Monday, July 30, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 30/7/12

Hola mi Familia asombrosa!!!  :)

Sunday night the zone leaders called and I do have changes.  Me voy de Calvario manana, y no tengo ni idea si es por el "boonies"o por la ciudad.  But this is what I got this week, '"You'll be called as a senior companion.  IN a new area. you for all you are doing.  Pte B'"'

I still don't know if he means I'm finally leaving Calvario (to a new area) or if it's a recently opened area. I don't feel really sad yet, and think it's because this time I actually feel like I've done what I was supposed to do..  But I'm grateful and excited and nervous and at the same time calm.  Maybe it's because I felt all the stress in my neck muscles yesterday and it finally mostly came out with the phone call... and Hna S's massage skills.  I am so grateful for her!  For some reason I haven't started bawling yet, but it will probably come out tomorrow in the Terminal (bus station).  We are both very very very grateful for the time we've had, and even more grateful that we'll be able to still be close friends in Utah.  

Blessings this week, and I'm so grateful for your prayers.  After two or three weeks of hiding, we were able to meet with two of the families that were hiding.  Last night we visited a Familia and they updated us on what has been going on and we left with them feeling edified.  It was hard saying goodbye to Ethan the four year old.  He is just as cute as can be, with the biggest most excited smile every time we come, and eager to give us four or five handshakes for every hello and goodbye.  :)  They have thought about visiting Utah, and if you could invite them to dinner and Temple Square, I would be thrilled to pieces.  :)  (I don't know when they would go--I think it's in the "that would be nice" stage).

We also gathered together a gift bag with little items to give to Sandra and Faustino and their family to celebrate their baby.  We took it by last night, and were so grateful Faustino came to the door.  We squealed and smiled when he told us Sandra is in the hospital with her baby and gets back today.  Hna S is planning on going tomorrow to give service with her new comp.  So grateful when he told us we were welcome their any time.

And yesterday our jaws hit the floor in sacrament meeting when one of Pablo's twin brothers, Roberto, was sitting in one of the front rows with an RM friend that goes to a neighboring ward.  When Roberto saw how shocked we were he had a good laugh.  What an amazing miracle.  So we're going to surprise him with a jello cake tonight.  I've decided it's worth throwing little parties when somebody actually keeps a commitment, or in this case, decides on his own to do something.  Have I told you how shocked we were? :)

Also very grateful for what we've been learning from Garrett, an RM in the ward.  He has been helping us understand how we can help people WANT to keep commitments rather than just telling them what they need to do (the mistake I made with Jose and Faustino a couple weeks ago).  I think of it like showing the bulls the grain bucket instead of cracking the whip.  It was easy to feel stressed (Why am I just getting this now when I only have 8 months left?!), but also so grateful that I actually DO have eight months left in which to put this in practice.  

It has also been a major eye-opener, again, to understand that just like for a strong companionship we need to be friends, it's important to actually be the INVESTIGATOR'S friend.  And as we've focused on being their best friends, we're seeing them open up again.  I'm so grateful.

Dearest family, you are amazing!  Thank you for telling me how you're doing, and WHAT you're doing!  I'm so grateful that you are so kind and good and giving and doing your best to do and be good.  You are heroes and examples for me!  I testify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ LIVES!  He knows and loves us!  And He wants us to be like Him, and as such He Atoned for us so that we can repent, be forgiven, and change and move on.  Not only move on, but move more towards the glorious future He has prepared for us.


--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 23/7/12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!

Two fotos this week!  Last week we were pleased as punch Hermana I asked us to climb one of her trees to cut off a flower stalk (this tree flowers rarely and the flowers can be sold for quite a bit).  While it worked out that Hna S was better equipped to hack with the machete than I was, it was still the first plant work I've done since pulling weeds in the CCM.  And climbing the tree in a skirt was a blast.  :)  :)  :)  I was very content.  And the other foto--Huck, I FOUND DRAGON FRUIT!  And now I understand why you told me the flavor was so mild.  It almost has no flavor.  So it makes since why the plant evolved to have such BRIGHT purple fruit--it knew the fruit didn't taste good for anything so it had to use color to attract the anamalitos to eat the fruit.  This is what biology does for a person.  :)  

