Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Week 9 in San Fernando: The baptism of Lilian, giving a talk with the APs, and mission p-day

Hey all! Sorry I didn't send anything out yesterday. The entire mission took part in a mass Pday and we didn't have time to write. But here I am! So much, as usual, has happened, and I want to share all of it! So, let's get down to business shall we?

I was able to be with both of my "hijas" at the mission Pday :)

Best part of the week: Lilian's baptism!

Monday Alma 61:13 "But behold he doth not command us that we shall subject ourselves to our enemies, but that we should put our trust in him, and he will deliver us."

Pday with the Zone:) We went bowling. Although I'm not very good at the game I managed to survive and not embarrass myself too badly!

Bowling: I guess we had a few that thought this was a moving picture ;)

After a very fun Pday my companion and I went to our scheduled appointments. Many of them fell through, and we were running out of backup plans, while not running out of time. As we were heading to our 8 o'clock appointment my companion told me that the name "familia Poma" had come to her mind. Not as a strong prompting or even impression that we needed to stop by. However, she had felt the need to tell me about it. I instantly told her that we would follow the prompting, even if it seemed small. My companion seemed to think I was a little confused, but I explained to her something my first companion in the field had taught me. Hermana Arnsten had explained to me at one point early on in the mission that we are in the service of the Lord trying to do what is right. When we are striving to do what is right and we receive a prompting it is our job to act. Not to question if it is the spirit or if it is us. If we are doing what is right, any good prompting we receive is of God, and should be followed. I explained such to my companion, and off we went to visit the Poma family, even though it would make us a little late to our 8 o'clock appointment.
We went, and found them. They are never home at night, and yet we found them, were able to invite them to an activity they hadn't been made aware of, and help them feel the love of the Savior, showing them that He had not forgotten of them. As soon as we finished sharing with them we headed off to our appointment. As we were walking to their house I thought I saw the sister walking in front of us. As we entered the building that led to her door we saw that it was indeed her, just entering her house. If we hadn't followed the prompting of my comp we would never have found Hermana Cardenas. We would have showed up at 8:00 and would have knocked and rang the doorbell in vain. There is no way we would have waited around for 24 minutes until she would have come walking up. And yet, there we were, arriving at the same time exactly. She later told us that she had forgot that we were going to stop by, and had been with friends. They had asked her to go with them to get something to eat or to talk, but that she had felt as though she needed to go home immediately, even though she didn't know why. She had headed straight home, only to be met by us. Through following the spirit we were able to teach the less active sister, one we had never been able to talk with before.

I can't stress this enough: FOLLOW THE PROMPTINGS.  

Tuesday John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

District Meeting! I learned of the importance of "Remember Him", or always keeping the Savior in the front of our minds before we make any decisions. Also that it is imperative that we plead with the spirit to know what to do, and then plan to DO IT. Hermana Riquelme taught us that we need to let people know we love them more often, with words and acts. Something our district leader taught us that stood out to me was that Faith=Personal Righteousness. Think About It. I talked about obedience, and how it is the way to show our love for the Savior. I think we all learned a lot from each other.

Hermana Riquelme and I made torta frita!  (Better stated, she made it and I cheered her on ;)!)
It was delicious!

Later on in the evening we had planned to visit Sara, a less active sister. She wasn't home, and we were ready to leave to go visit one of our backup plans when I felt inspired to see if the Calatayud was home. My comp didn't think it was worth it, as we had passed by many times and no one was ever home, but I was firm in my decision, and she agreed to stop by. We knocked and no one answered. Just as we were about to leave a sister opened the door and let us in. A less active sister that I had never met. With her we testified of the the power of the atonement. As we did so I could FEEL the spirit, potent and present. She could feel it too. I could see it in her eyes. She could feel, at least to a small extent, the love the Savior of the world had for her. That the Savior has for each and every one of you that is reading this blog or this email. He loves YOU, as an individual.

