The day-by-day process of becoming like our Savior

I know this is classic missionary talk but I CAN’T BELIEVE ANOTHER WEEK HAS GONE BY. And I can’t believe I only have a year left. How quickly the time has passed so far makes me scared to watch these next 12 months go by! I feel so blessed to be a representative of Jesus Christ, to have the authority to preach His gospel, to be His servant, His hands, His mouth in whatever place I am in. It humbles me and makes the time pass ever faster thinking that I will never again have this grand opportunity.

We are working to change the way of working in this area! At the start of this cambio, I only knew about 8 houses of less actives and about 15 houses of members. We are working to find ALL the houses, haha, meet the less actives and the members, and lift them in whatever way possible. We have started asking for references of less actives from all and we are starting to work more hand in hand with the members in this area. I definitely feel stretched thin sometimes, with GREAT responsibility here, and that I am just trying in every moment to do all that I know how to do! You know how when you dream you try to run but it’s as if you´re running through mud and only making it a few feet every minute? Hahaha, I think I feel like that. But I am working my hardest and I love my Savior, these people, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel great desires to share this great message that has brought me more happiness and peace in this life than anything else, and sometimes I just wish that every person would have an open mind, a ready and humble heart, and a real intent. But I know that our agency is a blessing, and is so necessary to our Heavenly Father´s plan for us!

We had a great experience with an old investigator this week, Karina. She has been taught by two other sets of sister missionaries in the last 6 months, and has cousins and an aunt and uncle who are members (but the majority are not going to church right now.) She had previously told the missionaries that she wanted to wait until all of her family was baptized with her, and she stopped going to church after an incident there. We visited her and started by trying to get a feel of how much she had been taught previously. She brought out her pamphlets and BOM and I asked what she remembered about Joseph Smith and the Restoration, the first pamphlet in the pile. She told me she really didn’t know or remember anything. We smiled and asked if we could begin formally with a prayer. We had an incredible lesson and I felt the power of the Spirit testify to ME as well as to her, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, and that Jesus Christ restored His church because He LOVES us and wants us to have the fullness of the Gospel and the priesthood. We challenged her to start reading the BOM from the very very beginning and praying about it, as well as be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She told us that she knows she has to be an example for her family and that after being baptized, she will look for every way to help bring them into the church as well. I have so much faith that Heavenly Father will help comfort her and help her have the courage to do His will.

I´ll tell another quick story before I end! We had two important lessons with investigators planned for Friday night of this week, but when we called them, they both cancelled. Luckily I like to make a lot of plans, hahaha, and we still had B and C for both hours of the night. 🙂 Sadly, those too fell through. We were walking in the street and I realized that literally we were on the Lord´s errand here and we are entitled to His help if we are worthy and if we ask for it! My companion and I stepped off to the side of the little path and individually prayed for inspiration of where we should go to contact. We ended and looked at each other and both felt that we needed to go down the path to the left! We came to a fork in the road and turned left again, both feeling that it was right. We came to a house and knocked and a grandmother came to the door and I said all I know how to say in Quiche-Good night! How are you? What’s your name? We’re missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Do you have time? (Hahaha, MY QUICE IS VERY LIMITED OKAY??) She said she didn’t have time because she was going to enter her tuj (it’s like a sauna that everyone bathes in here) but another day. We turned to go back to the little street, but a huge dog stared us down growling and convinced us to go the other way–to a dead end. I really didn´t want to die by dog that night but we had no other choice. We peeked around the corner and the dog had disappeared, PHEW, so we went back out to the street and felt we should turn to the RIGHT. We started walking and out jumps the monster dog from behind a corner. I’m sure you can picture our reaction, trying to act cool as we half scream and turn and start speed walking as calmly as possible in the other direction so as not to startle it or let it smell our fear. In about 30 seconds we KNEW we needed to turn back around and go the way of the dog. Really chill I half turn my head to see if the dog is still obstructing our path but to our relief it had gone. We immediately began walking towards the way we felt we needed to go, and we soon came to a store. Hna. Corea suggested we contact the family who lived there, so we entered and slyly began checking out the candies. Hna. Corea bought some cookies and we somehow turned the topic of the conversation (strawberry cookies) to something a lot more important. 😉  We ended up meeting two families who lived there! They said they are good friends of some of the members of the church and one of the daughters had been invited to go the Xela temple open house a few years ago and the dedicatory prayer or something. She had loved it all and accepted a pamphlet and we set a return date for this week. 🙂

The mission is always always always an adventure and there are hard times and more hard times but there is SO MUCH JOY that comes from serving others and trying to be better every day. I am so imperfect, WOW am I realizing how great my weaknesses are more and more every day. But I love this Gospel more than anything. I know the Lord answers our prayers. I know He wants to forgive and strengthen us, each and every day. I was studying a talk this week called ¨Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread¨ by Elder Christofferson. First of all, you ALL need to read it! It is incredible. He talks of the manna that fell from Heaven every day for 40 years, and how each day (except Sunday) they had to collect their manna for that day. But their manna only last for THAT day! Similarly, we must go to our Father in prayer, asking for the spiritual and/or physical strength sufficient for THAT day, and He will give it to us. But we can’t expect that our pray and scripture study on Tuesday will last us all the way to Thursday. We must ask for our bread daily. He also relates it to how we endure trials, overcome temptations and bad habits, and become like our Savior. It is a day by day process. Sometimes we feel as if we can only last one day more in our struggle to obey, improve, overcome. But when we are asking daily for the bread sufficient for that one day, we are given it. When you feel that you can’t go any further, just finish the day! And the following day, ask for the strength necessary to endure the next short time, and do it. If we ask our bread daily, he will give it freely. I love a quote from President Benson that he uses:

¨We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more [Christlike], that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair.

“But we must be cautious as we discuss these remarkable examples. Though they are real and powerful, they are the exception more than the rule. For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life. They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. …

“We must not lose hope. Hope is an anchor to the souls of men. Satan would have us cast away that anchor. In this way he can bring discouragement and surrender. But we must not lose hope. The Lord is pleased with every effort, even the tiny, daily ones in which we strive to be more like Him.¨

Have hope and faith in your ability to become day by day more like our Savior! I have felt very strongly this week the impact of Satan on my personal hope and faith in my abilities as a missionary. But know that we must not, we CANNOT lose hope. I know that truly, the Lord is pleased with every effort we make to become more like Him, no matter how insignificant our effort seems to us or to others. We do not have the perspective that our Savior, nor our Heavenly Father, has. They love us. They do not require from us perfection, but are proud of our best.

I love you all and am so proud to have such wonderful friends and family in my life. Thank you for all of your love and support and emails! They mean the world.

Hermana Marcheschi

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