October 6, 2014
I loved having the opportunity to listen to conference and learn from living prophets and apostles. I always learn something new and things that I can do to improve more. I especially loved how much they talked about doing family history work.
I have never done family history work, but I have felt the need to do it more and more these past few months. I have felt the spirit of Elijah working on me. The spirit of Elijah is the spirit which connects us to our ancestors and helps us feel the need to do the work for them.
In a recent zone conference we talked about doing the work for our families and its importance. I felt the spirit strongly as we talked and shared stories as a zone and then the next Monday my dad wrote me a letter talking about the importance of family history work and how blessed he is to have 2 Spanish speaking children who will be able to use this gift to do our Spanish family history work.
I know that I have past family members waiting for me to do this work and it is just as important as the missionary work I am doing here in Uruguay. This last week we had a chance to teach a family of investigators about family history work for the first time. They had a lot of questions and little did we know that the father of the family had past away and one of the questions they had always had was how would their father be able to repent completely of his sins. The whole family is excited to be able to one day, go to the temple and do this work.
I know that family history work is very important. I can`t testify of the blessings I have received from doing it yet, but I know there are many and I can feel the spirit strongly just thinking of the work I have to do.
As being raised in the church I have always felt like I´ve had a testimony that the church is true. I have never had to doubt the church and because I´ve always known the church is true it´s been a given that Joseph Smith was a called prophet to restore the church. Although, as a missionary I hear more doubts than testimonies about the prophet Joseph Smith.
For my investigators A and E it´s been easy for them to gain a testimony that the church is true. I have taught them since April and seen them grow and receive the blessings of the restored gospel in their lives. I feel like they are members. They are by far the most dedicated investigators I have ever had. They study so much and apply the things they learn. Although with all the studies they do, questions and doubts always arise especially about Joseph Smith.
They have asked me questions that me to study to find the answers. I have never had so many doubts about Joseph Smith. Yes, even as a missionary their questions have made me question. As I studies more I felt like I had more doubts than answers. I felt embarrassed to say I wasn´t sure. I was searching sincerely for a sincere answer to my doubts to calm my uneasiness.
As I listened to general conference I searched more for the answers I wanted and the hunger I had to know. When Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke it was like my Heavenly Father was guiding me in the direction I needed to go. Elder Anderson helped me understand that it was ok to ask genuine questions to help us gain testimonies.I felt the need to search more by putting into practice what Elder Anderson invited us to do by reading pamplets about Joseph Smith, reading the Joseph Smith history, and listening to the first vision.
What really pushed me more to look for my testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith is when he said ´´ You won´t be of much help to others if you´re own faith is weak´´. How could I help A and E find their testimony of Joseph Smith if mine wasn´t as strong either? I needed to gain my own testimony and through listening to conference my Heavenly Father was guiding me.
One of the things that guided me and helped me the most was doing the personal study activities in Preach my Gospel. I accepted ´´ president Smiths challenge´´ to do all the study activities in Preach my Gospel. One of the first activities was to read the 1st vision and write a newspaper article about the restoration of the gospel and write about my own feelings for the restoration. As I wrote a feeling came to me that I should try to testify with mas sincerity when I tell the first vision and testify I there is anything I am the most sure about, it is that Jesus Christ himself leads and guides this church.
That very day that I felt the impression to testify with more sincerity we taught the restoration to 4 different people. Every lesson I felt the spirit stronger and stronger. As I recited the memorized words of the first vison the spirit spoke more and more through me. By the end of the day we were in a lesson and I felt the spirits guidance as we focused on teaching the restoration. I repeated the first vision and then when I went to say ´´ I know....´´ The spirit came down on us like an unexpected shower of rain.
I have never felt the spirit so sudden and strong fall down on me like that. I took a long pause to even speak, with tears streaming down my face, I knew I received my answer. I will never be able to deny the testimony I received that the prophet Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God who was called to restore Christ church.
I know without a doubt that the Church is true and the Joseph Smith spoke with Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ that spring day in the sacred grove. I know that just like Joseph Smith and me ( a missionary) we are to seek our own testimonies and answers through prayers and diligent studies. If we do so, our Heavenly Father will answer.
October 21, 2014
Fun news for this week! We went to Brazil and worked for a day and it was so fun! I have never felt the gift of tongues so strongly. I could understand, I learned so many words, and I was able to use all that I knew in Portuguese without even thinking. The elders there are working really hard and their areas are HUGE. It was a good day.
