Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week 9! "Wonderfully Confusing"

From Monday, March 10, 2014
Hola Family and Friends!!! 

What a wonderful week and hard and miserable too. The mission is wonderfully confusing like that!! haha :) In all honesty it was a really special week for me because I learned a lot and I feel like I've changed a lot too! 

Something that President Kusch has taught us recently is that miracles do not have to be miraculous to be miracles. In other words, following simple, sometimes small impressions can lead to great blessings. Simply being obedient can lead to incredible experiences. I know that's true because I've seen it many times this week. One of them I copied and pasted (tee hee) below that talks about Investigator "O". The other happened last night as we visited a less active family. 

Hno "A" and Hna "Aa" are strong members of our ward. They have a daughter "R" that is tan hermosa and almost a year old. Hno A is a returned missionary and he and his wife were married and sealed in the temple last year. They have callings in Relief Society and Young Men's and have really helped us [fulfill] our callings as missionaries in many ways. The past month though, my companion and I noticed that they have stopped coming to church. One week they said they were ill, another they were out of town and so on. Something was wrong and we both could feel it.
Two or three weeks ago, we felt impressed to stop by their home and visit them. Hna Aa was home with the baby and we had a chance to talk with her for a minute. She is pretty reserved in general, so I didn't think that she would be willing to talk to us about her concerns. As we talked to her, we decided to be direct with our questions and ask her why she wasn't going to church because we really care about her and her family. She told us that her husband was struggling. She couldn't come to church because he wasn't willing to go. She shared with us a few other reasons why primarily her husband didn't want to go.

It was sad to hear how he was feeling, and that he wasn't coming to church. One, he was offended by something that happened to him, and to be honest, I think that he has every reason to be hurt by what happened because it was a really bad experience. And second because he had lost his excitement and enthusiasm of his testimony. He and his wife were arguing more and more and he was losing the light of his testimony with every trial that passed him. Because he was struggling so much, his wife started to lose her faith too.
We've stopped by many times since then and visited with them and invited them to come to church and shared scriptures with them. Last week, we went by their house at night when Hna Aa and Hno A were home and we decided again to be really direct with them. And we tried to listen to the Spirit as we talked to them. We told Hno A to not lose sight of what really matters. His family and his testimony. Nothing else really matters!

It was clear that the enemy has been attacking this family in a tremendous way. My companion even told him that because he is a returned missionary, he has an even greater knowledge of the truth of the gospel. And if he doesn't act on that, it's condemnation for him. He said he felt a bit 'planchado', which means that he felt a bit chastised (I have no idea how to spell that). But it was a really powerful experience and we felt the Spirit really strongly in their home.
Hno A said that he knew he had to come back to church but didn't know how to overcome the trials he was facing. Solo Hagalo. Just do it. Just be obedient. If it's hard, do it any way. There are great blessings that come with obedience and we promised those blessings to him and his wife according to their faithfulness.

This past Sunday was stake conference and we saw Hno A, his wife Hna Aa, and baby R seated together. It was really wonderful. We also had a noche de hogar (family home evening) with them last night and read 3 Nefi 18 which talks about the Sacrament. IT WAS SO AMAZING: I loved being with them last night!! They had a light in them and a love and happiness that resparked and it was a joy to see. Just before we left their home, Hno A said this: No matter where you go on your mission and after, remember always that you really touched my life and my family. That night that you came I did feel a little chastened but it was because I knew what I needed to do and that I needed to change. I am grateful that you two came by because you were the very first to visit us. You were the first to notice that something was wrong. Because of your visit, I went to the Priesthood session of stake conference yesterday night, then with my wife, then this morning. Just remember that if there was nothing else you did or another person you helped, you helped my family that day. For that reason we are where we are now.
I can't tell you how special that was and how it really helped us because yesterday was really chafa for my companion and me. Miracles do not have to be miraculous to be miracles. 

P.S. I thought this was super cool and felt like I should share it, so here it is and that's how he told us, so if it doesn't make sense it's not my fault (haha):

Hno A also told us a story of two best friends that were walking along the beach. As they were talking and walking, one friend said something out of anger that really hurt the other. The one that was hurt wrote in the sand, my best friend hurt me today. As they kept walking they climbed up a rocky hill by the ocean. As they climbed, one friend was hurt and almost fell, when the other friend caught him and pulled him up to safety. The friend that was saved wrote in the rock, My best friend saved me today. As they reached the top, one friend asked the other, why did you write that I hurt you in the sand and then wrote that I saved you in stone? The friend responded, what you've said or done that's hurt me I've written in the sand, and the wind and the waves will wash all that away with time. But what you've done to save me and help me I've written in stone and can never be erased or forgotten by anyone.

