Monday, June 26, 2017
Hola Familia! This week has been a major turning point the area!.
Highlight of the week was studying in the apartment and some rascals decided to play with their toy trucks right outside our door. Very noisy. But at one point one of them must have seen the Jesus picture on our door and said, "Is that God?" and the other kid said, "Who knows, but I like his beard."
I heard this quote from Dan Clark, a BYU professor who said, "Work like it all depends on you, and pray like it all depends on the Lord." So that's what we have been doing!
I decided that we need to kick it into gear if we want this branch to grow more. And I have felt that it will grow through convert baptisms. So with that being said we prayed and decided that we must find families to baptize...key word is FIND. There is a mission statistic that out of every 15 new investigators, one gets baptized. My mission average has been finding 3-5 news a week (with an occasional 6 or 8). I did the math and I have baptized once about every 3 weeks of my mission. The statistic adds up right? So on Thursday we decided that we were going to find like crazy through more bold, more spiritual, on-the-spot lessons. By the end of the week we had gone from 2 news to 12! Many of which were member referrals and families who are prepared! We did many things that we sometimes shy away from (like stopping people in their paths and knocking doors). It was so much fun. We know that if it is the Lord's will that we can do the same this week AND put at least one of those people on solid bap-date, and hopefully more!
We went to Luis' house and taught him that God is his Heavenly Father, again. This time we explained what that truly means. That Heavenly Father literally created his spirit. He raised him in the spirit world for eons of time. He knows Luis better than anyone on earth will ever know him. He loves him and it breaks His heart when any of us forget that divine relationship. Then someday we will come back to Him and He will call us by name. All of our memories from the pre-mortal life will come flooding back. We will REMEMBER that HE LOVES US. That we NEVER were alone. He is always there. The spirit was so strong and he opened up about many life experiences that have directly effected his conversion that he had never shared. He said that when he was younger he had a very strong trust in God even though nobody had taught that to him. Case and point? I think yes.
He also was inspired as he helped plant flowers at the temple last week with the branch. We had arranged for the mission leader and a recent convert from a YSA branch to be there. They did a GREAT job fellow-shipping Luis. Luis said of the experience, "Coffee and tithing are nothing. I'm being so selfish! I should just do what the YSA guys said and get baptized...don't ya think?" That's a statement I can definitely agree with.
We are trying to use the temple for conversion more and more. We have had an FHE with our branch to get people started on family history. One woman found out that her parents who passed away are already sealed! And she isn't sealed to them! Everyone was so excited. We have also been starting with "the end in mind" with many of our investigators by preparing them for the temple and doing family history right off the bat- and it is working beautifully!
We have received a lot of guidance from zone conferences about focusing on identity, revelation, and Jesus Christ in the first lesson! We taught a former this week and she said, through her tears, "I have never understood this until now." Even I got choked up sharing the first vision. I will never forget that spirit!
I went on exchanges with Sister Hubbard this week! It's nice because we have the same area, she is just English and I am Spanish. So I still had chances of finding Spanish people to teach! We asked everyone that we saw for referrals and through that we found a less active, un-recorded, FAMILY for our branch! Such a miracle!
Finally, we did a youth fireside was INCREDIBLE. I have only felt the spirit that strong on rare occasions. We put it together with the english sisters. All of the youth submitted questions for the missionaries. We narrowed it down to a few quesions and invited Luis to answer a few from an investigators perspective. We all gathered in a circle and shared answers to their awesome questions. We talked about what to expect at the MTC, how to prepare (repentance), how to feel the spirit, how to be worthy of the priesthood, what our hardest trials on the mission have been, sister Hazen shared her conversion story, and Luis shared his. Sister Hubbard stopped the discussion many times to point out the spirit that we were feeling and ask inspired questions. And the best part was that Luis told the whole group that he would soon be a member! If anything has been done in Santa Fe it is that MANY youth now have STRONG desires to serve missions. One youth was asked, "would you come again if we did it in a few months?" She said, "Heck I'd come again if you did it tomorrow!". I would strongly recommend this to any ward and stake. It was such a wonderful experience!
There are so many miracles I can hardly count! Just know that the Lord is working here in Santa Fe. I feel so humbled to be a part of this work. Next transfer we will see many enter into the waters of baptism who will be a great strength to the branch.
We went on THE BEST 7 mile hike this morning! Hermana Wallis and I ran back down the mountain. It actually felt like freedom...until I sprained my ankle and got my knees all bloody. So fun though. zero regrets
We tried to find a less active, but this mess was their address. hoping they don't actually live here....but i thought, hey i'm a trashy missionary, might as well snap a photo with this trashy "house".