May 30, 2011
So arrived all safe and sound Tuesday afternoon in Los Trinitarios after a fiasco of directions and winding roads. Of all the areas I´ve seen in my mission, this one by far is the most confusing. Half the streets don´t have signs and NONE of them go in a straight line. But at least I have a companion who knows where she´s going, otherwise I would be completely lost! The ward here is really great and I feel right at home among the members. Hermana Mejia and I have done some adjusting, as being together again is a little different considering we both operate differently now, but we are learning. We´ve done a variety of interesting activities to contact and teach people such as rescuing fish from a gutter with a teenage boy to cleaning a filthy kitchen filled with dirty dishes. It was great! I love serving people almost more than teaching! And Hermana Mejia is really great at taking advantage of any opportunity to serve. This weekend however turned out a little difficult as the majority of people left for the campo since everyone likes to go visit their mothers for mother´s day (it´s the last sunday of the month here). Yesterday we spent the entire afternoon walking around with very little lessons, but we did our best. We also had the opportunity to attend the baptism of two youth who´s extended family are members but their parents are not. It was neat to see this brother and sister enter the waters of baptism together. The little girl, Mirta, reminds me SO much of Lia and everytime I see her I just have to give her a hug because it makes me feel better. Next week we already have a baptism planned for Jerhemi, an 18 year old young man who is SO prepared to be a worthy priesthood holder. He´s been investigating for over a year because his girlfriend is a member and now that he´ll be an adult he can be baptized, and he wants to go on a mission. It´s incredible to see the light in his eyes even though he has yet to be baptized. I´m excited to see him progress as I continue to serve in this area. Overall, things are going pretty well. Each day I become more aware of my faults...sometimes it´s a weary process. But like its says in Ether, the Lord gives us weaknesses to make us strong. I am focusing right now on cultivating a spirit of Peace with me in whatever situation I find myself in. Still have lots of patience to learn as well...but hey, baby steps! Hope everyone is doing well at home! I haven´t gotten very many letters lately, so if you were thinking about shooting me a line, do it! I´m in a news drought from home. :) Love and miss you all!
Posted by Laurie at 7:28 PM
May 24, 2011
As most of you may know, these last few weeks have been very hard on me. However, I want to thank ever single one of you for your prayers and support, as I have felt them and seen the change come in just the past few days. I´m beginning to see a pattern emerge as I recognize Satan doubling his efforts on me right before wonderful miracles happen. Despite that, I am happy to tell you all that I have been feeling much better these last few days, and I am confident that the Lord will continue to help guide me through these dark storm clouds of doubt. Saturday was a very special day as Ines was finally baptized. We were all a little worried because she works outside the city during the week and no one had really been able to talk to her since Wednesday since her cell phone died. But when she showed up at the chapel a mere 15 minutes before the service was supposed to start, we were all grinning from ear to ear. Englibert baptized his mother and she was confirmed yesterday. It was the most spiritual and special baptism I have attended yet and I will be forever grateful that the Lord allowed me to be a small part of it.
In other news, transfer calls came last night and it turns out I´m going to be with my trainer Hna Mejia again, but in a new area called Los Trinitarios. I head out tomorrow morning and I´m excited to learn new things and meet new people. Although I will miss alot of people here in Los Frailes, I am looking forward to change and different challenges. I am quickly learning that I thrive best when I´m scrambling to catch up with things rather than plodding along comfortably. Also, had a funny story to share from a visit we made yesterday. Mercedes is an elderly woman we´ve been visiting with for a little over a month, but has yet to visit church. We had decided to drop her for a time to see if that would motivate her, but then we were close to her house yesterday and decided to pass by. She was thrilled we were there and began asking us questions immediately about the plan of salvation pamphlet we left here. After answering her questions and sharing our testimonies, we asked Mercedes to offer the closing prayer. She said the sweetest prayer and even asked the Lord to bless us with a car so that we wouldn´t have to walk so much in the heat and could visit her more often. Hermana Reay and I could hardly stop ourselves from laughing and left the appointment grinning. It´s pretty special when people offer sincere prayers in your behalf after knowing them for only a few short weeks. I hope she continues to progress after I leave. Yesteray Hermana Reay and I were also able to sing a special musical number in sacrament meeting. We chose to sing I Feel My Savior´s Love, and it was wonderful to bear our testimonies through song to the ward. I love the Spirit music can invite when we sing from our hearts...even if our voices are imperfect.
Overall, the work is...well, work. But I know that this gospel is true and that we never have to fear when we are constantly looking to our Savior and striving to do everything in our power to cumplir...(can´t remember the word in English haha) with His commandments. Thanks again to all of you for your support!
