Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Amanda's Birthday!

Amanda's birthday is tomorrow, June 29th, and I'm sure she'd love to hear from you with many birthday wishes. So if you have a minute or two free, send her a quick note.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Close Call & A Task Assigned

So this week has been a low key week minus the little things that seem to always pass by.

Something interesting happened this week but I am really happy and am continuing to count my blessings. Last night, my comp and I were leaving an appointment and were walking down the street to another one about 10 blocks away when we almost got jumped. They were intending to get our phone, but God was watching out for us and we were helped out. To make a long story short, just as we were leaving the house, we had turned a corner and a kid had ran in after us and told the family that some kids were planning on jumping us for our phone. So, the friend of ours sped off in her moped, found us and cut the other people off by making a bunch of noise. All in all, we are great and nothing happened, but it could have been a close call.

I also got the SOLID TITANIUM walking stick that my brother, Hemo (Helaman), sent and just in the nick of time so I will collapse that baby and start carrying that around. lol It's about time I start practicing my batting skills.

A little update on the great things that are going on this week include Favian and Guadalupe are doing great. They are not married yet but they are working on their differences before they put a date. They are looking to get married before the 11th. I am hoping that it all works out and want their child to be baptized this month on the 10th. We have been having FHEs with them every Sunday and they love them. We always have a great time with them. I love this family and am praying for a miracle to happen so that they can all get baptized on the same day.

Life is going great! We are making a lot of progress in this Ward and have really been blessed with great friends in the ward to help move this work along and who are always serving us. They really have been wonderful to help in any way possible and are very humble. I know we as members don't really think that we can help very much with this work but there are so many ways of serving them or helping to visit inactive people that they don't always have enough time to do. The life of a missionary is very packed full of people that need to be seen and helped. We as members can help lift it by simply asking who we can visit and if they would like us to come with them for some lessons with investigators. They need friends in the Ward and members are the best method of doing it. So that is your assignment family and friends, help the missionaries and be a good member missionary!

Well I have to go but I love all of you and I am very thankful for your prayers. I know that I have been blessed in many many ways on my mission because of your faith and your prayers for me, my comp, all of our investigators, members and menos activos (Less Actives).

With much love

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wonderful Experiences

Well this week has been full of many things, but I will start out with a really cool experience that happened with one of our investigators named Cloudia. I will first tell you her history. She has been sick since she was 12 w/ having random spasms or seizures. She would go through times without remembering what had happened and often hurts herself or if she is holding her child and has a spasm, she ends up doing something like throwing the baby or hitting him/her. Its been a really sad story. She is pretty beat up from all of this and has just been living day to day with her medicine and almost never leaves the house. So her husband found the church about a year ago and was baptized after 3 weeks. It was awesome and he is a spiritual giant. Anyway, he commutes to see her and her kids because the only job that he could find is about 45 min away by bus. He comes home Wednesdays and Thursdays to be with them and works the rest of the week in the other town while she lives with her family. Now to the almost present. She has been receiving the missionaries for about a year now and has never made a commitment to be baptized. She has read the BOM but still is unsure about this commitment. Now to us.

So we were walking on the road and a little girl came running towards us saying mi papa mi papa (My Father, My Father) wants to talk to you. We look further down and see this giant of a man of solid muscle stalking towards us. We were a little nervous thinkig that maybe we knocked on his door and he was coming to tell us not to do it again. lol We had no idea. But anyway, he ended up explaining to us who he was and invited us to come and teach his wife (Cloudia). We have been teaching her for about 3 weeks now and have just started over with her with all the lessons. Sometimes when she gets an attack she forgets a little so we have been verifying every lesson with what she remembers. She has never been to church and has never wanted to be baptized. Anyway, this week, she was having a hard time and was having her problems more frequently, therefore, we offered her a blessing from a priesthood holder. She accepted it and so on Tuesday, she received the blessing and had not had a problem until Saturday. She had a little lapse but we explained to her that everything is based on our faith and that the Lord often heals in stages to test our desire and our faith. Like when Christ healed the blind man, it depended on his faith and he healed him twice. The first time he began to see but everything was blurry and couldn't tell a tree from a man. Then the second healing he could see everything. Christ often works in stages with us like in the Book of Ether. We will not receive an answer or, in many cases, a blessing until the trial after our faith.

