Sounds like our girl is struggling a bit, I'm so happy that she knows what is really important and that is to love everyone. That's all that really matters in this life. Please keep her in your prayers.
Hello my fam.
Well, I'm still here in Mexico and stuff! Finishing off a pretty intense week in Morelos 2. It started on Monday, after I got back from writing. I decided to relax for a few minutes before it was time to leave and work so I sat down to watch The District on the mini DVD player we have. Sitting there on my bed, watching The District, I remembered watching The District on my bed in preparation for my mission - more than a year ago. I remembered just sitting there so overcome with emotion, with tears rolling down my face, just so excited for what I was about to be able to do. I watched the real changes that happened in these peoples' lives the way the Spirit touched them, the understanding and patience the missionaries taught them with... I saw, in those moments at home, missionary work as leisurely strolling around, going house to house with well-planned lessons, waiting at the door of the church on Sunday to greet smiling investigators... The reality is, the mission is a lot better than what I thought. But man, it's also different. For example, I got to Mexico and the first thing they did was the "scare" talk - it's the tradition here - where the assistants scare you into thinking that you're not worthy to be in "The Great Mission" and you should probably just go home if you're planning on making a mistake during your mission, haha. Maybe that's what they do at the start of every mission, but MAN it made me feel so awful. Still hard to laugh about it. I know it's the "initiation" here and it's half a joke, and the purpose really is to help us understand the importance of 100% obedience. But obviously, right off the bat the mission was pretty different - seemed to me more like a boot camp, haha. And then the assistant made me come up with Hermana Heinz to practice contacting someone in front of everyone and then had everyone make a list of what I did wrong. Well, I was so scared that day. AND so mistaken. "THIS is the mission:" I thought "being told we're not and never will be good enough, constantly. Being made fun of and yelled at and put on the spot and judged." I know that's an awful attitude, but I think I was kind of angry, honestly. I think I was angry that I was in the mission that prides itself in trying to do the double of what every other mission does, "The Great Mission," that to me at the time, seemed more like "The Insensitive Over-board Forcing People to Get Baptized Mission." The point is, IT'S NOT TRUE WHAT I THOUGHT AT ALL, really I believe that I misunderstood. Still, I know I'm not the only missionary who's misunderstood the concept of the "Great Mission." I think there have been periods of time in my mission when I have started actually conforming to the supposed ideas that this mission lives by that made me so sad when I got here - that is, the concept of not accepting "no" for an answer ever, baptizing everything that moves whether or not they actually want to and understand why why they should. I've had some insensitive time periods of my mission, quite honestly, and talking with other missionaries I think we all have. I've definitely also had a lot of moments of enlightenment, too, like "WHAT AM I DOING - THESE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD, AND THEY'RE TELLING ME IT'S NOT THEIR TIME." I didn't realize coming out here almost a year ago that it would be so hard not to get caught up in everything, becoming a little tired/mindless/robotic and forget that this isn't a "job" - it's a life. My experience watching The District was something that really motivated me to really help in providing my investigators with the tools necessary to have their own spiritual experiences, to help them build testimonies instead of just a collection of mounds and mounds of biblical evidence and pretty words. I KNOW I came here to do a lot more than that, and I know that there are lots of times in my mission where I have done it. But man, I needed to remember it last week. Patience. The time of the Lord. Covenants and ordenances (how do you spell that in English?) are like a motor and a car. Separately they can do nothing. The ordinance is hollow if it doesn't mean that you're making a real promise in your heart. Baptism in another church is like just the motor - something pretty, a desire to follow Jesus Christ, but without the ability to get us there. It made me really sad this week to hear about how many people have been baptized in this stake recently and the tiny tiny number that's active, or at least come every once in awhile. There are so so so many that have never even set foot in the church after getting baptized. I talked to a lady this week that got baptized about 30 years ago and truly has not been since. What's more, she doesn't want anything to do with the church. She goes to Catholic Mass every week. She said she only got baptized because the missionaries insisted and insisted and obligated her. I hope that there was more than that, I really really do. But it's just a sad example of an almost-empty car. Not to say that she doesn't have the desire to follow Christ, she just never understood WHY her baptism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was necessary for her salvation - she couldn't make that covenant in her heart, start that motor, because she just never understood. So many of the people who got baptized before I got to Morelos in the recent months won't even let me in their house, let alone come to church. This week, I once again cried in my bed watching The District, and remembered why I came. What I expected to do. And I gave thanks that I still have six more months lefts to apply, ONCE AGAIN, what the Spirit has told me I need to do. I need to love them. I need to love everyone. I need to testify with power. I need to help them learn how to recognize the Spirit, how to pray with faith, how to study and find answers. These are the most important things I can do. It doesn't matter how clearly I teach if they don't understand that the conviction they develop in their heart is the most important thing. I'm not explaining myself at all, huh? All I'm saying, is that the mission is different than I thought. And so much better. Different in that it IS a spiritual boot camp, and the failure comes frequently. And walking in the hot sun, not entering in a single investigator's house for a whole day, being lied to... it is what it is. I want real converts. I want to not only teach them with power, but motivate them to pray and find out and have the patience to wait for their answer to come - the motor to form - before forcing the shell of the car on them. It sounds funny, but I really really loved that emotional moment I had on Monday.
This week was filled of a LOT of fasting and prayer for the Familia Suarez. They're still not baptized, but the boy went to EFY and loved it and bought a suit and came back calling himself "Elder Suarez." MAN I love hearing that. I need to have patience with this family. I love them so much, so much, and it's hard feeling like they still don't totally understand. Or WANT to understand.
Carlos' wife is angry that he came to church, and he's reluctant to come back for that reason. She wants him to go to her Christian church. I know he has the desire, I know that he knows that what we're teaching him is important, he reads the Book of Mormon still and is slowly building his faith and learning to really pray. But his family situation is complicated. Sad.
Ivan has had a hard life, and he's kind of shut down on us again, lost the little bit of desire that he had to actually better his life. He didn't come to church, we'll see what happens this week.
Alicia was all ready for church, but she didn't want to come with her kids for some reason so stayed behind waiting for her husband to come home and take care of them. He never did, according to her. It's so hard because every time we're with her I just thank my lucky stars because she seems SO golden - until it comes to following through on all the promises she makes. I think we need to make sure she understands that the committments she makes aren't with US, at all.
All in all, we found some good new people this week, like a big family of 9 named the Familia Flores. We were so excited until we found out that the dad is really against us coming and started talking to his kids and wife and basically the family that started out so pumped to come to church on Sunday one by one started lying to us and making excuses, and our last ray of hope - the mom Elizabeth, who told us on Saturday night that she'd be waiting for us at 8:20 on Sunday morning - had already headed off to the Catholic church when we showed up. We'll still be passing by this week and see what the Lord can do.
I AM SO GRATEFUL TO BE HERE. It's the most incredible experience of my life, and I can't even start to explain what it's like being here. It's the most insane rollercoaster of emotions every day, and I'm learning so much about myself and about my Father. I know that this is the only true church on the face of the Earth, it's the Church of our Savior Jesus Christ. If we want to truly and completely accept the grand gift that he's offering us, we need to be baptized by someone who has the sacred authority directly from Him. And I know that EVERY PERSON will have that chance, if not here, in the Spirit World. HashtagSeriouslySoBlessed that I get to help build the kingdom here on Earth FULL-TIME for 6 more months. Love you all, thanks for all you do.
Beeeeeeg Keeeeeees Leeeeeeeetle Keeeeeees
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