We also have transfers this week! My hija will be going to another area and I’m staying! I think all the missionaries were surprised to hear that. This will be my 6th changed here and I will have 9 months in Artigas. I feel so blessed! Hermana Duke will be coming here and I am so excited to have her! I don`t know her a lot, but I already feel like we are going to be a great companionship!
Everything is going well in my area and I am focusing on helping the members and investigators understand the doctrine of Christ better. I really do love the people in my area and desire that they progress.
One day this week we went out with a less active who is a part of our ‘’ equipo misional’’. Right before leaving the house she said ‘’ Hermanas I can`t testify today because my husband lost his job``. I asked her why she thought he lost his job and she told me because the people he has been working for cut him from work. I then responded by explaining that when we keep the commandments the Lord blesses us spiritually and temporally and when they re-activated themselves months ago is when he received work, but now there back were they started and haven`t been coming to church for weeks. Her comments really struck me and helped me understand what she needs to have for trust in her Heavenly Father to progress.
Mosìah 2:41 is one of my favorite scriptures that says `` And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual…`` It`s the Lords promise that if we keep the commandments he blesses us temporally. We may not know exactly how he will bless us, but we have his promise.
When Nephi and his family went out of Jerusalem for the desert they received this promise from our Heavenly Father. In 1 Nephi 17 Nephi and his family were obedient when Heavenly Father told them to go into the wilderness. Nephi says ``…we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness…`` It must have been hard to complete with this commandment of God knowing that they would suffer more, but he describes the experience of receiving blessings of raw meat and the mothers having milk for their children. The blessings they received from the Lord weren`t anything spectacular, but it was sufficient enough that they had no reason to complain.
Nephi goes on to tell us ``And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.`` ( 1 Nephi 17:3) Through our obedience the Lord strengthens us both temporally and spiritually. We all suffer from afflictions of our everyday lives. Maybe the Lord will never ask us to abandon our homes and head for the wilderness, but we have our own modern day afflictions. As we keep the commandments he will bless us and we are to be patient and not complain as we trust in him.
In the end Nephi and his family not only received blessing will traveling in the wilderness, but when they arrived to their unknown destination Nephi describes blessings of all the food they needed. I may not know why this brother lost his job and how I can help them temporally, but the Lord knows. As a missionary I am to help them understand that they MUST keep the commandments so that they receive the Lords promise.
I know the commandments are there to help us and that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants to bless us. As we stay obedient he will bless us and we will not suffer so many afflictions. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we can receive guidance through our DAILY studies as the Lord asks us to do. I felt so much guidance as I read Nephi’s story and I know it is revelation that will help those in my area as well as in my own life.
We have been teaching an entire family of 10 for 3 months now and they have all progressed so much! They come to church, have family home evenings, they want to go out and work with us, ect. Practically members! The only thing that has held them back from baptism is that the oldest daughter and her husband have to quit smoking and then them and their 3 daughters will be baptized, the parents of the family will be baptized after they get married in December, and then the youngest two daughters S (21) and D(16) set the goal to be baptized this weekend.
I was so excited that D and S were on their way to baptism until last Friday when they told me they wanted to wait without explaining why. I was so worried as to why and spent a lot of time pondering about the possibilities. When we went to visit them the next day I was ready to teach the doctrine of Christ so that they could continue preparing for this weekend.
When it came time to ask S why she explained to me that she wanted to wait because she is going to Montevideo in December to live with the father of her daughter and she wants to get married first before being baptized so that one day she can be married in the temple and get sealed with her whole family. My eyes filled with tears as I heard this. I was so proud of her decision. I didn´t have to teach the doctrine of Christ like I had prepared. SHE UNDERSTANDS.
More than anything I am grateful that she has the goal to take her whole family to the temple. A few months ago in our Zone meeting we talked about the importance of teaching lesson 5 (the lesson that talks all about the temple) BEFORE baptism, not after like we had been doing. I am grateful for that revelation, because now I can see that my investigators not only have the goal of baptism, but the goal of eternal families and that´s something that ONLY the gospel offers that can´t be found anywhere else.
I know the church is true and that families can be together forever. I know of the importance of this to all those who don´t have the gospel in their lives. I know that it takes a whole family to work TOGETHER to receive the promise of eternal families and that the plan of salvation is a perfect plan.
