Monday, September 9, 2013

The Church of Jenga?

Hello Family and Friends!

AH! I feel so happy today thanks to the email love I received! Thank you Josh, Maria, Paul & Marina, and Grandma for keeping me updated on the family! I love you all very much. Josh, your missionary thoughts were perfect. I shared them with my companion as well, and she loved them. We really do feel like we are participating in a miracle. One soul at a time, that is the motto! I wish I could respond individually, and I will try to get around to it if I have time, but just know that I really do appreciate the letters and inspiring thoughts. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family!
Well. Here we go. I have come to the conclusion that my feet will never be the same and I will always have blisters somewhere.
This week we didn't get to work much because we had a lot of meetings. I was really sick with some stomach bug (I will spare you details) on Thursday night and Friday. I just wanted Mommy. But, since THAT wasn't possible, I just tried to keep working. On Friday morning we had Zone Class. After a few hiccups in our arrival (like having to speed walk close to a mile because we got off at the wrong bus stop), I felt like I was going to die. My tummy was in knots and my head was pounding. We were only 5 minutes late, but by the time I sat down I was close to tears. You know when you are holding it in for so long, then suddenly your eyes turn into Niagara Falls? I was blinking at that point when I saw my name written on the board, the ONLY NAME in our whole district, for the spiritual thought. Cue the opening hymn and cue Niagara Falls. I just thought WHY ME? I cant think in ENGLISH right now, let alone SPANISH. I felt inadequate and extremely nervous. I hurried and said a prayer, asking that I could share what needed to be heard. I instantly felt a weight being lifted off my body. I knew that the Lord wouldn't let me share anything that would disrupt the spirit. Everything went well, and what I shared tied in perfectly to what the Zone Leaders had planned. I know that everything is done through revelation, and they were inspired to have me share, and through that experience I learned to always put my trust in the Lord. (even if nobody else learned anything, haha).
I lead the music in Sacrament meeting this week. The ward is great, and we are trying to teach by example that we don't need to be perfect in something in order to serve. I was the prime example of that as I struggled to sing in Spanish and keep the tempo at the same time. In all honesty, I just wanted to start singing West Side Story in English with a slight accent because I felt like my arm was super confused and dancing by itself anyway.
Well, about investigators. I don't really want to share too much just because they aren't baptized yet and their stories are very personal, but I will tell you some things that we are doing with them that maybe you future missionaries/my parents can try.
The first thing we are doing is with the family of investigators. We gave them a journal, and after every visit we have them write down their thoughts and questions. We ask them to write specific questions and then pray about those questions hoping to find an answer. The kids love it. There is a little boy who reminds me of Max that never lets us forget to SHARE THE JOURNAL! ha. The purpose of the journal is to get them to more actively be thinking about their commitments that they have made to read and pray. We hope that if (when) they are baptized and eventually if (when) they are sealed, they can have a record of their families conversion. Also, it is a good way to talk about how the scriptures were written and how they are a record of the revelation received by prophets for their families.
Mom, you asked about planning. Hahahahah. Ok, so this is mine and my companions goals in regards to planning. We are far from being prime examples, but we are hoping to improve in this area during the next few weeks. Here are some things we do to make planning and our goals more efficient.
1. We make our goals the night before, and we review them in the morning before leaving the house.
2. As we go throughout the day, we mark a tally on our goals so we can see where we still need to work throughout the day to meet the goals.
3. We have been trying to set ONE appointment in stone. It is a little hard to get people to keep appointments here, but with our one appointment a day we call the night before, and the day of, and make them priority number 1 in planning. Then we always have at least one dang bueno lesson. haha.
That is all I can really think of besides the normal stuff....I will let you know if there is anything else that comes to mind!
This Friday we have a Family Home Evening planned for the ward! My planning skills are being tested on a whole new level. Now I am learning how to plan with the Spirit...which actually makes things easier. Our plan is to have some of the converts in the ward share short stories, and then to teach the first lesson in an engaging way! Have you ever taught the ministry of Jesus Christ and the apostasy with Jenga? We use that for all the kids that we teach, and it is great! You have the blocks stacked and labeled, and then when you take out the bottom layer, Prophets, Apostles, Authority, the church falls.Then you have people take the other blocks, like baptism, and faith, repentance, etc, and build their own churches. In the end, you talk about how our church is built the EXACT same as when Christ was on the earth. The point is, we are doing human Jenga for our FHE. I will let you know how it goes and if anyone breaks any vital bones. We hope to help the ward get more involved in missionary work! It is our challenge right now. Some families are great, but we haven't really had everyone catch the same spirit.
I decided to read Doctrine & Covenants as part of my personal study until Christmas. I love the stories of the early church and the revelations received. My favorite line that is found in quite a few scriptures is REAP WHILE THE DAY LASTS. I encouraged each of you to do that this week. Make the most of every day. Learn, serve, and follow promptings as soon as you receive them. Promptings of the Spirit come more as we act on the ones that we receive. For me, it is usually a simple thought that pops into mind. I have learned when I act immediately, the results produce miracles that I couldn't accomplish without the Spirit.
General Conference is in the air, and I felt like Christmas had come early when I heard we get to listen in ENGLISH! Next week we have Zone Conference with a member of the Area Seventy, Elder Ceballos (I believe).
Love you all. Be good. Be missionaries, it is so much easier than you think it is! Be a missionary to less actives especially, invite them to come back and renew their covenants. The Lord is with all of us in our efforts. It is literally the LITERAL GATHERING OF ISRAEL. (redundant, I know, but LITERALLY!). The Lord is preparing the earth for the second coming. If you don't believe that, just read the scriptures. Ask what you can do to help in the work. Don't wait until you are called. Just GO and DO.
Love you all, very much! Be safe, be happy.
Hermana VanCott

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