This week was great. We had a leaders meeting with President Smith in Xela (3 hour bus ride) on Tuesday and left at 5:30 in the morning to walk to the bus (20 minutes in the dark on deserted streets) but WE MADE IT SAFELY. Haha, our meeting was GREAT. We talked about real converts (who realize baptism is the first step in a life of CHANGE and being purified with time through the atonement.) We talked about how baptisms can’t clean somebody who isn’t repentant and I love also the reoccurring gospel principle of how the purpose of the Holy Ghost is to cleanse and purify us throughout our lives AFTER baptism. When we are truly repentant we realize that what Christ requires of us is true change, a constant effort to become more like Him, and the realization that we cannot change without His divine help and Atonement. We talked a lot about working with members and ward council. The WHOLE church system is vital in missionary work. Missionaries will never ever get anything done without equal effort from members and ward leaders. As a church, working together, we will have great joy in bringing families and souls unto Christ so they too can be changed. 🙂
We have had some great lessons this week! One was with Elisa and Nery. One of the most exciting things we have felt in teaching them is how much we have been able to use the Book of Mormon in our teaching, and we are seeing HOW MUCH it changes the teaching and the spirit and testimony they begin to form of the Book of Mormon. Every single one of their many questions they have we have been able to explain USING the Book of Mormon, and it’s something I thought I would never be able to do off the top of my head when I began my mission. I remember one day in the CCM when our teacher had little personal interviews with every companionship to help us with our personal challenges. I was a little emotional as I expressed my feeling of inadequacy in knowing and remembering scripture references and I clearly remember that He told me that as we help others, the Lord helps us. I testify that it is true! I am nothing without the Lord.
I don’t have much time to explain in detail but we had a GREAT week, despite all of the trials and challenges and disappointments! Just to let you all know, I’ve already talked to President about extending to two years so don’t expect to see me back until 2016, hehe. I have been LOVING my studies in the Book of Mormon and I love it and all of the prophets and saints in it more and more every day. A few things that have impacted me:
John 6:24-40; 2 Ne 31:7, 19, 13; and Mosiah 18:8-10 — What does it really mean to BELIEVE IN CHRIST? To follow Him? It entails actions and the acquiring of His attributes (we studied this together in the leaders meeting with Presidente) which goes along with something I read in PMG chapter 6 this week, that the call to follow Christ is a call to become more like Him and follow His example. That ¨just as vital as what (we) do … is who (we) are.¨
I LOVE the story of Alma, how he left the city of Ammonihah and was greatly afflicted because of their rejection of his teachings, but was visited by THE SAME ANGEL that appeared to him the first time (to help convert him) and was told that he has MUCH reason to rejoice!! And that he should lift up his head and return to the city where they had thrown him out. I felt that the Lord was speaking to me for a moment as I was reading in Alma 8. 🙂 I love also the conversion stories of Amulek and Zeezrom a little later. Amulek was practically inactive…. He knew much of the gospel, but says he didn’t WANT to know, that he chose other things before the gospel (Alma 10:5-7). Nevertheless, he was able to sacrifice all worldly things, even his parents and friends, to accept the gospel (Alma 15:16). I also love that even Zeezrom, who was the cause of so much wickedness and apostasy in the city of Ammonihah, repented (after much much mental and emotional affliction) and was BAPTIZED and preached the gospel for the rest of his life. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ CHANGES PEOPLE. It forms us to be more like our Savior. It is for all and it changes even the vilest of sinners (Mosiah 28:4).
I am forever indebted to my Savior, old and modern day prophets, my family, my bishops, my companions, President and Sister Smith, every leader I have ever had, and these people of Guatemala for helping me know how to believe in and follow my Savior Jesus Christ. I love this gospel with every fiber of my being! (as mom would say :)). Thank you all for your love and support.
All my love,