This has been one of those weeks that remind a missionary why they are a missionary. It has been remarkable and enriching.
I completed a year in the field! Crazy how fast time goes! The pictures I have attached are of some nice things some of the sisters gave me for my year. It was really sweet! The pictures are funny, but they are all we have for this week. Ha... I love my companion! She is the best!
We had a women's conference with all the sisters in the mission. It was fantastic because we had a psychologist come and talk about self-image, happiness and other mental-health topics. I thought it was very helpful, considering that most women struggle with self-esteem. I was grateful I had the opportunity to teach the sisters about healthy eating and exercise. It was fun to be with all the sisters and see everyone.
I learned more about the power of the Book of Mormon as well. This month in our mission, we have been focusing more on the Book of Mormon and with it, I made a choice to read the BOM in September, from start to finish. It was a little hard at first, but as the days went on throughout the month, I began to really see the power and difference in my day and how I felt as I made reading the BOM more of a priority. The stories really came alive as I read chapter after chapter and got to know the prophets.
I was on exchanges with Hna Clifford on Friday and we met a guy named Obispo sitting outside his house on a hammock. We started talking to him and learned that he has had a lot of trials in his life. He asked us why such bad things happen to good people and why there are so many difficulties in life. Automatically, we felt the prompting to pull out the BOM and turn to 2 Nephi 2 where it talks about the Plan of Salvation and how there is opposition in all things.
He stopped reading and was struck by the power of the scripture. He told us that nobody had ever been able to answer his question in that way and that he knew it was true. He said he felt that it was God speaking to him, that the scripture was profound, not just something pretty or nice. He wanted to know more about the book we read from, so we left him the BOM and made an appointment to return with him. I learned about the power of the BOM, how it can answer every single question we have, whether it is a temporal or spiritual question. I also learned about the importance of teaching to the investigator's needs.
I also saw the power of how members and missionaries need to work together. Missionaries are full-time teachers and members are full-time finders. A member, Juan Carlos, introduced us to his friend, Rigo. Rigo is 25, lives alone, and has been searching for more meaning in his life. We visited Rigo this week and challenged him to be baptized. He accepted and said it is time for him to change. He wants to give up smoking and drinking. He went to the priesthood session of conference on Saturday and the afternoon session on Sunday. He said he really enjoyed it and we are returning with him this week! Juan Carlos, the member, is super helping us and is Rigo's greatest supporter. This is why we need members who share the gospel! We are all miracles. I hope everyone at home can think of someone they know and give the reference to the missionaries. That is how missionary work should be! Miracles!
One of the very best moments of the week was seeing Ami and her entire family come to church. We have never been able to get her and all of her sons to church together, but they all showed up as a family and came early. We went to her house later and she told us that she loved the conference and knows the church is true. She said that she has never felt like she does now in her entire life, that she feels unstoppable peace and joy and is ever looking back. Her oldest son, who is a member wants to serve a mission and has the Aaronic Priesthood and will be able to baptize his mom and two brothers.
Walking away from their house, Hna George and I could not contain ourselves. We are in love!!!! We love this family. I know that there is no greater joy than being able to participate in the joy of bringing a soul unto Christ. I have never felt so much true, lasting joy in my life. The church is true!!!! I am now understanding more of what my brother-in-law, Braden told me before my mission, that there is nothing like seeing how the Atonement can change someone's life.
I am happy. The Church is true. I love the Plan of Salvation. I know my Savior lives and makes it possible for us to be happy here and now!! Like Elder Nelson taught in conference, we were made to have JOY!