After this experience, she was really different. When we went to visit, her she was all smiles. She never smiled. Never. She was so happy she was just glowing and she felt different. She said that after the blessing, she has just been experiencing a huge gust of heat coming from within her spreading to the tips of her fingers down to her toes. We talked to her and taught her about baptism and the importance of it and she accepted to be baptized even before I got through the question. lol It was an amazing experience and I was so happy to be a part of it. I love my mission here and all the wonderful experiences I am having and that the Lord is blessing me to be a part of it. Well, I have to go but I love you all very much and please keep praying that we will continue to find good people and that they will be open to receive answers from God to this message.
Love amanda

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last Week

We went to an investigator's house last night for the last part of our night and we helped make empanadas....A TON!!!! We definitely ate a ton and had a lesson, but I guess they weren't very good for me because I ended up tasting them one more time just not in the manner that I would have chosen. ;) So that became a very interesting night, but I feel better now. I don't like being sick. lol

So this week we've been finding new people like crazy and just have not had enough time to keep up with everything!!! I am loving every bit of it. Well, we have two more people that will be getting baptized next week. They are so excited and I am also. Their mother is a little further behind in the lessons but will be hopefully baptized the following week with our two other investigators. He is 24 and is a friend of a member and is really intelligent. We really have been having some great success here and am excited to continue working in this area. My comp will be going home at the end of this transfer and I am sure that they are not going to take me out and leave it blank for two new people because that would be really hard for them like it was for us. I am sure I will have another transfer here and then I will probably leave. I love this area.

So here's a great story that I really excited about. We have a less active family that we have been visiting. They have not come to church since they were young kids living with their families. They are not married and are 27 and 30. The last time they went to church was when she was 19 and he was 15 and now they have 3 kids. One of the kids is from a different man and two kids from this man, but the man in this family is amazing. So their story: they were really inactive for a long time and she got pregnant from another guy. She didn't have anywhere to live because her family kicked her out. They were friends for about 2 years and so he offered to take care of her and her baby. She didn't know that he was a member until their second child, which was about 6 years later, neither did he know that she was a member. They were not married and so therefore never went back to church because they were not living the law of chastity. Well, here's where we come in, knocking on their door. She starts to bawl and said that she has been waiting for us. She drempt about us about 2 nights before we got there. She knew us by our faces from the dream and knew that my comp was called Hermana Aguas in Spanish (my comps name is Hermana Waters) so she was really emotional. We taught her about repentence, the law of chastity and so on, things to help her to change and to have hope of so doing. Sometime last week, we finally got an appt with her "almost husband" and we taught him the same things. We taught them about the atonement, setting goals and beginning to change their lives. Well this week, they told us that she is going to the civil register to sign up to get married asap and she went today! They are going to get married and invited us to come and to be their witnesses! I am way excited to go to a wedding and to share in their happiness. I am way excited! When they get the date, we are going to talk to the ward and see if they want to put on a party for them to help them feel welcomed into the ward and know that everyone is just as happy for them. The have set a goal to go to the temple when they get cleared by the bishop of our ward. I hope I am here on my mission when they get to go because I want to get the big letter with a fat picture of them smiling and laughing. They are so excited and have been doing great. They have really come around full turn and have been super humble and willing to do whatever needs to be done.

The people here really teach me to be humble and submissive. Whenever I read in the scriptures about being humble, meek, submissive like unto a child, I always think of my investigators & inactive families that totally change their lives and are willing to give up everything to have peace and experience joy!!! They truly are the examples of becoming like unto a child.

