only February) are nothing compared to seeing the hand of the Lord in ALL THINGS. When I am trying my hardest to do what he wants and am relying on his grace, the Lord is merciful to me and helps me to see the way forward and to do his will. How awesome is that!? I love you!!!!! A big Chilean salud!
Con amor, Hermana Blau