Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Patience is not shoulder-shrugging resignation. It is the acceptance of a divine rhythm to life; it is obedience prolonged." Neal A. Maxwell


Dad, thank you for your letter! I would love to hear some insights from "Falling to Heaven." I love reading what you find inspiring. I know what you mean about missionary work in the ward being hard. We have been visiting some less actives, and it is so hard to see that they KNOW it is true deep down, they just don{t want to make the change. I like how you and mom and I are all doing missionary work right now. I printed my emails earlier today and was reading them as we walked to get some groceries. I loved reading how you heard about Paraguay from those men in the temple. :) My companion laughed and agreed with the part about eating every part of a cow. Oh what I have to look forward to. :)

Mom, thank you for your long email! I liked how you wrote on several different days. I understand your frustration with Spanish, but also, when it comes down to it, don´t worry too much about the little grammar details. In conversational Spanish you just figure out how to say things in the most simple way, without all kinds of subjunctive and stuff. But I need to study more...that´s for sure. Being functional is not enough. The hardest thing is understanding. I´m so tired of just nodding my head and acting like I know what they´re talking about. 

This week we had a zone conference in Asuncion,which means we had to get on a bus at 11 p.m. and ride all night to get to Asuncion in time. It was very motivating and being with the other missionaries is such a boost of enthusiasm. Not that I was discouraged before though. After the zone conference from 8 to 2 we had a temple session at 5, but before that some people had interviews with the President. While I waited I was reading the January 2012 Liahona and there was a talk in it called "Keeping Covenants" by Elder Holland. I feel like God wanted me to read that talk right then. He talked about how every time we make a covenant with God He endows us with gifts and blessings. The more seriously we take our covenants, the more blessings we will receieve, we have God´s word of that. It made me realize that this is why exact obedience brings milagros, er, miracles. Exact obedience indicates we are taking our covenants very seriously. It reminded me of that wonderful quote by Elder Benson, "When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, then will God endow us with power." The article said that they key to missionary work (and every calling, really) is keeping our covenants. This thought was so motivating to me. It just really hit me. It doesn´t matter how hard my mission is, or how fruitless it seems at times. This is my calling, my personal commandment, and I will take it seriously. 

The temple session was one of the most meaningful and spiritual I´ve ever been to (and it was even in Spanish). Being in the shoes of a missionary for a couple weeks put a whole new perspective on it. Mortality really is about keeping covenants. Through keeping them, we can have the assurance that we will be blessed through the difficulties of life and blessed with eternal life after. Who doesn´t want that? 

We had a couple investigators come to church yesterday, but we were expecting a lot more. We have also been working with some menos activos (less actives) and had committed them to come to church, and they didn´t. I´ve learned a lot about patience this week. I want them to feel the Spirit NOW, I want them to understand the importance of obedience NOW, and I want them to enjoy the blessings of baptism and the gospel NOW. Yesterday in our testimony meeting there were long moments of silence when no body got up, and I thought of my BYU wards where it´s almost a competition to get to the pulpit. If only Paraguay wards were that strong. But I´m sure God feels this way with us, and yet He is so patient with us. I´ve been reading a BYU devotional about patience that my dear friend Emily Larsen sent me, by Neal A. Maxwell. Thus, my subject line. Patience really is an attribute worth developing, and one we will need in the next life. 

One of the hardest things a missionary has to experience, I think, is talking to people who don´t want what you have. Yesterday I feel like everyone we contacted just wanted to talk and not listen to us. Paraguayans LOVE to talk. And I would love to listen if it was related to the gospel, but they just like talking to Americans most of the time. Anyway, vice versa, one of the sweetest things a missionary can experience is someone coming to you and asking for what you have! This happened last week. A man named Carlos was zipping by on his moto when he stopped, and turned around and asked us if we could come visit him sometime and teach him. So we did a couple nights ago. He has a daughter but is separated from his wife. We explained the restoration to him and I asked that, when he received an answer from God that this was His church, if he would be baptized. And he said yes. I absolutely love asking this question. Almost everyone says yes, actually, because we´re asking them if they will be baptized AFTER they receive an answer from God, we´re not asking them to believe us. We´re also working with a couple teenage girls who said they would be baptized, but the hard thing is getting these people to church. Carlos, for instance, works every Sunday.

I know that there are people who are prepared to receive the gospel here. If there were not, God would not send missionaries here. Wherever there are missionaries, there is work! It really is so exciting. 

Missionaries live for the small moments, I think. Moments when little 3 year old children run up to you and yell, "Heeeerrrrrmmaaaaanaaaas!" or when you get an investigator to pray for the first time and they thank God for your visit, or when you listen to a recent convert teach a gospel principles lesson on the Atonement and he talks about places like Gethsemane and Calvary, and you think how wonderful it was to see those places, but how much more wonderful it is to see that what happened there has affected people clear in Paraguay. Or small things like reading the Book of Mormon for an hour and wishing you had more time for personal study. Or printing your emails and reading words from your dad like, "Take care Hermana Faith, my beautiful daughter." and,"I know you will be a great support to those in need" from your mom. Don´t we live for little moments like that?

I love the gospel so much. I can´t wait to be here longer and see it change people. I love Jesus Christ and am so thankful we have His gospel and His authority on the earth today. I feel like the most blessed girl on earth. I am so thankful for this opportunity! I am a missionary!!!!!!

Your Sister Missionary,
Hermana Faith Goimarac
P.S. I don´t expect anyone to send me packages,but some people did in the MTC,and so if someone did I would hate for it not to get to me. So, here is my address for packages, it is different from the one for letters

Sister Faith Goimarac
Paraguay Asuncion NOrth Mission
Av. Santisima Trindad N 1280
C/ Julio Correa
Asuncion 1831

And sometimes you need the phone number of the mission home if you sent with private mail services, so it is 595 21 280 930

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