Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 34: Power Outage, Hot Week, Much needed "Pick-me-up" from my Companion

Last Monday, it rained all day and our street flooded! It is still reallllly hot and humid here and it rains about once a week. It should start to cool down in March. The summer is short but intense here. This week was not the best because on Wednesday we didn't have electricity from 5pm-9am.  The pench was really hot and we couldn't sleep very well. Then on Thursday the same thing happened but the electricity came back in the middle of the night. It was so miserable. For the rest of the week we were more tired than usual .On Friday the same thing happened for a few hours. We used candles to see but we couldn't study or plan very well because after awhile our eyes were tired from reading in dim light. On Thursday, Hermana Dias had another dentist appointment that was two hours away. But we made contacts in the train so we only partially lost a day of work. In the afternoon my compi had a fever. She was really weak so we had to return to the pench so she could rest. We were so mad that there wasn't electricity again!

We have 11 investigators but many of them aren't progressing. We are going to discontinue teaching some of them. Currently, we are working more with less-active members (there are so many and it is so sad!) and are in the process of finding new people to teach. Maria is still in the process of quitting smoking but we are hoping to get a baptismal date for her this week. And as of now, Luis is going to be baptized this Saturday! German and Elba are doing great and were our only investigadores that came to church. On Sunday morning there was a parade for the anniversary of Cañuelas or something like that so a lot of people didn't come to church, but they did! We were so proud of them!

Flooded Streets in Cañuelas

As missionaries in a branch, we have to do so much! Every week we rotate with the Elders to teach Gospel Principles. This week we had to teach the youth because the teacher didnt show up. I still get pretty nervous to teach, but I know I am better with this than before! And about about once a month we have to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. We usually have to leave early to pick up less actives or investigators for church, so by the end of the church meeting, we are pretty burnt out. I play half of the hymns in Sacrament meeting and Maria, the 15 year old who I was teaching plays the other two. I am so grateful that I know how to play because it is coming in really handy. We are planning a Game Night for the branch for this Friday and we are so excited! It should be really fun!

So this week I was tired, it was hot, we weren't having success finding new people.  Our investigators didn't want to come to church, and our less active members don't seem to want to improve. I was frustrated a lot and struggling with my confidence, the language, and with my teaching and for a few days. I was struggling to be happy. I thought "I need to enjoy this opportunity I have to serve the Lord as a full time missionary. Why can't I lift myself out of this self-doubt and trust that the Lord has a purpose in sending me here?" I prayed for help but continued feeling the same for a few days. I didn't find a peace until my companion told me to read this talk. I was so grateful for her and for the words written in the talk. I had read it before but had forgotten and the words were so refreshing. I now feel like I can take on another week here in Cañuelas. At the bottom of this message is a portion of it. You guys can apply it to the trials in your lives.

Missionary Work and the Atonement
Jeffrey R. Holland
Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is  this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? Why can’t our success be more rapid?  Why aren’t there more people joining the Church? It is the truth. We believe in  angels. We trust in miracles. Why don’t people just flock to the font? Why isn’t the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font?
You will have occasion to ask those questions. have thought about this great  deal. offer this as my personal feeling. am convinced that missionary work is not  easy because salvation is not cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never,ever easy for Him?  It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least few  moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least step  or two toward the summit of Calvary.
For that reason don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that  conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. believe it is  supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul.
If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face,bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cupcan pass, let it pass,” 16  then little wonder that salvation is not whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that.Someone lot greater and lot grander asked long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way.
The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it  will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you  are spit upon and cast out and made hiss and byword, you are standing with  the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived.You  have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Sonof the Living God  knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary.The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

P.S.   By the way, I was tearing up seeing what JJ did as a service to you guys. How cute! She is so special.
  [She made the bed and left the following note for Mom & Dad]! 

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