I heard this date almost a year ago as the day Hermana Ghan would be going home. WHERE DID THE TIME GO?
Transfers came and went and we're staying!!!! Wahoo!! Hermana Nielsen is training and we are SOOOOOO excited! I cannot imagine trying to figure out transfers for casi 200 misioneros. I received a call from the Assistants the other day asked about my greenie area (10 months ago). It was so interesting for them to ask "would an area between these streets be large enough to sustain work" One question I thought no. Another question, I thought and then said yes. It was then that the Spirit confirmed that these two missionaries are being guided by the spirit to establish certain areas where certain misioneras will be serving. WOW. My testimony this week of leaders - in the mission and in our areas - has been strengthened. We talked to them again another night and it was only confirmed .... people are in leadership positions to bless. All the Assistants to the President, Zone Leaders, and District Leaders I have had have been a blessing to me, my companion, and/or to the area in at least one way or another! Organization! Namely the same organization that existed in the primitive church .... I won't go on. But yes, Priesthood leadership and callings.
We had exchanges on Friday and I was with Hermana Lopez who I dearly love! She is from Bolivia and is in medical school and was in this area before. She is a REALLY hard worker but had been really sick, and so I was under strict orders to not work hard (what the heck???). It was so interesting to talk to her during our time together. Again, through our leaders, we were assigned to be together for a day. We were able to lift each other and help each other improve. I learned so much from her. She understands the principle of repentance and that our purpose is to help people come unto Christ aka help them repent. Aveces I feel like when we're doing that is like strangling someone and saying, "you're not living right." Obviously that is NOT how Christ would do it and therefore not correct (why is that in my head). Obviously I need to repent and do it as the Savior would do it. She had such a wonderful way to invite people to better their lives! We discussed the principle of success - as a missionary - what is success? In the mission it's really easy to look at how many baptisms you've seen. Everyone knows those are the absolutely sweetest moments but they also come in the little everyday things. She has been out longer than I and only seen two people enter the waters of baptism. In this mission, that is very little. In others, that is more than a whole missions work! I remember a few months ago feeling discouraged and we went to a meeting with the Stake President. Elders had white washed and didn't have any investigators. We didn't have any dates. President Ostler spoke of a Sister that had just come home and never saw anyone enter the waters of baptism. No one. Her mission was a success! One reason I can also see that the mission will be a success is if we use the things we're learning and are good member missionaries after. (Thanks Sister Tara Morton, that's from you!)This is something I am SUPER excited about - I can hang out with someone and be that friend that the missionaries are always searching for. This was something that Hermana Lopez had never thought of and it was really cool to see that in a small way I was able to be an answer to her prayers. In my mind, success = having and following the Spirit. That means your doing the Lord's work in His way.
We talked to a really frustrated step-father at an apartment complex this week. About 30 minutes later we talked to the step-daughter who's really frustrated with .... life, especially the parentals. She opened up when I told her I was an EFY counselor [speaking of ... I couldn't not buy it .... this morning I bought 2010 EFY CD .... ] and I testified of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and just like our parents here, they want the best for us and THAT is why they advise us in certain ways (no one is a perfect parent). You could tell she has been really hurt. The only one that can really help heal that is the Savior. I love youth and my heart just about breaks when they are victims of tragedy, sadness, violence, and/or poverty. Driving back from the Distribution Center today I saw a name that was in my old area that I just love. His name is Sean. The Elders have taught him a lot, now works at DI, has contemplated baptism but has a hard time accepting Joseph Smith. His wife died in a car accident 10 years ago and his family has literally been scarred ever since. His sons have problems in school and with friends ... and it all goes back to 10 years ago. Anyway, yeah, he's awesome. Every person is so special and has been subjected to so much hurt. I think I started this with youth. Youth and children are so special and need all the help they can get .... at least all the help they will accept.
Last night we were with Mari Hernandez and her 4 kids. She was so excited at the end of the night to round up all her kids (11,10,8,2) to say, "Now kids, do you see .... if we're good examples ... Mia (2) can have the gospel in her life always. She will not know any other way! Oh I love the hope she has! They will be getting baptized on Friday and we are SOOOOOO excited! Oh my goodness! More to follow with them ...... Just another example of a family just waiting for the light to come to their family. They love reading the Book of Mormon! The kids are excited to learn! This last Sunday was the first week they went to all three hours. They were all super nervous for their classes and what not. Cesar (8) after said, "That was so short, Can I come to church every week?" Oh my goodness! Haha I have never heard an 8 year old be so excited to learn and go to church!
I remembered this week that before I received my assignment to come to the Arizona Mesa Mission, I feared (I know that's not a good word to use ..... ) being sent to a country that I didn't know the language, culture, anything, and feeling alone. Well, I have been sent here, but my companion is pretty much in that situation. Pretty much all the people we talk to on the streets only speak English. Pretty much all the other missionaries we talk to only speak english. Someone referred to her this week as "the missionary that hardly knows any english" That hurts when you're working hard at learning a language .... but sent to teach in spanish. I have realized ways that I've been really selfish. Maybe I won't have as much time to do the things I want to do, but I can serve my companion. This week I was praying to find more ways to serve her, especially in the category of english. I thought of something one morning and dismissed it after a moment and then stopped. Have I not be praying for ideas to serve her? Did I not just get an idea? I did it and last night she found the little thing I'd done - after a hard day of being frustrated with english. The Spirit works in the littlest ways. We played soccer for the last time this morning (lots of elders in the area are being transferred) and one of them made the comment "remember when you came and you couldn't speak any english? Look how far you've come." I think we both wanted to cry hearing that. I want to be more perceptive and sensitive to the needs of others. I am SOOOO excited to be with Hermana Mazariegos for at least another 6 weeks to have the chance to serve her.
Random question, but did we ever had a lay over in the Phoenix Airport? I remember sitting in a large food court area (I couldn't have had more than 10 years???) in an airport with cactus and such all over the walls and I thought it was so strange. I remember sitting there, however, and thinking something along the lines of living there one day. That memory also makes me think of the University of Phoenix. It is such a vivid memory. I don't know what it has to do with anything ..... but you know ..... the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Thanks for the prayers. I LOVED reading the success of so many other missionaries this week - especially Lauren Anderson! WAHOOO!!! There are people out there who have been prepared! I love this work. I know it is the Lord's work and that any success is His! Love always, Hermana Clark