Monday, August 11, 2014

Obedience and Love

August 11, 2014

Well my dear family, ¡Hola otra vez! [Hello again!]  The weeks keep getting shorter and shorter.  Let’s see if I remember what we did this week! ;)

OH ya...well to start off, you will never guess what happened this week – 1) we didn’t need to use the fan to relieve us of the excessive heat in order to go to sleep, and 2) I woke up each morning absolutely freezing!!!  My one sheet I usually use is just not enough...I never thought I would say this but I am thinking of investing in a blanket!  Haha…it’s "winter" right now here and although during the day it is overcast and the clouds keep the heat and humidity in...(it’s just lovely)..at night, the temperature gets down below 70 and I just freeze.  I even dread taking the cold shower that used to be a highlight of my day.  I am in big trouble when I have to switch back over to Utah weather.
Any who, onto an update on Marcos.  We had a wonderful week full of powerful lessons with Marcos receiving even more confirmations that this gospel is true.  I want to share one of his stories with you all.  A few weeks before Marcos met the missionaries, he had a dream.  In his dream he saw a house with the usual 10 foot deep gutters running along the street (alright, so it’s really like 2 feet, but it’s like in the Disney movie UP when Russell jumps over the sidewalk crack and he says, "and he jumped over the grand canyon!”, but here in Ecuador we really are jumping over the grand canyon :)).  For some reason in his dream, Marcos could not jump this "grand canyon" to go to his church which was across the street.  He then sees 2 girls approaching him that offer him their hands to help him out of the deep gutter.  They end up helping him get out, but did not cross the street to his church (I am guessing the girls in the dream took him to the temple ;) )  

During this week we saw Marcos in the middle of town and so we crossed the street to say hello.  As we offered our hands for a handshake, he remembered his dream.  He told us he knows that we are here to help him find the right church.  AND with this wonderful dream he still will not act on his knowledge or prompting to get baptized.  AHHH! 

My companion and I are hoping like in the story in the Bible of the man who could not walk and when he was offered a helping hand and healed by the Savior he began skipping and running towards the temple, that something similar will happen with Marcos.  We have planned a trip this week for Saturday to go to the temple with Wilson (who received the Aaronic Priesthood this past Sunday), Carlos (the man in the red chair), and Jenny (who has recently become active in the church again).  All of them will be able to perform proxy baptisms for ancestors.  Oh boy am I excited to go to the temple! 

We are hoping and praying that maybe the only thing Marcos needs is to touch and see the temple and he too will be running and skipping towards the temple one day, but first he needs to get baptized.  We know that Marcos will be baptized one day, it is just really hard to see when someone hardens their heart when they KNOW that the church is true.  Phew, I had a few tears one day as we told him we couldn’t visit with him as often if he won’t commit to be baptized.  When he responded, he had tears in his eyes and said, “Bueno, others need your incredible testimonies who are prepared to be baptized.”  AHH, so hard to not visit him each day, but one day I will be jumping up and down for joy when he is baptized.

This week we also taught Nuri and her son Louis.  Nuri has an amazing testimony and was an investigator of the Hermanas that were in this area before us.  She is waiting for the divorce papers from her first husband before she can get baptized, which could take years because divorce papers here take FOREVER.  Her other option is to separate with her current partner/husband now.  Louis is ready and wants to be baptized, so sadly, Nuri will not be joining her son in being baptized this weekend, but we know he will set a good example for his mom and hopefully she will be soon to follow.  I love this cute little family and am anxious for the day that Nuri will be baptized as well. 

Ricardo, Belen and Adela y Adonis all are waiting for divorce papers, or need to get separated or married.  But they are all amazing and will one day be wonderful members of the church.

This week our Mission President gave us a new rule/assignment with a grand promise.  Our misión before focused mainly on references from members.  So if we didn’t have someone to teach we would just visit members until we found a reference from them.  Our new rule or goal is to contact 10 people or families every day, and Wednesday is now set aside for only contacting which is going to be super fun (we are planning to get really creative).  We were promised if we met this goal we will have at least 5 baptisms each month, and sometimes more. 

Ecuador is very prepared to hear our message and the people here are always welcoming us into their homes.  Our first day in following this new rule, we contacted a family who has a cooking stand in the street and sells rice (of course it’s Ecuador!) with chicken and maduras (which are grilled bananas – riquísimo [delicious]).  As we were sharing the message of the restoracion of Christ’s church to the earth, a man who had bought a little rice bowl was secretly listening to the lesson.  Then on Sunday, while walking in Salto, we saw him again and he stopped us and told us that his name was Raul and he liked our message and would love to hear more.  He also wants to have us teach his cousin and sister also.  Well, ya of course that’s fine with us!:)  Raul later accepted a baptismal date for the 30th of this month.  AND he just called us and asked us when we can meet again because he prayed last night and had a wonderful experience.  The blessings of obeying the council of our Mission President, right?!

This week in my personal study I learned there are 3 reasons why people are obedient.  The first reason for obedience is "fear of punishment" or simply "porque sí".  Many times as a child I was asked to do something by my parents and frequently responded, "But why?  Why do I have to do the dishes and not Megan?" (Shout out to Maggie Moo for being the dishes queen :))  This was usually followed by a "Because I asked you to" or “Because I said so."  Some commandments or rules we may ask, “But why?” or “Why me?”  And learning from my own past experiences if you don’t complete the chore or obey, there are consequences to come.  With this type of obedience we are obeying the commandment for fear of the punishment.
The second reason for obeying is to receive some kind of reward or blessings.  As a little girl I knew that if I completed my chores I could then go and play with my friends or go to the super fun party.  Our Heavenly Father loves us infinitely, so with every commandment we are promised to receive blessings.  In the scriptures we read, “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all laws are predicated.  And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.  (D y C 130:20-21)

I’m sure my parents hoped I would experience for myself the joy of completing the chore or obeying the rule and receiving the reward.  Our Heavenly Father knows that in this manner we are able to experience for ourselves the bendiciones [blessings] and frutos [fruits] of our actions so we will constantly strive to receive these blessings.  OF course at times we must have patience and faith that the blessings will come. 

The last type of obedience is the type we should all strive for always - that is obedience for "love".  One thing I wish I could have done differently in my youth (wow that makes me seem old or something) was to obey my parents, not in fear of punishment or because I wanted the associated reward, but simply because I wanted to see them smile and be happy, because I LOVE THEM (shout out to the greatest parents in the world, love you). 

I think we all begin with the first 2 types of obedience, which later allows us to obey and server [to serve] our earthly parents and our Heavenly Father with love.  Love.  Love to obey the commandments is fundamental.  Jesus said, "Do you love me?  Then keep my commandments."  Do you love our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?  Then obey the commandments. 

Relating this to missionary work, the love for this work and for my Heavenly Father can be demonstrated in our diligence to obey the rules of the misión and the commandments of the Lord.  It is my hope that we can all begin to obey our Heavenly Father simply because we love him.  Obedience is the basis of our purpose on Earth.  We will receive those promised blessings, but may we obey simply to show our love for our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ.  I love this work and my Heavenly Father.  I want to show Him my love through my obedience here in the mission and throughout the rest of my life. 

Well family that’s all for this week!  I love you all so much.  I also need to shout out to Hailey and Brandon because I love you too, and you didn’t get a shout our earlier in the letter;)! 

AHH! I am so excited to go to the temple with Wilson and Carlos and Jenny.  The church is true folks!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana B

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