Monday, October 22, 2012

Life's Better When We Remember (Photos at end)

To those who expressed an interest in helping Faith's companion, Hermana Quito from Peru, we are going to deposit money into Faith's bank account here, and she will withdraw the money there and give it to Hermana Quito, who can then choose her own clothes.  If you want to send something, please send to:
Janice Goimarac
120 Hohokam Drive
Sedona, AZ  86336
Thank you to all! 

Dad, I loved your email and especially that statistic about how many youth are going on missions! As I read that I felt the spirit so strongly. I am so proud of them. I wonder what percentage were sister missionaries. I told all the elders in my district that fact today, and we all talked about how exciting it is that the work is going forth so quickly.  I loved the picture from the beach in Spain, Hope. Made my day. :) You`ll never know.

This week....well, we survived. I have to admit I was pretty stressed at some moments. I feel so responsible for so many things, and that every failure is my fault because I`m the senior companion. Our area is so big and there is SO much that needs to be done, and yet...I don`t know. It`s overwhelming. 

Without much to say as far as progressing investigators, here is our week in numbers:

40+ hours without water or electricity in the house
4 "showers" with a 2-liter bottle of water
1 interview with President Madariaga (in the middle of those days without water....ugh)
4 huge rain storms
1 time being on the opposite side of town at 8:30 p.m. in the middle of a rainstorm
12 hours of companionship study and training
12 lessons with member-present

Have you ever felt like the harder you try the harder it gets? That`s how I felt this week. I had lofty goals about getting people to church on Sunday, and even had a plan about who would pass by for who to walk to church with them. Turns out, it was pouring rain on Sunday morning and hardly any members came to church, and zero investigators. Thankfully, by the last hour of church (sacrament meeting) we had 28 people there, about half of what is normal. I was feeling a little disappointed in the members for not pulling up their bootstraps and just going to church.  But then I realized that if I am judging them I have no room to love them (as Mother Theresa said). Who am I to judge, who has a rain jacket and rain boots and an umbrella? They have none of that, and most live far from the church. I was also feeling very low because we had passed by for two families to walk to church with them and the first one just didn`t answer the door, and the second one is an older couple, and the husband told us to sit down for a minute and told us that he has talked with his wife, and they decided that they were born Catholics and want to die Catholics, they don`t want to change. He said it just like that. I was thankful for his sincerity. But I was on the verge of tears. SO many people are held captive by this little lie of Satan that they cannot change. But what if GOD wants you to change? We do not go door to door trying to get people to show up to church or rack up baptismal numbers. We do not even serve missions strictly to show people a better way of life...but to give them the keys to open the door to the celestial kingdom. ONLY the Church of Jesus Christ can do this.

But anyway, as I was sitting behind the piano during sacrament meeting looking over the little flock of faithful members and thinking about the many people who had rejected us this week, I realized that I really cannot change anyone. It is true that offering people the gospel is like offering them a million dollars, and while I want them to accept it so badly I cannot make them. But I can change myself, I can accept it for myself. And instead of bitterly saying, "I didn`t come on a mission for me, I want to help OTHERS, there is so much more to life than saving myself!" (which is all true and good)....I decided it would be such a waste to invite and invite and invite others to change if I didn`t do a lot of changing myself. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, because I truly didn`t come on a mission for myself. I didn`t come because I wanted the experience or the adventure, but because the worth of souls is great and every soul needs to hear the message. But the truth is that God will force no man to heaven. 

The mission is often compared to as a mini-life. We are born at the start of our missions and die at the end. Our first comp is our mom or dad, and when we train we train our sons or daughters (hijos). I have learned that single-parenting is rough. We have two parents for a reason, haha. But anyway, I have thought about what I want my hija to learn from me, just as I will probably think when I have real children of my own. One thing is I want her to always always be grateful, even during difficult times like now. So we have started to make a grateful list every night before planning--a list of specific blessings we received that day. Sometimes we forget how blessed we are, but life`s better when we remember. The Lord truly blesses us in so many ways, and we really need to take the time to recognize His hand in our life. 