Posted by Laurie at 10:53 AM
May 16, 2011
So this week has quite possibly been the longest and hardest week of my life. But I´m trying to press forward and focus on my blessings as I know it is only when we open our eyes that we truly begin to see the hand of the Lord in our lives. Had an interesting experience yesterday as I work up in the morning very confused because my right eye just didn´t want to open. When I got out of bed and looked in the mirror, I was horrified to see that my eye was puffy, red, and swollen shut. So of course when I showed up to church all of the ward was in a flurry suggesting possible theories of what it could be and what remedies there were. I decided to stick with a benadryl and leave it alone...which worked just fine. It´s back to normal size today and just slightly puffy, but we still have no idea what it was. The work in Los Frailes continues to try us as we clean our investigator pool and try to coordinate appointments with members who don´t often come when they say they will. It can be very discouraging. However, after lots of tears, prayers, and hard work, Ines is set to be baptized this Saturday. Working with Ines has been special for me as I was one of the missionaries who baptized her son Englibert. With the change he´s made in his life thanks to the gospel, Ines was inspired to investigate the church even though she practically vowed to never step foot inside it. She reads her book of mormon faithfully and continually hungers for more knowledge. She will face some economic trials as she will have to quit a job in order to join the church, but I know the Lord will bless her for her sacrifice. Each day my testimony grows stronger of how aware the Lord is of His children. He KNOWS us, He KNOWS our situations, and He is constantly guiding us with an ever patient hand as long as we´re willing to follow Him.
Posted by Laurie at 1:05 PM
May 9, 2011
Querida Familia y Amigos,
Fue una gran bendicion a escucharles ayer en el telefono! Espero que paso una buena dia del madre mama y que sabe que te aprecio tanto. Ok, that´s enough spanish. Sometimes I find it hard to switch over from typing my letters to the president in spanish and then typing in english. I hope you all laugh at me good and long when I get home and can´t even speak my own langauge. Anyways, this week was both a blessing and a trial as we finally moved houses. Now that we have running water we´re much happier, but moving everything was pretty exhausting and I´m still battling a runny nose and cough so it´s been interesting. However, I am very much enjoying our new porch with the hammock my companion put up, so there are perks! This week we also fought alot with discouragement as it appears very few of our investigators want to progress. So we´re cleaning the pool again and starting from scratch. I know there are people out there that are prepared, we just have to find them. I´ve also been diving into old conference editions and finding so much direction from those talks. Here´s a few....
Hope and happiness and joy are not products of circumstance, but of faith in the Lord. Faith requires work and comes by righteousness and obedience, not by miracles or mere belief. -Elder Andersen
To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven. -President Monsen
We might see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever...The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternites. -Elder Wirthlin
We don´t acquire eternal life in a sprint, this is a race of endurance. Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. -Elder Uchtdorf
I´ve drawn alot of strength from those quotes over the past week and come to realize that through the trials I´m experiencing out here in the mission field, the Lord truly is helping to refine and mold me...but He´s got His work cut out for Him. :) I want you all to know though that I am so incredibly grateful for all your support, love, prayers, and letters. On the hardest of days I draw strength from all of those. I know that this gospel is true and that like Elder Wirthlin says, it is a gospel of transformation. We only have to open the door and let our Savior in to see what marvelous things He can do with our lives. I love my Savior and I know that this is His gospel. My testimony of Joseph Smith grows stronger each week as I bear testimony of him and his divine calling as the prophet of the restoration. I feel so blessed to live in the last days where we have a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monsen, and other apostles leading this church under the direction of Christ himself. I hope you all never hestitate to go out and share your testimony with others in whatever setting you may find yourself. Share the good news...there´s nothing better to do with our lives.
Posted by Laurie at 11:58 AM
May 2, 2011
Another week has come and gone and here we are in May! I wish I could say this week was more exciting than last week and the work picked up, but it stalled yet again. It seems like we work hard all week without seeing much success, but then we always have lots of investigators at church on Sunday. It´s kind of ironic. However, right now we are really hoping to see the baptism of Ines in the coming weeks. She is the mother of my baptism from two transfers back, Englibert. At the beginning she didn´t even want anything to do with the church as she has worked as the secretary for another church for years, but once she saw the change in her adult son, she opened up alot. Now she´s reading the Book of Mormon faithfully and attending church. We´re praying hard that she can find a new job soon and be baptized. Another blessing yesterday was the appearance of Fanny and Valerie in church. I´ve been visiting Fanny and Valerie´s house since I got to the area as Fanny´s sister Flor was baptized just before I arrived but immediately fell inactive. The sisters were initially visiting Fanny when Flor began accepting the lessons and Fanny dropped them. However, after attending church yesterday for the first time, both Fanny and her daughter Valerie are alot more open to listening and we hope to see progress with them as well. We also had a neat lesson last night wih Paula and Alvin, who told us they´d been talking to their neighbor Alexander about our visits and how different we are from other missionaries in other churches. Turns out Alexander has a member friend and once visited the church, so he also joined us for our lesson last night and was full of questions. So we offered to visit him and his wife later on in the week. It´s so amazing to see how the Lord works through people and brings us all together. Yesterday I was able to get up and bear my testimony as it is most likely my last fast and testimony meeting in Los Frailes, but who knows. My mission seems so long in some moments and so short in others. But I am so grateful for the lessons I am learning each day and especially for the special people I am meeting. Although the way has been fraught with trials of language and cultural differences, companionship trials, sicknesses, and difficult living conditions, I know it is all for a worthy cause. I love this gospel and I grow more aware of the great sacrifice of our Savior and the love our Heavenly Father each day.
Posted by Laurie at 12:41 PM