Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Kingdom of God or nothing! (Photos at end)

Note to Readers from Faith's Mom:  Once again I forgot to send out last week's letter until today!  Sorry!  Such a dynamite letter--how I love this girl!
Dear Family,
Happy Valentines day this week! I sure love you more than ever before. I love my parents so much, I love my brothers and sisters and my neices and nephews. And I love my companions on my mission and our investigators and the members. I love the people I went to Jerusalem with and all the roommates I`ve had at BYU, and I love the people in the Sedona ward. I love how there is always room to love more and more. Love is really what makes the world go round. It`s why God created the world, because He loves us, and it`s why I`m serving a mission, because I love Him. 

And, this valentines day is going to be the best of my life thus far. We have not one, not two, but THREE weddings! We`ve been hyping up Valentines day as the perfect excuse for many couples to start living the law of chastity and get married. It`s worked great. :) Arnaldo  Resquin is going to marry his really sweet novia, Esther, who wants to get baptized and went to church for the first time yesterday. She`s only 19 and he`s almost 18, but they have a 1 year old daugther so it`s high time they seal the deal. And Antonia Resquin is going to marry her novio. And there is a couple, Leo and Liz who we have been working with a lot. Liz is not a member only because she`s not married to Leo, but they are fairly active. Leo has been a member for 20 years and has several children but has never gotten married. We had a sweet visit with them last night. Leo said that when he lived in Argentina two north american "hermanitas divinas" taught him the gospel and he got baptized, and now two more hermanitas divinas are going to help him get married. We have pestered and prodded them almost every day to make sure they get everything in order (Leo said, "Why did you two come to this ward?!" because without us he would not be getting married, hahaha). Liz has to get a certificate that says her other marriage wasn`t valid in order to get married, so on the condition that she gets that it will be a great day for them. Sometimes, between taming wild children in church and convincing people to marry their concubines I feel more like a wedding planner or babysitter than a missionary, but it`s all missionary work, I guess. 

First of all, let me teach you a little guarani. The suffix -ite means very,  or extremely. And in talking about families that are very prepared we say they are "de oro" (of gold). We found a family that is oro-ite. Last Saturday after walking dejectedly from the chapel when the baptism was postponed until the next day, we set out to find someone we had contacted the week before. They weren`t home, it was hot, our baptism had just been postponed, and we couldn`t find the people we were looking for. But there was a family outside their house and I contacted them. As soon as we introduced ourselves the husband let us in, and asked if we are Mormons. He said he works with several Mormons and they are just the greatest guys. Their names are Marcos and Elva, and they have one seven year old son and a daughter on the way. We had a great lesson. Marcos just wants to be a good dad, and know what to teach his kids. He says he has an emptiness inside that he just can`t fill, something that is missing even though he prays and has a relationship with God. His mom passed away three months ago. I felt like I was reading something out of the Liahona as he told us about his life. I was so thankful we found them that day, because he works a lot and goes to school at night and is impossible to find at home. My comp knows the stake president he works with, who is actually in the other mission, but we got his number and Saturday had a great lesson with the family and with that stake president. (That visit is another miracle but I don`t have time to explain it). And yesterday Marcos came to church! His other co-worker from a different ward came to accompany him. Please pray for Marcos and Elva! I`m so excited for them!!! 

We live by a Policia Montada (mounted police) where there are all the horses the police use. We cross through almost every day as a short cut. One day a young man in the street approached us and said he works in the montada and always sees us. He has a lot of questions, but he doesn`t live in our area, just works there, so we can`t teach him. But we talk to him often and always invite him to church. He works all night on Saturday and can`t get to his own church building, but he can get to ours, but hasn`t gone even though he always says he will. I mentioned on Saturday night, "There are always temptations to get us to not go to church, you just have to overcome them and go!" and he said, "There are a lot of temptations, huh? But when I see you`s seems like there aren`t any temptations." He often mentions it`s so impressive that we are out all day inviting people to learn of Jesus Christ. Our very presence is what got him interested. Anyway, he also came to church yesterday! He participated so much in gospel principles that the teacher must have thought he was a seasoned investigator or a member and asked him to give the closing prayer. He was like, "Uh....pray? What, Our Father which is in Heaven or soemthing?" We`ve never taught him so he doesn`t know how to pray.

Well in a few hours I will know who my new comp is going to be. I am truly sad to see Hna. Pelozo go. I love her. We are going to be best friends for life. I am going to want to visit Paraguay to hang out with her (or attend her wedding, she`s 25, and such a catch so she shold get married really soon). There are only a few hermanas coming this change, but then they are going to flood in (25 in June, and 1 elder. Right now there are 14 sisters in the whole mission, to put that into perspective), so I don`t think I`m going to train this change. 

I read the book Our Heritage over the past couple weeks. SO inspirational. I thought a thought that I shamefully had never really thought about before. I realized that I am a member thanks to a missionary who, at some point, converted one of my ancestors. I am so thankful to whoever that missionary was, and so thankful to that ancestor who had such faith. They made tremendous sacrifices. It is truly amazing that a little church that started with 6 people in New York has now reached the ends of the earth, with chapels and stake centers dotting the earth, even in Paraguay. Just the presence of the church here is a testimony that this is the true church. It is truly the only church that is not of men.

I read this quote that I liked and thought I should share it, especially with those who may read this who are leaving on missions. One thing I have grown to have a testimony of is that God inspires even what seems to us as small details, such as companions and areas and who your mission presidente is and who you come in contact with (such as how he led us to Marcos and Elva during the one hour of the week they would be outside together as a family). Neal A. Maxwell said, "That same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in Celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to the placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well." God has placed us where we are and with the people we are with for a purpose.

I love you all sooo much.

Hermana Goimarac

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