First off to catch up with thank you´s :)
Thank you Grandpa Dougie and Nana for your recent letter, thank you Grandma Rhead for your letter and fun newspaper insert about the Paraguayan orchestra, Amy and Sara for your letters AND CONGRATS AMY I was so excited to find out you are pregnant!!! Thanks to Katie, Kyle, Sweeney´s, Wrights, and fam for the letters, Thanks Lizzie and kids... so fun to see pics and all. I love my family. Thank you Megan and kids for you fun letters and drawings. I think that´s it for the past few months... letter wise. Love you all so much, your letters seriously make my life! It´s like Christmas!
Speaking of Christmas, this week has felt like Christmas a little bit. Just been playing Christmas (church focused don´t flip) music and it has been a little chilly and over cast the past couple days I LOVE these days.
But let´s get down to the good stuff... this week was unreal. To start out, we visited a family (a reference from Hno Flor) whose 7 year old daughter just died from an accident about 2 weeks ago. Famila Reyes is their name (Alberto and Ramona). Everytime we meet someone named Alberto I already feel like I have a special connection with them Dad. :) (Steve baptized Alberto Medina when he was on his mission in Argentina, and Alberto is an American citizen now and is part of our family) Anyway this family is taking the death of their daughter really hard and it is hard to give someone faith when they are just bawling their eyes out hopelessly saying, ¨I don´t want to have faith or believe there is a God.¨ Hermana Goimarac and I bore testimony of the Plan and tried to comfort them through testimony of the Savior and how he knows exactly what they are going through. Our first visit with them Hno Flor (whose kids are all inactive and struggling right now) and his daughter Gabriella came with us. It was so neat cuz she shared a bit of testimony and I could tell the strings that use to be torn were being mended in such sensative moment. It is so powerful for those with weak testimonies to bear testimony because you feel it being strengthened. She said she will try and come back to church. Anyway back to the Reyes family, at the end of our first visit with them Alberto shook my hand with tears streaming down his face and said that I remind him (or have the same smile) as his daughter. My heart ached for them. To think about losing one of my family members (KAte or Nick or Nate) I couldn´t bear it. I admired their strength to at least listen to us. I know it brought them peace and I have no doubt in my mind that what ever trial we are facing in this life it´s nothing the Savio doesn´t already know. He overcame the world. (John 16:33)
Second of all, we have an investigator Natalia Rivarola, WHO IS INCREDIBLE! She is the mom of Ale y Sofia (I think I have told you about her before). Anyway, she has had an addiction to drugs and drinking for the past 15 years and the past couple months we have been teaching her on and off. It was unreal the lesson we had with her the other day. She has had such a change of heart. We set goals in the Palabra de Sabiduria folleto al otra semana and she has only drunk like two times and has been cutting back a TON on cigarettes. She said right before we came she was headed to buy some but then she saw us walking up to her house. We taught her about the power of the atonement and using D&C 58:2-4. The Lord gives us tribulation to better us. He can see the outcome when we can´t. She has been reading so much in the Book of Mormon and is LOVING it. She marks it and the other night was writing en su diario. She said I am writing my testimony... what I want to share at my baptism, because my heart is so full. How cute is that! Oh seriously my heart was brim with joy. Then she tells us (and she cries all the time... so sensitive to the spirit)with tears in her eyes that she wants more than anything, and not for anyone else but for her sake, to be clean. She said, I don´t want to be before Heavenly Father after this life and stand guilty at the judgement day. She gets it. She gets the purpose of this life, of the atonement, of this gospel, baptism. Salvation is personal and will always be, but the Savior is our advocate. She expressed to us how grateful she is for our help in helping her. I never though I (of all people) would be able to help someone overcome the addiction of drugs. The atonement is incredible. I know it isn´t me but that I am only a small tool by which the Lord is able to accomplish his work.
Third, now THIS was probably the sweetest part of my mission yet. We are teaching a cute couple and their two little girls (Cristian and Celia, Ema (3, reminds me of Boo from Monsters Inc.) and Jasmine (7, brilliant... read like half the intro to el Libro de Mormon). Anyway, they are progressing faster than I have EVER seen anyone progress. They are so open to listen and accept what we have to teach and fulfill commitments. Cristian says it is unreal that his wife is getting interested in something spiritual, he said she has been reading the Book of Mormon at night. Celia says Cristian has always been the religious one in the relationship. Anyway, our lesson the other day was off the charts!!! I wish I could have recorded it somehow, Hna Goimarac and I joked that we would listen to it over and over again for the rest of our lives. That´s how good it was. The spirit was just incredible. During the lesson is when I had the sweetest moment of my mission. He was expressing to us that right before we came he was reading the Book of Mormon and contemplating the fact that this Book could be true. He said, ¨ I feel something incredible inside that is hard to describe.¨ I had the thought to share Alma 32:28. The moment we did he sat in silence, then looked up at me and asked, ¨Did you prepare that before hand?¨ ... no! oh it was the most satisfying, gratifying, and joyous moment yet in my mission. It was such a small thought but I knew it was good and followed it. He said it was EXACTLY how he is feeling. I am learning to just follow those good instincts and learning that it really is the Spirit. It is the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Hna Goimarac and I read a talk in the August Liahona by Elder Dallin H. Oaks on the spirit and recieving revelation. He said, ¨We pray continuously for guidance, but we shouldn´t expect continuous revelation.¨ Hna Goimarac had written in the side, ¨We have the constant companionship, not revelationship of the Holy Ghost.¨ It is so true. We need to trust that those good feelings/thoughts that we think are us are us and they are influenced by the Holy Ghost because we are living righteously. Follow them!
Also, we called them yesterday morning to see if they were still planning on coming to church, only to find they were in the midst of reading the Book of Mormon together. What! Who does that! Seriously they are like already members! Plus you should have heard Cristian after church. Someone gave a talk on Family Home Everning and so afterward, Cristian was telling us his plan of how is going to plan a FHE and surprise his wife, and then Tuesday we are going to pass by and they´ll tell us how it went. So awesome!! It is so cute how in love Cristian and Celia are. Their little girls are really miracles in their lives cuz it was almost impossible for them to have kids. I just love their little family.
I could write like five more pages to tell you about this week but those were the stellar moments that I will never forget. Love you all and don´t forget how much the Lord loves you. xoxo Hope you all have a wonderful week!
P.S. Hermana Toctaquiza says thank you thank you thank you for everything and she loves you tons(I´m thinking she got other mail from you guys) Not sure if she got Bro. Johnson´s letter (she might have but I wouldn´t know cuz we are comps anymore) But tell him thank you so much. I really appreciated everyones effort in helping me make her birthday special. :) xoxo