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,
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"