Monday, August 25, 2014

The Happiest Missionary in this World!

August 25, 2014

¡Oye, hola familia!  ¿Cómo están?  ¡Espero que sean feliz!  ¿Pueden creer que voy a cumplir 6 meses esta semana?

Say what?  After almost 6 months of being a missionary, here in Ecuador, where my love is truly growing more and more every day for these people, I am pleased to inform you that I am the happiest missionary in this world! 

Now onto a couple of stories about the greatest people on Earth…our investigators!!  Let’s start with Alberto.  He is gung-ho for his baptismal date this coming Saturday and has been counting down the days.  Yesterday he said, “Hermana, only 6 days left!” 

Teaching Alberto is just the greatest!  As you will recall, he is blind, so he is unable to see exactly how far away or close to him we are sitting; and he loves to converse with his hands.  With his arms fully extended, he recounts childhood stories or memories with his life-long friend, Obispo Valverde – and his hands are flying all over the place.  While in the meantime, we are dodging with our heads and body trying to not get hit!  Once I was a little too engaged in his story and leaned forward, when BOOM, I was hit in the face.  Yeah, we had a good laugh. :)

Since Alberto can’t see, we gave him The Book of Mormon on a CD so that he could listen to it, because we have no idea where we could get one in Spanish braille.  Any ideas?  Every day we come to visit, he is outside his house waiting for us and listening to The Book of Mormon.  “Hermanas did you know that Nephi had 2 wicked brothers named Laman and Lemuel?”  “Yes, Alberto, we did!”

As Alberto has stopped attending the Evangelica church near his home, many of the members of that congregation have persecuted him for listening to us.  They tell him that we worship Joseph Smith, etc.  But Alberto ALWAYS shares what he believes to be true about the Book of Mormon and the restoration of Christ’s church in our time through Joseph Smith and that God’s prophet today is Thomas S. Monson.  He is so anxious to be baptized…by his cousin Wilson!  Yup, that’s right – our recent convert Wilson has received the Aaronic Priesthood and is worthy and ready to baptize his cousin!  We are so grateful that our Heavenly Father placed Alberto in our path as someone truly prepared to make a covenant with Him.  Heavenly Father knows his children!

My companion and I have started to look for ways to serve others in every moment of the day.  While out working one day we met a lady named Fernanda, who is a single mother of 2 children (ages 10 y 12) and makes her own clothing.  We asked her if she knew where someone else lived, which she didn’t.  As we saw her there cutting fabric for her clothes, we decided to ask her if she needed help.  She gladly accepted.  While talking with her, we congratulated her on completing her calling as a mother and provider for her family as described in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  

In this inspired document from our living apostles and prophets, it says,
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation.

Fernanda is HILARIOUS and loves our message.  The only desafio con ella [challenge with her] is that she has never liked going to church.  Sadly, she was out of town this week and was unable to attend church with us.  But we will hope again for next week.

Now onto my weekly update on Marcos.  After traveling to the temple with us, Marcos said he is “more convinced” now than before about the truthfulness of our message and said that his baptism is “coming soon!”  Wahoo!! :)

We are also teaching about 10 other families right now, but sadly I don’t have the time to write about each of them.  Just know that their stories will be shared in the upcoming weeks!

This week the Bishop’s family was in a car accident and through a miracle their 2 young grandchildren escaped without a scratch.  But the Bishop’s wife Fanny, has a badly bruised and inflamed leg.  On Thursday we passed by their house many times and no one was home – which was very unusual for their family.  So, before heading home for the evening we felt that we should stop and see if everything was OK.  We found sweet Hna Fanny crying as she told us about the accident and how at the time of the accident she didn’t feel any pain in her leg.  She was only worried for her grandchildren. 

As Fanny sat on a chair with her purple/yellow/red (basically every color imaginable) leg propped up, we desperately wanted to help her.  But seemingly there was nothing to do other than give big hugs and share uplifting words.  Then the thought came to me that we should sing her a song.  As we sang the song “Oh, está todo bien!” (the Spanish version of “Come, Come ye Saints”), we were overwhelmed by the Spirit in the room.  Fanny had a confirmation that her Heavenly Father was aware of her and her family in this hour of difficulty and trial.  The three of us sang the chorus with tears in our eyes (actually 4 because the bishop was there and he was crying too) – “Oh, está todo bien!” [All is well, All is well]  I am so grateful for the spiritual experience we had with the bishop’s family and that we were able to serve Hna Fanny through singing.

Another highlight this past week - we also went to the temple in Guayaquil with our entire zone and our Mission President.  Spiritual high – right?!!  Oh, I just love the temple.  And it was all in Spanish and I understood (pretty much) everything! :)  Our Mission President is allowing us to go to the temple every 12 weeks now.  He feels that this will give us the ability to receive more revelation and have even more power in our teaching.

I love to see the temple!

After the temple, we had a training meeting where we talked about the principle of finding people to teach.  We were asked the question, “What is the doctrine that the principle of finding people to teach is based on?”  A doctrine is a truth that never changes, and the principle is the action.

I immediately had the thought, well it is based on the doctrine of building up the kingdom of God and because it is our calling as missionaries.  But I learned something I absolutely love – that the principle of finding is based on the doctrine of LOVE!  We are all sons and daughters of God, which means that everyone here on the earth are my brothers and sisters.  Our Mission President’s challenge is to work diligently to become better missionaries because we LOVE our brothers and sisters and want to help them return to Heavenly Father.  When we truly learn to love everyone – because they are our family, we will find those who are prepared to be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I was in love with the Ecuadorian people since the day I received my mission call - but I am so grateful that I can learn to truly LOVE them.  My desire is deepening to bring the people here to our Savior’s feet, to help them repent, be baptized and make covenants with God in the Holy Temples.  I have come to LOVE my Savior even more through serving my brothers and sisters. 

Before I left on my mission, my dad gave me a quote from Elder Bruce R. McConkie called My Missionary Commission:

“I am called of God.  My authority is above that of kings of the earth.  By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him--to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me.  My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.  My Commission is to do what He wants done; to say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of His great and marvelous Latter-day work.  How great is my calling!”

How great is my calling?  Pretty dang great Elder McConkie!  I love being a missionary! 

Well family I encourage you all to truly love one another with ALL your heart.  As you do, I promise you will come to know our Savior even better. 

Con muchisimo amor,
Hermana B

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