(This is Faith's letter from last week, May 6, 2013)
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.
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,