This week was hard and good.  There is only a week until cambios, and I don't want to go.  I'm sort of in denial.  Practically all of our investigators are hiding from us.   So we're working as hard as we can to help them KNOW that we love them and we're not here to just chuck them in the baptismal faunt.  I've learned so much.  I've learned, finally, with only 8 months left, that I AM NOTHING without the Spirit.  There is NOTHING about ME that would ever ever EVER convert ANYONE.  And this is why obedience with exactness is so crucial.  Because when we're obedient we're able to have the constant companionship and gifts of the Holy Ghost.  So my incredible amazing friend and companion and I have started a "Forty Day Fast" abstaining from all the behaviors that are keeping us from having the full and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  I would appreciate your prayers for the strength to do this.  I've made a list, and it is extensive.  I need divine help remembering it all.

But again, I am so grateful for the beautiful gift our Savior gave us through His Atonement.  Through the process of repentance we apply His sacrifice in our lives and are made clean.  And we are able to move forward in our lives, and be happy.  And not only happy now, but happy for EVER as we change to become more like Him.  And the beautiful ordinance of the sacrament is how we renew our covenants with God every week.  Every Sunday.  I am so grateful.  Yesterday was a spiritual feast of love and learning during church, and I am so grateful for the blessing of knowing Father forgives us of our weaknesses when we do all we can to repent, and then we are made clean and move on.  I am so grateful.  

I testify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ LIVES!  He FULFILLED EVERYTHING He needed to do to save the children of men, and now it is up to us to do our part to choose to follow Him, apply His love and sacrifice in our lives, and be made perfect through Him.  And all this so that we can realize our potential as sons and daughters of the most powerful Father and Creator in the universe.  You have the potential to be a god and goddess.  And whatever sacrifice you need to make now to reach that incredible potential later is worth it.  

I LOVE YOU!  I BELIEVE IN YOU!  And more importantly, I testify of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  HE LIVES!

--Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 16/7/12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!  

I love you all so much!  I'm so grateful for the good you're doing and amazed at all that's going on. 

I am so grateful for Hermana S.  She has taught me so much, and I can't wait for you all to meet her.  One of her most amazing gifts is how utterly humble she is.  Humble like the apostles.  The humble confidence where she understands that this work is NOT about us at all, but this work is ALL about CHRIST and saving our brothers and sisters.  It was easy this week for me to start to feel discouraged with the President telling me I can stay forever in Calvario (I'd told him I'd love to stay more)--and I understand why and I can smile, but it's hard to think about leaving and I also was starting to  dawdle in the selfish mire of discouragement because we don't have any baptisms in sight.  But Hermana S, bless her forever and ever, has reminded and taught me that this work is not ours, and success is NOT measured just by numbers.  I am so grateful for her.  I am so grateful.  

President Bautista did tell me he wants me to start thinking about training.  That meant the world to me.  It won't be this next transfer, but maybe after that.  

We did have miracles this week.  We found a mother and daughter, both Maria, that love the Book of Mormon.  And a nice man Arturo actually asked us what times our meetings are.  We've been singing more hymns to contact and people love them.  

Sandra told us that when she first met us, her baby lept in her womb and she felt joy.  Reminded me of John the Baptist and Elizabeth.  An incredibly tender experience and now I'm trying to think of a contacting method with other women who are obviously expectant.  :)  :)  :)

Faustino didn't get work off, but we're still working with them.  The member family who has befriended them have been above and beyond angels.  I testify that your power and influence as members of Christ's true church to befriend, love, uplift, and inspire your brothers and sisters is incalculable.  And with your courageous encouragement and testimony, they receive strength and desires to endure and fulfill commitments.  Please do all you can to be disciples of Christ at all times in all places, and NEVER be afraid to open your mouths and testify of Him.

Funny story:  We had called Evaline to ask her something, and she told us they'd moved houses.  Five minutes later we were near their house and she and her mom came out.  Evaline saw us and acutally ducked down behind a car to hide from us, and her mom waved like It's good to see you!  We looked at each other, laughing, and then went to go talk to them, and Evaline tried to dignitly walk out from behind the car.  We've been laughing for three days.  :)  

I love you all so much!  I testify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ LIVES!  He knows and loves us!  He blesses us with opportunities to learn and grow, and when we recognize our weaknesses and repent, He helps us change.  This work to save our brothers and sisters is the most exhaustive work I've ever had.  But I have never felt so much love.  And the sweet moments push the hard times away.  This work is important.  It is Crucial.  And when we give our all, Christ gives us what we need to do it in His way.  He is the Savior.  

