Monday, January 9, 2012
Sorry the Post is Late!
Thank you Morgan and Jared for your awesome letters! The ALWAYS make me smile and laugh. hahahaha thank yoooou!
One of the BEST experiences of the week.. what definitely with a very special sister that I will lovingly name "Patty". Patty was one of the first people we met here in Belize, and it was love from the very start. When we got here, she was already coming back to church and we were just supporting her in the process. She had an untameable testimony, and it was awesome to watch her dive back into her scriptures and bring her daughter to be baptised... and it was going so great. Then, of course, drama within family and other members of the church happened... and all too often, she got offended. She was, as she stated, " I AM A BIG ANGRY BLACK WOMAN!!!! I AM ANGRY!!" These last few months working with her has been a HUGE learning experience that has truly opened our eyes to incredible danger and poison, offenses, anger, and most of all... pride. She was so full of hate, anger, and darkness.... she even admitted that nothing spiritual made sense to her anymore... she couldn't understand half of the things she once comprehended. It was incredible. It was a pure miracle the patience and courage that the Lord gave us to keep returning to her house to listen to her hour long venting rages and not to shink into a little ball sucking our thumbs. I'm not sure if I've ever experienced such hurt and anger caged up in one person before... but it was truly right on with so many of the Book of Mormon accounts. When we would plan... we kept on being impressed and guided to share with her really gutty and bold topics and talks from the Apostles on offenses, repentance... and every time she would get upset and offended even by the topic of... not being offended. She refused to read the scriptures or touch anything spiritual.Yet... we kept seeking and trusting in the Spirit... and little by little... she has calmed down. We talked to her on the phone this week... and I heard the concourses of angels singing as I heard her say softly and mildly, "I've been reading the Book of Mormon. I'm coming this week". We felt that we should share with her President Benson's wonderful talk, "beware of Pride".... though knowing that it could truly blow up on us... but without a doubt knowing it was the Lords will... we entered the Lions den. Yet, when we walked in... it's like we were visiting a totally different person. I almost popped my head outside to check the house number. She was calm, peaceful, and most of all... receptive. As she read with us this talk... she would read lines over again and say, "wow, ya... that's for me... yup, that's talking about 'Patty'...". I almost wept for joy and relief to find her so softened. It is a huge testimony to me the incredible and immeasurable power of the Book of Mormon. It TRULY changes people. It brings the Spirit into our lives like nothing else can...It's the universal antidote to all hurt, anger, pride, rebellion, misery... everything. Next to the Spirit, it is our greatest tool to teach. We could never do anything without it. She and her children came to church yesterday... and to see them walk in filled me with joy and pure gratitude for the Lord's mercy for them... and for us. I will never forget this miracle with her... and within us. She was one of our blessed refiners fire on our missions.
This work is not a quick nor an easy one... but it is beyond worthwhile. Words like patience, faith, charity, and hope have taken on such different definitions and meanings to me. Like my dear sister Joana. She told her boyfriend 6 months ago, "if you see missionaries in the street, give them my address. I need them." Her boyfriend found us in the street a few days after, and we have been working with her even since. She was raised in the church, but rebelled in her youth, and is now living with her boyfriend and 3 children. We loved her from the very start... but it has been slow progress. She finally came to church yesterday... and it made it all worth it.
It's all worth it. Whether we get to see our fruits right now, or not... it's undeniably fulfilling. I love this work. I love looking out at the congregations on sundays, and knowing and sincerely loving each one of these members. Even if I often stabbed with pain for those that did not come that day, knowing what these choices are costing them... I'm truly experiencing what I am teaching... that the Atonement heals every kind of pain.
This is the best Christmas ever. As I have been so blessed to know my Savior more personally, deeply, and sincerely... I am filled with more joy and light this season than all those in the past.
Talk to you soon!