Monday October 3rd, 2011
Family and friends! What a week and what a fabulous conference!!!! I am just so spiritually satisfied. So first let me fill you all in on my new area and comp and then we will chat about the conference.
So my area is called LA FALDA and it is known for tourism. It is up in the mountains and it kind of reminds me a mix of park city and newport....haha it has way cute cobble stone houses and tons of flowers and big green trees and a HUGE Catholic church in the middle of the town. Everyone is super nice and there are a ton of people! This is literally like hippie town. All the stores are all earthy with incense and dream catchers and gnomes, and people are just so chill and kick back and love life. One night we were walking in the street and these two hippy guys were performing in the streets and came over to talk to us. We tried sharing the restored gospel with them, and one of them - I am pretty sure he might have been a little ｨout of itｨ- came really close to my face and smiled with these huge eyes and was like ｨI don’t believe in anything! I believe in the energies around us, but don’t worry little lady- I will read what you give me... I promise!ｨ haha - it was way fun we got pics with them…..after they played a little show in the street for everyone.
Also we went to teach this one lady this week named Victoria who is literally crazy. We got in her house and I really felt uncomfortable....she had a weird feeling and spirit in her house. She told us about all these creepy dreams she has about God and was like jumping around and pacing her house foaming at the mouth telling us all these weird visions she has...I was like uhhh get us out of here! And before we headed out she asked us all these questions about baptisms for the dead and told us that one day she read about it in the bible so she and he husband went out in her pool and she said she got baptized for Mother Teresa, and doves flew by her pool and watched so she knew God was proud of here. Trippy lady! We ran out with the invite to conference.
Also I LOVE our mission leader here...he is JACK SPARROW! He is SO funny and like walks and talks exactly like Jack Sparrow and it just super intense and old and loves missionary work and is all about lessons and helping us. We had a meeting with him and I seriously questioned if something was up with him, because he was just like taking all these scratch papers and scribbling on them- I guess like notes - as he talked to us about people and I had no clue how he understood any of it. He is epic.
It was also really fun because this week I got to see my dad! It was a miracle that we found him because no one in the office really told me anything so lucky we were waiting for a lady to show up at the church for an appointment and my dad drives up in a rental car with this like huge smile on his face! Haha - it was so fun - I love my dad! We all just bonded and talked about mission life and the gospel and I feel like I truly got so much insight and advice and help out of it. I love my dad he truly is my hero. We all went to dinner and I was like so embarrassed my dad was walking around everywhere like he owned the place, and was just talking to everyone in English saying - Do you take AMEX.....haha - it was out of control. I was like dad who do you think you are – stop……and he was like, hey, I am a 50 year old white male…..I do what I want – hahaha - love you pops.
So as I have been roaming around all week trying to get to know a new area and new faces and people - we really have been working hard and seeing miracles already! I love my comp a lot and we get along so well! She has way high positive energy and tons of faith and is willing to sacrifice and work hard and I know that’s exactly what we need here because it definitely a harder area. We are working with this way legit lady named Silvia and her story is SO amazing! Her husband has been a member his whole life and been inactive for 40 years. They are recently adopting their first little girl and the guy is a super successful and super wellｴknown doctor who travels all over the world and knows English. A member met and talked to him once and literally just got him back in talking about and interested in the church. His wife was even more interested and started meeting with the missionaries and now she is just on fire! She loves the gospel and we can see her faith strengthening everyday. She is reading and praying and we watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and she was really moved. After it finished she just looks at us and is like, “I am getting baptized the 15!!!!” It was such a miracle and so emotional. Her and her cute family all came to the conferences and loved them and are just so growing in the gospel already. The dad talked to us about how he wants to go to Salt Lake and be sealed as a family! I hope they do so I can go and be able to be a part of it all. I love them so much and I am so grateful for families like them that are really just prepared and ready to live the gospel of Jesus Christ at its highest!
More than anything I am so grateful for good members that open their mouths and share their testimonies of the gospel to all because you never know what kind of miracles can come out of it! Member missionaries ARE help so much with this great work - they keep it moving and progressing! I encourage all of you to do he same!