I don`t mean to sound so depressed, I really am (miraculously) fairly happy through this time of few progressing investigators and feeling like a failure sometimes. The mission, like life, is a a roller coaster. I am sure that next week`s email will be a high, because this Saturday we get to hear from Elder Bednar in person!!! He is speaking to both missions in Paraguay, and we are all meeting in a stake center in Asuncion. Just think, 500 missionaries and an apostle in one building at the same time. And I am leading the music in front of all of them. President casually said to me a couple weeks ago, "And did they tell you that you`re going to lead the music, hermana?" I laughed it off, thinking it was a joke. But it`s not, ha. 

Also, Marian and Jorge should also be getting married Saturday night, which will be the answer to much fasting and many, many prayers. If only they knew how much I love them. 

Oh I love my mission so much. There are some weeks when it is more loveable than others, but the same goes for whatever we do. I love the gospel with all my soul and love Him whose it is. I love studying the scriptures evey day and practicing how to present the gospel to others so that they can realize what a priceless and necessary knowledge it is. I love each of you and am so thankful for the support I get. I love my parents. I love the example of both of them who served missions. I am so thankful they taught me the gospel. The grand majority of children come from homes with much less teaching and loving than mine. The sacrifices that have been made in my behalf have made all the difference, and how I want to sacrifice for others so they can reap the same rewards. 

Your Very Grateful Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac

P.S. Way to go MITT! Keep me posted! Vote for him for me. :)

The fotos are: A cartoon that Hna. Greer drew depicting how we are soul mates and pre-destined to serve together. 
Hna Quito and I at a musem of Paraguayan myths that we went to with the elders today. Not my prefered use of p-day time, but whatev.
Juan Leon on his baptism day.
Juan Jose`s family on his baptism day
Hna. Quito and I when she was "born"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let Us Dream Big and Love Even Bigger

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!
Querida Familia,

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,
Sister Goimarac

Monday, October 8, 2012

Never, No Never, No NEVER Forsake

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,
Sister Goimarac
 P.S. Thanks for the Mitt update! Keep em coming! GOOOO Mitt! It is so the last days.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Do you want to be like God? Then cultivate the one trait above all others that characterizes God--love as he loves his children."‏

