Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Love One Another as I Have Loved You

Mi Amada Familia,
Wow, Hope and Dad are hiking the Grand Canyon as I type! I have to say I got a twinge of homesickness there, reading about their daddy-daughter campout and then a backpacking trip. But I am mostly so happy you all are doing fun things. You gotta keep Hope busy for the next 17 days. Man, I just love you each so very much. Is everyone going to be in town next week for Hope`s farewell and Sabrina`s wedding? Tom and Neal too? 
I heard from a member that President Monson`s wife died this week. How my heart aches for him. 
We had a super busy week. This is definitely the busiest time of my mission, and one of the busiest times of my entire life. We did two divisiones. I stayed in our area and worked on Wednesday with Hermana Venegas from Peru who just got here three weeks ago, and on Friday with Hna. Vilcahuaman also brand new from Peru. It was fun to work with brand new missionaries. Wednesday was Mothers day here, and no one has school or work. It was also rainy and cold all day. So everyone was either a) with their family b) drunk, because it was a day off or c) in bed because it was cold. Even though I had a plan B to every visit, we ended up needing plans A-Z and still no one answered their door or let us in. At 8 at night I was just so ready to go home and Hna. Venegas was so cold, but we`re supposed to be out until 9, and I wanted to be a good example of hard work. Standing in the cold thinking of who we could possibly visit, Karen called us and said, "I just got home, are you coming?" Hallelujah! Someone wanted us! She had a bowl of popcorn and a warm house waiting for us. What an angel. God answers prayers. 
We had the baptism of Rossana on Saturday! She`s the mom of Ronni, who got baptized when I first got to Isla Bogado in January. We have been teaching her off and on for a while, but I honestly didn`t think it was her time. She isn`t your typical investigator. She`s never really been religious. She was actually a drug addict and living with her boyfriend until about 5 months ago. She had a baptismal date clear back in February but that fell through because they didn`t get married. But she started coming to church on her own every Sunday, without us even inviting her. She kept saying she wanted to get baptized. So we taught her again and emphasized the promise one makes at baptism to keep the commandments, and she understood very well. She and Diego (boyfriend) haven`t been living together for months and she promised to live the law of chastity. She passed her interview and on a very rainy and cold Saturday got baptized! Her non-member friends and mom and sister were there and we taught them all the Restoration at the baptism. It was very spiritual. Rossana got up and said, "I am so happy. I just feel really good. I am just really......happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."  Her little nephew (Ronni`s cousin) Gabriel is getting baptized on Saturday, along with the Benitez family and Analia! 
 We  had to have the baptism in the chapel of Laurelty because our chapel had water issues again and we couldn`t fill the font. 

This week we are going to the office in Asuncion Tuesday-Friday to present at every Zone Conference. We are speaking about the need to use the Book of Mormon in our teaching more. I have learned to love it even more preparing it. Ezra Taft Benson said, ". Is there not something deep in our hearts that longs to draw nearer to God, to be more like Him in our daily walk, to feel His presence with us constantly? If so, then the Book of Mormon will help us do so more than any other book." I like that. 
Tonight we have a great FHE planned with the Benitez family and the bishop. Please pray that they can progress towards their baptism this Saturday without any problem. Satan works hard the week before baptism (or leaving for a mission, or even just going to church) to distract or impede spiritual progression. 
Best of luck with everything this crazy week. I love you and miss you so much! 

Your Busy Sister Missionary,
Hermana Goimarac

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Surely our best evidence of our adoration of Jesus is our emulation of Him." Elder Nelson‏ (Photos at end)

Dearest Family,
Even though I just talked to you two days ago I still have a normal amount of things to say! Mostly thoughts that are just better put in writing than a skype conversation. I realized shortly after our whole conversation I forgot to say happy Mothers Day, so that night I wrote you a poem, mom. It`s not perfect rhyme-wise but it perfectly describes how I feel. 
My Heaven-Sent Friend
God uses angels to teach his children,
To teach them to love and obey.
He sends angels in forms of parents and brethren,
Whose examples show others the way.
These angels are given to one and to all, 
In forms of leaders, family, or friends.
If perhaps one feels forgotten by God,
He must recognize the angels He sends.
In trying to be God`s angel in Paraguay,
In trying to love, teach, and minister,
I realize God prepared me the same way,
By sending me to my angel mother.
All that I say and all that I do,
I first saw and did watching her.
I watched my return-missionary mom,
I became who I am next to you. 

