Monday, August 25, 2014

I Am Forever Grateful To Be A Missionary

Guradalupe - I love her so much!

Buenos dias!

Alright lots of updates...

Guadalupe: It was such an amazing week with her but a sad ending. First of all we were fasting and praying for her all week long to be able to prepare her for her baptism on Friday and MIRACLES happened! At the end of the previous week she was still hesitant but after fasting and praying the spirit worked with her SO MUCH! Like I said she has always just said memorized prayers and she would never want to pray in front of us! Well in one of our first lessons this past week we reviewed the restoration and then invited her to pray to know if she should be baptized on Friday. All of a sudden she volunteered herself to say the closing prayer!!! What!!?? So we went over how to say a prayer like we always do and for the first time ever she said a prayer out loud from her heart. In the prayer she asked Heavenly Father to let her know if she should be baptized on Friday. The spirit was SO STRONG! Like unmistakable! When she closed the prayer we all just stayed in silence for a while and she just started crying. She didn't say anything but she just looked at us through her tears and we all knew she had her answer. After that lesson we had a good talk with Hermana Martinez (Guadalupe's daughter/member of the branch) and she basically said that she wasn't really encouraging it before because she just didn't ever think that she would let Catholicism go and she didn't realize that she really wanted to be baptized. She started crying and told us how it will be such a blessing for her to be baptized for herself instead of Hermana Martinez doing it for her after she passes away. She also told us that after she gets baptized here she can have a friend of hers take her to church in California. Everything was just working out! So many miracles were happening. Every lesson we had with her was amazing until about Wednesday. Guadalupe started to feel physically sick. She has a lot of health problems and a lot of them started to flare up. Her head and her heart hurt and she didn't feel good at all. She said that if she continued to feel like this she wouldn't be baptized. Then in our next lesson she started making comments about how when she goes back to Mexico she wouldn't be able to give up going to Catholic church. It was heart breaking. She continued to feel sick until she left on Saturday. She chose not to be baptized. I think Friday was one of the hardest days on my mission. There is nothing harder than experiencing someone's conversion and then watching them walk away from it. I have never had an investigator do that before. I mean we get rejected everyday but when someone receives an answer and has so many spiritual experiences with you and then they reject it you get this feeling in your heart that is indescribable. I obviously don't have kids but I imagine that is how a parent must feel when their children choose to reject the gospel. We have come to love her so much and it was absolutely heartbreaking to see her leave without taking that step. We were talking to Hermana Martinez on Sunday and the final miracle with Guadalupe is that she told her that if she would have felt good physically she would have been baptized on Friday. That gave us so much hope that she will accept the gospel in California or Mexico. Unfortunately there are no Spanish groups or missionaries where she is going in California but I have so much faith that Heavenly Father will help her find the gospel. We are still going to try and get Hermana Martinez's friend to take her to English church in California. I still have hope for her.

I have learned so much from teaching Guadalupe! I have learned the incredible power of prayer and fasting. I have learned that miracles happen all the time and even though people have their agency Heavenly Father will always come through. More than anything I have learned to love. My testimony of what true Charity and Christ like love is has grown so much. I can't describe it. I am forever grateful to be a missionary. It is changing my is changing who I am. I read a talk from Elder Holland this week and in it he is talking about why missionary work is so hard. He said...."Why would it be easy for us when it was never easy for HIM?" "Missionary work is hard because salvation is not a cheap experience." I know those things are true and even when I have hard weeks...maybe especially when I have hard weeks I am grateful because I have the opportunity to understand a little bit better what the Atonement means. Sorry that was so long and kind of sad...I just can't explain how much I have grown from that experience and how much I have come to love Guadalupe.

Anyway on a lighter note Ernest came to church!!! He drives semi trucks for a living (not England trucking haha) and he sometimes has to drive on Sundays. Last week he had to work but this week he came! I spoke in sacrament meeting and my topic was the restoration so it was cool to adjust my talk to his needs. ALSO we are teaching this woman named Lily and her three daughters and they got the time for church wrong but they showed up for the last hour! We taught the daughters yesterday night and they are so prepared for the gospel. They love church and it was awesome to teach them how to pray! Their prayers are so sincere! Unfortunately they might be moving. Seriously all the people I teach move..... :l . But they might stay in the area so let's all pray that they do. I think they could be such a strength for the branch!

Well this is the last week of the transfer and I am terrified as always to hear what will happen. It will be a weird day when my life for the next six weeks doesn't depend on a voice mail from teenage boys anymore. Wish me luck!

I'm glad you all had a good first week of school! Keep up the good work! Love you all so much!

Hermana England

(She was really mad we took a pictures; she
said she didn't get ready that day :) 

Me and our investigator Lorenzo - 
The Stake Primary sent me a B.O.M. to
give away with a testimony in it
and I gave it to Lorenzo!

Lily and her girls at church!

Our "Winner Wall" - Clean car awards AND
most sold @ service :) 

District pictures...
Us and Elder Almeida on his last day in
the field...Of course with his Puerto Rico flag!
Vive Puerto Rico!

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