Okay... So I'm not really opening an area. But it sure feels like we are starting from square one! They officially changed the ward boundaries which took away half of our area (the more receptive half as well as the majority of our progressing investigators) and then we got a little bit of the area of the Elders. I think Heavenly Father is making sure I learn patience, charity, what it means to be a true disciple of Christ and to have more faith and trust in Him. I won't lie, it was a little rough this week. We decided that it was our responsibility to give each and every person in our area (because it's that small.... haha) the opportunity to either reject our message or accept it. In that way we can truly say that we are doing all we can and that we are doing our part. Along with that attitude also comes a realization that talking with more people means more rejection, but it also means finding those that might have fallen through the cracks otherwise. Rejection is hard, it hurts. Not because they are rejecting "us," but because they just don't understand what they could have if they just listen for five minutes! It's not like we haven't been rejected before, it's a common occurence. But, one day was particularly rough for us. I was losing my patience with the smirks and giggles, people running and hiding (one couple hurried and ran in their house and slammed the door, then opened their blinds to see if we were coming and when they saw us they hurried and shut them again after gasping loudly... haha). So we just took a few minutes to just sit and be and breath.... and then off again :) Heavenly Father has sent me little messages this week that have kept me going. Ether 12:23-29 (see below) was exactly what I needed and I felt like He was talking to me in that moment. Sometimes I think I forget just how much we can relate to the people in the Scriptures and the things they went through, too. And just like Moroni in verse 29, when I read those words, "I was comforted." Then there was a quote on the wall of another missionary's house that was from Elder Holland's talk "Missionary Work and the Atonement" that really hit me as well. I put a link to the talk and it's the last section if you wanted to read it. (see below) I've also seen a pattern in my mission. Whenever things get tough, He always sends me and opportunity to be the full-time NURSE for a moment :) I think He knows how much it helps me to get to put on my nursing hat every now and then. We got a call last night about a sister that was having some difficulties and were off to travel to San Pedro Sula today for doctor's visits and tests. I don't know why but it just makes me feel better!
We are still working with an older gentleman named O who has been getting excited about the church. He took us to his friend's house, a younger man (well younger than him... haha) with His wife and two kids and we had an amazing lesson with them. His friend had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon and the spirit was really strong. In the end he said, "wow, this really is the key. If this book is true, than the church is true; it's ALL true!" I love it when they come to their own conclusions like that without us having to say anything. It's a testimony that it is the Spirit that does the teaching, not us. He said he wanted to read it all and that he would pray that night to see if it was true. I'm excited to see where things can go and I hope we can teach his whole family! We may have had some hard moments this week, but we've also had lots of miracles and we've found lots of people that we might not have found otherwise. That makes it all worth it :) We have a lot of work cut out for us!
I heard that it snowed in the mountains. MMMmmmmm.... enjoy it! I miss snow sooooo much. And everyone here says that it's been their dream since childhood to see snow falling in real life! I don't think we realize how blessed we are to have 4 marked seasons. Being away from it has made me more grateful for snow :) yippee! The sun is back. yaaaayyyy..... (sarcastic tone) Sure love you all! Have a great week!
23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.
25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold ourweakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying:Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them theirweakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Almost everything I have said here has been an aid directed toward the missionary process, ultimately toward the investigator. May I close with an extended testimony about how focusing on the Atonement helps full-time and member missionaries and mission leaders.
Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid? Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience.Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price.
For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,”16then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
I testify that the living God is our Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is His living and Only Begotten Son in the flesh. I testify that this Jesus, who was slain and hanged on a tree,17was the chief Apostle then and is the chief Apostle now, the Great High Priest, the chief cornerstone of His Church in this last and greatest of all dispensations. I testify that He lives, that the whole triumph of the gospel is that He lives, and because He does, so will we.
On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the cedars of Lebanon, the tree of life.
I declare Him to be the Savior of the world, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, the Bright and Morning Star. I know that our garments can be washed white only in the blood of that Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I know that we are lifted up unto life because He was lifted up unto death, that He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows, and with His stripes we are healed. I bear witness that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief because upon Him were laid the transgressions of us all.18
I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound.19I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world.