So another great story. This week was fast Sunday. Guadalupe is one of our investigators. We had invited to fast with us for her that she will be able to get married or separated so that she can get baptized!!!! Well, she loved the idea and jumped on the opportunity to fast to get baptized!! lol She is amazing! She is living everything we have taught. Her family always has their night time prayers, she reads everyday, and now she is teaching all of her friends that will listen about this message. She is now asking for pamphlets to start giving to people while she is at work in the plaza at night with Favian (the almost husband). Anyway, she fasted and has been amazing. She loved the experience and asked if it was going to get easier because her stomach was hurting and was really growling at her. lol We told her it does but to help through the hunger, remember why she is fasting to make her keep going and not to stop. She was a soldier!!!! I am hoping that things change soon for her because her and her non-husband are great people. I just want them to get married and to be happy. They are both living all the commandments, even the law of chastity. lol Favian is so afraid to let her touch him because he doesn't want to have bad thoughts to get through all of his pornography (which he doesn't know that we know. lol He was too embarrassed to tell us that he had it when we were teaching about why pornography is bad.) and now is starting to go through his music and taking out all the bad stuff. He no longer looks at other woman and Gaudalupe thinks he is so funny because they work in the plaza(park) at night selling hot dogs and there are always scanky woman parading around looking for a good time and now she says that Favian is so afraid to look up because he doesn't want to get bad thoughts. Every time he looked up and saw one, he started to sing the song that we sang with him last, 'count your many blessings name them one by one'. lol That's all he really remembers so she said he sang it over and over. She loves the change and we do also. He really wants to change, but now we want them to fall back in love and to be married. I don't want them to separate. He is afraid of getting married and then getting separated later or getting separated now and braking the law of chastity. He said that to be baptized one needs to really be prepared to make these promises with God because he doesn't think God would like it if he got baptized when they were separated and then had to repent big time after wards for breaking a commandment.

It has really been interesting to teach them and to get to know their personalities. We teach them separate during the week and together on Sundays, which has been working out great. They are not afraid to share things with us and to confide in us and have been progressing like crazy. They have been so humble and willing to do what we say. They have been a huge example of the real meaning of humility and submissiveness, which impresses me so much. I am truly beginning to understand what the promise of God was to us missionaries that if we are faithful and willing to do the work the Lord has in store, He will present to us wonderful people that He has prepared for us to teach and that He will work with their hearts. Our work is to love them and to invite them to make and keep covenants and to prepare them to live the word of God. The Lord has truly blessed me in the mission to have found so many people since I first arrived here.

This is the time in my life that I truly feel unworthy to teach these wonderful people I hope I never lose this feeling because when if I do I will probably become prideful and set in my ways. I love the mission so much, yep, I still have my trials of days when my comp doesn't want to talk to you and you have no idea why or doesn't want to teach or you just can't find a door that will let you in or the very, very, very annoying men that never SHUT UP!!!! One day, I may lose my cool and say some very un-missionary, un-Christlike things!!! Oops. It is rude to think it or even say it but I don't know how long my patience will last another year. lol Pray for me.

In reality, this is a time I wish that I could live forever. If there was one wish I wish I could have, it would be that I could be called to work like Ammon and his brethren were, like Alma and Amulek. That I could serve for 14 years and that I would know, like Ammon, that all of the people that he taught and were converted never fell away from the church. They knew without a doubt that God existed. Oh to be like Alma and to have all my converts taste the sweet joy that I have experienced from the gospel and to have seen angels. To have testimony that Jesus Christ is our Lord and our Redeemer!!! These are things that I hope, pray and wish for every night. I pray that my converts will know of my commitment to the Lord and that they will never fall away and that after this life, I will greet them again in the kingdom of God and we will celebrate that none of us was lost in the battle for our souls!!!! This is my testimony that I know God lives. That Jesus is the Christ. That the gospel has been restored and that all of the children of God can participate and drink of the joy and blessings of this tue and everlasting gospel.
I love you all so very much and know that the Lord will bless us if we are true to our covenants.