Saturday, December 3, 2011
Thank you family for all your beautiful letters. It sounded like an incredible week, and I'm so glad everything turned out so well!!
I can't believe we're finishing ANOTHER transfer. Sister Rodas and I have had such a time together... and we are daring to ask for more time together! It's her last transfer... and we just... wanna be together... here. I don't want to be anywhere else but Belize City. It's definately the hardest, hectic, challenging, and testing area I've ever been in... and I love it so much. I'm trying to give it, the members, the branches, the families... everything I can. After 5+months here... there are so many things that I would want to be different... and so I'm constantly trying to evaluate our efforts, personal obedience, righteousness, charity, and Spirit.... figure out what needs to change or be better... then keep running.. but faster. We have had so many tender mercies, despite the frustrations and dissapointments... that there is no way to deny the Lord's hand in all of it. We often sit and talk at night... reflecting on the incredible changes we've seen... and just say, "Wow... President Lopez was truly inspired by God to send us here." What I have learned about the Atonement here... is the most precious treasure and reward... that I will never let go of. We've seen so many examples of those that are not using the Atonement, those that are starting to understand and apply it, and those that have captured the reality of it's power... and have their wounds bound up, have been cleansed, and healed- just as He has promised.
We've been working with a recent convert from the spanish branch, Marisol, who is continuing to learn, apply, and live the gospel. She said that as she was preparing a primary lesson about the Atonement... the Spirit hit her, and she realized that she hadn't truly given her hurt from past family abuse over to the Lord... because she hadn't been willing to forgive, and despite many years past... she hadn't yet truly forgiven. She prayed, then called her family in Honduras... and she told us of her personal miracle. She said that as she was talking... she felt all the hurt go away... then she overwhelmed with true love for them... and was able to, for the first time, say with complete sincerity, "I love you". Then she bore to us... a beautiful testimony of the power of Atonement.
We visited a sister that is going through a divorcement with her husband. We have been truly worried about her... but when we visited her... she taught us. She said that she used this opportunity to evaluate her personal obedience to the Lord, and then decided to continue on trusting in Him... and doing what He has asked. She said that as she has focused more on the Saviour, on serving, on spiritually strengthening her children... she reported- a miracle. She said that after a powerful personal moment... that the hurt of much abuse, abandonment, and disappointment... was lifted, and totally gone. She testified to us so beautifully of the the Savior "succoring" her right now in her need.
We've been working with "Tim" and talking a lot about the Atonement with him. He reports a peace and new found hope seeping into his soul and his life. He says that his perspective is changing... and he is feeling the "scales fall" from his eyes. He is experiencing a "might change of heart".
We've been working with a sister that has been wronged, and has chosen to be severely offended. We have taught much about the Atonement.... and that through living the gospel, keeping the commandments, and putting our trust in Christ... he will heal our hearts and carry our burden. Yet... she openly refuses to do so. She is suffering greatly... and her sliver of offense has become greatly infected, and is spreading to all other parts of herself, life, and family. She has hardened her heart... and even admits that she cannot feel the Spirit in her life anymore... but that she can work it out on her own... that she needs "time"- not the gospel.
This sunday was very exciting for us and the members as multiple families and individuals returned to church for the first time. There is something SO incredibly rewarding in seeing the mother, and father, and their 5 or 6 kids linger into the room and be bombarded with the joy of the members. I love sitting behind the piano and see them so content... and to watch the Spirit working within them.
We have be giving temple prep classes to a DARLING frail old man of 74 years, who was baptized 10 years ago, and is going this week to receive his endowments in the Guatamala City temple. He is always early to church, and VERY strong and faithful... so though we had always talked to him at church... we had never sought out to visit him. We were lost on the street... and inconspicuous house completely grabbed my attention. As we stood at this house... looking through the member list to see if it was significant or if I was crazy... we heard a familiar dear voice yell, "Sistas!!!"- and out came little Jex Roberts! As we got talking, Sister Rodas and I had the same impression to talk to him about the temple. Turns out... he had not received his endowments. Since then we've been preparing him... and this sunday he gave the sweetest and most bold testimony about the temple.... that left me very weepy. He expressed his gratitude and excitement to be able to travel to the temple and be in the house of the Lord... that it truly means everything to him. I love this man... and as Sister Rodas said, "If I came here and did all this,.... just for Jex Roberts... it was beyond worthwhile." I will send pictures of him soon.
Welp, keep up all the good work and diligence over there! Love you all!