Friday, January 30, 2015

January 26, 2015

Good news! We don´t live with a cat lady anymore. Even more good news WE HAVE A WASHING MACHINE. For the first time in over a year I don´t have to wash my clothes in a bucket. We will only be in this house for a month so in the meantime we will continue our search for a new house and take advantage of the washing machine. I am loving my new area and Hermana Hafen. Go team.

With Hermana Hafen I feel like we are really working together. We are a team and she has the desires to just be obedient and work while having fun as we do it. We are just always in tune with the spirit and the lessons we have are great. I´m grateful for our companionship and for the companionship of the spirit.

We are given the promise that we will have the spirit with us, but actually having the spirit with us is a constant battle. One day Hermana Hafen and I went to visit some of our investigators. When we showed up to the house the grandma came out and told us that we weren't allowed to visit them. She then went on to tell us that ´´Mormons´´ are bad and that we don´t help anyone. We were very frustrated and hurt by just listening to her when we walked away.

After a couple minutes of walking Hermana Hafen said ´´ We don´t have the spirit. Should we pray?´´ (This is why I love her) So, we stopped behind a tree and said a prayer so that we would be able to continue working with the spirit. The spirit is EVERYTHING and without the spirit we are nothing. The spirit teaches the lessons and people and without the spirit the people we are teaching do not learn.

We felt better after the prayer and continued working. The next lesson we had a member take us to an inactive family. When we got to the house the brother was talking about his excuses of why he stopped going to church. He said that other people of shut of the light in his life. I felt like he was saying that others stopped him from having the spirit with him, but I know it´s not that way. We are in control of whether we have the spirit with us or not. When we don´t have the spirit we become confused and unstable and that´s when with fall into spiritual darkness.

This brother was living in spiritual darkness and we explained this to him using Alma 5:7. The spirit guided our words through the lesson and we analyzed this verse with him to help him understand. In the end of the lesson he said the prayer and his eyes filled with tears. Because we taught with the spirit we brightened up his understanding.

Many times the people we teach don´t have this spiritual light to guide them. We teach investigators who have never felt the light and we teach less active members who need help turning on this light again. I know that through the guidance of the Holy Ghost we can guide them to their Heavenly Father, but if we want to help others we have to have this light first.

That´s why I am so grateful for Hermana Hafen. She understands the importance of exact obedience so that we can work with the spirit and not against it. There´s a quote from Elder Ezra Taft Benson that says ´´When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.´´ We seek to be obedient and we are a powerful companionship.

I am grateful for the spirit in my life and for spiritual experiences. I know that I have a loving Heavenly Father that has given me the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide me.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 5, 2015

I was grateful for the opportunity I had to go to Concilio and learn about the direction our leaders want us to take in the mission. Since Concilio I have been meditating a lot in what I heard and I have been praying every day that the Lord helps me understand and follow the direction given. I pray that he helps me to see what the ´´watchmen´´ of the church see and this week I feel like the Lord has really helped me in this.

First, I had to gain my own testimony of the direction we were given in Concilio so that I could testify and help other follow it. If we want to gain a testimony of something we have to live it and experience it first. The very next day I got back from Concilio I made a ward plan for the New Year to work with the members to baptize, rescue, and retain the new members. Making this plan made me have a fire to work. I was so excited to help our ward leaders get on board.

The next day after making the plan we decided that we had to help the leaders feel the fire we felt to work in the work of salvation. We started by visiting a few of our leaders to teach them the doctrine of Christ so that they can understand the importance of the work of salvation. We saw miracles when we did this. Just visiting the primary president she shared with us the desire she had to help her family become more edified over the rock of Christ and help the primary attendance grow by working with not only the primary children, but their parents too. She also gave us 6 references of people we could visit.

We also are trying to working more effectively with the members and leaders. We went out one morning with the leader of elders quorum. He led the way to the people we visited. We visited one of his old friends who isn't a member, he showed us where an inactive temple sealed family lived, and we ended the morning in a part- member home. I have been in this area for almost a year now, but it took a member leading me to these people to find them. The members really do know of these people, it´s just helping them follow the spirit to guide us to them when we go out. Brother B loved that experience. He truly is a missionary at heart and he felt this fire we feel.

We ended the week yesterday in ward council with all the leaders to specifically talk about this plan and help them work with the form of ´´New members and members that have returned to the church´´. I had never seen so many leaders show up to ward council and I had really been praying to know how to help them follow the direction of our prophet and apostles today to work in missionary work. It turned out to be the best ward council I have ever had. We had members asking us to go to their houses to teach them more about what they could do, they wanted to make plans in their own houses to teach families in the ward, and they were pulling up list on the computer to find more families to rescue in the ward. By the end everyone felt this fire to work and help.

