Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 52! "Testimony of Tithing"

From 1/5/15

HOLA Family and Friends!!!
Well, I think I had my secret prayers answered. Today was transfers and I really did not want to leave this area yet. I feel like there is so much work to be done and potential to reach with the Lord's help. AND here I am!!!! WOO!!! My companion and I were not changed!!!!! :) Whew! Can you say relieved?
There were other changes in our home though. Hermana S was transferred to another area and Hermana G welcomed a new companion to our 'old' new companion :) HERMANA M!! This is a little bit confusing, but when I was serving with Hermana N, Hermana M and Hermana C (my current comp) were companions. Now I'm companions with C, and Hermana M is with us in our ward. It's all just dandy! We are happy. I think I actually danced around a bit when we saw her come up the steps to our house.
In the rest of the mission there have been a LOT of changes today. Guerrero is reopened and missionaries are back in the stakes in that state. Our zones in Morelos that were enormous are mostly back to normal, from what I've heard. President Kusch also announced today in his weekly letter that the new mission president for the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission has been called and will report to serve at the end of June 2015.
Well, I will include new words that I learned this week:
1) Fodonga - someone who doesn't 'fix' themselves up to look good or make an appearance. For example, Hermana Fernelius is very 'fodonga' when she gets up in the morning to go workout with Hermana C.
2) Piropo - Flirtatious comment. Real conversation we had with a less active teenager this week: "I don't get it. It doesn't bother you when men say 'piropos' to you? Or like when my friends do? Because they know you, they told me about it." o_O First of all JOVEN. What in the world? You need new friends. Second of all, what is piropos?
3) Buen....uh...I forgot what the word was....I think it was 'Buen Marmaja' - It means that you are wealthy or have a lot of money.
4) Asomeche - Expression in Veracruz to say basically 'holy cow'. It's the best. Hermana G is working hard on teaching us her Veracruz phrases. :)
ALSO, there is a Catholic Mexican calendar with the name of a different saint for every day of the week. So apparently, if you give birth, it is traditional to name your baby with the name of the 'daily saint'. If it's a man's name, you add the letter 'a' at the end to make it feminine, or you normally add an 'o' to make a woman's name masculine. A member told us that, unfortunately, her brother was born on the day of Margarita. So they call him Margarito.

Can we take a moment of silence to lament his name?
Thank you.
This week passed by quickly, but it was rich with beautiful experiences!
We taught Ao on Tuesday with a member about the law of chastity and the law of tithes and offerings. When we taught him about the blessings of keeping the Lord's commandments, the member we were with spoke up. She told us that before she was a member of the church, she and her husband and another family member all worked to provide their numerous family with food, clothes, rent and light and water. The basics. It was never enough! In any way they stretched their money, they always found themselves going from neighbor to neighbor to borrow food or money. Then 'quincena' would come (or payday), and they would be okay for a time, but soon the few weeks ended the same way: borrowing, asking, lending, looking...until the next payday.
Then one day she found the gospel. She completely accepted the gospel, and although her circumstances were humble and meek, she put her faith first and decided to change her life and be baptized. She says that she remembered when the elders first taught her the law of tithes and offerings. She knew that it was a commandment from God. From the time she was baptized she paid her tithing first. She worked the same hours, same jobs, and the income was the same, but in a miraculous way, there was always enough. There was always food. She didn't ask anyone for eggs or food anymore. She became independent and debt free for the first time.
She bore her testimony to us that the Lord never leaves us. He opens the windows of heaven and pours us out so many blessings that there isn't even enough room for them all! She impacted us with her sincere experience and powerful testimony of obedience.
I realized that sometimes in our own pride, or disobedience, we almost willingly forfeit incredible blessings that the Lord has offered us. So are there blessings that I am forfeiting by my own unwillingness to hearken to the Lord? What can I do this week to commit to more obedience?
"Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
If we haven't already, let's put the Lord's word to the test and try Him. If we do His will, we will know if the doctrine is true. I loved the lesson this member taught me.
We also taught a woman who is currently a less active member of another church. She has been listening to the missionary discussions for the second time this past week. From the first appointment to this week, what a difference we felt in her home. She carefully studied every word we said as we taught her the Restoration for the second time. As we shared the first vision with her, she took it all in and sat in silence after listening to Joseph Smith's experience. She looked at us and smiled. We asked her how she felt. She told us, "I think that what you told me is beautiful. What an amazing experience Joseph had!"
Now, a week ago, she told us that she wasn't going to change her religion. And this week, she accepted the challenge to pray about baptism and BE baptized if she receives an answer. To end the lesson we gave her the Book of Mormon and invited her to read a few pages. She quietly looked at the testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, then back into our eyes and said, "I will read this book. This time I will read."
We felt and witnessed how the Spirit taught her. She opened her eyes and her heart a crack, and that let the Spirit in to testify to her. We asked her who else we could teach that she knew, and she immediately gave us a reference of her friend who we have an appointment to see this week also. SO NEAT!
We also taught a sweet less active member this week who is starting to open up to us. Cn (about 65 years old) is the sweetest! Last week we taught her 10 [?] year old granddaughter in her home and invited her to be baptized. She immediately accepted. Although she doesn't live in our area (and therefore we cannot formally teach her the missionary lessons) she regularly sees her grandmother. Just yesterday, we passed by Cn's home and we were able to share a message with her. Cn told us that each time her granddaughter comes by, she tells her grandmom "I'm going to be a Mormon!"
She is really excited about the gospel! We hope that Cn will return to church soon to be a strength to her granddaughter!
We've been following up with a couple of families this week that are being taught. With each family, I would ask that you could generally keep them in your prayers. They are SO wonderful and we really want to help them the best we can. We hope that they will be baptized soon!
Well, I have to go now - I hope to send pictures next week!
I love you all and hope that you have a great week!!!!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius

"You Are My Hands"
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf -- April 2010
"As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.
"With all my heart and soul I give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His love for us, for the gift of His Son, for the life and example of Jesus the Christ, and for His sinless and selfless sacrifice. I rejoice in the fact that Christ is not dead but risen from the grave! He lives and has returned to the earth to restore His authority and gospel to man. He has given us the perfect example of the kind of men and women we should be.

"As we contemplate with reverence and awe how our Savior embraces us, comforts us, and heals us, let us commit to become His hands, that others through us may feel His loving embrace."

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