Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week #12

Hey everyone,

So this week has been absolutely amazing and hard at the same time.  I have seen the Lord’s hand in my life so much this week.  The week started out bad because after we wrote home and returned to our house, we received a call from Victor saying that  he didn’t want to be baptized anymore because he talked to his family and he doesn’t want to commit to a church.  It was really hard to receive this call after watching how much he had progressed and changed his life and we were so excited for his baptism, but he said we could still go by to teach him so we held onto a little hope but at first it was hard because he cancelled the 2 of the appointments that we tried to make with him. On top of that two of our new investigators Marcela and Camilla called us and said that they didn’t want us to talk about the gospel with them, because it was too confusing for them with their previous beliefs.

This week we had zone conference and transfers which made this kind of a big week.  Zone conference was so good and I learned a ton about how I can be a better missionary.  I am so happy that me and my companion weren’t transferred and that we have six more weeks together. I am a little sad to be saying goodbye to Hermana Cantillo who lives with us and I am dreading saying goodbye to my companion and Hermana Parker as they will be heading home at the end of this transfer in 6 more weeks as well.

 So the beginning of the week was a little rough and we were definitely disappointed, but as the week went on it got better and better and we saw several miracles.  I know that sometimes God gives us some hard trials to face to build us up for greater things and that is exactly what he did this week. towards the end of the week we had a breakthrough with one of our menos activos Ana. We were finally able to help her understand why it is important to go to church and how we need her in the church. Now she has a goal to get back to church. However it is a little hard with her and is going to take some time because of her work she cant go to church on Sundays, so she goes to a different church that is much earlier in the morning. After working with for a lot of time she finally has the desire and is working to change her life so she can go to church. Please pray for her to be able to find a way that she can go to church on Sundays. 

The second thing that happened is when we were walking to a members house my companion thought that I said that we should take the long way, but I didnt say anything. We realized that this was a prompting and decided to take the long way.  At first nothing happened. The member wasn’t home and we headed to look for an old investigator and while we were trying to find this investigator we asked for help from a couple on the street who then proceeded to ask us if we would come visit them and ask us  if we wanted their number so we could confirm.  We didn’t even have to do anything.  I know that God is aware of everything we do.  That night we completely changed our plans and had no idea why until we found that couple.  The Lord led us to that couple who he had prepared for us to teach.  We haven’t taught them yet because we had to call and change the appointment, but we are going to teach them this week. I am so excited.  

We also got to teach Victor at the end of the week, after going by and calling so many times. He finally said yes and we brought his neighbor who is a member to teach him.  We talked about true conversion and all shared how we received our testimonies. The spirit was so strong and at the end. When I asked him to pray to know if it was true, he told me that he didn’t need to because he has already received an answer and he knows it is true. He doesn’t want to be baptized right now or go to church because it is to hard for him with his family, work, and his health, but he has a testimony and has a agreed to let us continue to teach him. I have faith that with time he will gain a desire.  Please pray for him especially that he can have the desire to be baptized and understand the importance of baptism and going to church.

The best part of the week was yesterday in Church.  It was probably the most amazing part of my whole mission for me.  We had two families come to church with us.  Jonathon and Belen with their children came and they absolutely loved it.  We had an amazing Sunday School class and they asked tons of questions. They seemed to be satisfied with the answers.  At the end of the class Jonathon raised his hand and asked if he could say something.  He talked about his experience with us as missionaries and how it has impacted his life. Then he began to share a basic testimony of how he knew that God had lead us into his life, because had it been any other night or if it had been the elders when we had found him he probably would have said no. Now he believes that our church is true. One of the ways he feels like is because we are the only people that his dogs don’t bark and get mad at when we enter the house.  It was so amazing to listen to this man, who had only listened to lessons twice, testify.  As a family they have a strong desire to know more about the church and we have started teaching a lot more then we plan in our lessons because they have a lot of questions and have a strong desire to learn more. They just are waiting to receive answers to the prayers that this is the direction that they need to go with their lives. It is so amazing to watch peoples lives change and their eyes begin to light up as the receive the truth, but it is even more amazing to watch families change and become so much closer as they together change their lives.

The second investigator that came was Jacqueline Ramos and her son Martin.  She absolutely loved church as well as there were amazing talks.  The theme of church seemed to be conversion and gaining a testimony for yourself.  It was an amazing moment as I looked over and she had pulled out her sunday school book and was flipping through the pictures and explaining to Martin about Jesus and different aspects of the gospel.  We later went to teach her that night and she was so excited as we taught her about the plan of salvation and then we started to talk about temples and she was really interested yet she says she doesnt think that she has recieved her answer yet, but our lessons have changed her life and she has faith that she will recieve an answer.  We are so excited for her as we watch her life change.  I think what changed things for her was bringing Martin to Church and seeing what the gospel could do for her little family.  

My heart was touched yesterday as I saw the eyes of these two families light up with desire to have the gospel in their lives.  I was so happy as I watched them enjoy the church and as the members were so great with them.  I know that the experiences would have been totally different if the members hadn’t all been so supportive and come by and talk to them.  Members are the key often times for investigators. All I could think about during church was these parents and the impact that the decisions they are making now on their children’s lives and the future posterity.  I am so excited to continue to watch them progress and hopefully one day be able to seem them go through the temple and be sealed together as families for all eternity.  As missionaries our goal isn’t to have a bunch of baptisms. It is to help people to come unto Christ and accept His gospel.  Baptism is part of that goal, but it is just the door to so much more.  A big part of that is the temple and persevering and enduring to the end.  I love being a missionary so much although there are a lot of times that are really hard and learning a new language is very frustrating at times, there is so much joy that comes from it.  It is moments like I had on Sunday and those little miracles throughout the week as we watch lives change and eyes light up that make every single difficult part of the mission worth it.

I love you so much sorry for writing a novel I just had a lot of great things to write about this week.

Hermana Stringham

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