Literally flying as we got our flight plans!
Monday I fly to Argentina! I cannot wait to meet the people of Argentina and serve them and grow to love them:)
My last Preparation Day, in the evening Hermana Johnson and I had the opportunity to once again teach Javier:) and were extremely excited about this! We were planning on focusing on asking inspired questions and listening as we taught. We also really wanted to focus on baptism. Upon ending the prayer we asked him how he had liked 1 Nephi 8. He said he had found it very interesting and that verse 28 had really connected with him. It talked about taking of the fruit, or the love of Christ, and them falling away because of heeding those who mocked from the great and spacious building (the philosophies and beliefs of the world and of the devil). He said he connected to this verse because He had been one of those people. He told us he never wanted to do that again, that he wanted to stay. Hermana Johnson and I were obviously thrilled to hear such!
We started explaining the symbolism behind the tree and the fruit, that it represented Christ. I then asked him how he thought he could hold on to the rod of iron spoken of in the story (the word of God). He mentioned reading the scriptures, the Book of Mormon, and how by holding onto the literal Book of Mormon he was holding on to the rod. I asked him what he thought he needed to do after partaking of the fruit. He said that after doing such we needed to Never fall away. Hermana Johnson started talking about ways to follow Christ and was talking about the five steps: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end when I felt very strongly that we needed to ask him his thoughts concerning baptism. I could Feel that Javier had things to say. As soon as there was a pause I asked him,
"What are your thoughts concerning baptism?"
He thought for a moment or two before saying,
"I am willing. I want to be baptized. I know it is right."
Hermana Johnson freaked out a little bit she was so thrilled! Javier looked up to see such enthusiasm and laughed, pointing out how big our smiles were. We didn't mind; we were'e unabashedly thrilled! I then asked him how He felt about it. He said it felt right and that he felt very at peace, even if a little nervous as well. I felt that peace as well, and it was a very comforting feeling, like coming home to friends and family after a long day of work and stress. We asked him if he would say the closing prayer. He gave a little chuckle of apprehension but once again gave a beautiful prayer in which he thanked Heavenly Father for our smiles and the choice to be baptized. Hermana Johnson also thought she heard him say that he prayed for his friend who had hurt him before and had made him apprehensive about the church.
We left that lesson feeling on top of the world. We've never gotten this far with an investigator! It's exhilarating and so powerful! I love it, I truly, truly do,
on our way to the temple: Hermanas Hawkins and Johnson
Mi Companera y Yo
August 16th was my one month mission anniversary! An entire month done already... that's hard to believe... only 17 more!
On the 18th we had to the opportunity to teach Javier again:) We're been teaching him since the 30th of July! Esta loca. We didn't have a lot of time to teach, but we did ask him how "going with us" to church went. He said it seemed familiar, not as strange as he thought it would be/ He also said he felt the spirit during church. We then talked about obedience and how we folowed because we loved the Lord and that it was essential to having the Holy Ghost. We also talked about the necessity to praying every day as well as reading the scriptures diariomente. Javier loves reading the Book of Mormon, but he didn't think he'd have time to read every day. I promised him that as he took the time to read every day that he would develop more faith and that the Holy Ghost would become more present in his life. I also explained that even reading one verse was better than nothing because each read would build off the other, He asked if by only reading a verse a day he would continue to develop. I told him yes, but that it would be much slower, and that the more he read the faster he would develop. It was a good lesson, though short, and he ended with the prayer. He wasn't as hesitant as he'd been the past when we'd asked him to pray. I'm so thankful for the opportunity I've had to meet Javier and teach him.
Beautiful night at the MTC
August 20th consisted of so many amazing and happy events! I knew it would be destined for greatness when I walked out into the beautiful rain. It was cold and lightly drizzling with thick puffs of clouds once more. A truly beautiful day. As we were finishing up class and about to go the lunch we ran into Hely and Jose! It was so good to see them! We instantly asked if we could take a picture with them. I was so happy to get one.
They then talked to us. Jose told mi companera y yo that he was very thankful for our teaching and especially for the words I shared regarding the situation with his daughter, the experience I had shared. He said we could have success and this because of the fact that we truly loved those we taught. He said he could feel the love we had for him when he was being taught and that because of this love we would go far. Hely also told us how special we were and how lucky Argentina was to have us. We hugged her quite a few time. Jose also told Hermana Johnson and I that he was going to visit his home in Guatemala and that when he did he would send us letters. So cool! We also got their email and they took ours, promising to write. Such amazing, wonderful people! I love them more than I can express and can't wait to have this kind of love for the people of Argentina!
My Favorite part of the day was teaching Javier for the last time, which was saddening, but the lesson went unbelievably well. The spirit taught a gorgeous, fluid, conversation-esque lesson. We started with a kneeling prayer that I had the privilege of giving. As I did I prayed that the spirit would be in the lesson (which was more than answered). We then asked him what he thought of Enos 1, the chapter we'd asked him to read. He mentioned that he really enjoyed it, especially the part about a "lucha", or a struggle before God. We explained what this meant to us, to which he quietly asked,
"But how do we come out triumphant in this struggle?" At this point I felt impressed to share Mosiah 3:19. He then said,
"Oh! So we're struggling with the natural man?" We told him this was correct and explained that all of us had this natural man and needed Christ to overcome it. Hermana Johnson then asked how Javier's prayers were. He said they were going well but that he didn't pray every day. We explained that when we pray every day, just as when we read the scriptures every day, that we gain power, the power of God through the Holy Ghost to overcome the natural man.
My depiction of the plan of salvation:
Everything Hermana Johnson and I have learned about teaching these last 6 weeks were in this beautiful lesson. We forgot about the language and focused on only teaching the things of the spirit. We kept it simple and took turns frequently in who was speaking. We used scriptures well and shared personal experiences. We listened to Javier and asked inspired questions that helped him to teach himself. We applied the doctrine of Christ to His needs. I felt so happy and at peace when we felt the lesson! The spirit was so warm and present during the lesson. I felt so invited by the spirit to learn more also. It is true, that when we teach with the Holy Ghost that All are enlightened, the missionaries and the investigators. It is a beautiful and miraculous process and I cannot express how glad I am to be a part of it.
Being here is such a miracle. I love all of my district as brothers and sisters. I learn so much from everyone and every one invites the spirit and works hard.
This week has been amazing in so many ways. I do not have the words to fully describe it. As Hermana Johnson and I have played a game where we are "spending the day in Argentina", aka speaking solely Spanish during the whole day, amazing things have happened. I don't even Want to speak in English! (I'm perfectly ok with writing in it, however;)
We often study out here at the picnic table:
I love you all and pray that God is with you:)
Hermana Mallory Dickson