Monday, October 22, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Note to readers: Re Faith's plea in the 6th paragraph to help her companion, I'm going to ask her more questions next week, such as, wouldn't it be easier to send money so she can choose her own clothing, if there are even stores in their little town. But if you would like to help in some way, please let me know. Thank you!
Primero, happy birthday Jared! I thought about you on the 13th. You are such a great brother in law and bless our entire family so much, just by being the good, righteous guy you are. I hope you had a great day. And felicidades about the temple in Tucson! I am so excited for you all. If I want to get married in Arizona, I am going to have a lot more options than just Meza. Or do you spell it Mesa? I can`t remember. Also, thank you for the email Carrie! The time difference is four hours later than AZ now, by the way. And dad and Paulette! What a drive! I hope it all went well and the dogs arrived in one piece, as well. Best of luck to you and Levi, Paulette! You are a cute little family.
I have my new companion, la Hermana Quito de Trujillo, Peru! She is the only sister who came this change. A bunch of missionaries came from the Argentina MTC. I have to admit that training is.....hard. I was a little intimidated to find out I`m training a Latina, but I am actually eternally grateful because at least she speaks great Spanish. It is hard and lonely to make all the decisions on my own, because she doesn`t know any of the people or really anything about missionary work. But I have truly felt and seen the Lord bless us and I don`t have to be worried because it is HIS work, not mine. She keeps saying how thankful she is that she has me as a companion and how patient I am with her, but really, SHE is the one who is patient with me because I have to ask her to repeat almost everything she says.
Her conversion story is amazing. She was baptized 8 years ago. Her mom had a stroke and was doing really poorly, and her older sister`s grades started dropping because of the stress at home. Her sister`s friend at high school noticed she was really sad in a math class one day, and told her that he had two friends who could give her mom a blessing. His friends were the missionaries, and they taught her family. At first Hna. Quito didn`t want to listen and didn`t want to join a church just because her mom was healed by a blessing. Her older sister got baptized, then her parents and little brothers, then her. Her older sister just got home from a mission in Peru two weeks before Hna. Quito left on her mission, and her brother is currently in the MTC. Just think, a whole family of missionaries all because a member boy in a high school math class opened his mouth! I am so thankful for him, as is Hna. Quito!
On Wednesday we went to Asuncion to change companions and I had a training meeting about how to train. President Madariaga said that if we don`t feel prepared or good enough to train, complain to the Lord about it because HE is the one who definitely, without a doubt, made the assignments of who would train. Very 1 Nephi 3:5 ish, no?
I called my old companion Hna. Quispe last night to see how Concepcion is doing. Another of the Meza daughters, Nila who is 17, was baptized a couple weeks ago and is so animada (excited, on fire about) about the gospel she wants to go on a mission! The whole family is going to church still, even Juan Angel went yesterday. The heart breaking news is that he has still not stopped smoking, and even started drinking again. It made my heart just sink. Gladys even wants to separate from him because when he is drunk he is terrible with the family. It makes me so sad. He truly believes the church is true, but believing isn`t enough, he needs to act on what he believes. If you want to write a letter of encouragement or perspective, mom or dad, to Gladys or Juan Angel, or both, I would be happy to translate it and send it to them.
Have you already sent me a Christmas package? I hope not, because I have another request. And maybe any blog readers want to help, too. My new companion came with two suitcases that were only half-full. She is from a pretty poor family it looks like (her dad works in the compana, or the fields.) and she has almost nothing. On top of that she gained a lot of weight in the Argentina MTC (Sounds like that happens to everyone who goes there!) and a few of her already-limited skirts don`t fit....She has so few clothes that she can`t even send them to be washed like we usually do because she doesn`t have enough to last until we get them back again, so she does laundry by hand. I would LOVE it if you sent her some christmas presents, wrapped and everything. She is probably a little less than 5 feet tall and probably about a size 10 or 12. Aside from clothes, she could use about anything. That is what I want for Christmas, is presents for her. I doubt her family will send anything. They don`t even know how to use email. She didn`t know how to use a microwave. It`s a different life. Letters or Christmas cards would be great, too. She doesn`t get much mail and mail is all we missionaries really want from back home.
We ran into Nelson again this week (you don`t know how many times the Lord has put him in our path! I know it is not a coincidence. That guy is hard to get hold of but God makes it possible.) He said he isn`t going to go to church anymore because it asks too much of him, and also because it has brought him so many problems with his friends and girl friend. He said that now that he decided to stop going to church, things are much better with his girlfriend. Oh, it was so hard to hear a perspective like that. He said everything we teach is good, and that he truly believes this is the true church, just that it asks too much. Broke my heart. Hopefully with time he will remember the Spirit he felt and realize what life is really about.
And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ...and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him. (Omni 1:26). Whenever we offer anything to Him, the rewards are so much sweeter than anything we gave up. I testify to that. Oh the church is true and vale la pena predicarlo (worth the pain to preach it). I am grateful and just FULL beyond measure that Hope wants to serve a mission. It is truly the way to change the world. Last week during conference I was filled with so many desires to just change the world. I want to start an anti-abortion organizaion, and also save orphans from malnutrition, and do something about all the drunks who abuse their families, and also help people quit smoking, and teach people in developing countries how to prevent disease. But then I realized that, although those are still great options that I would love to and plan to pursue, the gospel cures all those problems in one fell swoop. There is truly no greater work than missionary work, whether it be in the home or in the field.