I love you!  Siga adelante in your life missions and journey!  This time is so short with eternal consequences and blessings, and we have got to give our all now!  I LOVE YOU TONS!!!  

Hermana Ivy [-]

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hola de Hermana, 9/7/12

Hola mi familia asombrosa!  :)

This week flew by, and we are so grateful to have the chance to rest today.  Next week we are probably going to Chicabal again, so we'll probably be online late.

This week was crazy.  Our manipulative investigator told us that if we attended her church she would attend ours.  So Wednesday night we showed up in front of her house ready to go to our first ever Evangelica meeting, and she was fairly shocked we'd actually showed up.  The preacher was more shocked when we walked in the door.  The church is a bit smaller than the Little Red Church, more like a big salon of a house with plastic chairs and the drum and piano set in front.  We sat in the second row.  Loud energetic songs with messages about the Savior I couldn't really understand.  My favorite line I did understand was "Nuevamente, Jesus!" They didn't dance, but they still rock it out to the songs...  After an hour, the preacher gave his message.  So interesting.  Preach My Gospel hits the nail on the head when it says powerful testimonies do not come from the loudness of preaching (or the spit, in the case of this preacher), but in the conviction of the testimony.  Like Elder Holland.  He's passionate, has conviction AND authority and that's why I get chills every time I listen to him.  This preacher was very very very animated, walking back and forth, grand hand and arm movements, and more spit, and VERY loud.  

After he finished preaching, he called out to his congregation that he could give them blessings.  Dear Evaline was the first to go up.  She probably said something wonderful like Ï think the Book of Mormon is true, and he put his hand on her forehead and proclaimed "Your faith has saved you" and other stuff I didn't understand.  Someone was standing behind her, and then she collapsed on the floor and they kindly put a large white cloth over her.  We looked at each other like, oh great, now what are we going to do?, and after about five minutes she fluttered her eyes and slowly got up.  I don't get it.  Just the phrase "received spirits ye did not understand" from DyC 50 tells me what the source is.  And the preacher continued blessing the other people, and Evalines uncle, a Deacon, stood behind them waiting to catch them if they fell.  After he blessed his congregation, he was kind and came to us and blessed us too (hand on our arms).  

Then the preacher announced that he and others were going to travel to Las Vegas to preach the word, and he called members, including women, to go forward to bless them while another women prayed blessings out upon them.  So one read out loud a prayer, while about five others were laying their hands on the men's head's, arms, shoulders, also praying and pronouncing blessings.  I had never up until this whole experience understood why when so many of our Church members talk about the Church, they say, "La iglesia de Dios es una iglesia de orden."

And as we walked Evalin to her home, she happily chatted how we needed to repent or we wouldn't be saved, and that Joseph Smith didn't exist.  

One totally crazy night.  Glad we felt the Spirit as we went home.  If we can't contact or teach Carlos, her companion, this week, we're going to move on.  

Last night we were blessed with a miracle to find Alex, the father I taught with Hermana M about three months ago.  He got home EXACTLY as we were in front of his house and he couldn't hide from us.  :)  He totally opened up and talked to us for an hour.  He amazes me, and I would appreciate your prayers for him to read and feel the Spirit confirm that the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was called of God to be the prophet of the Restauration.

BLESSINGS from Sandra and Faustino, the family that contacted us last domingo.  Faustino says he knows the Book of Mormon is true, and the only reason we don’t' have baptismal fechas is because the fecha is three days from when Sandra is supposed to have her baby.  (She says she has "dies meses" and she's so big it's believable).  :)  We're going to fast that Faustino can change his workdays to have domingos off, and if you'll pray for them and that he'll receive that change in his schedule that would be a saving grace.  :)  Sandra assisted church with us yesterday, her daughters Cindy and Juli loved primary, and the Familia C are the PERFECT members to befriend them.  We are so grateful.  :)

I love you all so much! I'm so proud of the good you're doing!  Hannah, I wish I could have heard you in marching band!  Way to go for committing to and fulfilling such a demanding (and awesome!) organization!

I love you!  I testify Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer!  He lives and LOVES us!  And you are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father!!!  And He has given us everything we need to become like Him!!!  


--Hermana Ivy [-]