Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

How we do it in Farmville

Helped these girls get ready for their program by curling their hair!
Dear Family and Friends,
This week has been good and full of learning opportunities. I will admit that as I have been going to bed there have been a few tears thinking about how Christian and I won't see each other for 3 and a half years, but at the same time I know that we are both doing what will bless the rest of our lives. I know Christian is going to be a great missionary. I wish I had his talents to talk to people and be super smooth and not awkward. I am also jealous that he has had the chance to see what the mission should be like, so he is going to be even more prepared! I am super excited to hear about his MTC headaches from learning Spanish and all the other new-missionary adventures. I am feeling old and like nothing really phases me anymore.

There are some perks to being a missionary, apart from the blessings and all. One of them is that we are a recognized part of the community. I sometimes feel like I am living in a Simpsons episode. Everyone has their roles, and everyone interacts. There is the group of folk dancers, who always are dancing, even in the little store. The moms who work and pick their kids up from daycare always are in heels and have their hair tied back. The men who work in the vineyards are super tan. Things like that. In the mornings we all know which neighbors walk their kids to school, which ones wait with their kids for the bus, which people water their gardens and everyone knows that the missionaries will be running laps at the park with the local stray dogs at our heels. We all have our ¨Holas!¨ timed perfectly.
They all know that the missionaries will tell them that smoking is bad for their health. Haha. Its funny to watch the ones that we have talked to hide their cigarettes when we get close.
So, nobody is perfect. Sometimes companions argue. Today I learned a very valuable lesson that will continue to help me. Before the mission I was a person who was quick to anger. Words of other people didn’t ever really offend me and I never wanted revenge on anyone, but my weakness was to lose patience quickly and be prideful and not ask for forgiveness.
However, today I realized I have come a long way in that. In the moment that I wanted to lose my patience, I just started to be grateful and pray silently. I kept calm and said that I wasn’t going to be able to speak clearly or calmly in my state of mind. I then took a second to meditate. The thought came to mind, obviously from the spirit, to pray for the gift of discernment. I prayed and made a list of what I discerned what was in my control and what wasn’t. I discerned how I needed to put in my part to fix the problem and what the issue was. It was interesting because the reason I was in the situation had NOTHING to do with the argument…and I never would have come to that conclusion without the help of the spirit.
I am SO grateful for this time I have had to analyze all of my weaknesses and put forth my best effort to improve. The mission is the most intense time of repentance I have ever experienced.
What do you do when you walk miles to get to a house and then you are ten yards away and hear screaming and fighting? We turned away and started walking in the opposite direction. Then I repented really fast. I had a quick thought, ¨Why would we walk away when we have exactly what they need?¨
I called the Hermana to tell her we were on our way to her house, she thanked us and said they needed us. We got there (again) and the husband was in their room with the door shut. She explained the situation and we began to help her spirit calm down first. She had some doubts and felt that God was punishing her. We used the scriptures to explain that God doesn’t punish, we punish ourselves as we sin. We talked to her about how God wants to withhold punishment, so he sent us Jesus Christ to be our advocate. Moroni 7:28. Advocate in Spanish is like ¨lawyer¨. He will defend us if we do all within our power to rid ourselves of unrighteous pride and follow him.
After that, the husband started peaking out of the room to tell us a few things. Little by little he came out. He still was feeling pretty embarrassed and bad about the argument and didn’t want to participate too much, but at least he wanted to be there.
In the end we were all laughing and happy. Obviously they will still have to work out their stuff, but I LOVE my role. I love arriving at a place at just the right moment because of inspiration. I love following promptings. I love sharing the message that wasn’t necessarily practiced or prepared, but was what God wanted us to teach. I feel so blessed to be able to be an instrument in Gods hands.
Today we were accompanied by Constanza, who is Argentine from another ward. She served her mission where my companion lives and then got married to a Chilean and moved here. She is AWESOME. Her mission was 22 months long and she was the only sister training leader over like a million hermanas. She had to train 3 hermanas at a time. Anywho, she was so fun to be with. She is 27 and very well educated. She talked to us about how we need to apply everything we learn to post mission life but how we also need to remember that real life has its own challenges. She gave us some awesome ideas for a few investigators and bore a strong testimony in all of our appointments. I liked it because she is a great example of a missionary who keeps living what she learned in the mission and she doesn’t think of the mission as her ¨glory days¨, just as a time of great personal growth and learning.
I want to be like her someday.
I forgot to write a funny story from the other week when I was in divisions.
Here it is…
I’m in another area and in the house of this woman who is investigating the church. She is in her 50s and has set a few baptismal dates but they have all fallen through. So, we are there teaching about repentance and she starts asking if she has to confess anything before getting baptized. We tell her that there are a few baptismal questions that require she tell us if she has participated in a few things that would require more preparation. Well, I decide in that moment to ask her the questions to help put her mind at ease.
I start…
Have you committed a serious crime? No.
Are you on probation? No.
Have you participated in an abortion? No.
Have you ever been in a homosexual relationship?…maybe….
Uh oh. My mind goes into PREACH MY GOSPEL mode and I am in shock because this is the first time in my whole mission that anyone had answered anything besides ¨no¨.
I tell her that she will have an interview with our mission president or someone he assigns. I tell her that she can be completely honest with that person and they would be able to help her prepare better for baptism. We testified that she would be able to receive forgiveness if she wanted to repent and follow the example of Jesus Christ. So, she is content with that.
However, we felt something wasn’t right. We ask again, ¨So, you HAVE participated in a homosexual relationship?¨…again... ¨Yes.¨
Still didn’t feel right, there was something off. So, Hermana Ramirez says, ¨Do you know what a homosexual relationship is?¨
The woman, ¨Yes…¨
Hermana Ramirez, ¨This means that YOU and another WOMAN had a sexual relationship. Is that correct?¨
The woman goes into shock and then says, ¨OH NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!¨ haha. Then we all die laughing because it was so uncomfortable. The end. Three cheers for bad miscommunication.
Today I got to help in the primary again. We taught the kids ¨A Childs Prayer¨ and helped them practice for their program. Our investigator was singing her little heart out. Next Sunday, if all goes well this week, Tatiana and Patricio will be getting baptized. Today we had a heart to heart talk with their parents and explained that they needed to seriously support their kids. The parents are in the process of reactivation, and we are a little nervous to let the kids get baptized even though they have been coming to all three hours of church every week and participating in activities and all. Yesterday we fasted to know what to do. In the bus on the way home I just had the thought, ¨Suffer little children and forbid them not to come unto me¨. Today at church my companion and I both felt at peace, and when we had a lesson today with the parents we felt that it would be a good step for them to take to help their family reactivate better. It amazes me how revelation comes. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and directs his work. I have never felt alone in the mission. I have always know that if I am doing my best to be obedient and serve, God will direct my actions and I just need to trust in Him. There isn’t anything more humbling then knowing and feeling that on a daily basis.
Love you all! Have a good week! Be happy! Keep me updated on life... now you just need to send a message to me and Christian together! How easy!

Hermana VanCott

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