Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 71! "Cuer-Vah-Na-Ca"

From 5/18/15

Hola Family and Friends!!
HOW ARE YOU ALL DOING?! :D We had a great week!!
It’s been fun getting to know a ‘new’ area. We are in the same ward we’ve been in the past couple of months, but because we’ve switched sides with the elders here—it feels like a new place. We are meeting LOTS of members who we only waved hi and goodbye to before and we are meeting great new investigators!
We had really important visits this week with less active members. There are about 75-120 members that come to church weekly—and that 120 is on a good Sunday. When just last year or a few years ago it was 3 or 4 times that many. Many members have become less active because someone offended someone else or said something and never came back. There are little trouble makers in our ward that treat others badly and just about send them away. Rude, right ? So, we are on a mission to rescue these members.
There are so many miracles we’ve already seen !!!
One thing is sure. Sometimes our personal struggles prepare us to help others in a more significant and genuine way. We understand them because we’ve been there. I have personally had many emotional challenges the past few years and it’s always left me wondering why. Sometimes I just feel bad without a reason why. I get discouraged, expect too much, give too little, get over concerned, or a little too apathetic. And it’s just plain hard. Along with other challenges, I can’t ever really pinpoint why I am prone to depression and other emotional disorders. But this week, I’ve seen a little clearer on one of the "why’s"...
Heavenly Father loves me, and He loves each one of His children on the earth. He loves us so much that He has permitted us to go through refining trials that will help us be better than we were. And because we go through our personal Gethsemanes, we can share Heavenly Father’s love with others as they go through theirs—because in some ways we’ve been there and we understand. I am not saying that we understand because we made it out to the other side on our own and now have a secret formula for success…but rather, and eternally more significant, we understand our dependency on the Savior a little better. Because our hearts have been broken, the Savior can mold us, expand our hearts, and increase our capacity to love and serve and be patient with others, and to be more like Him.
I forget how merciful trials are. Trials or moments of stretching in our lives is a witness that God trusts us! He knows that we’ll make the best of it! Maybe our trials won’t disappear in an instant…or maybe they will. What I do know is that the timing, the intensity, and the duration of our challenges is up to the Lord. And His plan is perfect. I want to be more grateful and more patient at every turn and blow in life. It’s giving me a chance to grow. President Monson said:
"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.
"This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also to become more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshine and sorrow. Were it not for challenges to overcome and problems to solve, we would remain much as we are, with little or no progress toward our goal of eternal life. We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain.’"
I hope that in sharing a personal challenge of mine, it can help someone else. I still don’t have all the answers, and it’s still very hard some days. But this week, I’ve seen clearer that this is something given me to help me to help others. I can’t tell you how many people we’ve met who describe to us the same exact emotions that I feel and have felt. And we’ve seen many find the fountain of peace and personal strength through the Atonement of Christ...
One investigator told us that when she learned about prayer and began relying on her Savior more, one morning she woke up and finally had the strength to get out of bed. Then she realized that she felt good enough to clean her home… and make her kids food…. And get dressed for the day.. and smile. She was able to sleep well for the first night.. and the next day came and she had even more desire and strength to get out of bed, and clean, and make food, and get dressed and smile. She cried as she told us that it was the first time in years that she had been able to get her head out of the water just enough to find joy and feel happy again.
That’s a miracle to me! It’s such a joy to help others find faith in Jesus Christ. It’s so incredible to see them as they take their first steps towards Him and give up what keeps them from Him. There is nothing like it in all the world.
We’ve met many more families like that this week and we’ve been able to bear our testimonies to them of the strengthening and cleansing power of the Savior’s sacrifice. You could definitely say that it was a great week for us!
One experience I wanted to share last week was a super awesome lesson we had with a new family in our now old area:
We found Sister T while knocking on doors, looking for a different reference. We were so impressed by her receptivity to the gospel. She let us set up an appointment to return and chat with her and her family. She was especially interested in us talking with her husband. He had taken lessons with elders many years before. He has read quite a bit of the Book of Mormon and has a lot of questions.
We were excited for our appointment!
We arrived the next night and were pleasantly surprised by how well we were received by the family. Then the husband walked in and began with all of his questions. What’s this? What’s that? What about him, or her and what do you do, and a million other questions. Although his questions were great, I was afraid that we might not be able to teach, and that it would just be a Q&A session for the father of this family. We were both praying hard for guidance on what we could possibly teach, especially because the discussion had opened a thousand doors for us to talk about.
Then we had a gentle impression to pray.
Almost in the same moment, I visualized in my mind the whole family sitting on the sofa watching the video of the Restoration and the father was crying as he watched the part of Joseph Smith’s first vision. I didn’t say anything to my companion. After this thought came to mind, I wondered how it would be possible, or if it was right, especially not knowing hardly anything about the needs of this family. How would I know?
I almost interrupted the father’s next question, and asked if we could say a prayer to invite the Spirit before sharing a message. As we prayed, I had the same impression come to mind, and I was praying hard for my companion to know what to do. As we said amen, there was a second of silence and my companion blurted out to the family, "Can we watch a video ??"
She pulled out a disc with the video of the restoration on it, and within a few moments the video was up and ready to go. The family had all sat on the sofa to watch the video, and a powerful Spirit entered into their home.
I still hadn’t said anything to my companion - it was such an insignificant thing, but a miracle to me how that lesson transpired.
Although we felt the Spirit so strongly, outwardly the father still seemed hardened. We invited him to be baptized with his family. Everyone accepted—except for him. My companion felt impressed to persist in extending an invitation for him to be baptized. After offering so many defensive responses, he looked away from us for a moment in silence, then looked back and said, "It would be nice if I could receive an answer to know it if is all true. If I did know, I would be baptized. Without a doubt."
That’s the point sir, you can know if it’s true you just have to ask seek and knock!
It was such a difference to hear an honest inquiry….."can I really know that it’s true?" We ended the lesson in a kneeling prayer with the whole family. It was super duper cool.
As we left the house, we talked about the experience we just had. I told my companion what I saw and that she did exactly what she was supposed to even though we didn’t know why. She told me, "I don’t know why but I felt like I had to be persistent with the father even after he said no. But after all his doubts and fears were out of the way, his faith said yes."
Ahhhh. It was the best. The Elders are going to start teaching them now. And we are excited to see where they go from here.
And wooo, I think that I’m running out of time for today, but I just want you all to know that I love each and every one of you. Maybe someone reads this who I don’t know, but I hope that above everything you know that your Heavenly Father loves you, needs you, and knows what you need. He concerns Himself over you, He rejoices over you. You are His greatest work and glory.
There is so much more that I want to share, but this will have to do for today.
Love ya’ll.
Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius
P.S. A man from Boston just walked into the cyber and started talking to us. We helped him get oriented and all, seeing that he’s a newbie to Cuernavaca. How did we know this? Well for one thing he calls the city—CUER VAH NA CA.
I like it. It sounds more exotic like that. Haha.

Sister M and her family on Hermana "Quack's" birthday.

Me and missionaries from Barrio G.

This picture describes our relationship.

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