This is Faith's March 11th email.
Thanks for your conference talk, Dad! I loved it. I actually just came across the ward conference talk you sent me while I was in the MTC about the Atonement and read it last night. Two ward conference talks from dad in two days! What a boost.
Mom, that little girl is not blind in the pictures. She`s actually gorgeous. I`m trying to attatch a better one of us. Her name is Rosita and she insists on kissing both my cheeks every time we pass by her house. Oh the precious moments that make up the days and life of a misionera.
Tell me about the sisters in the ward! Tell them I love them for me. Hope, you have to go out and work with them! I hope that the ward sweeps them up and loves them as much as this ward has welcomed us. They help us a lot and are often concerned for our safety and temporal well-being. I have been thinking lately how much my life will be different because I have served a mission. Yes, I would have been active my whole life still, I would have married in the temple and raised a righteous family all the same, but I would not be such a missionary. When I go home I truly am going to make missionary work a part of my life. I am going to be the best visiting teacher there is. I am going to reach out to every unfamiliar face at church. I am going to visit less actives just to do it. I am going to give references to the missionaries every time they come over. Really, the best missionaries are members. Missionary work is so exciting, I simply can`t give it up in October.
A couple weeks ago we asked an investigator for references and she said we could visit her sister in law, Nancy. Nancy reluctantly let us in. Come to find out her aunt had died three weeks before and she was distraught. She`s 32, two kids, and fighting to keep her marriage happy even though it`s not easy. I marked a few verses in Alma 40 about what happens after this life, and the next time we visited she said that she read it and it comforted her a lot. We marked 3 Nephi 11 for her to read, and the next visit she said she read it all and got goosebumps and felt so good as she read it. She does every reading assignment and actually prayed to ask God if it is true, and said she again got "piel de gallina" and feels it is true. And yesterday, she came to church!! It is so hard to get people to chruch these days, but she came with her 8 year old daughter to sacrament meeting yesterday! And she liked it. She came to church even though her uncle died at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning. I feel like God is preparing her and we were here just at the right time for her.
Marcos and Elva have been impossible to find at home lately, and on Saturday we found Marcos at home, but he said, "Sincerely, we need to take a break temporarily from your visits. I have a personal inconvenience, and I assure you it`s nothing personal and it`s not that I don`t have interest in the church. I will be going to church, but just right now I don`t have time to receive the lessons." I was reallllllllllllllllly sad to hear that, especially without a clear explanation. I feel very strongly that they will get baptized and be strong members. And how badly I want to be a part of it. He said, "I will let you know when you can come back." Which usually means, in Paraguay talk, never. But Hna. Francois asked if we could pray with him right there in his doorway before we left, and he said yes. After the prayer he said, "You know what, give me just two weeks. Come back in two weeks." So we will. Please keep praying for them, as am I.
We have not been able to find new investigators who are very interested lately, and as we know the investigators most likely to progress are friends of members, I had the idea to have a missionary fireside for the ward to hype them up about missionary work and have them give us references right then and there. We prepared a really nice program, but only 6 people came yesterday. We got 6 references, all from the Franco family who already helps us a ton. It made me think of the story of the man who was building a cathedral, and he took the time to carve a beautiful bird on the inside of a beam near the roof, where no one would see it. Someone asked him why he carved it there if no one would see it, and he said it was for God, not for men. Even if no one benefits from my efforts, at least God notices them, and that`s a comfort to me.
Can someone fill me in on world and church news? I saw something that said in 1954, when you were born, mom and dad, there were 219 stakes in the world. When you were serving missions in the 1970`s there were about 1000 stakes, and now there are almost 3000. I can only imagine how fast the church is going to grow in my lifetime. It`s so exciting. I think soon everyone will be talking about the church and will have to ask the question, "What team am I on?"
Last night we came home to a house with no power or water, which was weird because all the houses around us had light. We studied and planned by candelight and went to bed, and still this morning it was dark and waterless (we ended up discovering some mischievous little kid had flipped a switch right outside the house. Thanks, little criatura). It put me in a pensive mood (you know you`re a missionary when you`re constantly thinking in analogies). I thought, if a baby were to be born in the dark and never saw light, it would never know the difference. It would grow up thinking that`s how the world is and would adapt. If someone were to come into their dark world and try to explain what light is, this child would probably not understand and not have any reason to want to change---he`s comfortable, adjusted, content. It would be difficult for this child to even imagine how wonderful light is. It`s the same with the gospel. Those of us who have seen the light try to give it to others and how I wish they would just try to receive it in their life. They can`t even imagine the peace one feels in the temple, the financial security that comes from paying tithing, the joy that comes from a family united by family prayer and home evenings, the comfort that comes from a knowledge of the plan of salvation, the relief that comes from baptism and daily repenting and weekly partaking of the sacrament. Members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints live an abundant, light-filled life---not based on things or the cheap entertainments of the world that cloud the lives of and brings deceiving contentment to so many without the truth. This light is partially in all religion and with all who trust in God and believe in Christ, but only completely in the restored gospel. How thankful I am that the light of the truth has been restored in it`s fulness to the earth!!!!!
I am so deeply grateful for the mercies God offers to even slow, in-effective, weak little me. I am so thankful for the support I feel from Him as I kneel down and plead for help. And I am so thankful for His love that I feel through my family. I miss you more than ever but ironically I am more thankful than ever to be His missionary.
HIS sister missionary,