Monday, January 30, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 30/1/12

Hola mi family!  

This week was really good.  On Thursday we were able to have a multi zone conference with a member of the Area Presidency, top general authorities of the church with stewardship over our area, Presidente Falabella.  It was SO GOOD.  And I understood pretty much every thing he said, contextually if not word for word, a MAJOR improvement over the time he spoke to us in the CCM when I had to listen to the translator.  

He showed us our mission stats for the last year, and honestly, we have a LOT we need to do differently to achieve the results we want.  The mission family baptism rate is really low, and Pres Falabella drilled it into us that we must baptize FAMILIES and MEN because families can go to the temple, and men can receive the Priesthood.  And when strong men come into the church, families and women come too.  *Emphasis on teaching and baptizing men because although women are often tons more receptive and in tune with the Spirit, their husbands are much less likely to follow their example.  And we are NOT here to split families apart through the Gospel, we're here to unite families and make them stronger.

Pres. Falabella thundered NEVER to teach a lesson without the father present.  I wish I'd known this before we found and taught Luisa.  She wants to be baptized but her mother doesn't want her to be baptized before she’s 18.  I wish wish wish we had insisted on teaching with her mother, the head of their household, present.  Because now we're trying to receive inspiration for how we can teach the mother, and I feel like it would have been much easier had we started teaching with her from the start.  And it is true that it is pure respect to emphasize teaching the head of the household.

Another thing he taught that hit me so hard is that different results require different actions.  If I want to achieve results that are different and higher than the norm, I have got to find and do those different things that are inspired by God.  And that extra different effort isn't easy, but like the quote he told us, The easy path makes men and rivers crooked/twisted.  

Tambien, Presidente Falabella said those who give missionaries references before their mission get references on their mission.

Also, I loved learning that an expression for "to give birth to" in espanol is "darse a luz" or "to give light to".  I LOVE this.  I LOVE how light is connected so intimately to life, and how it's the same in the scriptures, with the extra added meaning that Light is Life and Life is Christ.  D&C 88

I testify that Jesus Christ LIVES.  He IS the LIGHT of the world.  He overcame Death for US, and through Him and His Atonement we can be cleansed from all that is wrong and be made whole.  We can have eternal life with Him and our families forever as we choose to follow His example and keep His commandments. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all TONS!  

Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 23/1/12

Hola mi famila!  :)

This week has been interesting.  I got whiplash from a second bout of a cold or flu, and am just receiving my voice back.  Tender mercies and disappointments.  And funny chistes.  

We stopped by Vinicio's house and during his hug, he told me "Usted es mi hermanita favorita".  :)  Wish I could tell him he is my favorite person here too.  

We visited a recent convert to ask her if she would accompany us during citas with a senora we're teaching.  I had a fairly strong coughing fit, and the convert grabbed a bottle of a eucalyptus concoction to cure what ailed me.  I felt a bit like  a baby bird getting a worm stuffed down my throat as she spoon fed the stuff to me.  While it tasted okay, I had diarrhea the next day.  I told Hermana S the stuff isn't good for gringas and offered it to her, and she happily accepted.  :)

Hermana S gave me a great idea.  She said she was told to buy two journals for throughout her life.  One in which to record her dreams, and the other to record all the blessings she receives.  And whenever possible, ask someone to take notes in the journal when she is receiving the blessings.  

Luis didn't come to church either of the past two Sundays, and we didn't set up another cita with him.  Atonces, we don't have his telephone or his home direction, and I am praying for another "jacket experience" to find him, or that he'll think to go talk to the members in whose house we taught him.  Or that he'll call us on a public telephone.  We need your prayers.  

Luisa DID assist yesterday, and has received almost all the lessons.  We're going to work with her so that she will have a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon, because that's the only thing left she needs.  She is awesome, and I love her.  I want to work with her to go do baptisms in the temple as soon as possible (usually a week) after her baptism because temples are a fortress against all the temptations of the devil.  I hope you are all going to the temple as often as you possibly can.  I probably won't be able to until the end of my mission, because our area authorities told us our work is for the living and not the dead....  understandable.  (sigh)  :)

I found the scripture reference I was looking for!  Still want to study it.  D&C 84:38 "And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him."

Another phrase I've thought a LOT about: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  

From Christ, "Father, forgive Hermana Ivy, for she knows not at all how much that unintentionally hurt her companion", "Father, forgive Hermana Ivy for she knows not how much she offends thee by [not doing or doing something]".  "Father, forgive Hermana Ivy, for she knows not how little that thing matters in relation to Thy Work."

I testify Jesus Christ lives, and it is HIS work that is most important.  I've learned when someone is hurt or offended by me, I really have done something, intentional or not, to hurt them.  And that I need to change me and change MY relationship with my Savior.  It's when I focus on my relationship with my Savior, and not preoccupy myself with others, that I am happy.  And He truly overcame the world and because of His Victory we can and should have JOY here and now.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

I love you all LOTS!

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 16/1/12

Hola mi familia! 

It's been a really good week.  We're starting to see results of people coming to Christ, and I am so excited.  :)  Yesterday Luisa assisted all three hours of church, and the young women were really awesome about welcoming her and inviting her to mutual.  She is our only temple reference who is progressing.  She is totally awesome, and I'm excited that she can go to the temple after her baptism. 

