I know I've always been called the "spoiled princess" by the family... and definitely the Lord has continued to spoil me more and more. I feel like Sister Rodas and I may be breaking a mission record... because we will be having our FIFTH transfer together- a total of what, 7 months? HOW BLESSED AM I!?! She is the companion of my dreams- we have learned and experienced SO much together... we're completely different but totally unified... and we continue to learn together. We both have the same vision and passion for this work, city, the branches, the members, and the changes we want to see. The more time we are given here, the more we are inspired and feel responsible to make a permanent difference, and leave these sweet little branches far better than how we found them.
With this unique assignment, we were given very little instruction, goals, or outlines from our leaders to work with... and it has been a beautiful experience to fast and pray for the needed inspiration to know what the Lord would have us do here. When we came, there were nearly 700 recorded members just in the english branch, but the attendance was averaging in the 80's. Technology and organization hadn't been a big focus, and so we've been inspired to edit the records and update.. and most of all.... seek out the lost sheep. There used to be 4+ branches here, and when they combined it all... many people were lost. Right now we are working on making a map correlated with the correct information of all the members we know and are continuously seeking more. It's incredible how the Lord has guided us. I wonder if it's something like what happens with genealogy workers... when they see a name... and feel a Spirit and a soul connected with that name.. and are inspired and urged to... find them. It's complete detective work as so many people have moved and changed... but again... the Spirit has guided and inspired us to ask certain questions, certain people, go to different streets... and now hundreds of mysteries have been solved. The Lord has protected us in neighbourliness more than we may ever realize... and my understanding of the Lord's love for His children continues to open. The scripture "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God".... has always been a beautiful one to me... but during this last few months... it has sunk even deeper in my heart... and taken on a very tender and sacred meaning to me. So many people have become emotional when they find us on the their doorstep and ask, "How did you find me?" ... and I love testifying to them.. that the Lord knows them individually and personally, loves them ever so deeply, and wants them back.
We brought our map to church on sunday... and when members saw so many people marked in their neighborhood they got excited and wanted to know, "what? Who lives by me? We have to go find them and bring them back!!!"- the Spirit is catching. In this conference, the work of reactivation was addressed many times... because it is SO important- and is the work of ALL members of the church. I have a sure testimony of this work. I believe in and LOVE visiting and home teaching. I'm starting to really understand what Christ meant when he said, "Feed my Sheep". If we truly love him, we will continuously and forever seek out His children... and care for and nurture them, and bring them to Him.
We found a dear sister two weeks ago, "Shanique". She was baptized when she was little and grew up in the church while living with her faithful grandparents. When they moved the states, she fell away from the church... and had only occasionally come to church to bless her 4 babies. When we came, she said, "wow... I was JUST thinking this morning that I should go back to church". The Lord totally knows, huh? She explained to us the incredible trials that she was facing... how only she was working and was making $200 American dollars a month- and with a family of 6... it was a very difficult situation. As we shared with her the promises of the Lord for obedience... she decided to put it to the test. We had a beautiful family home evening with them last night, and with tears in her eyes, "after 2 weeks of going to church... everything has totally changed. I'm happy again... and my husband just got a job!! The Lord truly does keep His promises." We have felt the Spirit so strong and are excited to watch her keep growing and learning... and most of all.. teaching her kids.
Today we are sending off our members to the temple to receive their endowments. :) This work is so fulfilling... and I never want to, and never will stop. I love you so much family. Keep up the good work and the service you are doing there. I got my package yesterday. Thank yooooou! We love it! I'm loving the book "Daughters in my Kingdom" and have already used many sections of to teach some of the members.