I feel this fire in my heart for missionary work. I meditated a lot in the scripture Jacob 1:19 these past few days. It says:

´´And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.´´

The scripture says ´´WE did magnify our office´´. I feel the same diligence and responsibility that is described in this scripture every day. It´s my last week in Artigas and I have seen a lot of missionaries leave this area, giving up the last week. I feel completely opposite. I feel the need to follow magnifying my calling more than ever. I just want to help the leaders feel the same way I feel about this work.

I know that this love and diligence comes from the Lord. I know that he loves every Alma and that as I serve I learn how to feel and see the way he does. I know that this is his work and that if we can learn to follow his example we can feel the same desire he had to give EVERYTHING and do the will of our Heavenly Father. I know he loves me and that I am so blessed to be able to serve in his vineyard especially this part of his vineyard.


Hermana Baca

January 13, 2015

After almost 11 months in Artigas I`m leaving. It`s hard to say goodbye, but at the same time I have felt so much comfort this whole week. I feel comfort knowing that I did all the possible to help the people here. I feel very fortunate to have stayed here so long and I feel even more fortunate that I will be going right back to Montevideo. I will be opening a new area that use to be part of the other mission with Hermana Hafen. I am VERY excited and VERY sad at the same time.

This week I got to do divisions with Hermana Davidson, she just started the mission but it`s as if she`s been here for a lot longer. I really enjoyed working with her. She talks with everyone on the streets and doesn't have fear, she follows the spirit, and is one of the happiest workers you`ll ever meet. We were UNO right off the bat.

As we were talking with everyone we came upon a house were a couple was outside drinking matte ( like everyone else does in Uruguay) We started talking with the women and then she stood up and came to where we were standing to talk to us. When she got closer I realized that I recognized her from somewhere. It turns out that a few months ago she helped our zone do a picnic at the park she works at and she remembered me.

She explained to us that she really enjoyed being with the missionaries that day and it made her remember when she was active in the church and she had the desire to go since this activity, but there is always something that stops her. I felt a strong impression to get inside her house as soon as possible and teach her the Doctrine of Christ. We invited the whole family to listen and the dad declined our invitation, but sat right next to us and listened to the lesson while playing a computer game. It was a powerful lesson. The house was filled with the spirit.

I have no doubt that this family felt the spirit and I know we were guided to be in that house at that time. I know that we were guided by the spirit and our efforts payed off by talking to everyone. Hermana Davidson is an example of someone who talks to everyone and lives her purpose in every moment. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn from other sisters.

January 19, 2015

After being in Artigas for 11 months I finally left and now I`m in Montevideo. Montevideo is a different world from Artigas. Artigas was small, there were cowboys in the streets, dirt roads, and a lot quieter. Montevideo is a city, everything is expensive, we take buses everywhere, and I get headaches just from being in the busy streets. It`s a whole new world.

The ward I`m in one of the best ward you can find in all of Uruguay. Many of the members are return missionaries and everyone fulfills there calling. It is hard to find a ward in Uruguay that functions so well. The church is still pretty new and many of the members don`t know how to fulfill church callings, but because most of the ward served missions they know how to make a ward function really well.

Everyone told me that the members don`t give lunch here, but our ward is so awesome that I have had breakfast, lunch, and dinner since coming here. Our lunches are even other things than Tuco and Milanesas (typical meals we get here). I really lucked out because no other missionaries and Montevideo get treated the way we get treated in Barrio 7.

We haven`t found a house yet, but for now we are living with a single old lady named M. M is great because she cleans and waits for us to get home with dinner made. She is a chef so it`s REALLY good food. The only con is that we live with a billion cats. Yes, she is an old cat lady and talks our ears off.

The other day I asked her just how many cats she does have and she told me ``10 that live in the backyard, but the ones that live in front of her house aren't hers, they just come and visit.`` She also gives her cats pills ``so that don`t have any more families``, but one day she forgot and the next day a cat had 3 more kittens. #meow

Hermana Hafen and I enjoy eating dinner and listening to her talk about her cats and hearing the same stories. M is an angel for letting us stay with her while we look for a house and I know she enjoys the service. She walked into church yesterday telling everyone we were her new granddaughters.

I love my new area.

Meow Meow!

Hermana Baca