She will fly in on Feb. 3!
You are all invited to her Homecoming on Feb. 28th at 9:00am, and to a brunch at our house afterward.
Thanks again for everything, its been an amazing 18 months!!!
Love to all!!!
Remember Irving? He's the son of ULISES, the man we found in the street after leaving our house to do two more street contacts. Well, all of that came to a fruit yesterday: Irving Bucio was baptized, and he's one of the best converts I've had the opportunity to teach. We had an awesome zone baptism, and something I love is that our ward mission leader is pretty much Irving's new BFF and so he baptized him and Irving, a "tough guy" 29-year-old was crying on and off throughout the whole thing. It was so, so awesome because I know that the process of erasing his past and stopping doing a lot of things that are habits for him was very very hard, so arriving at his baptism after about 2 months of watching his progress was so awesome. Carmen is doing well, and will be baptized on my last Sunday in the field. She has been experiencing trials as her nephew has been trying to convince her not to get baptized. She's the sweetest 60-year-old lady with such a sweet spirit that literally cried to us "I REPENT. I'VE REPENTED. I'M READY TO TURN TO JESUS CHRIST." She is always studying what we give her and loves everything about the church, she's says she's never felt this way before. To help her ignore the criticism of her nephew, I wrote down a simple phrase on a card we gave her. It says: "Yo sigo a Jesucristo. Voy a ver la luz." That means, "I follow Jesus Christ. I will see the light." I told her to repeat it, in her head every time Satan tried to tell her not to do follow through with it. She's been doing it, and it's made everything so much easier. The phrase made sense because we had shared with her the full story of the first vision and how Joseph Smith had to go through some darkness in order to reach that brilliant LIGHT right above his head. We had a great experience this week as we arrived at their house to teach Carmen and her nephew, we decided to read a chapter in the book of Mormon. I gave Carmen the list of "questions of the soul" (i don't know what that's called in English, haha, it's something in Preach my Gospel) and asked her to choose one that corresponded with a chapter of the Book of Mormon. She chose a question that, at the beginning, didn't make too much sense based on her situation, but we read the chapter and verse after verse after verse it ATTACKED every single doubt and problem with her and her nephew. It was crazy, I was literally laughing at how perfect it all was. I love how in the mission things like that literally happen every day. I wish I could share it ALL.
It's the last time I'll be writing you from the field. Still, I feel... normal. As a missionary, real life seems so far away sometimes you wonder if it actually still exists. Still, this last week has been anything but normal. There are no words to describe this last week. None. I understand what Preach My Gospel means when it says in a quote by Boyd K. Packer, "I have learned that strong, impressive spiritual experiences do not come to us very frequently. And when they do, they are generally for our own edification, instruction, or correction... resist the temptation to talk freely about these experiences." Just know that this past week has been one of my most faith-building experiences of my entire life. I've been required to put all my trust in the Lord. I won't say it's been my final test of the mission - I'm stil in it - but it has required me to put into practice everything I've learned. The conclusions I've once again come to in the past week: the Comforter is real and speaks peace to my soul very literally when I need it most. God hears us. My mission has changed me in an important way: I better understand what my relationship is to the Father and the Son and what it feels like to completely rely on them. I know what praying with all your energy of heart means. I know my Heavenly Father and I know that He's perfectly perfect in every way and He will forever and always give us exactly what we need. For love. I know Jesus Christ has felt every one of my pains and afflictions and that all of my most difficult, heart-wrenching most unbearable moments of my life add up to be a ridiculously small part of what Jesus went through. I don't understand how He did what He did but I know that He did it. How? Because a phrase we hear often, "the healing power of the Atonement," is something real that I've experienced without a doubt, and learned that it's applicable in ANY kind of difficult situation. Faith is a confidence in the feelings Heavenly Father sends us through the Holy Ghost. Trusting in something that can't be seen with the human eye but letting it move you to do something about it that CAN be seen with the human eye. For all I've come to know and understand about the logics of the church, why God's kingdom is here on the Earth, what characteristics it has and why, what the men we call prophets have said and done, demonstrating their authority through a number of very tangible evidences, understanding every day a little bit more the perfect organization it is, an organization so flawless it could only come from the infinite intelligence of a flawless being - an organization so perfect that no number of flawed, and even extremely-flawed members can take it down. Understanding with my brain the logic of the church (See "WHy the Church" by Elder Christofferson) is something I've focused on a little too much out here. The answers have always come, the conclusions I've always been pointed to have always satisfied me. I'm beyond-convinced with my mind. But that's not why I'm still here in Mexico, starting my last week of a full-time mission. Perfect, logical sense, based on a basic belief in a supreme being, would not be enough to keep me walking and talking and dodging and hurting and smiling all day, every day, saying many of the same words, talking about the same basic concepts for 18 months. I promise you that I'm still here because I am a convert to Jesus Christ, and as a consequence, a member of His perfect church. Because to be able to enjoy the fullness of spiritual healing, we have to know exactly how to apply the Atonement. God has taught us how, there's only one COMPLETE way, and it's through the principles and ordinances that His son established and later restored. I KNOW, and that is to say I have a full confidence in what I've felt, that TRUE HAPPINESS IS FOUND HERE, THAT A FULLNESS OF SPIRITUAL HEALING IS ONLY FOUND HERE. AND THAT ANYONE WHO REALLY TRULY WANTS TO KNOW ALL OF THIS WILL BE ABLE TO, putting into practice a little bit of the super unpopular principle of faith. A quote from the recent general conference: "...let me be clear: There is nothing noble or impressive about being cynical. Skepticism is easy - anyone can do it. It is the faithful life that requires moral strength and courage. Those who hold fast to faith are far more impressive than those who give in to doubt when mysterious questions or concerns arise." please read "be not afraid, only believe" by president uchtdorf. A source of strength for all of us missionaries is the connection Elder Holland made long ago between missionary work and the Atonement. He made it very clear that being a true, active disciple of Christ will never be easy, or anything near it. And that is the beautiful part of this whole thing. We are in training to become like God is and have all that He has. I'm not on the sidelines anymore, hoping the coach won't see me and call me in, content with being, well, CONTENT. As funny as it might sound, 18 months ago I raised my hand and said "Here I am, send me" aka "send me in, coach" and I began the process of understanding, FINALLY, the scripture "Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy." Aren't we really here to learn happiness? In my pessimistic mind before I honestly ignored that scripture because based on what I had understood of the Plan of Salvation, "men are that they might be tested and tried and faced with death and hardship and weakness and every type of affliction." because, as I understood it, THAT is what's require of a future God. I always thought, "we're not here to waste time and have fun. This is a concentrated, short period of pressure - boot camp." Truly living the Gospel brings joy. And if we don'´t figure it out in the time we're given, it's not as if it'll be magically given to us after we die. Where we end up depends on how joyful we learned to be despite everything this world is. Because, regardless of circumstance, the most joy that can be found in this world comes ONLY by living/renewing/completing the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Degrees of glory - degrees of how well you learned your divine duty/potential - to have joy. There's so much more to be said and explained on the subject, but just know that my perspective of the plan of Salvation has changed completely. I am, that I might have joy. I am, NOW, a recognizer of who I am, where I am. I am, today, finishing an 18-month mission for the Earth's only perfect and complete school of divine truths, FULL OF JOY. I am Hermana Emma LeSueur, and I am a Mormon. And I Mexican't Stop, Juan't Stop being one. Ever.
I love you guys. See ya in a bit.
Beeeeeeg keeeeees, leeeeeetle keeeeees