Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Week 11

Eating my first mango (my new favorite fruit!).

Well today marks the end of my first transfer period of the mission field, only 16 transfers left (6 weeks a piece)!!! It's been a wonderful week and I truly feel like I've grown a ton. The two highlights or turning points of my week were my intercambios (exchanges) with my Zone Leader Elder Bautista and some training I had in the mission office with the assistants to the President, volunteer missionaries and Presidente Bird himself. I received really constructive feedback from the practices and training I went through which I've taken into action in my lessons. Also they showed a video at the end really hit me hard. It pointed out some aspects of the atonement that I had never thought of before and made me realize how much Christ did for me and how much I should be giving back. I especially liked a couple parts. First ,Presidente Eyring explained how the atonement motivated him and he explained that after Christ submitted himself to his father on the cross, he started right up again preaching to the dead. Even when I feel as though I've given enough, I want to always think back to Christ's atonement and how it's never over and I can always give more. The other big thing that hit me was how Elder Holland explained that Salvation never has been, and never will be easy, and that's why missionary work can be so hard, and it's why we get rejected so much and disappointed when people don't keep commitments. The reality is that it isn't supposed to be easy. Otherwise everyone would get a free ride and that's Satan's plan, not the plan that Jesus has laid out for us. Finally I learned a ton about how to contact and also was placed in a position where I had to lead lessons for the first time with Elder Bautista. So I'm extremely thankful to had been given the opportunity to work with such a wonderful Leader of mine. Can't wait to continue working hard and see where another week can take me!

My hair is starting to get a little wild...getting a hair cut later today though!

Also I had a wonderful experience after the Training in the mission office. When we returned to our house, my companion went to use the bathroom for his usual lengthy time period (sorry if that's a little tmi) which is actually quite nice because it gives me time to do some extra studying and also reflect on things. I thought about that video and decided to write down my thoughts in my journal because I didn't want to forget those powerful emotions. As I was writing I remembered a section of a manual called "How to adjust to missionary life" where Gordon B. Hinckley explains an experience he had on his mission. He was having a rough time and he wrote a letter expressing his emotions to his father and the response he received was powerful. His father wrote back "Forget yourself and go to work" and included a scripture in Mark 8:35 which says

"For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."

Gordon B Hinckley then explained how he took what his father said to heart and made a covenant with Heavenly Father to forget himself and get to work, and he said that he had a wonderful mission from that day forth and is forever grateful for it. After reflecting back on this story I felt an impression to grab my scriptures, patriarchal blessing and went into an extra room we have, closed the door and kneeled down. Then I opened up my scriptures to Mark 8:35, read it once again, read through my own personal scripture (patriarchal blessing), and after that prayed to my Heavenly Father probably harder than I've ever prayed before. I gave huge thanks in detail for everything I have been given in life and explained how I recognize that the Lord truly has influenced my life in infinite ways. Then I made my own personal covenant with my Father in Heaven that I would truly forget myself and go to work. I know that I can't nearly express the magnitude of impact this experience had on me, but it's something that I will always look back on, May 7, 2015 as a turning point in my mission.

Skyping with my family and Krystina (whose on her mission in Florida).

The Lord truly knows us individually and knew that the events that I experienced this week would bring me to come before him as I did. Plus, after Skyping my family yesterday, I realized that if things hadn't gone the way they had, I don't know if I would have been able to handle seeing my family without breaking down because I was having a lot of homesickness at times. Part of losing myself in the work, is to not focus on or worry about my family back in Oregon, which might sound harsh, but it's the truth. My family is now my companion, my fellow missionaries and most importantly the people I am serving. There has been a drastic change in the way I think, act and feel ever since this experience I had. I see the people in a different way and truly desire their salvation, I pray for them night and day, I work my hardest and do my best to be exactly obedient so that I can qualify for the Spirit, which is the only way I can help bring them to the truth because it's not me who will teach and convert them. It's the Spirit. I love the opportunity I have been given to serve, and hope that I can continue to grow so that I can fulfill all the plans the Lord has in store for me. 

Tan line from my watch.

My Zone ordered personalized Tigres Jerseys!!! It's a local soccer team that I'm now a fan of.  My Zone is "Humildad" which is the Spanish word for Humility:)

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