Saturday, September 24, 2011
What an incredible week we have all had, huh? I had been thinking a lot about Sister Paventy the last few weeks... reflecting on the life she has lived, and the way she served and handled her trials. We work with a lot of people in a lot of trials.. and when we teach on how to turn to the Lord... I have repeated thought on the example of Sister Paventy. As I was mediating this week... the Spirit washed over me, and I turned to Sister Rodas and said, "ya know, I think Sister Paventy has passed away this week." (Even Sister Rodas knows and loves her) - That confirmation caused me to reflect again... and I remembered the story told in a conference when a faithful man was passing and his family was gathered, and he looked at them all and ask, "does anyone here have some problem with Plan of Salvation?". I was blessed with the opportunity that day to share the Plan of Salvation... and felt something even more and understood and loved this perfect plan even more as the Paventy family floated in my mind and lingered on my heart and helped me teach and testify of the truth of this plan.
This week we had such sweet surprises! Many people came that... honestly surprised us! These innactive members aren't like investigators- that if they're not seeming to progress... you move on to those that will. We try so hard to work by inspiration... to understand who the Lord wants us to dedicate His time to... and sometimes we're puzzled, frustrated, but carried by hope.. when we find ourselves repeatedly returning to people that are not progressing, are not responding, and are so difficult. Yet... they were baptized, they became part of the fold, their names are recorded, and their importance to God- though beyond our comprehension- is undeniable. So... we keep going. We keep praying, serving, teaching, loving... and it's honestly a test of patience sometimes. Of course we'd love to see everyone jump back to church, start reading their scriptures and praying every day from our first visit with them... have them all work towards being worthy to take the sacrament... and have all these families flocking to the temple next month... BUT.... it's not like that. Yet. :) These are not easy 2-week baptisms.. but I am SO SO SO incredibly grateful for the blessing to have this assignment here. The focus and lessons that we do every day are so different than before... and I am so grateful for the guidance, teaching, and strength of the Spirit that helps us every day to teach things that I could never understand or teach alone. Through these special situations that we are working with... I have been my biggest reactivation and progressing member. What I have been learning of temples, covenants, the Atonement, families, priesthood, parenthood, and marriage from working with struggling couples, reactivating families, new priesthood holders, strayed leaders, future missionaries, investigators, innactive members... has all become so sacred and precious to me. The Lord has blessed me with so many beautiful and hard experiences that have these eternal principles finally seep deep into my hardened heart... and my perspective is eternally altered and refined.
I'm so excited to keep learning throughout all my life.I fall more and more in love with the scriptures every day. I found something so true and so beautiful in a conference talk the other day... when Elder Christofferson said that the scriptures help us remember things that we once knew in the premortal life. I love love love that. I have had so many moments when I feel it so clearly- like once another little scale of thousands has fallen off from my eyes, and I learn something "new"... but it just feels... SO familiar.
I love love love Belize. Sometimes my hands pine to be thrust into tortilla dough or a trough of dirty soapy water and a mountain of clothes... but my heart is almost totally here... and I know that a big part of my soul will always stay here. I love how Paul expresses his love of the people that he served... and it reminds of Elder Clark's letters lately. In 1 Thessalonians 2:8,
" So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only,
but also our own souls ..... because ye were dear unto us".