Friday, December 20, 2013

Almost Accidentally in Mexico (December 11th-17th)

Hola Amigos! Emily is doing well, we got a Christmas card from her and Hermana Calloway this week! She promised a longer letter for today, and followed through on her word :) I've edited out the names of investigators and members in her ward for their own confidentiality, and left just a first initial or two. Here is what she has to say:

First of all, thank you so much to anyone who sends letters, and Christmas cards.  We have the cards on our wall and it is making the apartment so festive!  And letters are amazing!  We get to write on P-day, so you might have to wait for a response, but you will get one eventually- I promise!
Missionary work is exhausting.  I'm always tired, and that's the way it's supposed to be.  President Miller said if you're not tired, you're not doing it right, so I guess that's a consolation to always being tired.  We started walking every morning and physical exercise has helped keep me awake and focused during the day.
So we ended up not having the car last Tuesday night and all our scheduled appointments and member help cancelled on us.  And the elders still had the bikes too.  So our only option was to walk.  And we decided on a family that was nearby and we could easily walk to their house and then teach a short lesson and walk home.  As we were walking, we walked past a house with a lady who we had been trying to get in touch with and we decided to try it out.  And C was home!  We had the opportunity to talk to her and in the beginning she had no time, didn't really want a lesson and didn't want to schedule one in the future.  But she invited us in and the more we talked, the more she opened up and then she fed us, scheduled a new appointment and we were able to teach a mini lesson.  It just shows the power of the Holy Ghost in softening people's hearts to listen to the message we share. 
Dinner that night was in our apartment, with the members... because we were carless and they lived in the farthest area in the barrio, we asked if there was anyway we could get a ride or get the food dropped off.  And they said they'd drop it off, and they came too.  We weren't really expecting that, but were able to move the table and chairs so that we could all eat together.  It was interesting to say the least.
Intercambios with the sister-training leaders.  I ended up going to Horizon with Hermana Cederquist, my mission grandma (Hna. Callaway's trainer). It was an interesting experience.  Lots of knocking on doors trying to contact former investigadores.  And we decided that the MTC needs a class on what to do with dogs, cause you're never quite sure about what you want to do with them... 
I was returned to Montana Vista Thursday morning and we continued work as always.  We spent the day trying to find people.  We had more cancelled lessons, but we have learned that everything happens for a reason and so we just kept going.  The elders had given us back the car on Wednesday so it was nice to be able to use that.  And then, when we finally were able to find a member to help us, we had awkward door encounters.  The endless life of a missionary :)  Usually things are only a little awkward but this was bad. 
This was our day full of service.  We helped on the of the Relief Society teachers to make Christmas ornaments for her lesson on Sunday.  That's what the pictures are from.  I don't quite know why they were spiders, it had something to do with a story, but I don't fully understand it (especially since the story she put on the ornaments doesn't seem complete).  We had dinner with the Relief Society president (she is Amazing!  Love her so much) and then our nightly service cancelled and so did our member help.  And then our scheduled appointment wasn't home, so we decided to drop by the house of another investigadora.  And she was home and so ready for a lesson!  S is so ready for the Gospel and church but is still just holding back.  And there have been so many challenges in her life.  It just make my heart ache listening to her talk.  The problem isn't her faith though, it's her willingness to act on her faith.  Faith without works is dead, and it's a lesson we're going to have to teach her.  We can have all the faith we need but we have to act, if we don't Heavenly Father can't help us.  S and her kids will eventually have to be switched to the English elders though, because the lessons are in English and the kids don't understand Spanish so English church is preferable. 
On Saturday we had the opportunity of visiting one of the menos activos hermanas.  K was baptized several years ago and currently works on sundays.  But she makes piƱatas and so when we stopped by she was finishing up an order.  We watched her complete the last steps and we just talked about life and then shared a Christmas scripture.   And then Saturday night, we had a lesson with Ca.  The lesson went well, Ca wants to be baptized but because he's dependent on his family, it's created conflicts.  So right now he still wants lessons so we'll see how it goes.
I think it was a normal sunday.... Went to church, had a couple lessons. 
We had Zone conference yesterday and it was amazing!  Elder Foster came and it was incredible.  The Spirit was really strong and we learned a lot.  2 main things I remember is that 1. we as missionaries always have the Spirit, if we are living obediently.  We just because desensitized to it so we worry about not having it.  and 2.  We are children of God and he knows us individually.  Isn't that always a nice thought to remember, he knows our names, who we are and what problems we're going through.  He knows who can help us and who we can help. 
On the drive home from zone conference (it was on the other side of El Paso), the elders told us not to worry and they'd lead us home.  Well very close to that point, we lost them and decided to follow the GPS.  So we're driving and I look at the landscape and the GPS and am like oh, that's the Rio Grande... and then we keep driving and I see a fence and lots of houses and I'm like um, and Hermana Callaway is like "that's Juarez."  Okay, so at this point in time, we're driving the border.  And then she points and says there's how to get to Juarez, and that was the direction the GPS was taking us.  We kinda had a mini freak out and I decided that the GPS could reroute itself and didn't turn.  So we didn't end up going to Juarez (thank goodness cause then we'd be sent home... we think Satan was controlling the GPS...).  We made it safely home though so no worries.
And then last night we finally were able to have an appointment with J.  We had found her my first week and had been able to teach her some.  But we get into the lesson and she starts of telling us that she doesn't want us to come back.  She said that she was happy in her life, didn't want to make changes, and she didn't want to waste our time when other people needed our messages more.  It was heart breaking.  There is really no other way to describe it.  When someone feels the influence of the Holy Ghost but still decides not to listen it is so hard.  It's not upsetting because we don't get a baptism, the church doesn't need more baptisms.  It's upsetting because they are rejecting the Holy Ghost and the chance to be happy, to follow Jesus Christ.  Everyone can be happier.  That's why I'm serving a mission, to help others find happiness, but also for me.  As I come closer to Christ, I become happier.  And I don't think there's a limit to how happy I can be.  So last night I went home and cried.  I don't understand how someone can feel the Spirit of Christ, yet still reject his message.  I don't know if I'll ever understand.  But we as people do have our agency and we use it.  We just have to remember that we are trying to find the people the Lord has prepared and when we are rejected, they weren're prepared but we had the opportunity to plant seeds.  And someday these seeds will grow.  And upside to the night was letters, in the mailbox and at Zone conference. 
I love you all and your support.  Talk to you next week!

She also sent pictures of the little spidery things she made. Kinda cute and kinda just weird :)

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