Yesterday was a good missionary day because it was one of everything. Appointments fell through, a new investigator we were really excited about dropped us, we finally dropped someone we've had a lot of faith in for month ..... and yet we still saw success.
We got billions of phone calls yesterday about lots of random things. One of them was saying that the spanish branch next to ours is having 12 baptisms on Saturday. Needless to say that is exciting, but I felt a little discouraged. They had 16 baptisms in March and Elder Oaks was at it. The Hermanas there have changed and all of them are amazing hermanas (they also just made the branch double it's size ... it's about 5 or 6 times larger in area than ours). Anyway, to put it frank, we were feeling a little down about the work in our area. I started asking the question, how do you know we're successful missionaries? Last week we were in a stake meeting and President Reed said, "A sister came back and no one she taught was baptized ... but it was a successfull mission" Well that brought comfort, but I also know that this mission IS baptizing people and it's not uncommon to baptize a lot. NOW baptizing is not everything, but it is evidence of your efforts. Hermana Nielsen and I talked about it throughout the day and just asked the question .... how do you know you're successful?
We went to a lesson with a woman who hasn't made it to church for the past 2 weeks. I have no idea how the lesson went ... but the Spirit was there. Hermana Nielsen and I taught very insinc. We both felt like words were put into our mouths. I fumbled on the Spanish but I knew what I needed to say. She was flipping through the Book of Mormon and I knew that we needed to talk about the story of the Bom through pictures. The Spirit is just .... right on. It wasn't us and I love that feeling. The lesson ended with her wanting us to come back soon. This is opposed to the last time we saw her and she said I'm busy everyday ... I don't have time. It was incredible.
Hermana Nielsen had the impression this is what PMG2 is going to be focusing on ... teaching by the spirit and get away from this Restoration lesson. We really have NO IDEA what is changing ... but we hear rumors from all the members about stuff. We're excited to find out ... whenever that comes! We got in the car after that and said "he will teach by the spirit, and he will touch the hearts of the people and HE WILL BE HAPPY." [the quote from last week]. We had no doubts in our minds last night that we are seeing success. We may not be seeing the fruits of our labors but we are confident that we are helping the work move forward. I think my faith is being tested. Faith is something I know blessing has talked a lot about. I need lots of faith. Well, it is being developed. Ether 12:6. It feels good looking back, but it hurts when everything seems to fall through the cracks and we're left with a day full of finding people who aren't there, don't want us, and everything else. What matters is that we're working hard and we have the Spirit.
Que mas? Saturday we went to a bi-stake activity of cleaning the gardens around the temple. Just happens to be the two stakes we serve in. Our investiagator didn't show up, but we ended up sweeping out the big shed. I felt like I was at BYU again doing early morning custodial. This time I was next to Hermana Nielsen though, not Natalie! I have some really gross looking blisters on my two thumbs from the experience. I don't have hard working hands anymore! It was fun to do some different kind of work though!
I love this work. This time is so crucial in my life. I know that while trying to serve and bring those we meet to Christ, I am coming closer than ever before to my Savior. I am being humbled so that I can learn of Him and be more like Him. Next week we find out about transfers and I am thinking I will be going somewhere else. I have been here for 5 months and I absolutely just LOVE this area ... despite not seeing lots of the fruit of our labors. I know this is the Lord's work! I know He lives! He is guiding His church on the earth through a living prophet, President Monson! We watched a movie this week and I have never felt so much motivation to read the Book of Mormon! Oh I love that book! I feel so inadequate in my knowledge, testimony, and seek the help of the Spirit to do this work. I know as I rely on Him, I will be strengthened and I will be able to be God's hands here in this area.
I love you! Thanks for your love and letters and prayers! I pray for you!
Love always, Hermana Clark