Saturday, September 24, 2011
Hahahahaha... Megan and Mandi are having too much fun. As usually... they make me giggle and giggle. Remember our giggle attacks we always have over... nothing?
This week we had a sweet beautiful baptism of Shemareum- the 10 year old daughter of a sister that is being reactivated... and the great-grand-daughter of the late and wonderful Brother Nicholas that just recently passed away. It's been so beautiful to be teaching this family- and seeing the promised blessing to Brother Nicholas through the blessing and the covenants that HE made.. radiating throughout the generations of his family. Shemareum has an incredible spirituality beyond her years! She and her sisters were so close to their great-grandfather... and his passing really woke them all up. She has asked us some of the deepest and sincerest questions that I have ever relieved from an investigator before! We mostly focused on her mom... and I've been learning SO SO SO much about the role of parents and the divine honor of parenthood through my assignment here. I've been engrossing myself in studies of words of the prophets about families, and especially about parents. I love love love the talk by Elder Ballard "Mothers and Daughters" and shared that with this family. It was so perfect.
As we've been focusing so hard on parents to strengthen families... I find myself basically repeating the words of Nephi, "I... having been born of goodly parents"- and I'm realizing more and more how ridiculously true it is. Sister Rodas also comes from a gospel-rich home... and despite our personal parenting experiences... we've been enjoying the opportunity to teach, train, and testify to these parents the importance of "courageous parenting". Studying and teaching the words of the living prophets.. and calling parents to action stirs within me the most dormant memories of hundreds of long past but precious moments when my young malleable mind and spirit was lovingly molded and enriched by the example and teaching of my own parents. I tell stories about how my mother boldly modesty, the dilligence and exactness my parents heeded the sabboth day- and the blessing my family has received....I reflect often on the perservance of mom and dad... making sure each one of their kids got up for church or got up to seminary. I use the example of Dad and Joel often... to show how a parent show love by helping their children make and KEEP covenants... and then the miracles and impact it can make. As I teach these gospel principles... I sometimes ask myself.. "how and when did I first learn that?"... and it almost always comes back to... "because I saw my parents LIVE it." I'm grateful for parents that have made and are keeping their oh so sacred covenants. I'm grateful that they weren't and aren't perfect... and never professed to be so... but always taught and testified of the Atonement... which has helped me to personally and frequently repent. I LOVE sharing the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors with these tired and frustrated single mothers... and my own soul declares with the ancient jovenes.. that I do no doubt that my own mother knew it.
We're trying SO hard to WAKE UP these families! President Eyring called us to truly study the words of Isaiah.. and little by little they are totally coming to life to me. I was reading in 3 Nephi 22:1 his prophecy of how more children would be born of "desolate than in marriage"- and it perfectly captures what is happening here. I read in Jarom 1:1,10-11 about how truly wicked the Lamanites were... and how hard the prophets and teachers dilligently worked to diligence and repentance... and I have related all too well to it all. Being in so many broken homes with so much anger, selfishness, abuse, yelling, drugs, witchcraft... makes me pine for and feeds on an ever growing determination to build my own celestial home. I am so thankful for modern revelation... that the heavens are still open... that God still speaks through His living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson... to guide us as families and to be truly protected. As we teach families about temples... it settles within me deeper and deeper the reality of what the ordinances of the temple means... to families. President Cordon told us that when he was an older child in Guatamala... he suddenly realized that his parents had been sleeping on the floor for years. When he asked his mom why... she happily explained that when they were ready to go to the temple... they sold their bed to pay for the trip to Arizona. So.. I ask these families... and then I ask myself...."What are we (I) willing to do or to give in this life to have an eternal family?"
I am enjoying my new friendship with Isaiah. Even he got frustrated and down when he was seeing little immediate changes as a result of his work and teaching. He said in Isaiah 49 " I have labored in vain.. I have spent my strength for naught and in vain... surely my work is with my God. ....
Though Israel (Belize) be not gathered... yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord... and my God shall be my strength."
We are seeing changes and miracles everyday as families start feeling the Spirit again and people start turning to God again... and start reading again. Though not all are yet gathered in... it is not ever in vain. :)
Sorry if my letters are ever so preachy or long winded... I don't know what else to talk about now. :) I love you all and love hearing about all the beautiful things happening over there! I would love to hear from my long lost best-friend... at least to know she's still alive. I'm not sure how many guilt trips it'll take... but I'll keep trying. :)