Faith and Fathers
Monday and Tuesday, well, we’ll just glaze by a bit because it was just filled with goodbyes… 😦 Actually, it wasn’t totally filled with goodbyes. We had fun too. We had Sister Jennings’ last supper at Elvira and Jackie’s house. She is amazing. They asked if I would bring my guitar so we could sing together for them one more time, so we did. The elders were there as well and we spent dinner singing hymns and spirituals together. We did quite a few awesome accapella arrangements of songs like “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “This Little Light of Mine.” Incredible! I am really going to miss Sister Jennings’ rice shaker…
Wednesday we finished packing and preparing in the morning and then headed down to Wichita for the transfer devotional. WHAT A PARTY. It was so amazing to be there with all of the other missionaries. They haven’t done these transfer devotionals for a very long time, so this was the first one I went to. But there was 75% of the mission there and I got to see some of my best friends ever! They also did a little “roadshow” demonstration of the album the APs put together, so they had asked me that morning to bring down my guitar and we did one of the songs we’d done. There were a few other elders and sisters who also played. We’re going to have quite the album! MUSIC IS THE BEST.
Following this and lunch we all went to the chapel where President Bell spoke and then they asked some of the new missionaries to give their testimonies and the departing missionaries to share their testimonies. Imagine how I feel to think that that will be me in just one more transfer. WHAT. IN. THE. WORLD. I just can’t even imagine, so I choose not to think about it. We have way way way too much to do here.
Speaking of “we,” let me tell you a little about my new companion. Her name is Sister Hymas and we are BEST FRIENDS. She’s from Lindon, Utah, went to BYU, she came out the same time as Sister Hunter, and it is a PARTY EVERY DAY. The first day we were together we were just so comfortable it felt like we had been companions for months already. The first day. It is SO FUN to just focus on missionary work! I have finally graduated from the 12-wk program for the first time in my mission and we are SPRINTING to the finish line!!!
Well…speaking of sprinting, let me tell you a little about the 42 day journey we have embarked on. Please fasten your seatbelts and keep you hands and legs and elbows and everything else inside the computer chair at all times. This will blow your mind and strengthen your faith enough to move the rocky mountains to Liberal (let’s pray for that!)
A couple weeks back I was studying Alma 31:30-38
O Lord God, how long wilt thou suffer that such wickedness and infidelity shall be among this people? O Lord, wilt thou give me strength, that I may bear with mine infirmities. For I am infirm, and such wickedness among this people doth pain my soul.
O Lord, my heart is exceedingly sorrowful; wilt thou comfort my soul in Christ. (enabling power of the atonement!) O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people.
O Lord, wilt thou comfort my soul, and give unto me success, and also my fellow laborers who are with me–yea, Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and also Amulek, and Zeezrom, and also my two sons–yea, even all these wilt thou comfort, O Lord. Yea, wilt thou comfort their souls in Christ.
Wilt thou grant unto them that they may have strength, that they may bear their afflictions which shall come upon them because of the iniquities of this people.
O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are out brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.
Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he clapped his hands upon all them who were with him. (priesthood blessing!) And behold, as he clapped his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Confirmation by the spirit that it is the Lord’s will!)
And after that they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.
And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst (FASTING!); yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ. Now this was according to the prayer of Alma; and this because he prayed in faith.
This passage hit me so strongly because my whole mission I have been trying to learn how to pray in faith. It seems to be the resounding theme that keeps coming back throughout every part of my mission. That, and the enabling power of the atonement. Just when I was retyping this passage the spirit filled my heart so fully again, that I know it is the word of God through a prophet. Prayer in the bible dictionary talks about how true prayer is bringing our will into correspondence with Heavenly Father’s will. Alma gives us a pattern in these scriptures, or the equation to pray in faith. From his equation, we learn that this correspondence between our will and Heavenly Father’s will is the atonement of Jesus Christ. Try that aspect of the enabling power on for size! Thus, the equation is: Pray and address heavenly father. Repent of weaknesses. Specifically ask for the atonement of Christ to grant us what we need. Commit to be a worthy servant and do what he wills. Then get a priesthood blessing to fill you with the spirit and get the specific directions and instructions from God.
Thursday morning this came back to me during our companionship study. It occurred to me that we should follow the pattern of Alma in our companionship and area. So we started out a special fast that afternoon after lunch and followed the pattern of Alma, with the goal in mind to raise our vision and align our will with Heavenly Father in order to accomplish what he desires. Our prayer to start the fast was incredible and when we asked certain questions, we felt with resounding strength that we were doing what the Lord desired us to do at this time. That burning in your bosom that the scriptures talk about is so real, because we felt it! Directly after that we asked two of the elders to give us priesthood blessings just like Alma. There are only a handful of times when I have felt the spirit so strongly like we did then. There were incredible promises said in those blessings that continued to confirm what we were feeling about this area and what was in store.
My blessing promised that the Lord would go before our face and after us. I don’t feel that I should share the experience we had with this in detail, but just suffice it to say that we knew that this was true. There are seen and unseen supports among us that are on the same mission we are. My testimony has been strengthened of this ten-fold and there is no way we can deny the Holy Ghost when we feel it.