Wednesday: Mosiah 18:9 "Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life--"

Hermana Riquelme and I

The highlight of the day was visiting Fanny, an older member, and Raquel, who is about the same age but not a member. The difference was easy to see. Fanny and Raquel are both struggling with feelings of loneliness and pain. Fanny lives alone, and pines for her grandson who visits far less than he used to. Raquel is racked with  pain for the loss of her husband. And yet, one has faith in her Savior to such a degree that she ACTS, and is not acted upon by her circumstances. We CANNOT expect things to change in our lives unless WE change. Raquel cannot see that. And for that she dwells in her pain, questioning God, questioning as to why He would allow her to suffer such a thing. She has all of the answers in front of her, and yet refuses to see. It hurts me, truly, to feel the spirit and to hear her testimony, and yet, to have her blind to the very thing that can heal her and give her peace. It was a sobering sight. Surely there are things RIGHT NOW in my life that I cannot see. Things that God can see so clearly. Wishing that I would trust Him and be willing to change to see the changes in my life. The answers are surely in front of me, and yet, at this time perhaps I cannot see them. We must trust in our Savior, in our God. He sees the things we cannot see.

Thursday: Alma 18:36 " Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsed and laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem."

We went over the questions with Lilian to prepare for her interview with the District Leader before her baptism. She knew Everything, and taught US quite a bit in the process. Her testimony concerning tithing was especially inspiring. She was so eager to be able to help the church in such a way and wanted a tithing slip to be able to turn in her tithing on Sunday. She told us, "For me it is a marvelous thing to have the opportunity to pay tithing." What a faith-filled, spiritual giant! How many members find it hard to "sacrifice" some of their money? And yet she is, absolutely thrilled and almost teary-eyed with the possibility of paying her tithing. It blew me away.

Friday: 3 Nephi 11:1-17
We attended the Meeting for the New Missionaries in the morning. Man did it bring back memories! Almost 9 months ago I was there, looking at President's drawing of the mission hill and secretly thinking that I would never get to the top. And yet, here I am, taking the plunge to the other side. And how fast it goes! I can't begin to describe it. As each of the new missionaries shared something they had learned in the their first 2 weeks in the field I was reminded so vividly of my own mission. How much I had to rely on Christ just to get out of bed. Even more so to get out the door. I remembered the fear and the tears. They are each such strong spirits, and they are going to do AMAZING things.

The Lord is truly preparing the missionaries that are being sent into this mission. Each transfer they come in more and more prepared. I'm humbled to get to work with them. We also had the interview of Lilian and the ward family home evening. Talk about a busy day! While Lilian was in her interview I bought her a triple combination of the scriptures and her friend bought her a nice bible from the offices. It's my firm belief that every member needs a nice set of scriptures, no matter the cost. It was my privilege to be able to help her out in such a way:)

Saturday: Doctrine and Covenants 18:15 "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"

Lilian and I

 The day of the baptism! I don't even know where to start. It was perfect. That's really all I have to say. Trying to describe it with my limited abilities wouldn't do it justice. After the service I gave Lilian her new scriptures. The excitement and gratitude on her face made it all Very worth it. We asked Lilian how she felt after the service. She said that she had been asking God for a long time as to what was the truth, and that she had just taken a small step on her journey to return back to Him. She thanked us for being there for her and for our patience. We assured her that it was a great blessing and privilege for us.

 Lilian and Juan Manuel 

Hermana Dickson, Zulma (friend of Lilian), Lilian, and Hermana Paz (Gospel Principles Teacher)

She is a beacon of faith and I hope to always trust in the Lord as she has and continues to do.

I gave a talk, Lilian was confirmed, and they all lived in happiness and bliss.... but really;) Oscar accompanied us. He kept asking us if we were going to visit Jorge Luis, a recent convert like Oscar who has been struggling recently. We kept trying to call him but he hadn't answered. And then we decided to go to his house anyway, even though we hadn't been able to get a hold of him. And we ended up finding him. Because Oscar was listening to the spirit from the start
As for yesterday (Monday), we had a Pday with the mission. All 227 some missionaries! We all met up at the Lincoln school, where we met for Christmas. We listened to President and his wife share spiritual messages as well as Elder Lines. Then the assistants and the office elders got up and sang the mission song. We then all joined with them, and the spirit was incredibly strong! Then we competed in a mission futbol tournament. My zone, Tigre, got into the final 4! After a great and super messy lunch we got to watch..... MEET THE MORMONS! Woo! It was a Blast!

So, what have I learned from this week? If you haven't noticed the obvious trend: FOLLOW THE SPIRIT. In EVERY situation. No matter what. 

Hermana Dickson

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