THIS WEEK WAS HUGE! I don't know where to start... chronologically.
TUESDAY Mission tour (basically just talking about everything in the mission from teaching to finding to being obedient to having problems with companions to ..... anything you can think of) with Elder Evans of the 70. He was super friendly, very real, and a great encouragement on the things we can do better to help us have more success. The big one was ASK REFERRALS FROM EVERYONE. The guy who doesn't want to talk to you, recent converts, active members, ..... SIEMPRE. I always think of Hna Nielsen - she once goes a referral from a preacher and the referral got baptized! The other thing he really stressed was the BOOK OF MORMON. I've felt a little frustrated about the BoM and not feeling like I use it enough for quite a while now. The answer is simple - read it. Study it. I'll find the things the people we're teaching need! Simple commitment of reading the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes each day in personal study has changed everything. This morning I felt like I stood up after kneeling in prayer, finishing personal study, and then had to remind myeslf that I am in Arizona ..... not being taught in Jerusalem by Christ by his parabolas or by Moroni recounting all of the examples of faith that caused things to happen (Ether 12). My love for the Book of Mormon and the scriptures has grown IMMENSELY this week. We also made a point of testifying of it in close to every person we talked to on the street. It's easy to agree that God loves us, but we are hear to teach others about the church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth and the BoM is evidence of it! I read notes of a blessing I received just before leaving the MTC from an elder in my district (my companion and I received blessings before we left the next day). One thing that was said was something to the extent of "you will know more than ever before that this is the church of Jesus Christ." That was close to one year ago and I have DEFINITELY seen how that has come to be true. This last conference as well as my testimony of the Book of Mormon. WE not only teach the gospel of Jesus Christ .... this is HIS church that's been established on the earth by a prophet of God! Anyway .... yeah .... it's just so exciting! It makes me so sad when people don't want to learn about people that also received the teachings of Jesus Christ .... the same teachings.
WEDNESDAY Zone Conference. I will note, I felt incredibly weak in strength Wednesday morning. All day Monday I was sooooo excited to be taught and therefore all my energies are kind of taken up and heightened. By the time Wednesday rolled around ... I didn't know if I could get out of bed. My whole body ached! Then I thought of President and Sister Ellsworth ..... I laughed thinking I didn't know if I could get out of bed. Zone Conference was great and we talked a lot about the mission tour. I am pretty sure the way we're having meetings is different. It's not so much, "you must do this, you cannot do this" It's "cultivate the spirit, and work by that. This will help you. Meet the needs of your investigators. In this situation ... this might be right .... in others .... it won't be." I don't know ... but it is changing. In Zone Conference we also talked for a good hour about using money well and budgeting, using phone minutes well (because pretty much all over), eating well (you need fiber .... nothing was said of losing weight as is what EVERY sister thinks of. My theory is I will never have this oportunity to eat great, free food again. I can say that because I'm not gaining weight ..... because I exercise!). Anyway ... interesting to think about these things that are important, maybe secondary to preaching the gospel, but necesary in order that we can preach the gospel with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.
At the end of these big meetings, we had to recoup and talk and get out from frustrations. Oh my dear companion really struggles with english. It is so difficult and she feels like the walls of Satan are just closing in anytime someone speaks english to her. She is such an example to me though! Last week we were in Walmart and put her arm around an elderly woman and asked, "can we help you?" I don't think anyone could've said it with anymore love than she did to that woman! Who cares if we can't understand each said said, the language of the Spirit and love (not romantic .... brotherly love) is universal. Hermana Mazariegos is amazing!!!!
DOMINGO Claudia came to church!!!!!!! WE've been teaching Claudia on and off since June?? She, with her 4 songs, is living with a less active. She's never shown great interest in the church, but goes to the english classes and church activities (boys are in scouts). We brought a family with boys around the same age about 2 months ago and slowly but surely this family has been working with her. They drove to her house Sunday morning so that she could follow them (so she would know someone was there waiting for her) and she came all by herself!!!!!! And she loved it! And said, "next week, all the boys will be here with me!" We're not really sure what changed but we are sooooo excited to see her progress! That is in comparison to a woman that came with her 2 boys who had come only once before as well. They were bored before. We saw them this week and SHE suggested (after we asked how we could help) we come by Sunday morning to clean up after a birthday party for her son so that they can go to church. Wahoo - exciting right? Well they show up to church, she doesn't even come into the class, and after an hour the boys decide they're bored and so they go home. HOW SAD! Ay Nevertheless we had a Missionary farewell. Us 4 sisters sang a song about finding those friends we had in the Pre-existence. My piano skills are definitely improving and I plan on improving more when I get home. I played it before to get to know the song better and just cried reading the lyrics. Though the majority of the people will reject us ..... those who are searching for this are ETERNALLY GRATEFUL. That night there was a "noche de valores" or Standards Night for the youth. Claudia and Carlos (bf) and the 4 boys came, long time investigating family came, Jose and Aracely came (never came to church, she was baptized when she was 8 years old but doesn't remember anything). SUCCESS that they came. As all standard nights, we talk about things as they are, but with the Spirit. The law of chastity and dating. Music and entertainment. The role of parents and being friedns but also setting limits and having the courage to say no. Each family investigating the church really enjoyed it - even Jose and Aracely ... who just that afternoon were talking about how they don't really want to get married .... what's the big deal. And drinking alcohol and smoking. Last night we went over and we talked about what they liked and it was awesome. Besides a few things ..... they're trying to live the higher law of raising their kids well and having a good relationship with them and as a family. What a testimony to me that people are prepared and have tendency to do good!!!! They just have not been taught all the principles of Jesus Christ! ]
LUNES The Hernandez family. We're teaching Carlos, the dad, (family was baptized 22-10-10) and oh we are so excited! Yesterday we talked about the Apostasy and how it was necesary for a restoration. Then testified of eternal families. They are an incredible family and have been prepared to receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Carlos is still kind of sitting on it ... but is coming to activities and reading the BoM with the family every day. The next step is for him to come to church! He knows it's in his hands and that we're here to help him along, not pressure. Mari, oh Mari. She is soooo wonderful. In watching the movie about the amazing family that's such a great example of reading scriptures everyday (yes that is the Hernandez family .... but referring to the movie that we were in yesterday) it was mostly about being patient parents and when our kids make mistakes we first love them and tell them how great they are but also tell them of our concern for a decision that maybe wasn't wise. Last night we went over and Karla (10) had done something bad in school, so much Mari was called and met with the teacher. Naturally, Karla was really ashamed and when we came over was crying and mad. Mari took her to the other side of the room and said very calmly "My dear Karla, I love you. I will never be able to tell you enough. You know this was a bad decision, and so we can work our way to pay the consecuencias and make up for what happened.... but I love you". .... and gave her a giant hug in the end. I learned about this principle that morning in the movie about families and then saw it in action at our recent converts house. Oh how great they are! What great examples to me!!
The gospel of Jesus Christ will change your life. You might say you don't need to change, but with that attitude you probably do. The ways of Jesus Christ was humility and love. The Book of Mormon has answers to our problems. I never want to look away from it. A member this week referred to a story in the BoM that related to the problem she's going through .... Hna Mazariegos and I just looked at each other .... that's how we want to be .... always! Not just as misioneras!
I think that's sufficient for the week. Lots. Yesterday was really funny though to see the family! I laughed the whole day! We were soooooo young! And so weird to think that an apostle is saying the things we need to do ... and then they show an example of our family! Horray for righteous parents! We might be living in the world, but I'm glad to say we don't have to live of the world! I love you all! Thanks for your love, examples, and EVERYTHING! Until next week! Love love love! Love, Hermana Clark