Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Church is TRUE!

This week has been really long. Monday through Wednesday was packed full of traveling and paying bills of the mission and figuring out why a house of two missionaries wasn't getting light and things like that. Then Thursday I and a bunch of missionaries from my group had to go Santo Domingo to renew our visas. I was way excited to go because the groups before us that had to go all got to stay in the MTC and go to the temple. So I was so pumped to go see Sav in the MTC!! But for some reason something just really doesn't want me to ever have the chance to see the temple in this country because the area presidency just told our mission that we can't ever go to the temple. Even if we are finishing our missions. We can't go to the temple and then fly home the next day. I am beyond annoyed and frustrated about it, believe me. You don't even want me to get going on a rant about this displeasing topic... It's like it's bad to go to the temple or something... So anyway, we went to Santo Domingo and were there for about 7 hours sitting in a government building waiting and then finally got in and they took our finger prints, pictures, then we signed a few papers and we were done in like ten minutes. Then we went all the way back to Santiago. I was a lot more bitter about it when we were there. But it still doesn't make sense to me why we couldn't go to the temple for an hour and make it a spiritual and fun trip since we were already down there in the first place. But oh well. Since I didn't get to see Sav, I had one of the old couple missionaries that went to the temple last week give her a letter I wrote to her and a big hug. Sister Francis, the old couple missionary, said that when she found Sav and told her I wanted her to give her a big hug and tell her I love her, Sav started to cry haha. I'm super bummed I didn't see her like I had expected and wanted, but she at least got to hear all about how cool of a cousin she has through Sister Francis ;)
The week finally picked up on Saturday when we finally got in our first lesson. I realized after that, that I was having such a long, stressful, unhappy week because I hadn't had the chance to teach any lessons. We also went around with one of the young men in our ward and he showed us and introduced us to a bunch of the inactive young men of the ward. It was great to meet them and talk with them and get them pumped up for activities and getting back to church. As we were walking on the street at 9:00pm, we passed this kid that is probably like 12. He was carrying a wooden shoe cleaner box going around just trying to make a few pesos. He asked me if I wanted him to clean my shoes. Then I started talking to him casually and it was just such a great feeling to talk to him and get to know him a bit. I told him my goals of having activities with a bunch of young men in the area and invited him to join us and to come to church the next day. Then we said goodbye and continued to walk. And then Sunday was amazing! We had planned and expected at least 3 less active and 1 investigator in church and even went around to pick them up, but they all ended up not coming and we were so disappointed. But then, right before sacrament started, I saw the shoe cleaner kid walk in with one of the less active boys we met the night before. I was so stoked! I jumped up and went over and shook his hand and talked for a sec. Then walk in another investigator and 3 less actives we are working with!! So it ended up being a more successful day than we expected! And if that wasn't good enough, the fast and testimony meeting was fantastic! The testimonies were all so great and spiritual. There were people crying. Our ward is two areas; Pueblo Nuevo (my area) and Rafey, an area that has been struggling for a while. Well, pretty much all of the people from Rafey got up to bare their testimonies and there were a few who were inactive and less actives for a while who said how they are so thankful to be back in the church and how the missionaries have helped them so much. There were 5 young adult men from Rafey who went up there together with the Rafey missionaries. It was so awesome and everyone really enjoyed what they all said. After, everyone was commenting about how great sacrament was. Then, if that wasn't enough, we had 4 really great lessons after church and we met a few more new people AND got two references!! I know the lessons we taught were filled with the spirit and if the people we taught weren't changed, I at least was. Yesterday just made me so incredibly thankful to be a missionary and have the opportunity to teach people with the power and authority of God and the spirit. And I realized that I just love to talk and interact with people. And as I do so with these young men I am working with, I realize that honestly, sometimes all kids need is love. Or attention they don't get at home. Someone to show them they matter and are important. So I am so blessed to be able to be that for these amazing kids.
The lady lesson we had was at the house of a lady with cancer who is a convert of my trainer, Elder Rodriguez. I remember almost a year ago elder Rodriguez and I went to her house to visit her because she was supposed to die soon. Well, she's still alive! We were there to talk and visit with her son, but she had just started to make dinner so we helped her. It was me, my companion, our ward mission leader, and one of the young men in our ward named O'Neil who is way awesome and helps us a ton. It was such an inspiring moment because this lady dying of cancer who has to use a walker to walk and can only use one of her legs, was just being so independent and not complaining. She loved our help. Then after we finished, we had a lesson with her son and then sang a bunch of songs with and for the mom with cancer. In that moment, I really payed attention to the words of the Hymns and realized how much I love to sing church hymns. I know this all sounds so cheesy and greeny-missionary like. But I am not at all ashamed. I love everything about being a missionary and being churchy and singing church hymns and being a follower of Christ. I definitely have a terribly embarrassing voice, but I will sing at the top of my lungs if I have to. This church is true. I am blessed. Amen.
haha. You may not all feel as passionate about these things as I, but you can and will if you just share and live the gospel with all your heart. So get on it!

These pics are from a while ago

The ones on the rock are in Santo domingo when we went. (Sorry Sav, but Santiago is wayyyy better;))

The other pics are when I went back to Salcedo for the baptism and when I visited one of my converts from my first area

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