As my mom follows Christ, and I follow her,
It works like that law of mathematics.
Through honoring them, my mother and father,
We honor the Savior together.
All mothers give birth and buy the basics,
But my mother does so much more.
Like the Savior, Himself, she gives her life to her kids,
For her, loving them is never a chore.
Although those she loves are so far from perfect,
And don`t recognize sacrifices made,
Of herself she thinks not, she gives them her all,
Asking only that Him we obey. 
Jesus is more than my Savior and King,
On top of that, He`s my loyal friend.
My mom is more than a mother to me,
She`s my dependable friend to the end. 

In short, all that I am and hope to become,
I owe to my heaven-sent mother.
And all that`s because in her I can see,
The traits of my God-sent Brother.
I really love you SO much, Mom. :) 

Between it being Mothers Day, and some talks in church yesterday, and some experiences I`ve had, I`ve been thinking a lot about family--the importance of it and how blessed I am to have been born into mine. I truly believe what President David O McKay said that "No accomplishment can compensate for failure in the home." All kinds of memories have been popping into my head of fun things that we have done as a family, or normal things we did during which I felt the spirit. We have been teaching an 18 year old girl named Analia (I have another story about her coming up) who is the friend of a member Pati Perez. She doesn`t live in our area, but Analia`s dad got really violent and left the family, so Analia has been almost living with Pati, (which makes it really easy to teach her with a member present!). Last night we taught her and Analia said how at the Perez`s home she feels a peace and spirit that she has never, ever, even once felt in her own home. She recognizes that the Spirit is in the Perez home because they live the gospel. I just was really struck by that. I think I took growing up in a gospel environment for granted. We had the spirit in our home even when we didn`t recognize it. 
In Paraguay I have entered into hundreds of homes, and so few of them have the happy environment every home should have. Families are more than just people living together. Families are what it is all about. I am so thankful for my parents who understand that. Thinking about my parents and my home these past few days have made me realize it is truly my greatest desire in life to be an angel mother, to create a home where my children can grow up feeling loved and spiritually fed. From what I hear about events happening in the U.S., I feel like I will have to battle for such views on the family during my life. I think my beliefs about marriage and family will be very persecuted, but I am so ready to take them on. Without the gospel I think I probably would put my heart and time and efforts on a career or some other pursuit. I am so thankful to know that what God expects first of me is to raise a righteous family. Almost all of the world´s social problems could be solved by strengthening the family. So, that`s one way I plan on strengthening the world.

Karen was going to get baptized on Saturday but neither her mom nor dad would sign her baptismal record to give her permission. I said to Karen, "Just cry and beg your mom and tell her it`s what you really want to do." And Karen was like, "You think I haven`t already cried and cried? I`ve done everything." So, she didn`t get baptized on Saturday but she went to church the next day and has every intention of being true so that her parents can see her determination. However, there was a baptism of a convert from a different ward, which we went to with the Benitez family and Analia. They all were very touched and felt the Spirit. We have been teaching Analia for 2 weeks and tried to commit her to a baptismal date, but she has always been hesistant to set a goal. But after the baptism she came up to us and said, "Sisters, I...I....I just....." and then she started to cry. With tears streaming down her beautiful cheeks she said, "Yo quiero bautizarme. El 25 de Mayo fue la fecha?" (I want to be baptized on May 25.) and we all hugged her so tightly and cried. It was a big step for her. She said, "I just decided right now." Pati is her friend and hugged her and cried and thanked us so much. I couldn`t help but think of that scripture that says, "How great will be your joy if ye shall spend all your days crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul, unto me." 
There`s this guy at church who just popped in out of nowhere. I had never seen him until a few weeks ago. His name is Edgar Espinola and he joined the church 11 years ago, and served a mission two years later in Uruguay. He`s still the only member in his family. Anyway, he was inactive for a few months but just came back to church in full swing and was called as our ward mission leader (hoooray! We finally have one!). Last night we had a ward mission meeting and he was strict! He wants to do visits with us every night Tuesday, Thrusday and Saturday, and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the elders. I am so thankful for a ward mission leader! They honestly have the power to change so many lives. 

