Friday, March 7, 2014

Week 3 in Mexico! "Edificio 9"

From Monday, January 27, 2014

Hola family and friends!!! :) :)

Another wonderful week!!!!! :)
Ok, so I'm cheating here but below is a part of the letter I sent to my President this week: (I really hope I'm allowed to do that haha)...

"This week has been great. It's been a bit more challenging but I've learned a lot personally this week. As a companionship, we are focusing on visiting and reactivating less active families and the Lord has helped us with that goal in a number of ways.
First off, everyday this week the majority of our appointments and planned lessons have fallen through. No one's home, no one wants to see us, no one wants to go to church, everyone is sick, and so on. But when things don't go perfectly as planned is when I see how this really is the Lord's work and that He is in control. So many times this week, our plans fall through but then something better takes place. 

Our bishop gave Hna P and me a small list of less active members in the ward last Sunday. On Tuesday, we visited the members on our list, but most of them either don't want to see us or have moved. We felt prompted to visit one couple on our list that live in an apartment complex near the bishop's house.

We had the most difficult time trying to find "Edificio 9" to visit this family. The apartments in general are numbered in an odd way. Even the people who live in the complexes couldn't tell us where to locate this building. It was hot, we were tired and a little frustrated because we felt so strongly that we needed to find this couple but every direction we were given led to a dead end. Just as we were about to leave and head to another appointment, we saw a woman with her two children in the apartment complex park and decided to ask one last time for directions. As we spoke with her, almost instantly, I felt the Spirit so strongly. This sister, "M", and her two children were unsure of where this building was. (At that point, I was pretty sure that edificio numero 9 was a non-existent building. haha)

Hna P and I talked with sister M for a few minutes and then explained a bit about who we are and what we believe. M had a light in her eyes or a spirit about her that really struck me. She asked sincere questions about the church and about the scriptures and the Book of Mormon. She wasn't asking questions to ridicule the church, try to make us doubt or beliefs or anything that others typically do. She really did want to know the truth.

We spoke for quite some time and focused on her questions, on the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Hna P shared some really inspired scriptures and answers that helped her a lot--M even wrote the scriptures down because it really helped her so much and she wanted to save them to study later on. We offered several times to teach her and her family more about the church, but at present she doesn't want us to visit her. We invited her to church, gave her a Book of Mormon with 'assignments' and passages for her to read, and encouraged her to pray about what we taught her. She said she would. 

We left feeling so uplifted and feeling the Spirit. I had a strong feeling in my heart that the reason we couldn't find building number 9 is because we needed to find M -- even though she wasn't interested in the moment. The first thing Hna P said as we left the park was 'I know without a doubt that in this moment there is a seed planted in M's heart'. 

I am grateful that this is the Lord's work. Every day, we leave the apartment with a plan for the day, goals, and faith. Knowing that if we do our part and work, the Lord will lead us to those who need to hear the gospel and to those who are ready to accept it. Even if it's not how we originally planned. The experience with M is a perfect example of how something so wonderful came about even though Hna P and I felt like we had failed in accomplishing a different goal and even though M needs more time. The Lord knows His children by name and prepares each one, each day to receive the gospel and to improve their lives.

We've had many other great experiences this week too, as a result of something else failing. We'll run into someone in the street that we were just thinking about or that we tried to contact earlier in the day but they weren't home. I realize over and over again that my Heavenly Father knows a lot better than I do, but also that as I put in the effort what I sometimes think is a failure can be turned into a wonderful lesson. Our best effort is never a failure!"

This upcoming month in February, there are 7 investigators with baptismal dates!!! WOO!  They are all progressing really well in the gospel and are trying to keep their commitments. It's a great blessing to spend time with each one and see first hand the changes they are making in their lives, the sacrifices, sometimes the challenges, and also the joy in their eyes when they share their testimony and the things they are learning for themselves about the gospel. 

Also my district and Zone is the bomb. I am always so blessed to know the best zones in the mission :) On Friday we went to an activity in another companionship's ward. The missionaries from 2 districts were there and it was so fun. I love spending time with other missionaries because it recharges my spiritual/mental/physical batteries. haha. 

ALSO we are building trust with the ward and our bishop - our ward mission leader is mostly less active which makes missionary work interesting, but this past Sunday we met with him and our stake leaders and they helped us organize the work in the ward. That was a great blessing!!

So I guess I don't have much to say this week other than this--my catch phrase for the mission--life is hard. haha.

Earlier this week, Hna P and I were getting ready for the day when, alas! We ran out of water. :( We have a tank on the roof of our apartment that holds all the water and when it empties, we run downstairs to turn on a pump and in 20 minutes, the tank is refilled. Hna P went to turn on the pump outside when missionaries from another church started talking to her about their religion. That's cool and all, but we aren't interested for obvious reasons. haha Well, they started asking us where we are from and that they've never seen us before. Hna P said 'oh really, because we are always walking and preaching around here too'. Preaching....why?, then she flashed her nametag completely poker faced. Then one missionary backed up a bit and didn't say another word and the other missionary went on offense mode and started attacking us and the book of Mormon and our religion. Hna P and I were polite and respectful and bore our testimonies, invited them to learn more another time and to pray and that's all.

It stuns me how people can be so rude. haha. When we contact people on the street, many people say they're not interested or that they belong to another church and we respect that. Always. We never attack them for what they believe. We never look for chances to contend with others, and when missionaries from other churches do that to us, we just take the heat and let it go. ahhh...patience....that happened to us more than once this week and all in very awkward, uncomfortable and just plain frustrating situations.

But those situations help us learn the most. :) Challenges have the ability to refine us when we turn to the Lord, and pray to know what He would have us learn from it. He never allows us to go through something that we couldn't handle through His help. He is always ready to help us.

There is a scripture in 2 Nephi 2:2 when Lehi is speaking to his son Jacob about trials, it says "He shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." And in Alma 36:3 Alma counsels his son Helaman and says "For I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." I love that, and it's helped me this week and I hope that it might help someone else too. 

I love you all and always pray for you. Thank you again for your love and support. I know that this church is true and that Jesus Christ lives. He suffered all things for us that we might not suffer if we come unto Him. He is ready to lift our burdens and make them light.  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Lots of love and hope you all have a great week! :)


Hermana Fernelius

Taken at the MTC: Hermana G (Aguascaliente Mexico), Me (Cuernavaca Mexico), Hermana C (Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico), Hermana O (Merida Mexico)
At the MTC
This was January 18th.  My one month mission birthday and Hermana P's four month mission birthday.  We bought pizza because we were tired of Mexican food, but the pizza was nasty too...haha, oh well.  Look how tan we are!!  She used to be as white as I was, but now we are both tan!! :)
More fun with my companion!
Me in my fat shirt on top of a hill in our area...
Zone Conference (I'm the purple one in the middle!)

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