September 8, 2014

Week Thirty-Eight: More ...

Picture sent by Hermana Bucerei taken a few weeks ago
Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Caseres

Dear, dear, dear familia,

Did you know that I love you a lot? It makes me so happy to hear from you!! I can't even believe that things are moving by so quickly! Thanks for being the BEST family in the whole world.

Mom, you really have outdone yourself with the packages. I have gotten three in the past three weeks. They tell me that the people in the post office know me by name now haha. I have LOVED the packages. I use the leaf from the Sacred Grove in our lessons and the people just cry because they can't believe that I have a little peice of that holy ground. I wear my prarie diamond every day and people ask me all the time what it means. I also have been sharing the American candy with the members when they come out with us and it helps them to want to keep coming out with us. I am so grateful for these little packets of heaven. Thank you sooooo much! It means the world to me!!

Whooooo, this week was a little bit hard. I think that training is just a little bit more stressful ... More than anything it is because I want everything to work out perfectly and when it doesn't and Hermana Caseres gets sad, it breaks my heart. But, I am learning so many really, really important things.

We found a REALLY REALLY REALLY awesome family of menos activos this week. He (Hermano Arias) actually contacted us in the street when I was on a mini-cambio with Hermana Heslop. He explained to us that his family was a little bit alejado (basically this means menos-activo) from the church and that they had moved here a couple of weeks ago. They moved here from Punta Arenas (which is basically the South Pole of Chile) because the Hermano has a disease with his lungs and the frigid environment in the south wasn't doing him any good. He was a bishop in the south, but because of his disease, he hasn't gone to church for five years. He told us the day that we contacted him that he was sick of being away from the church and that he was ready to work where ever he was needed. Basically, I died a little of happiness. What a miracle for our little branch!

We went to visit this family in their house this week and had such a spiritual experience. Together, we read DyC 4 and explained to the family that if they were ready to work, we were ready to PUT THEM TO WORK. They were sooo excited and willing ... and I am so excited that they are that way. I think that they are going to change our branch completely. He reminds me a lot of Grandpa Blau, and I felt really at ease talking with him. His wife, Nora, is incredible as well. She sang us In the Hollow of Thy Hand and I realized how much I have been learning and growing on the mission. I feel a little bit more like an adult now. I am feeling a lot more stable emotionally and my testimony has deepened sooo much. I had an experience this week while I was praying ... I felt the love of God and it was TANGIBLE. It filled my whole body. I know that God lives and that he loves me! This knowledge is something that is priceless for me. What a joy it is to be a missionary.

I have also been humbled greatly in this time as a missionary. I can see all of my weaknesses soooo plainly and it kills me. My teaching has improved, but it still isn't exactly how I want it to be. For example, one day this week, we passed by a menos activo family of the elders. I really had NO IDEA what to share with them ... but I felt like we should visit them so we headed over with a member that always accompanies us. We chatted for a little bit and then it was time for the message. I opened the scriptures and found a scripture that I thought applied, but I had the hardest time explaining what I thought. I struggled for a couple of minutes trying to get this family to understand ... when Hermana Caseres said, "I testify of what my companion is saying." She took the wheel and the lesson ended up being alright. I felt SOOOO LAME. I just wanted to cry. I have 9 months in the lesson. I've almost hit the half way and I can't even teach right.

The tender mercies that followed were a great lesson to me. We went to have a noche de hogar with a family that I love in the ward and we watch the bible movie from the church about the Prodigal Son. I felt so guided by the spirit as we taught this lesson and everyone was crying by the end. (Did you know that Heavenly Father's love is soooo gigantic? It stuns me every time I think about it.) The funny thing is, even though I felt like the lesson was sooo lame, Elder Hampton thanked me yesterday for teaching it. He said that the family LOVED the lesson and that they really felt the spirit as we were sharing. Hmmmm ... I felt a little bit better about our teaching and being a missionary. Every day, there are little things that help me to remember that I am still learning and that it is okay to make mistakes ... as long as we learn from them. I am still struggling to learn that.

We had so many investigators this week that I was sure were going to go to church on Sunday. I prayed on Saturday night that they would be able to come. That they would be able to overcome what is keeping them from progressing. I prayed that our menos activos would be able to come as well ... because we worked so hard with them this week and they promised to us (and to Heavenly Father) that they would come. I said, "Heavenly Father, if they are there, I will be so happy. I will know that my work has paid off." We woke up and it was raining really hard ... and I had a strange feeling in my heart that the people weren't going to show up (because in Chile ... it is a little bit like that ... if it rains, the people don't come).

We walked and walked in the rain to pick people up from their houses, but nobody was home (or they didn't answer the door). When we showed up to the church, hardly anyone was there. I worked really hard to animate Hermana Caseres and help her to realize that everything was alright, because it frustrates her when the people don't act. Surprisingly, even though we only had two menos activos in the church this week, I felt pretty okay ... because I knew that we had done our very best to get the people there. Also, the people that came, Carlos Garrido and Magaly Bustos are basically my favorite people on the planet ... and they came early. I was pretty content.

Actually, yesterday, we gave our numbers for this week and I felt good about them. We really worked our tails off this week trying to get people to church and working with the members. The thing is, we are still struggling finding people. Our District Leader was talking to me about it and he said, "Hermana, everything starts with faith. If you have the faith to find ... and that Heavenly Father can help you to reach your goals, Heavenly Father will help you to reach your goals." I know that that is true. I KNOW that God can work miracles in my mission. I have sooo much faith in that respect. I prayed last night to ask for more. More faith. More consecration. More work. I don't know, I was just a little frustrated, because I feel like I am giving everything, but I also feel like I am giving sooo little. I realized something during this little prayer. I don't lack faith in Heavenly Father ... I know that he will bless me! I think that I lack a little bit of faith in my ability to do everything that the Lord requires of me. I don't know if that makes sense. I am going to start working on that.

Basically, I am still loving life as a missionary. I want the time to STOP. I am so grateful for every second that I have as a missionary, and I hope that I am using my time wisely. I am working really, really, really hard ... but I still feel like I need to consecrate myself more. I just want to be who God expects me to be. I am loving training Hermana Caseres! She still is such a joy and I am learning a ton from her. We are learning together how to be even better missionaries and better servants of God.

Funny story of the week, Hermana Caseres and I have a problem ... because Hermana Caseres doesn't really like using the bathrooms of other people (even though I think that the bathrooms of the people in Chile are better than our bathroom in our house ... six woman in one house ... eugh). I don't like going back to the house for anything, because I want to be out working. So, we have to hold it all day or Hermana Caseres has to use the bathroom of the members. One of the proudest moments of this week (I was prouder than when Hermana Caseres invited to baptism for the first time) was when she finally asked a member to use the bathroom. Haha, the joys of training. We have cute little moments and triumphs like that all of the time. I love my life. :)

Anyways, I hope that you have a wonderful week! I am praying for you all! I really trust that Heavenly Father is taking care of you guys!! :) I LOVE YOU A LOT!!


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