I have been trying to memorize more of the Bible to use in lessons. In flipping through the Bible so much I have noticed how so many parts say, "By their fruits ye shall know them." I would urge anybody who doubts the church to go to the mormonnewsroom.org and I bet there are probably right now articles about how the church helps people in so many catstrophes. When I see people like Edgar who give so much of their time to spread the gospel, or when I see member families like the Perez family who are happy and at peace because they live the gospel, or when I think about the thousaands of hours of service that members and missionaries do for people not of our faith....I just can`t help but see that the good fruits of the church come from a very good tree. 
Because of a disturbing email I received I have prayed more than usual to ask yet again if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the church is true. I prayed a lot about it this week, and every time I prayed I felt such a comforting, loving affirmation that can only come from the True Vine Himself. I know with all my heart the church is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet. The fruits of the restoration are too good to be from men. God is behind this church, I feel His help every day. Hanging up from our skype call on Saturday, I was actually so happy to be on my mission and not at home yet. I have so much to do here. Home can wait.

Your Sister Missionary,
Hermana Faith Goimarac
Here`s me with Hna. Nery ( a long time ago), me today on our way to email you in the rain. 


Monday, May 13, 2013

And an unseen force will aid you and me

(This is Faith's letter from last week, May 6, 2013)
Dearest Family,
I`m speechless about this week. I don`t think I`ve ever worked so hard in my life, yet been so happy at the same time. It`s not really work, when you think about it. But on the other hand it is definitely hard work. Anyway, hard work brings lots of blessings and miracles. My testimony has grown each day and I write to you a better woman than I was last week, someone who knows that God is involved in the seemingly-small details of our lives and is always available to help or even work a miracle. 

It was a very busy week and preparation day is no break. We got up today at 5:30 and went to Asuncion for the leadership meeting, where we gave a half hour presentation on contacting. It went really well. I suppose I would have been scared to death a year ago to present something for 30 minutes in Spanish to the zone leaders of an entire mission, but I wasn`t that nervous. We got a lot of participation and it turned out really fun and effective. 
I can tell you all prayed for my investigators, Karen, and the Benitez family, because they are progressing so well! Yesterday Miriam and her kids all went to church (their dad had to work, he`s a nurse, but he also wanted to go and likes the whole idea of being baptized and going to church as a family), and Karen, and three other investigators. We had 7 in church yesterday, which is the most I`ve ever had. It was a great testimony meeting, too. 
Last Monday we went to Karen`s to talk because she had called and said she was confused about some things that her dad told her about the church. We clapped her house and no one answered. We wanted to talk to her SO badly. We prayed that she would feel the spirit and answer the door, but to no avail. We walked down the street and contacted a young man (who was a golden contact, by the way) and while we talked to him, Karen came out and waved us down, and we had a great lesson. She said she had been sleeping when we knocked, and she felt something she can`t describe tell her to go to the door. She got up and her mom said we had just come by. She explained that the day before she had considered not listening to us anymore, because of what her dad told her. But then she thought about how good we are, and she thought about the Book of Mormon, and how nothing in it contradicts the Bible, and how it testifies that Joseph Smith was a prophet. She is burning with the spirit and is by FAR the most prepared investigator I`ve ever had. She asked for homework! I told her to study the Holy Ghost. So she did, and made a presentation on her computer using scriptures and pictures and music. We were so impressed! She asked for another topic to study. She is getting baptized on Saturday, if only her mom or dad gives her permission. Neither of them are against it, they just don`t want to sign. But we are praying she can, because she is so ready. And she already wants to do visits with us as soon as she`s a member. 

