NEWS (INVESTIGATOR'S NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED TO MAINTAIN ANONYMITY)
September 9, 2013 "We Love Part Member Families!".
Hola mi familia y amigos! Papi I wish I could share some of the Latino water with my dear brother, but the Lord works in mysterious ways and I know he will bless our mick with the experiences he needs. And your right I feel incredibly blessed to be apart of these individuals lives and feel humbled that I get to see them change everyday. This week was tough on our numbers.. We went days with straight zeros on our lists.. we have been in the VC a lot this week because President has asked Sister Barney and I to do a training at every zone conference this week. So we spent a large amount of time preparing for that. And all our appointments fell through even dinner two days in a row. Some days go according to plan and on most days it doesn't but you just sort of learn to roll with the punches some days. So this week Sister Barney and I will be enjoying LA traffic. You can pray for us in that traffic if you want.. Its crazy driving here!
So this last week they took Sister Foutz away from me for 5 hours or so.. maybe it was less I cant remember. Anyway they had all the 8 weeks for a conference with out their trainers so I was in the VC for a while and it was weird not to have a companion for a while. Well not even that I just missed her. I know Mckay is struggling with his companion and I wish I could share a little mine with him. I don't know why I've been blessed to have a great companion let alone one who is my best friend. We have a blast together and work hard. Papi I would be happy to stay here in San Vicente and with Sis Foutz 'till Christmas that's for sure! haha.
So we have been pretty much working with Sus/Nar these last two weeks and looking for some new investigators. We have a large list of less actives we are working on meeting and reactivating- the trick is finding them home or getting them to answer their phones... Anyway this week we planned for about an hour and half for a lesson with Sus/Nar- we role played and role played and role played. (the Joys of having 2 hour companionship study). But the lesson went exactly or even better than we had planned! We were teaching Sus/Nar about the word of wisdom and were planning on having a DTR with Narciso. Susanna had the word of wisdom lesson before and was working hard on living it, but Nar always would make a joke of how he kept drinking it. Well when we began the lesson the first thing he says is that he hasn't smoked in 15 days and that he has dropped down to 1 cup of coffee a day instead of 3-5. He said he has been working hard, but is really struggling quitting coffee completely. Sister Foutz and I stared for a minute. little did we know he was working so hard to live something we hadn't even taught him! In that lesson we also set them for a baptismal date for Sept. 29th. They are having a lot of obstacles in their path right now. Narciso wants to know for sure that he should be baptized before he will even talk about marriage and he is struggling with the Word of Wisdom still and now Sus boss is making her work on Sundays again... Lesson to be learned... When we are working to change and come closer to Christ that is when Satan works twice as hard. But on Sunday who shows up to church.? Sus and Nar. Sus said after the lesson we had about the Sabbath day holy on Sunday night her boss called saying she didn't need to come in today. I know it was only a tender mercy and there is still the matter of the rest of the Sundays, but I know it strengthened all of our faith that day.
I think that was something I struggled with this week. I don't know if struggled is the right word though... But I just remember sitting in the lesson hearing them talk about the struggles they are having and reading them scriptures and comforting them when I realized- This is their life! They are having real life struggles with health and finances- their job and their home and I am promising them that if they follow God and keep his commandments they will be blessed. And I walked away from that lesson feeling really small. I learned something powerful though.. the spirit works independently of me. While I can not do really anything for these people the promises we left them are real. They are seeing blessings, huge changes, and miracles in their lives. They are feeling the love and companionship of the Lord in their lives and they keep trying everyday because they know that this is true. We receive no witness of our faith until after our faith has been tried. I know that that is true. We have to be willing to put the effort in and trust in the Lord and he will always come through. We may not understand at all why things happen or the timing of things,but one thing I know for certain is that God loves us and he will answer our prayers. He always will it just may not be in the way we expected or wanted- but it is always what we need. He has a greater plan that we just cant see and hes asking us to exercise faith. (Sometimes I wonder if I am learning just as much or more than my investigators from their experiences... )
So this week in the VC I had two opportunities to testify of the power of the Atonement and the gift we have to repent. I went to the restroom and there was a a women (a member) in the bathroom at the VC and we began talking and she began to tell me the fears she had about her current life situation and the possibility of making the same mistakes she ahd in the past. Right there in the Bathroom I taught her about the principle of repentance and gave her some advice of what she should do and testified.. She gave me a huge hug and said I need to write that down- thank you so much... It was the oddest experience and an incredible one at that.. Even miracles can happen in a public restroom! I think that is one of my favorite things about my mission is that we help and teach members not just non members. We are all children of God and we all no matter where we at need to come closer to Christ. Saturday was a normal chaotic day in the VC and sister Foutz and I began talking with this woman who was walking around the VC. She began talking about her need for faith right now. As we asked some questions and talked with her and listend she related to us about how she was entering rehab tomorrow (shes a member) and that she was doing it for her 6 young children and because she knew happiness does not come from the things of the world. We were able to testify of faith, repentance and forgiveness. Sis Foutz shared with her an inspired scripture and I put on part of the talk "Gods Light" by Pres Uchtdorf. That moment where you realize the thoughts coming to your mind are not your own, but the spirit guiding you to say what you need to say. I can not understand what this women feels or even know where to begin to help her, but Jesus Christ does. He really does and he has the power to forgive us and heal us. I call these moments the surreal moments where your not sure exactly what happened and offer a humble prayer to the lord for allowing you to be an instrument in his hands to help his children understand his plan for them.
This week we ate dinner at Hna Limons a part member family. I just wanted to share her experience. She was baptized when she was 8 and went less active however her mom and sister stayed active in the church while the rest of her fam did not. She moved to LA where she met her husband and when her son was 6 years old he cam home from school and began talking to her about how all the kids at school knew this guy and he wanted to know who he was. She looked down at her son as they were walking down the street and asked "quien fue papi(who was it son)" (why they call their children papi.. I sitll am not sure) and then he said "quien es Dios mami?" (Who is God mom?) As she related this story she had tears in her eyes. She said it was that moment she knew that she needed to change. She also said conveniently that some missionaries were riding by on their bicycles and she asked where a church was and went to church. She went through the temple this last march and her 3 sons are active. Husband still not.. but she there's always hope! But she testified of the great difference having the gospel and God in their lives has been- especially for her children.
I know this church is true! I know blessings Come as we follow Christ's example! And I know God loves each of us and is aware of us!
I love you all so much! Thank you for the support and prayers!