Companion: Hermana Bucarei
Oh my heck, familia ...
This week has been about the craziest ride of my life. I LOVE being a missionary. This cambio has been sooooo fufilling so far. We haven't had EXCELLENT numbers but we really have seen miracles.
The first couple of the days of the week, we worked really well with the members and had a lot of lessons ... but I was miserable. I couldn't put my finger on the reason ... I was praying one night trying to figure it out and I felt this huge wave of peace crash over me. In Spanish (Heavenly Father speaks to me in Spanish now haha), I heard in my head, "Seas obediente." [Be obedient.] I quickly thought through all of my actions from the days before and I realized that we had been obedient in everything ... except for our contacts. As a mission, it is a rule -- a commandment -- that we have to do 10 contacts every day for every missionary. In the first days of the week, we were not meeting that goal and that was what killed my animo. It really is incredible how small and simple things really make the difference.
Anyways, the rest of the week, we didn't have that many lessons that counted (because we weren't out with members all of the time), but I enjoyed every single crazy second of the week.
We had a great lesson with Margot. She really, really wants to get baptized, but she also really loves her pareja and doesn't want to leave him. It is a little bit frustrating to wait for her divorcement to go through ... butchaknow. Anyways, she has wanted to get a priesthood blessing from the first time we met her ... and this week, we finally coordinated it. The Elders came over with us and with a member of the ward to give the blessing. It was such a powerful experience for her! She felt the power of the priesthood working in her life and I was able to testify to her that it is through that same priesthood that she would be baptized. Such a sweet experience!
Katerine and Martin are still on our radar. We passed by to visit them and Martin is just being a pill. He smokes and is in with a bad group of friends (he is only 13 years old) ... so it is really wrecking havoc in the peace of the home. I think that we are going to be able to reach his mom through this angle ... that the gospel brings peace and happiness to our homes! I talked about how Spencer and I used to fight all of the time ... but the gospel helped us to reconcile our differences and she loved that. I love this little family so much. With a little bit of work, I think that they will get baptized!
The big drama of this week was with Nicole. Oh my heck. Oh my heck. You are not going to believe what happened with her. We went to her house to finish up her enseñanzas with a lesson about the law of chastity. This wasn't really a big deal ... she is able to apply the lessons really easy to her life, so she isn't that hard to teach. We asked her if she has plans to go and marry her pareja that lives in the north and she responded affirmatively. Hermana Bucarei paused for a second and then asked, "And how does your pareja feel about the church?" Nicole got a look on her face that was nothing but trouble and asked us to come back in the afternoon. We agreed, fixed a cita, and then we went to our lunch.
After our lunch, we went by Nicole's house for a quick check up to see how she was. We entered her house, sat down, said a prayer ... and then she waited. "Wow ... how do I begin ..." she started. "Hermanas, my "husband" (she always says husband like they're already married) doesn't know anything about the church. He doesn't know that I was baptized." I already had guessed that, but I was not prepared for what came next. "The truth is, we have our own Evangelical church. When I go to the north, I am going to be a pastor of this church." Uhhhhhhhh ... what the ... "I want to revoke my membership in the church."
I just sat in a stupid silence. We have worked with this girl SOOOO much. She has only gone to church one time after her baptism four months ago. I was sooooo angry ... it wasn't one of my finest moments. I was praying, "Heavenly Father, please help us. I don't know what to do. I am not going to encourage her to go and live with her pareja. Help us!" Nicole finished her little spill ... and I felt like bearing down in pure testimony to her. Instead, I asked her, "Then why in the world did you get baptized?" She doesn't know. We shared a scripture with her and committed her to pray to know if going to the north was the right decision. She said, "Hermanas, I pray every night. I started my own church. I know God. I have met with him and I have known him for all of these years. He is showing me that this is the right way." Oh my word.
We went back and visited her the next day. I think that she is just horribly confused ... she doesn't want to upset her abusive pareja ... and she doesn't really have a testimony of the restoration right now. But I know that we can help her to catch that flame again. We just have to keep working with her and with her family. There is still hope on this crazy, bumpy horizon.
The great thing that happened this week was our work with menos activos. In the mission, there is a three way focus to work with the members to baptize, retain, and reactivate. I LOVE this. I love working with menos activos almost more than I love working with investigators because it is the same work of salvation. Anyways, this week we decided to start working with all of the stubborn, suuuuuuuuper ancient members of the church in Frutillares that haven't been coming. These members have been members for 30 years, have gone out on missions and are high priests ... but they don't come to church. This has always been so weird to me. We decided it was time to kick some of these people lovingly to get them back to full activity. And kick them we did.
We visited ex-bishops, ex-missionaries, ex-presidentes de estaca ... we visted them all. We had short, powerful lessons. We helped them to feel needed and important. We committed all of them to come to church ... AND THEY ALL CAME. Oh, wow ... this was THE miracle of the week. We brought a fourth of the church to church! It was such a blessing. The great thing was that all of these antiguo members are friends, so they started talking after church and are going to continue coming. Ahhhh, it was so wonderful to see! Heavenly Father really does love all of his children and wants all of them to receive his blessings. I say that pretty much every week ... because it is the truth! I have felt that soooo much in my mission.
Basically, I am falling in love with my mission. I am getting to the point where I am thinking about others more than myself. I am praying with more direction to help the people that are in my sector. I LOVE Frutillares. I do NOT want to leave ... but I have to do what Heavenly Father wants. I have experienced soooo much growth here. I LOVE Hermana Bucarei. We get along sooo well. I feel completely at peace and happy. Even with apostasy. Even with numbers that are más o menos no más. I really am working the very hardest that I know how to, and Heavenly Father is blessing me soooo much! I LOVE MY LIFE!!
I love you all so much! I got the package from you guys (THANK YOU!) and I also got a package from Nandy. I would love to send her an email ... but I don't have her address ... could you send that to me? Also ... school is starting already? What in the holy heck?? I cannot believe that. I talk about how fast the time is going ... so I wont share that thought again ... but somebody told me yesterday, "Wow, you've been in Chile for a long time," for the first time in my mission. Make it STOOOOOP! I hope you have a great, great week! I love you! I love the Lord! I love the gospel!! :)
Love mucho, mucho, mucho!