Tuesday, August 12, 2014

June 2, 2014- So I'm pretty sure I've been in Tehuacan forever!

Buenas tardes, everyone!

Well, it was another week here in Tehuacan! We were able to find many more investigators this week...which was good because we lost quite a few as well. But the work keeps moving forward right! And I know that the people that didn't accept right now, that one day they will see missionaries again and give it another shot. The gospel is about 2nd chances after all :)

One of the highlights of this week was a conference with Elder Valenzuela, a member of the Seventy and the 2nd counselor in the Area Presidency. It was a really great conference, and I left feeling a lot more motivated. He talked a lot about comfort zones: how we all have a comfort zone, how our stake has comfort zone and that the mission also has a comfort zone. And he encouraged us - individually, as a zone and as a mission - to get out of our comfort zones and do more. The Lord is accelerating His work, and we need to enhance our efforts and abilities in order to keep up with it. I realized that some days, I reach a point when I think "Well, I've done absolutely everything that I can do today." But I know that those thoughts come from Satan... I know that there is always more that we can do. We can't ever feel content with where we are at - we always need to strive to do more!

Luz Janett and her family are progressing beautifully :) They came to church yesterday, and I think they really enjoyed it! Angel and Hugo are the cutest...every time we visit, they run and grab their Books of Mormon and have lists of questions for us from what they read. They're the best, haha!

My favorite day this week was Friday. We had a lot of plans, so we decided to have divisions with two of the hermanas in the ward. I went with Hermana Dulce (who returned home from her mission 2 months ago and got married 2 weeks ago!) ((Her and her husband are also our new neighbors...but it's ok because they bring us food at night :) Haha)) But we were going around, visit everyone we could, and after about an hour, she asked me if we could go visit one of her old neighbors. She told me that she had been thinking about this woman all week, and that she felt like we needed to visit her. So we went to the woman's house...and she barely let us in. Her name is Cati, and is about 50 years old. We sat down, asked if we could start with a prayer, and she asked us if she could smoke instead. ...bueno. So we started to talk a bit, she was really cordial, almost rude... and then after about the longest 3 minutes of my life, she told me, "I'm Catholic and I'm never going to change my religion, so I don't know why you two bothered to come. I don't even want you here." I don't think I've ever felt that uncomfortable in a lesson before. But I told her that we weren't there to convince her of anything or change her religion, but that the message that we had could help better her life. I asked for 10 minutes of her time. After that...she started to put down her walls. We started to talk about Christ, about his life, about his Atonement.... And to be quite honest, I don't remember what we said, but suddenly she started to cry. That really caught me off guard. She started to explain that she's been an alcoholic since she was a teenager...but that she was able to stop drinking when she was raising her three kids. She was sober for years...but now, all of her children are grown up, moved away, have families...and she has never felt so alone. This week...she started drinking again, and hasn't been able to stop.

In that moment, I forget completely about how rude she had been before, the fact that she was smoking in our faces, the fact that I didn't want to be there... I forgot about all that and it was a moment when I could just see her as my sister, as a daughter of God. I reached out and grabbed her hand, and testified with everything that I had that God loved her, and she is His daughter and that she is never alone. She then told me that she can't imagine that things are going to get better... at that moment, the scripture Ether 12:4 came to my mind. I was about to open to it, when Hermana Dulce grabbed her scriptures...and shared Ether 12:4. ...I know that Heavenly Father knows when every single one of his children need...and I sure am grateful to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost in moments like that. 

We gave her a Book of Mormon. We told her that every time she wanted to drink, to open up the Book of Mormon instead. We told her to read it, to search for answers, and then to ask God if he really is listening and aware of her. We testified of the power of the Book of Mormon, and that Christ has the power to heal and strengthen us. We ended with a prayer and she offered one of the most beautiful, powerful prayers that I have ever heard. She hugged me...so tightly as we left that house. I walked away knowing that the Spirit of God can soften even the hardest hearts, and that every person is searching for something to give them a bit more hope. I don't know if Cati is going to accept the Gospel. I don't know if she is going let us keep visiting her, if she is going to do what we asked, if she is going to be baptized. But...I know that in that moment...we were able to help her in a way that no one else could. We were able to guide her to Christ. And for that...it was an experience that I'm never going to forget.

This week, I've been thinking a lot about Christ, about the Sacrament and what it means to "always remember Him". And I just want to share a passage of scripture that I like a lot.

"Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail... Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven."
(D&C 6:34, 36-37)

...and for me, when all of us made the decision to be baptized, and take His name upon us and remember Him... we promised to be faithful. We promised to keep the commandments. We promised to do good, and to fear not. We promised to seek His guidance, and to "doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith". ...and most importantly, we promised to remember His Atonement. We promised to remember His suffering, His death, and most importantly, that He lives. It's been a good reminder for me this week...to better remember my covenants and why I'm here, and what I need to do to fulfill my part.

I love all of you so much :) Thank you for all you do! I hope y'all have a great week, and that you're happy! Til next week!

Love always,
Hermana Smith

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