Your Sister Missionary who doesn`t endure lunches of sausage and white bread and soda for nothing, but because this work is TRUE,
Monday, October 8, 2012
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO HAPPY IN MY LIFE. The happiness I have felt this past week tops any of the happiness I used to know in my old life. Getting an A on a test? Getting asked on date? All shallow compared to the deep joy that has overwhelmed me in so many ways this past week. Where to start. I have never wanted to call home so badly on my mission. I would call you right now and forgo Christmas if it were possible.
First of all, on Saturday as we watched conference and heard the announcement about the missionary age being lowered, I burst. I was on the edge of my seat and when he said 19 I sobbed, my companion jumped in the air, we just hugged each other and couldn`t contain our happiness. I am so thankful for this news. It means it is the last days. It means the gospel will fill the earth in no time. It means God wants, and the world desperately needs, more sister missionaries. It means, as the elders quickly pointed out, that the BYU dating scene is changing forever and the missionaries currently out will have fewer options when they go home. (They seem truly concerned, haha. But I think it is wonderful because it means they can almost all marry returned sister missionaries.) Don`t you worry that I am upset that this change didn`t happen in time for me. I am perfectly content. I am happy to be on a mission now. Yes, it was a long wait to 21 and I could be married right now if I left when I was 19 (and I totally would have left then, remember mom how you wanted to write the first presidency and ask them to let me go early?), but I wouldn`t change a thing about my life if I could. God knows best.
The FIRST thing I said and thought of was "Hope can go on a mission in January!!!!" Hope, a separate email is coming soon for you. For all the 18-year-old young men and young women out there, all I can say is what Nike says: JUST DO IT. If you do not, you will regret it, but you will never regret going, that is a promise. Please pray for the young men and women of the church who are certainly thinking a lot about their decision to this call to serve. Pray they have the strength necessary to take this great step of faith. Satan knows such a decision will convert the missionary and countless others, and if he can`t stop one from making the choice to serve a mission his plan will certainly be thwarted. Whahahaha. We know God`s kingdom cannot fail. Why not join the winning team?
Conference was outstanding, every minute. I have literally been just bursting and bubbling with unexplainable happiness for days. I cannot say it enough. This has been the happiest week of my mission. It is happiness that seems to consume my flesh, yet I still have all my flesh, miraculously.
We had three investigators go to conference and I am pretty sure they will all get baptized. They say 75% of those who see conference get baptized. It worked for Santiago, our investigator who has been going to church and seeing missionaries for 7 years but never had the courage to just get in the water. On the bus ride back he said he wants to get baptized on Friday, that he felt the spirit very strongly and asked himself what has been taking him so long. We shall see. ;) Marian and her four little kids went on Sunday as well, as hot and long as it was. She is doing great and is such a joy. If only we can convince Jorge tonight to get married.
On Friday we had one of the sweetest baptisms I will probably ever see. We have been teaching a sweet 9-year-old boy, Juan Jose, who is the grandson of one of the strongest women in our branch, but his parents are smoking, drinking catholics. Juan Jose told his mom that he doesn`t want to be catholic, that he wants to go to abuela´s church and pass the sacrament and be a missionary. It was truly his decision. His mom came to the baptism and told us she got very emotional. Pretty sure she will join the church some day soon, and if we can get his dad to stop drinking it will be another precious family.
The thing is, Juan Jose asked his uncle Celzo to baptize him! Celzo, who was baptized three weeks ago and received the priesthood two weeks ago. It was the most precious sight to see them enter the water together and come out with big grins, both of them. That sight alone made me so happy. Celzo continues to progress in the gospel so well and went to conference even though none of his family did, and he doesn`t even understand spanish perfectly. This is a man who used to drink and didn`t want to join the church when his family did. Wow, the gospel changes people.
It has been the first week of real summer, I think. I am nearly dripping in sweat just typing an email. The shower could not be cold enough.
Also, this week we found out Elder Bednar is coming Oct 27th to divide a stake! We were told not to plan anything that day. OK! I am so excited.
Now, for my other big news: About 40 minutes ago we got the phone call about changes! Hermana Greer, my dear friend and soul mate, is leaving to Villa Hayes on Wednesday. And I.....will be training a brand new sister! I am so excited and yet feel so new myself half the time. It is such a great responsibility to train a new missionary, as a trainer leaves a lasting impression for their whole mission. I am thankful for this opportunity. I actually had a feeling I would train, but didn`t want to say it out loud. Hopefully she is the first of many, as new 19- and 20-year-olds flood every mission on earth. Pray for me this week. I want to love this precious new sister into being a powerhouse.
How do I possibly begin to express my conviction that this is the true church? How can I possibly convey the burning in my heart and the throbbing of every cell of my being telling me that this is the truth? How can I convince you that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet? I cannot. As Elder Christiansen said on Saturday, the Spirit can convey things that even heavenly messengers could not express adequately. I testify with all that I can that this is God`s work. His one and only true church is on the earth and it is the only way to true, deep lasting happiness and salvation. Christ lives and through Him we can conquer, no matter what we have done. The world is chock full of HOPE because of Him. And because of Him, even little incompetent missionaries can handle great responsibilities. Thank goodness!
Committed to the end and beyond,
Your Sister Missionary,
P.S. Thanks for the Mitt update! Keep em coming! GOOOO Mitt! It is so the last days.