Hno A shared that story with us and I really liked it. He told us that with those we love most, we write the bad in the sand and forever remember the good they've done and write them in stone upon our hearts. 

Moving on to the last experience I wanted to share this week about Investigator O, another miracle :)

''This week was really wonderful. :) My companion & I were blessed to see many miracles in this area that have taught us again and again that Heavenly Father really is in control and is able to do all things that are expedient in Him.

One of the greatest blessings I've had thus far in my life is meeting Investigator O. My companion and I met him the first day I arrived in this area. We didn't find him, he found us. :) We invited him to church, but were honestly skeptical that he would go that Sunday. But he did. And he has come every Sunday since we first met him! He's gone to our ward as many times as I have. :) He's been progressing every week, and many members of the stake think that he's already a member. But his father hasn't given him permission get baptized--week after week. My companion and I have fasted and prayed for him, that a miracle could take place for him to be baptized and that we might know what to do to help him.
Heavenly Father really does listen and answer our prayers. Every week when we make plans of what to teach O, my companion and I feel that we should share a specific principle of the gospel for him that visit. Last week, we both felt a strong impression to talk about the Atonement and Repentance. As we talked to him that day, he told us of serious sins he's committed years ago. He told us that he confessed those sins to the first counselor in the bishopric a few days before and that he's really tried to do his part to repent and be ready for his baptism. We have both seen the good changes that he's made to prepare for his baptism, even though his father hasn't given him permission. We have been praying so much for him. And just about every day this past week, when we're both thinking about O, we 'happen' to run into him--talk to him for a few minutes in the street and encourage him to keep being diligent and patient. We've been trying to do the same too! haha.
This past Saturday night, our miracle took place!!! Investigator O called me and my companion, and said that finally his father signed the 'registro de bautismo y confirmacion'!!! I can't express the peace and joy that I felt when he told us! Heavenly Father knew exactly the reason why O couldn't be baptized right away or when my companion and I wanted him to. He knew that O needed to repent still. He knew that O needed to have experiences in the mean time that would help him appreciate his baptism even more. At any point in time, God could have allowed O to be baptized but He knows exactly what each of us, His children, need and when and how.

O is a miracle to me. He's taught me many lessons about the love of our Heavenly Father and how He is actively a part of our lives. He wants each of us to be happy and experience joy in life through the everlasting gospel. Only through repentance, righteousness and obedience can we find that pure joy. The experiences that we've had with O has also helped me to know how to better help other investigators as well.

Sometimes as we work with our investigators they are experiencing great trials like O, but in reality, Heavenly Father is teaching them, and preparing them to make and keep sacred covenants with Him. It's a real joy to see investigators progress like O. We hope to have his baptism this Friday or Saturday at a time that his father can go too. O is a great example to me. We know that his baptism will be a great blessing to not only him, but many others that he will teach and strengthen in the future too. We are just thrilled for him! 

I've learned a lot from what we've experienced this week.  I realized that my personal trials really are a great blessing. It teaches me that God trusts me and is allowing me to grow and be more refined into who He wants me to be. I know that Heavenly Father is in control. He loves us so much that He allows us to have good and difficult days on the earth--so that one day we can return to His presence having been strong and faithful every day of our lives.'' 

Super good week. I love you all and hope you have a great week also. Thank you for your letters and support because they help me be strengthened each week that I read them! LOVE YOU! :)

Con Muchisisisimo AMOR,
Hermana Fernelius :)

P.S. Water is not water in Mexico. Water is ALWAYS flavored. Pineapple, cranberry, lemon, orange, always flavored. Sometimes water even converts into coca-cola or soda. We can ask for water and expect a soda. To get water water, you have to ask for agua simple or agua naturale. Go figure :)

If a member of the Catholic Church ever invites you into their home to 'talk' about the Bible NEVER GO IN. Someone did that. It was a trap. They tried to kill us with the palabra de Dios. We told them straight up, we WILL NOT contend with you and compare scripture. Didn't work. Made them mad. But we escaped. :) Also, they are our neighbors but they don't know that. haha

There are a lot of random things in the streets here in Mexico. Random shoes, half of a tire, random poles, and just stuff. Every time we see something funny or out of place in the streets we shout Viva Mexico! Because I really love the quirkiness in our area. haha That reminds me that I saw a dog get hit by a car two days ago. I SAW A DOG GET HIT BY A CAR. It was traumatizing but I'm getting over it. 

My companion finally made homemade bread!!! I don't know if I wrote this before or not, but her family has a panaderia or bakery in Salvador. She knows how to make bread but the ingredients here in Mexico are a lot different. So the donughts (i have no idea how to spell that either) didn't work out. It was sad. They were gross. She said if her dad knew about the donught failure he would be so disappointed. haha. That's all for now. Love you! :)

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