2:29 PM
To Janice Goimarac, Hope Goimarac, Mike Goimarac
Dear family, 

Another great week.  I have found ways to eat way healthier. Today I made a beet, cabbage and lentil salad for instance. Still have to consume way more meat and soda than I like, but what can I do.
This week we really tried to get our daily goals every single day, 7/7. We saw so many little miracles because of this. We did everything we could, and it was so clear so many times that God was helping us. It really taught me that when we do our part, God certainly does His. For instance, last Monday (when we only have 3 hours at night to reach our goals) we needed to find a new investigator, but we only had like 20 minutes before an FHE. We clapped a random house and a sweet couple was there and they both became news, in 20 minutes. Such a miracle. And then the other night I was about to go home but we had to contact a reference in order to meet our goals. We asked a random guy on a corner if he knew anybody who would be interested in listening to us, and he actually gave us a name (!) and then we actually found that person at home! I think you have to be a missionary to really understand, but I learned a lot. We were short a member-present lesson two of the days and so we only got 5/7, but this week we are going to get 7/7 si o si. 
We fasted for Nelson and Marian this Sunday, even though it wasn`t fast Sunday here. Marian was going to get married on Saturday, but her baby had some kind of growth on his eye and had to go to the hospital, and it sounds like she had to use the money she saved for the wedding on treatment. She even sold her cell phone first before using the wedding money.  The poor girl, she wants to get married and baptized so bad. Her home is already like a member`s home, with all kinds of church books and magazines and pictures from them taped on her wall. Pray that she can get married this month, that she can have the money and her husband will still be willing. Neighbors and friends have kind of persecuted him, asking why he wants to get married, and he doesn`t really know what to say. We hardly ever get to teach him because he gets home from work really late at night.
On Saturday morning a series of events led us to an area near our house where we normally wouldn`t be on a Saturday morning. We passed by a house with a bunch of people gathered at it and found out that the husband of a lady we know passed away that morning. They had been married for 50 years. I can`t even imagine how hard it would be to lose your husband of 50 years, especially if you had a good relationship. Her son asked us to go talk to her. I tend to think that right after a tragedy like that is not the time for little me to talk to the person who is going through such a blow, but it is actually the time they need your comfort most. We talked to her for a while and she was sooooo touched that we thought of her. She asked if we would sing for her. So we sang, "Para siempre Dios este con Vos." All the people in the yard, probably 15 or 20, became quiet and all of them listened to us. It was such a peaceful moment. I am so thankful for our understanding of the plan of salvation. And I am so thankful that God leads us to opportunities like that when we can lift the heads that hang down.
A few highlights from this week:
-Getting bitten by a dog! I am a real missionary! Don`t worry, it didn`t bring blood.
-Climbing under barbed wire 5 times on my hands and knees, there and back, to visit Celso`s mom who lives practically in the middle of nowhere. Is there really anywhere I`d rather be than in the middle of a palm-tree laden Paraguayan forest on a Wednesday afternoon? Ummmmm...nope.
-Juan Jose (our little nine year old investigator who is getting baptized this next week) tenderly and caringly giving me a handful of chicken feathers, with a huge grin on his face, as if he was actually giving me a bouquet of roses.
-Reporting our numbers to the zone leaders and hearing them say, "Wow" after every number. Not that I really care about statistics, but it`s nice that we sisters are leading the zone, considering that often sisters don`t get as much credit.
-Getting ice cream today and the man behind the counter being completely drunk, which made him insist that we taste every flavor of ice cream before buying any. "If you insist," as dad would say.
-Asking a girl if she would be baptized if she got an answer from God that this is the true church, and she saying, "Me gustaria!" (I would like to!). Rarely is the answer so enthusiastic!
Mom, to answer your question about Spanish, I am feeling a lot more comfortable. It isn`t nearly the struggle it was before. I still am not as good as I thought I would be at 6 months out, but I can understand almost everything and the people seem to understand what I say, especially if it is gospel-related. When it goes to other topics my understanding drops a little...ha. I am learning a LOT of guarani here in Paraugay. Hermana Greer is really good at talking with the people and picking it up. We`ve been singing hymns in guarani a lot more to people who don`t understand spanish very well, and they love it. They get the biggest kick out of us american girls learning guarani.
My friend Jamie Claridge left the MTC today after 12 weeks, headed for Russia on her mission. So proud of you Jamie! I hope your wrist has healed! Russia isn`t going to know what hit ´em after you get going.
I have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish and have felt the Spirit so strongly. I know with all my heart that the Book of Mormon is true. It is such an act of mercy from our loving Heavenly Father that we have it. As it says in 2 Nephi 29, people will say, "A Bible? We have a Bible, we need no more Bible!" That prophesy is now fulfilled and many people say this. But why should they murmur at the thought of receiving more of the word of God? For instance, one lady we talked to this week said, "What is the point of going to church? If it is to be baptized, I was already baptized, and if it is to hear the word of God, that is why I have a Bible." It hurts to hear someone say that the Bible is the ONLY word of God we are going to get. As a parent, I don`t plan on talking to my children just once in their lives, but every day. And God is the same. He has not only given us the Bible, but the Book of Mormon which was written for our day, and also a living prophet and twelve apostles to guide us through this mist of darkness. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is powerful. It brings the Spirit. It testifies of Christ in a way that is so clear.
I am so thankful General Conference is next week, too! We are inviting everyone we see to "come and see" our living prophet who lives today. Speaking of direction for our day, this week I read the new For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and it motivated me so much to just be a better person, in so many aspects. If you can, find it online and read it. It can`t get much clearer than that booklet.
Ahhhhhhhhh I love being a missionary.
Thank you mom, dad, Hope, and Carrie for your emails. I devour every word. Paulette, I hope you`re doing great! I miss you! How`s Levi?

I loved Matthew`s little prayer to bless the people in Parauay ¨"so that they can read and be LDS people." It made my day.  He is so sweet.  Dad, I absolutely love the talk you sent me.  It really made me think.  I love my family so much.  As Hope wrote to me today, "Thank goodness we`re stuck together for eternity!"
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...