This week was amazing. Several highlights were Fredy receiving the priesthood and an old investigator coming on Sunday as a surprise and wanting to be baptized, our multi-zone and leaders conferences with President Duncan on Thursday and Friday, the fathers of one of our investigator families saying HIS VERY FIRST PRAYER WITH US, our Christmas devotional last night in the ward, the baptismal interview for the Father of a member family who is getting married and baptized this Saturday, and so so much more.
Starting with President Duncan, we had a multi-zone conference with him on Thursday with all the zones from Huehue and the aldeas up to the border of Mexico. [He is from the area presidency.] The conference was incredible. He talked a lot about the Lord’s vision for missionary work–in the mission, area, and in the whole world. They are making lots of changes in the area, for example, the new chapels here will be completely maintained by the tithes of the MEMBERS who are using them. He helped us to understand how the Lord is truly hastening his work, how he expects SO MUCH more than all we are and are doing right now. In the future, missionaries will be required to have stronger testimonies, be more pure, be more prepared, etc. He spoke of the missionaries who will be serving in one year. I love that he said that if they have fewer missionaries for a time, because of the increasing level of worthiness and preparedness, it is okay. Because they will be able to do MORE with fewer missionaries. So TEENAGE BOYS AND GIRLS who are preparing right now, BE CLEAN, BE GOOD, study the scriptures, have the courage and faith to keep all of the commandments and stand in holy places. You will be blessed with the companionship of the Lord throughout your missions and throughout your lives. The Lord needs more from us. He needs us to be more converted, more dedicated, more proactive, more obedient.
One thing that struck me was how MUCH President Duncan spoke on Repentance. We ALL NEED REPENTANCE. E v e r y day. We as missionaries are called to PREACH REPENTANCE. To help people recognize their sins, feel the desire to be clean and pure, and help them learn how to do it. How can we fulfill our purpose if we do not understand the doctrine of repentance ourselves? And if we do not live it? I feel so eternally grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift my Heavenly Father has given me. Because of Him, I can be purified more each day, become more and more like my Father, I can overcome my weaknesses. I testify that through HARD work in the Lord’s kingdom for all of our lives brings a fulness of joy. We should always feel uncomfortable. When we understand and have experienced the Atonement and continue to experience it, we will have the desire to share this gospel with everyone.
Also, sometimes we don’t understand how crucial daily STUDY of the Book of Mormon is in our understanding of the gospel, our coming to know the Savior, and the strengthening of our testimonies. Please, study the Book of Mormon every day, and treasure it!
On Friday, we took a bus 2 and half hours to Xela to be at the conference at 8:30. President Duncan helped us to realize how GREAT (gigantic) our responsibility is and gave us many great ideas to help us improve as missionaries and leaders. Towards the end of the conference I felt so heavy my load, so unable to carry it all. But as we closed with a prayer I felt a strong confirmation of the presence and help of the Lord. That is the amazing thing about being here on Earth. We don’t have to do anything alone! Nor does our Father expect us to. He wants us to grow and progress, which we can ONLY do with the help of our Savior.
When we got home that night, I felt physically and spiritually exhausted, but as soon as we got out working, both Hermana Madrid and I were literally shaking from energy. We had an AMAZING lesson with Maribel and her son, Carlos. We applied many things we learned in the conference and we testified so so strongly of the Book of Mormon and they both accepted and said they would happily read it because they could tell how much it had influenced our lives. After the lesson, the poor member that was accompanying us couldn’t keep up because we were walking so fast from the spirit we felt in us. We visited Libni and Victor, whose children are members. Victor is almost never home, but joined us for the last part of our lesson. President Duncan had promised us that if the father of the family says the prayer at the end of our lesson, he WILL progress. We invited him to pray, and at first he felt embarassment from not knowing how. He had never prayed much in His life, especially out loud. We wrote down the steps of prayer for him and all closed our eyes. After a few minutes, he began. He read the first few lines hesitantly but then began to really express what he needed in his life and closed in the name of Jesus Christ. Hermana Madrid and I were crying by the end of the prayer. It was one of the most simple and beautiful experiences I have had on my mission. I love being a missionary. I don’t know if I would have ever been who I am today if I had not chosen to serve. I would have NEVER had the same kind of opportunity to serve my brothers and sisters. I love this gospel. I love my Savior! I LOVE MY SAVIOR.
Last night in our ward Christmas devotional, so many investigators came, holding the Book of Mormons we had given to every member family to write their testimony in and give to the family they invited to the devotional. The second counselor in the stake presidency gave a very emotional message about the Savior and the spirit was so strong. The Lord is blessing this ward right now.
I am so grateful for all of your love and support. 🙂 Thank you for your examples to me. I hope you can all recognize the love our Savior has for each one of us and how greatly He wants us to become pure, and remain pure, so we can return to our Father in Heaven. I testify of a Loving Heavenly Father who blessed us with a Savior, the opportunity to become cleaned, each day to be more like Him, so that we could live with HIM and our families forever! I love you all SO much. Look for somebody to serve this week, somebody to bless, somebody to bear your testimony to. I promise that you will feel the love of our Savior more strongly and a deep abiding peace.
All my love!