Remember about a month ago when I told you about Luis, the young man who called us and asked us if he could buy a Book of Mormon?  Well, we hadn't heard from him, and we couldn't call him because he didn't want to give us his telephone number.  Well on Tuesdayish, we were leaving a tienda when I did a double take when a young man with a grey hoodie passed me.  "Luis?" "Luis?""  And it was him!  I didn't understand why he didn't call us, but this last week we had two lessons with him!  And I'm grateful to learn the importance of being obedient with strictness because earlier the day we ran into him, I resisted the temptation to go look at a black jacket I was sure would fit perfectly.  If I hadn’t been in the other store exactly when Luis was...  anyway, I testify that when we do all we can to be obedient, we receive blessings.  And when we are obedient with exactness, we can receive miracles.  And with Luis, I didn't hear or feel any strong promptings, I just knew it wasn't the best to buy a jacket not on pday.  The Holy Ghost really does use gentle promptings.

We've also been working with less active members of the barrio.  I've learned that for several, they had fear about coming to church when they didn't know anyone.  I’ve remembered how it was sometimes hard to go to my singles wards when I felt like I didn't have good friends.  Please please make an effort to love and say hi to all the newbies you see in meetings, and let them know they are loved! 

I love you all so much!  I am grateful for your love and support!  I testify Jesus Christ lives and He knows and Loves you!  I'm so proud of all the work you're doing!

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 9/1/12

Hola mi familia!  

More photos and less palabras hoy!  

The first photo is me, Hermana G, and our latina companeras.

The second photo is me trying not to cry after the abuela kissed me on the cheek after we sang to her Christmas Eve.

The third is after we sang to Hermana R Christmas Eve, where we sang with the light of one candle.  

The fourth is me with Hermana V, who owns a panaderia.  In front of her TOTALLY AWESOME GIANT WOOD FUELDED OVEN!!!  SO COOL!  I love the little panaderias scattered everywhere.  You would never know there are huge ovens in the back by how small the fronts of the stores are.  And they always smell HEAVENLY, fresh bread, as we walk past.

The last photo is of us and the other hermanas in our area, after we were slow to leave the capilla after our zone meeting, after they locked us in when they went to lunch.  It was pretty hilarious.  :)    

Last Monday Hermana S and I woke up walloped out of the blue with head colds.  Hers was a LOT worse than mine, and I attribute in part not getting a lot more sick to eating a tortilla with honey and 2 or 3 raw cloves of garlic Tues-Sat.  Yeah, no vampires around our little apartment... :)  and I feel a lot better.  :)

Yesterday Marcela assisted church!  She has two little children who are members, and she wants to be baptized.  I am so excited for her and her husband to be married so that she can be baptized, and hope that as we teach the husband he too will want to come to Christ.

Yesterday during church the phrase "All that my Father hath" came to my mind, and I haven't been able to find the scripture.  I think it is preceded by "And the kingdom is yours".  Could you try to find it for me?

I love you all so much!  I testify Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and through Him we can do all that is expedient and we truly can be angels in doing His work.  

I love you!!!

--Hermana Ivy [-] 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 2/1/12

Hola mi familia fantastica!  :)

Feliz Ano Nuevo!  :)   I hope you'll write me some of your dreams and plans, and maybe you'd be interested in my dreams for this next month (100 baptisms, 14 referencias received every week, members in every lesson... ah...  Well, at least we're optimistic, working, and blessed with members who give all they have.)  

About dreams, we had lunch with the Familia De Leon this week, and I am in love with 9 year old Vinicio.  He got out his worn-from-use picture book with animals in Spanish and English and helped me practice English.  He has practically everything about all those animals memorized (sound familiar?), and when I asked him what he wanted to do when he's older, he said he wants to discover and name new animals (another deja vous), and after lunch he pulled out two childrens encyclopidias and showed me all the dinosaurs.  I was astounded that at his age he already has the genealogic eras memorized.  I told him there are dinosaur fossils a few hours from my house, and he thought that was so cool.  I was floored at how much he knows, and told his mom how impressed I was.  She told me they don't have money to send him to college, and he won't have the opportunities I have at my home.

Atonces, I am more grateful now for the opportunities I have, and grateful you are making plans to accomplish your dreams.  I want to teach Vinicio the principles of having an eye of faith, and exercising faith.  

I love you all so much!  I testify that we are children of a loving Father in Heaven who KNOWS and LOVES us!  He knows our full potential, and how to help us reach that potential, and also our gifts and talents that we can use to bless and inspire those around us, and to help them reach their full potential too!  He wants ALL His children to get back to Him, and so sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who has prepared a way for us to return to live with them and become like them!  And His way is the ONLY way, and there is only ONE way.  I testify that His church is governed by Him now as it was anciently, with prophets and apostles, revelation, and His priesthood authority and power.  And the evidence that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His only true and living church on earth today is the Book of Mormon, which all people can hold, read, ponder over, and pray to God and ask if it is true.  And if they ask with a sincere heart, in faith, with true intentions, they will receive an answer from the Holy Ghost that yes, that book is true and of God.  I testify the Book of Mormon is true.  I testify that Jesus Christ lives!, and is our Redeemer and Savior.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you TONS!

--Hermana Ivy [-]