That evening we went to Holton to teach someone we had found last week. Pedro and Micaela are from Guatemala, they are not married but are living together, and have a little son with one on the way. We taught them the restoration and Pedro especially was so grateful that we had found him and Micaela. We invited him to be baptized and he asked what he had to do. We told him a little about the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. He doesn’t drink or smoke and has been thinking for a while that he and Micaela should get married and follow the commandment of God. This was a huge miracle! We are so excited about them.
The next day we had zone training and continued to receive revelation. This work is really the Lord’s work and once his hand is set to the plow, there’s no turning back. Our mission has a goal for baptisms that has not been reached yet, and this month we have raised it even more. Please pray for our mission to meet the goal. We know that we can do this with the Lord’s help if we have faith and are diligent and obedient.
After zone training we found a little room to close our fast. This was incredible. I felt the same feelings all over again that I had during the my priesthood blessing. When we finished our prayer, Sister Hymas and I both looked at eachother with tears in our eyes and I said, “This is really his will, isn’t it?” She smiled and simply said, “Yes it is.”
That evening we got to go eat dinner with the Cotlame family who are recently returning back to church and they’ve been back 4 weeks in a row! I love them so much! We taught Sister Cotlame about the plan of salvation and she is excited to start doing her family history.
The next day in our companion study, we were reading out of the mission handbook and the first paragraph we read was actually a scripture. Helaman 3:35:
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
I know that this is what we are doing right now. It feels like my whole mission and the lessons I’ve learned have been a build up to this point. There are so many things that we keep seeing and experiencing that just make everything seem to “click.” I have started to become even bolder. I’m awfully bold in spanish sometimes, but there is absolutely no reason to dance around the subject. This gospel is truer than true and I know that with all my heart. The only way to have true happiness in this life and in the life to come is embracing and following the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives and that is found in this, the restored church of Jesus Christ. We have a living prophet. The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel. The priesthood is literally the authority of God and I am so privileged to have it’s blessings in my life. Christ is at the head of his church and the stone is rolling.
Saturday we went back to Holton to see Pedro and Micaela, and we also saw Maricela and Alex. Maricela is actually a long lost member of the church and Alex is her boyfriend. They are living together and have 2 kids with one on the way. Get this. They are neighbors with Pedro and Micaela. We taught and testified to Alex and Maricela about how this church would change their lives and bless their family, especially their daughter. We even taught them the Law of Chastity. I NEVER would have done that at the beginning of my mission on the first lesson, but the spirit moved upon us and we had to tell them what they could have in their lives. Alex wants to be baptized.
Sunday our Holton families could not come down, and we tried everything to get people to church, but no one could come. Finally, in despair, I prayed to Heavenly Father and said basically, “Remember, you told us this was your will, what do we do next? We need your help. Please send someone to church!”
Elvira’s mother asked if she could come to church with her on Sunday. Elvira’s mother is not a member.
We talked to her after the meeting and I felt impressed to tell her we had a prophet on the earth. We set a time to meet and told Elvira we would be coming to her house on Tuesday to teach her mom, and her mom told her, “They said you have a prophet on the earth!” Elvira said, “Yes, and there are so many other blessings of the gospel.” Her name is Maria Elena and she is a blessing from heaven!
Doctrine and Covenants 64:29 says, Wherefore as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord’s errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business.
I know that we are not alone in this work! Sister Hymas and I are on a quest to achieve the Lord’s will, which means he is going to be involved and we do not have to do it by ourselves. My faith is out of the roof right now. Please pray that we will accomplish the Lord’s will this transfer and that we can give our hearts, might, mind, and strength to be worthy servants of this great cause.
So on a side note, this week has been extremely spiritual, but we have been laughing our heads off the whole time. I am so happy! Sister Hymas learned to play the accordian. How could this ever end?!?
This is a little shoutout about the priesthood. A friend e-mailed me and asked me if some of these feminist movements about ordaining women were affecting the work where we were at. I just want to testify, as a woman, that the church is organized according to how our Lord and Savior designed it. I am so grateful to belong to the one church that has the authority of God to administer the ordinances of salvation as we prepare to see our Savior again. We must lift where we stand and accomplish the responsibilities we were specifically given from the beginning. As a woman, I have so much potential to change the world as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and fellow servant of the Lord. Women do not need to be ordained. We have other sacred responsibilities only we can accomplish and the same goes for men. Especially as a missionary, it is such a tender experience and blessing to be able to work side by side with the men who have the sacred responsibility and stewardship to hold the priesthood of God to help people come unto Christ. The priesthood is God’s, and he will has his way, and his way is perfect. I love Lord. He loves us all equally and has a purpose for each of us.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!! You are the best dad and Heavenly Father sure spoiled me to send me to you! (Sorry I didn’t get my card to you in the mail soon enough, I figured you’ll see me in…a small amount of time…) And sorry for any typos…obviously no time to spell check.
The plow is moving.
The stone is rolling.