In the mission we always talk about how we should speak with the tongue of angels and only speak positively without gossip. It´s something that takes work to do and a couple of weeks ago my district leader taught us what we could do not only to speak with the tongue of angels, but how we could have the vision of angels too. He started by showing us photos to judge of people who didn´t look like they had a lot of potential and then turned out to be presidents, athletes, and missionaries. He told us that we can´t pick and choose who we talk to and teach just by their looks because they might turn out to be a bishop, stake president, apostle, ect.
I remember showing up to the house of an inactive family and they were outside drinking. The brother said ´´ I don´t want anything right now!´´ We left, but in a better moment we returned. We have been teaching them for months now and they have changed their lives. I love this family and have loved them since I met them. I am thankful for the spirit that guides me and helped me have the vision of angels upon meeting this family so they could return to living the gospel in their lives. Maybe the brother who told us ´´ I don´t want anything right now!´´ Will turn out to be the next bishop, or stake president, or future apostle, who knows!
I can see that potential in him. Maybe right now he doesn´t see that, but I do. Last week we went to teach him and in the end he ended up teaching us! He showed us a scripture and started explaining what it meant and invited us to meditate the scripture too. It was only a few verses, but the way he had studied it out was profound. I asked him how long ago he had read and understood the scripture and he told me ´´ A long time ago! I had to read it over and over again and then I had to pray over and over again.´´
Later in the week in the conference with Elder Christensen ( of the presidency of the 70) President Smith explained the same thing the brother explained to me. He told us that we needed to meditate the scriptures and keep knocking to understand them. It´s like when you knock on a door. You don´t just tap the door once and then wait. You have to knock and knock and knock until someone answers the door.
It´s interesting that this brother was studying and saying what church leaders were telling me. As he has start to apply the gospel more in his life he has received personal revelation and is able to share what he knows with others so that they learn too. He has so much potential and so does every one of Heavenly Fathers children. It´s US that needs to have the same vision as our Heavenly Father to help others come to their potential.
I am working on having the vision of angels. I´m not perfect, but I know that through the atonement I can be perfected in Christ. I know that he lives and that our Heavenly Father is merciful to those who are willing to repent.
December 2, 2014
This week was Incredible! When we started the week I had the desire to set high goals so that this week would be incredible and with prayer it worked. When we start the day with pray we pour out our desires to our Heavenly Father and then during the day we work with the Lord for what we prayed for. When the Lord sees our efforts we put forth to achieve what we desire he helps us achieve success.
This week we focused on achieving ´´ Las normas de excelencia´´. We focused on the goal of reaching each number, if not more, by the end of the week and prayed for the help we needed. One of the numbers that has always been hard for me to achieve is receiving references. As I used prayer I felt the promptings of the spirit remind me to ask for references in moment that I didn´t except. With these quiet whispers from the Holy Ghost we were able to receive more than 15 references this week.
Prayer helped us the whole week. When Friday came we realized we didn´t have a lot of lessons with less actives. We prayed throughout the day to have opportunities to teach less actives and by the end of the day we had 10 lessons with less actives for the day. Saturday was the last day to work and we still needed to find new investigators. We again, prayed throughout the day to have opportunities to teach new people and by the end of the day we found 5 new investigators.
When we pray for our righteous desires and work with the Lord to achieve them we become an excellent team. Our Heavenly Father desires that we achieve our desires too. The adversary desires the opposite and work just as hard against us. We have to pray constantly to achieve our righteous desires so that Satan’s desire isn´t stronger than ours.
For example, one day we might have the desire to go to church, but another feeling might come that tells us to sleep in and not go to church. The Holy Ghost tells us to go and Satan tells us to sleep. If we pray we have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When we pray the whispers of the Holy Ghost become louder and stronger than the whispers of the adversary working against us.
´´Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.´´
3 Nephi 18:18
By the end of the week our desires to reach our goals were stronger and we had success.
Las Normas de Excelencia Our weeks numbers
(THE FIRST NUMBER IS THE EXPECTED # THE SECOND NUMBER IS WHAT WE DID)
Lessons with member: 10 13
Other lessons: 5 13
Investigators in the church: 5 9
Progressing Investigators: 7 15
Investigators with baptism date: 3 4
Lessons with recent converts or less actives: 15 20
Received references: 8 8
Contacted references: 8 10
New investigators: 8 10
Number of hours with members: 12 22
I know that as we work hard and with the Lord we can expect to see miracles. I know that this work is important and that as I try my hardest I can be and instrument the hands of the Lord to help others come unto him. I know that I have his promise that the Holy Ghost will guide as I work and do my part.