We really wanted to reach our daily goals this week, get 7/7. But we also had so many things to do that took up precious time. We did two divisions which involves a lot of travel time, we had to prepare our presentation and do lots of organizing to get our calendar set up as STLs. But even with all of that, we got 7/7 and witnessed miracles every single day. I wish I had time to give more details. You`ll have to read my journal when I get back. But remember Giselle and Fernando, that couple I wrote about a couple weeks ago that were going to get divorced? We talked to Giselle a little bit ago and she said that Fernando was going to try smoking for the first time, but right then  we contacted him and he decided not to. Then yesterday we talked to Fernando and he said that since that day he has been praying for the first time, and he said the relief he feels is amazing. I`m so excited to work with them. 
On Wednesday an Hermana Tabi from Ecuador came and we worked together in our area. She is 29 and has such a sweet personality and is a very good teacher, even though she`s only been out 2 months. I realized what a blessing it is to work with all the sisters of the mission, to learn from all their strengths. I have much more to learn from them than I can ever teach them. What did I do to be so blessed? And then on Friday I went to Loma Pyta and worked with Hna Toctaquiza (also from Ecuador) and we had a great time, working in the pouring rain the whole time, haha. I got home that night from being in Loma all day and was freezing cold because I had worn hot-weather clothes because I didn`t know it would rain. On top of that I was exhausted and fasting. And we had one hour to teach two lessons and find a new investigator to meet our goals. It was definitely a pull-up-your-bootstraps moment, but we met our goals with the help of God and I came home very cold and tired but more grateful than ever before. Perhaps the mission sounds miserable to some from the outside looking in, but there is an energy and fulfillment and joy that cannot be desribed. It is the hardest, busiest days that are truly the best. 
Well, I don`t have to write about all I wanted to, but here is a little list of other exciting things that happened this week:
-I was on a bus with Hna. Toctaquiza on our way to Loma and we were the only ones on the bus, when it turned going the opposite direction on a one-way street and a semi-truck was heading right at us, but the skilled bus driver swerved right in time. Whew. Add that to the list of near-death experiences and list of miracles. 
-I got my hair cut last Monday and told the lady just a couple inches, but she got excited with my long blonde hair and went at it. I was a little ticked about how short it is, but I`m over it. 
-I sat next to an older man in a sharp business suit on a collectivo today and started talking to him about his job. He`s a congressman who had been to our church a couple times before. He already knew a lot about the restoration and said he`s going to go to church next Sunday in my ward (not the one closest to him...haha). He also runs marathons and is going to New York  next year to run one. Everyone has a cool story, and you never know what it is until you open your mouth and ask. 
-I talked to an atheist for like 20 minutes on a different collectivo. Always interesting and testimony-building for me. 
-Ester told us how she got in a fight with her sister and was so mad, and decided to kneel down and pray, in tears, and thank God for her trials. Oh my heart. She`s applying the gospel!
-Today in the council with the zone leaders everyone kept saying, "elders,.....er....y hermanas." It was a historic meeting they say because it was the first time sisters participated in a leadership council of a mission. Being the only sisters, we felt very loved, I must say. Everyone invited us to present at their zone meetings. 
-Remember Marian and Jorge, who we worked with a TON in Piribebuy and only their son was baptized because they had to get married first? Today the elders who are the zone leaders over there told us they found them again (they have moved quite a bit) and they have a date set for the wedding and baptism! They said Marian knows so much already they have to get really creative just to teach her something new. :) So happy. Prayers are answered.
Carrie, feliz anniversario on May 2! I was thinking of you. I hope you and Jared are doing great. I love you and your beautiful family. 

I am SOOO excited to skype with you for Mothers day! My last phone call! Hermana Greer and I are practicing a hymn in guarani to sing to you. :) We only get to talk for 40 minutes, so hopefully you can all be there and ready at 3 or shortly after. I am really happy I can talk with Hope and see her right before she takes off. Sorry I haven`t been commenting much on what you write me, I have been reading your emails after I get home. But we shall talk on Saturday. 
Today in our meeting we watched some awesome videos called Patterns of Light featuring David A. Bednar. They really touched me about how we receive revelation from God. You should look for them on lds.org or something. In ward council this week, we also watched some videos that the church made about ministering, which show apostles themselves doing visits just like we do, and it also shows Christ teaching and ministering just like we do. I really felt the spirit as I watched and thought about the privilege it is to have the time and means to go about doing good, and literally be the hands of Christ upon the earth. I love my mission with all my heart. I love it more and more every day. I love Him whom I represent and I owe my life to Him. 
Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Goimarac

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...