Monday, November 24, 2014

Heavenly Father LOVES His Children

Hello Family.  Well remember last week how I said it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas?  Well, it’s also beginning to look a lot like welcoming in the New Year.  As some of you already know, here in Ecuador they have the tradition of welcoming in the New Year by blowing up, or setting on fire these massive paper mache dolls called monigotes or Año Viejos (Old Years).  The idea is to burn away or say goodbye to your old life or the old year as you resolve to be better in the New Year.

So this week when I was doing an intercambio [exchange] with Hermana Bellota in another sector of Duran, one of her recent converts was sitting making preparations by painting all the dolls for the New Year.  Everything you can imagine, including old ladies with curlers, a little guy that looks like he should be on Mario Kart, all the way to Spider Man.  

The guy has it all!  It’s going to be a crazy New Year folks!!!  I’m thinking of buying the old lady with the curlers because I am SO OLD…9 MONTHS as a missionary?!?!  Ahhh!!!  No puedo creerlo [I can’t believe it.]

I absolutely LOVED this week. The opportunity to teach with power and with the divinity of my calling as a missionary is the greatest thing in all the world.  Sanctifying my life in serving the Lord and striving to be my best self and do my best is the most rewarding feeling.  The highlights of this week were found in the prayers of those I love and adore as representing Christ and helping them come unto Him.  It was found in the prayer of a little 10 year-old girl named Dana (who incidentally is taller than me, which isn’t saying a lot for me, but for an Ecuadorian, yes it’s a little different. I honestly don’t know how I am going to talk with the Hinton family after my mission without straining my neck jaja). 

Dana said, "Heavenly Father I covenant with thee to truly come to know if this message is true. Please bless the missionaries and their families, and how happy it is that they are together forever.  I am so excited to go to church on Sunday.  Please help us the take the sacrament too.  There are so many things in what the missionaries share that make sense, but my teachers at school don’t...so help them accept the missionaries too. I love you Heavenly Father.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I probably nudged my comp 5 times during her prayer because Dana TRULY wants to know more and is willing to do her part.  “Become as little children.”

This week in our Sacrament Meeting they had the annual Primary program in our ward.  The children here are all the cutest things ever, with their matching flower headbands for the girls and the matching bowties for the little guys.  The simple testimonies that they share invite the spirit so strongly. For example, one little girl stood at the pulpit and said, "Arrepentimiento de pecados trae PAZ." [Repenting of sins brings PEACE.]  She was so excited that she REALLY emphasized the word PAZ.   Ahh, it was so cute. "Become as little children."

Oh yeah, so you know how I just think old people are the cutest things in the world?  Yeah, so there is a Familia Maingon who are members of the Church and live in our same gated community.  They have a grandmother who suffers from an unknown illness where she excessively moves her legs and arms all the time.  While we visited her one day this week, she was crying and silently said, "It hurts to be sick." :(  It broke my heart, so we decide to take a little walk with her in their small patio decorated with flowers.  As we smelled the roses, I quietly sang my favorite primary songs to try and help her feel calm. We finally sat down and I told her, "Hermanita, tengo sueño, vamos a dormir." [Dear sister, I am sleepy, let’s go to sleep].  And then she started to try and stand up, so I asked where she was going. "Querías dormir.  Vamos a la cama."  [You wanted to sleep.  Let’s go to bed]  Hahaha she is the cutest.

Now for the story of the week.  I humbly testify that Heavenly Father loves his children and there are always people put into our path to answer our prayers.  2 months ago, when I first entered this area, I was on exchanges with Hermana Rodriguez.  While riding the old-fashioned minivan taxi system here in the joya, we spoke with a lady named Jessica (I told her I really liked her name haha), but sadly we weren’t able to write down her address or phone number.

Then about two weeks ago, our Zone Leaders met Jessica and her husband Victor and their only daughter Dominica (who is 15) – la Familia Leon.  This time, the Elders were able to write down the family’s address and planned to visit them.  But, it turns out la Familia Leon had to move out because of problems with their landlord.  So when the Elders went to visit them at their house, sadly they found the house was vacant. 

Fast forward to 3 days ago.  The Elders ran into la Familia Leon AGAIN!!!!  This time they were moving into OUR SECTOR.  It is not a coincidence that I met her 2 months ago, the Elders met her and her family but they moved, and then again, as part of God’s perfect plan, they ran into the Elders again and have moved into our sector.  Full circle.

Yesterday we had an incredible lesson with Familia Leon and they basically told us that they know the Church is true and they are SO excited to attend church with us this next weekend.  They are seriously the cutest family in the whole world.  The only difficulty is that Jessica and Victor are not married...yet!!!!  It looks like we are going to be planning both a baptism and a wedding here soon! ;)  Today, we are going to go and help them finish cleaning and organizing their new house and then we are going to have a family home evening lesson with them.  Familia Leon puede ser una familia eterna! [The Leon family can be an eternal family!]

A quick update on our other investigators...

Liliam went to church with her daughters and Alejandra just got her recommend to go and perform baptisms in the temple! WAHOO!  We had a wonderful lesson with Liliam this week.  While we watched the video on the Restoration, she just kept saying how much she loved the movie and that she is now praying to know if Joseph Smith really was a prophet.  BUT she still feels like she is missing something. :(  We are planning to have Thanksgiving dinner with them on Thursday with APLLE PIE and all!

Brayan.  Oh Brayan.  Well, he told us he would come to church this week and we waited and waited but he never came. :(  We are hoping that this next week he will attend with his family.  We helped them decorate for Christmas this week and I was in charge of putting the tree together and stringing the lights.  I told my comp that I didn’t feel like it was Christmas because I usually am NOT sweating buckets while decorating for Christmas.  IT IS SO HOT!

Daniela came to church and she called US the night before to make sure that we were going to be at church with her the next day.  Haha that never happens!  She was busy all week so we weren’t able to teach her but we have big plans for our next visit this coming Thursday. 

So my companion is finishing her mission soon and there is the possibility for transfers happening next week before she goes home on December 16th.  If I don’t get transferred this next week on Tuesday, then I will be staying here in this sector and getting a new companion after Hermana Perez leaves.  (Also, if I don’t get transferred, that means that I will be here for Christmas and hopefully we won’t have any connections problems when we Skype!) 

I am super nervous for the coming weeks as there will be big changes, which also means a whole lot of STRESS!  But thankfully, tomorrow we have a reunion [meeting] with Presidente Riggins and we are going to the temple at 5:45 in the morning.  I am planning to fast tomorrow so that I will be able to feel peace that everything will work out.  After all, Heavenly Father’s Plan is perfect right? 

Thank you for all of the prayers.  They really are felt daily.  I LOVE YOU ALL to the moon and back. 

Se que nuestra familia es eterna, y el espiritu es increible cada vez cuando estoy testificando de ustedes.  LES AMO. 
[I know that our family is eternal, and the Spirit is incredible every time when I am testifying about you.  I LOVE YOU.]

Hermana B

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