First a few questions that frequently been burning in me.
- Did Ryan Ramsey get baptized the 2nd? How come no one has told me more about it? arooooooo I wanna know everything!
- Is my Banana in France right now? Wha´happened to her?
- What is Mary Hollenbough doing?
- How was the conference for everyone? I wanna hear about the family fiesta!
Wasn´t conference just THE GREATEST?!? I don´t think physically being there could even have made it better.... it was just SO perfect... and we´re experiencing some really great aftershocks from it... and I have so far to go from really processing all that we heard... and actually applying. That will take me....... a VERY long time.
Two weeks ago we passed by a convert´s house that was going to go out teaching with us, but she wasn´t there. We met her sister in law, 20 year old Andrea, and she didn´t want to open the door to us, but just tell us Hna Diaz wasn´t there and that we could call later. I don´t remember how it happened... but I just remember being totally aware of how persistent and annoying I was to her... but feeling good about it as I insisted that we wait in the house for her to come.... so that we could secretly teach Andrea. What I didn´t know was that for the last year and half that probably a dozen different missionaries have tried to teach her and have been severely rejected... that even the Diaz family started telling the missionaries not to bother. Yet... she finallly got tired of fighting with me... she let us in the door to wait for her for a supposed 3 minutes. I just remember starting conversation with her was something like how´d I´d imagine pulling telling from a squirming 3 year old....... but all of a sudden... we found ourselves finishing a really powerful lesson of the restoration and with the Spirit really strong. This obstinant joven totally changed.... and we left with high hopes. She didn´t come to church after that... and read very little. Yet... we held on to what we saw and felt in that lesson... and weeks later... she came to a farewell gathering of a friend going on a mission. I guess this kid, Javier, had a severe rebel streak but experienced a miraculous change through the Atonement. This farewell with the ward was really sweet... and Javier just GLOWED with the joy that only repentence and the Atonement of Jesus Christ can bring. Andrea was really touched and surprised by the genuine change that she saw in Javier. So... when we saw her quietly sneak into the Saturday afternoon session of conference... we could not have been more elated! She left conference totally stoked.... and came to the two sessions on sunday.
Monday night we brought her to Javier´s house for a final FHE with his family... and we hoped to put a baptismal date. Miracles happened there... but not as we had planned. When we got there... there was another family at the house, visiting to say goodbye. The Spirit hit us... and we ended up teaching them about the Restoration... with help from Andrea. We saw such a miracle and change in her.... this very dedicated and tradition catholic... who never wanted to even imagine or smell something different.... was then testifying of the importance of prophets... and how God can guide us through his servants in this way. We watched the DVD of Restoration about Joseph Smith... and when I asked the mother of the visiting family, the Family Chicas ( ya, I like their name too)... she looked at me with tear filled eyes... and told me that she had been searching ALL of her life to know the truth. She said she was born into the Catholic church... but in her youth and adulthood had visited almost every church possible.... but had never ¨been filled¨... that she wanted so desperately to fill this hole in her soul. The Spirit was SO sweet as we sat back and listened to Javier and his family teach and testify to their friends the reason that they were so happy together as a family... and that God truly did restore his church... for the benefit of their family. I asked Andrea how she felt after conference... and she smiled and said, ¨filled.¨ The family Chicas wept and thanked us so graciously for sharing with them, and though they don´t live in our area... they will be taking the discussions and be ¨filled¨ and baptized.
Jorge Pena and his ¨esposa¨ Rosa and their kids came to conference too!! Jorge was so touched and inspired... that without us saying anything.... he quit his job that made him work on sundays... and testified to US that he knew that the Lord would provide for him with a job that would allow him to live the commandments. Again... I may have wept just a little for joy to hear this. He is finding his legal wife this week, getting the papers together... and getting divorced. We brought them to a member´s house and had an FHE with a bunch of converts that told of their stories and testimonies.. and the changes they´ve experienced in their live. It was PERFECT. The whole family is so excited and stoked on the gospel... and have SO much faith! I want to be like Jorge Pena.
Also... one of the guards of our street... came to conference. At the begining of this change... I realized that we constantly passed by this pleasant man almost every day... but had anyone stopped to talk to him? Yup. They had. Sisters have him a book of Mormon months and months ago... but as the missionaries changed... the follow up kind of stopped. We insisted that he come to conference... and he did! Of course, again, he doesn´t live in our area... but he came to conference totally by himself.. and LOVED it. He reported to us this week that he is changing his job so that he doesn´t work on sundays so that he can go to church!
As we were racing in the streets, knocking every door, yelling to strangers.... trying to get EVERYONE to Conference... sadness crept into my heart. I wanted to, and kind of almost did, yell, THE PROPHET OF GOD IS GOING TO SPEAK TO US! COME LISTEN TO WHAT GOD WANTS US TO HEAR!!!!!!! Those that went to conference left full of faith and inspiration... and empty of doubt that THomas S. Monson is God´s prophet in this day.... and Christ´s church has been restored.
I love working with HErmana Guivara.... she is SO SO SO bold. As I´ve learned more about where she has come from... that her father was killed by the gangs, left to be raised by her mother with 6 kids and SO MANY obstacles.... she continually astounds me by her strength and unconditional faith. She carries the Spirit with her so strong... and never hestitates to call people to repentence and do the Lord´s work. I love LOVE LOVE her!! We are seeing such miracles in this ward... and have a family getting baptized this week. I feel so honored to be a witness to it all.
Love you all! Can´t honestly say that I´ve been homesick... but I do think of home with such fondness and sweetness to remember what I´ve been blessed with. It inspires me every time to get out and share this with everyone else.
I got a beautiful letter from such a dear friend this week that really helped me and touched me. He said something SO great that I wanna share. He said that ¨a true optimist is someone that sees things as they really are, because the truth is that LIFE IS GOOD.¨ It´s so true. Optimism isn´t blindness to the bad... it´s the realization of the reality of the good. I am so grateful that the Lord is so willing to provide us with faith and hope... and a clear perspective of this life.... according to our desires and obedience.
LIFE IS SO GOOD.