Friday, April 17, 2015

Week 66! "Repentance is Like Soap"

From 4/13/15

Hola family and friends!!!

Hope you all had a great week! Thanks for your emails and encouragement. This week was AWESOME!

Brother F was baptized on Friday! He's an amazing person. He says that he's been on a search for truth his whole life and when he started learning about the gospel, he felt that he finally found what he was looking for. After his baptism he shared a powerful testimony and I just felt so grateful to have been there and to see his excitement in taking this step.

Lots more happened this week!

I'm new to this area, and my companion is actually pretty new too. So there are many, many members that we still do not know. One of these members that has stopped coming for a couple of months now is named Sister C:

She and her daughter were baptized in January of this year but, like I said, have stopped coming for some time now. We went by her home and found her there, she let us in and we talked for a little bit. She is SO SWEET! I have to give her a hug every time I see her because she is just the sweetest sister ever. We sat outside of her humble house on her dirt patio and got to know her. We asked her directly what was keeping her from coming to church. She told us that she doesn't have a job or a source of income, so by the time the week ends and Sunday comes around, there is no money for transportation to church.

This was very concerning to us. The good news is that there are ward missionaries assigned to the Self Reliance Center in the Stake, designed to help people in this type of situation.

We set up an appointment to go back to visit her together with them, so that we could help her develop her capacity of self reliance in some way. When we arrived we discussed her needs in depth and talked specifically of how much she spends weekly on certain necessities. She has a part time job working at a store in her neighborhood. She washes the dishes, organizes the groceries, and does whatever little job that needs to get done. In turn she gets paid 25 pesos weekly and 3 pieces of bread and a liter of milk. 25 pesos is less than 2 dollars, and she gets paid in food because her boss knows that she has children.

The stake missionaries then asked her how much money she spends on food weekly. She replied, sometimes I only have enough to buy tortillas (which is about 80 cents in the U.S.). They asked more questions:

"Okay, but what do you eat, or how many times do you eat? Even if you spend money on salt, sugar, soup, rice, beans..."

Then she told us, "Well, my children and I usually eat one time a day. Sometimes if I have a little more, I make something to eat in the afternoon" (so that they are full longer).

Seriously, our hearts broke when we heard her say that! This sweet sister has been doing the very best she can on her own to support her children. She has a strong testimony of the gospel and an even stronger desire to keep the commandments, but she literally can't go to church because there is no money. She didn't complain to us, or make excuses or even ask for help.

We have been given so many blessings! Back home the church is a five minute walk from my home, and we always have more than enough to eat. The sisters in our ward and Relief Society are working to gather some food staples so that we can help this family get back on their feet.

This experience taught me a profound lesson.

On a happier note, we taught a new family this week. The couple is in their mid sixties and lives with a few of their grandchildren. They have many family challenges. As we talked and got to know them, it was so cool to see how open they are to our message. Even though we are total strangers to them and them to us, we starting talking as if we had known each other for a long time.

It was cool!

We felt impressed to teach them about baptism and repentance. I noticed that they started to pay close attention as we taught them that through Christ we can be cleansed from sin. Earlier I had dropped a paleta (ice cream) on my blouse and stained it. :( Que pena, right? I'm an embarrassment haha. I had tried rubbing it out with water earlier, but it didn't go away. So I carried a book in my arms all day to hide it. :) I told this couple about that stain. I asked the wife, so, I stained my shirt today, how do I get it out? She replied, By washing it. I told her yes, but I already washed it with water and it didn't do anything, what else do I need?

"Soap!" she said.

That soap is like repentance. In order to wash away the sins we've committed in our lives, we need to wash it with soap and water. We need faith in Christ, repent and make true changes and be baptized by immersion. We shared this scripture with the two of them:

"And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

"Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day."

The wife looked visibly different after reading this scripture out loud. We asked how she felt. All she could say was "good".

"How does 'good' feel?" we asked.

She told us, "When you read the words, 'repentance of all of their sins' I felt something inside of me." She then pointed to her chest and said, "I felt something like being satisfied or feeling filled."

I think that it was such an interesting description of the Spirit. She said that she felt satisfied and content. Like something was being filled. It stuck out to me so much. We taught them about how the Spirit feels and that the Spirit was testifying to her that this message is true! We invited them then to be baptized and they accepted! Tonight we are going by to teach them and hopefully one of their grandsons also.


This week we also met a new investigator whose name is Sister G and her sister M. The two of them are super young but look older than my companion and I. haha. Sister G is pregnant with her third child but she is only 19, and her little sister is a kick boxer who looks like she's 22 but is only 16.

We felt impressed to teach them about the Plan of Salvation. G was so super interested. They both accepted the invitation to be baptized. G kept apologizing because she had so many questions. (But every missionary LOVES questions. I love it because it shows their interest in what we are teaching).

We asked if we could set up an appointment for the following week. She then hesitated and said, "So, how does this work, can you only come by once a week, or....?"

We were puzzled. UH we can come by every day if you want (we kind of said this seriously but didn't think that she was serious).

"CAN YOU? I have so many questions. You can come by any day that you want. I want to know more!"


A few more random things:

1) I played piano yesterday in sacrament meeting. I don't know how they figured out that I play piano...since I just got here, but I love it!

2) I was studying this morning and remembered what [my former companion], Hermana N taught me from a long time ago. Maybe Salvation is personal, but Exaltation is with the family. After general conference and a few experiences this week, I've thought about the importance of our perspective of eternal families. It's the best.

3) We met two young men and women that are less active this week and we taught them that there are no coincidences and there is a reason that we live where we live and so on. As members were are in the exact place where we are needed. Then the young woman spoke up and said, I was just reading that this morning on Facebook. I put an image on my wall that says, "Lo que usted llama casualidad es la obra de Dios" ["What you call coincidence is the work of God"]. I like that phrase; there are few accidents :)

4) I will have 16 months on the mission this week. YIKES

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Fernelius

No comments:

Post a Comment