Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week 50! "The Food is Good (After All)..."

From 12/22/14

Hola Family and Friends!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! It's the best time of year because just about every other email we are celebrating something else.

**P.S. sorry for the lack of photos. I would love to say that I have photos to send you this week, but we are not permitted to take the camera out of our apartments during the week Tuesday thru Sunday for security reasons. And we basically love opportunities to be obedient, so that's why we don't think about it anymore.

I have no photos for you all.

Perdón. **

--This week, I've been slowly and selectively collecting recipes from the sisters in my branch. Right now, I've got a GREAT arroz con leche, flan, and enchilada recipe. I'm excited about it.


--Remember a few dozen emails ago, when I wrote home basically crying because of the food and how hard life was. How wrong I was. How very wrong indeed. The food is basically the best thing that has happened. Hna C and I were reflectioning on the other missions in the world and what they might have to struggle eating -- like blood sausage or something strange -- while we are feasting here in the Cuernavaca mission. I'm learning slowly but surely some goodies to make when I'm home. Prepare your waistlines! Every time it's my turn to make dinner or family home evening refreshments, you already know what we'll be eating. #SORRYBOUTIT

--We had Christmas conference with President and Sister Kusch this past Wednesday. About 80 missionaries were there. The devotional by our mission president and Sister Kusch was really beautiful. Each time I hear them speak, I have a reconfirming feeling that they were called by divine revelation to lead the mission during this time. They also mentioned how the conference was the very last they would have as mission presidents of Cuernavaca. They are scheduled to return home in about six months. My 'generation' of missionaries will be going home a week before them.

We had very awkward and strange skit presentations for entertainment. Please don't remind me of that ever. ha-ha. It made us all very uncomfortable to get on stage and act out sketches. We then had a huge White Elephant and a dinner afterward. We were able to eat with President and Sister Kusch and converse with them a bit. Wow. Wow is all I could think of as we talked about how they were called to serve as our mission president and the trials and blessings they've experienced in the service of the Lord. They are really incredible people who have gone through a lot. President actually mentioned that he will have served as a missionary for 5 years of his life when he returns home. 2 years as an Elder in Central America, and 3 years as mission president with his spouse in Mexico. They are so cool!! :) Our testimonies were definitely strengthened to be able to speak with them.

--Yesterday, Ao came to church again!!! WOO! In two more weeks he will be baptized. We are incredibly super duper excited for him. J and Ao are good buddies which brings a smile to my face every time I see them chatting. THESE PEOPLE ARE SO COOL.

This week in English class we learned how to describe ourselves to other people. The phrase J learned to say (by his own choice) was: "I am tall and fat." Then he said wait, wait no, "I am tall and tan."  Very nice, J, well done. ha-ha...

Then it was Ao's turn. "I am a liar and I'm fat. Alguien me dijo que 'liar' parece a 'lawyer'. Decho me dijeron que es lo mismo." haha..SO funny!! Before we knew it, we were explaining how to say borracho in English and other not too important words. We learned a few in turn tambien. :)
Actually this week as we taught Ao with a sweet sister in our branch we were impressed by the spiritual progression he's experiencing. We felt impressed to teach him about the Atonement and the miracle of forgiveness, how Heavenly Father forgives us as we truly repent and that we can forgive ourselves too. Ao really beats himself up about things he's done in the past before finding the church. He has struggled with alcoholism for much of his life or since he was about 18 years old. Some weekends he would drink up to 4 or 5 liters of alcohol. 
Well, we watched a Mormon message video about digging up old trash, or being stuck in past transgressions. He opened up to us afterward and shared how he's felt he has changed in these weeks.
He told us, "Since the first time you two visited me, I haven't had alcohol once."
REALLY?? We didn't know that!
Then he looked at us with a smile and also surprisedly responded, "I thought you knew!"
He's made a lot of good changes in his life. I felt so impressed as we spoke. The Atonement can change hearts.
In a talk I read this morning, President Uchtdorf says: "Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.  Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.
"He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.
"What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us."
I know that God loves us and for that reason we have the opportunity to leave behind old habits, desires, addictions, characteristics, to adopt those of His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. We can be someone better. I love seeing these people and families progress because they let the Savior in. They allow the Atonement to work in them and cause a mighty change of heart.
In our companionship, we are also trying to let the Savior in and change us. We have made one simple personal goal with the Lord every day.
One day, it was 'find a family'. We started the day with a prayer and plans to be able to reach that goal. We worked with that mentality that without question, we would find a new family. And the Lord helped us with our desires! We found a complete family who accepted a baptismal date.
The next day, Thursday, we wanted to receive references of investigators from the members with all our hearts. It occupied our minds as we prayed, made plans and worked for them. We planned to ask for references with faith from everyone. Everyone we spoke to. We weren't disheartened as the day went on and still had not received references. We returned home and began our nightly planning session, and reviewed references received for the day. Not one. We received a name, but no address.
Then our district leader called and took our nightly datos. He told us that he had a reference to give us. Actually, it was references for four families!! Then the sisters that live with us came out from planning, and said, we have references for you. FOUR new references. It was absolutely a miracle. We received 8 references from the Lord, half an hour after coming home for the night without one in hand.
Friday, we felt like we needed to be more diligent in kneeling prayers with our investigators and members. We prayed, made plans to kneel and pray after lessons, and went to work. With every family we asked to kneel and pray with, they were open and completely willing to do so. There was a sweet spirit we felt as the mother of a family offered a sincere prayer before we left their home.
I've felt a greater need and importance to repent and change with the Lord's help in small and simple ways. A mighty change of heart begins with a desire to change our hearts. It was neat to experience great blessings this week with Hermana C as we made goals with the Lord, prayed for His help, and worked to carry out our plans. I know that He desires to bless each and every one of us, and like President Uchtdorf said, He loves us infinitely. Yes, we have to ask Him for His help, and we also need to work with the faith that our righteous desires and endeavors will be given us.
I am so thankful for this time of year. With the help of our Heavenly Father, we can make goals with Him to change. We can stand a little taller, reach a little higher, and help a few more along the way.
I love each one of you & hope you all have a wonderful Christmas this year!
You all are the best. :)
Con Amor, <3
Hermana Fernelius

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