So conference was just moving and super inspiring. Yes i did have to watch it in Spanish but I loved it just as much, because I just looked around with all the amazing saints of Argentina and wondered - when will I ever get this chance again...to be in this cute town in Argentina with these pioneer saints that just love and live the gospel with all their hearts…..and were all just awed by the words of the prophet and apostles of the true living church of Jesus Christ.
I wanted to express my love and gratitude of the talk by elder Christofferson about the Atonement and repentance. I love that he said that repentance is a celebration and it is truly an act of love. I loved the five steps that were provided by him and as I studied this week I realized that a lot of the things I studied applied exactly to this principle.
First - we must have the true desire to change ourselves - I love the scripture in Mosiah chapter 5 verse 2 that talks about how the people literally felt that the spirit of the Lord had “wrought a mighty change un us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
Second - align ourselves with the will of God - I love the example in the New Testament whenever Christ was teaching the people and in Luke 5 verse 30 he is talking about that he is nothing, and that because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the father that has sent me. We must always be willing to do and follow the will of God and always be in line with his ways and teachings.
Third - we must covenant to obey - I love the scripture in Abraham 3 verses 23-25 because it clearly states what our divine and earthly purposes are and that we were specifically picked and chosen to be here and come down to the earth “to see if they will do ALL things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” We have accepted and obeyed the will of the father before in the pre-eternal life and so we are expected to do it here again on earth. Yes we are given our agency to act for ourselves but we are also such elect and chosen people and have these such sacred and divine opportunities and even responsibilities to always follow God and his way and like it states in our baptismal covenant….. “and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has given them, that they may always have his spirit to be with them.”
Forth - desire to continue...keep going! I love the talk by Elder Hales that was about waiting on the Lord and how we always must be patient and know that we learn and progress through trials and hard times and we must always know that knowledge and confirmation and help come to us line upon line. I love when he talked about how he is happy in his Garden of Gethsemene because he never has to be alone. We need to have faith! Never give up and enjoy the journey.
Fifth- the sweet joy and feeling of forgiveness - I love ALL the countless and famous stories in the scriptures of healing and forgiveness. In the New Testament we have numerous examples from the Savior like when he heals the woman with the blood issue (Luke 8:48), forgives the sad sinner woman who is washing the Lord’s feet with her tears (Luke 7:47-48, 50), the adulterous who is cast to the Saviors feet and is promised that the Lord will not condemn her and to go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11), the story of the prodigal son who feels that in the heavens sight he has sinned and cannot be called his fathers son but with open arms the father welcomes him home and after being lost, he is found (Luke 15:10, 18-20, 32). Also in the Book of Mormon when Alma’s soul is wracked up in torment and feels so much pain from all of his sins but when he had sincerely repented states that “There can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” (Alma 36:19-21) and in Enos when he is in fervent and sincere prayer for nights seeking true repentance and forgiveness from the Lord and the Lord answers him stating “thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.”
All of these amazing examples and stories we read and find in the scriptures are living and true proof and testimony that God lives and loves us and wants us to repent - as an invitation and act of kindness - so we can progress and change and be forgiven of our sins. I thought of the movie “Raising Helen,” and how in the end she wants to be this cool mom and not bother the teenage girl to tell her what she can and can’t do, and literally is scared to call her out and help her. The more bold and tough mom - the sister of Helen - is then the one that has to go in and take Jenny out of the hotel room and send her home and as everyone is crying and yelling and not understanding why the aunt would ever do this and ruin her life and embarrass her the aunt looks both the youth in the eyes and tells them that she loves them dearly and she is doing all of it out of love because she knows that it is the right thing to do and will benefit them in the end. I think we can learn a good example of this lesson that an invitation to repent is an act of LOVE and that yes none of us are perfect but we know exactly what we should and shouldn’t do and we are all here to HELP and love and protect and watch over each other and make sure that we each are staying on the right path and doing the things that are pleasing in the sight of the Lord and that will bless us. It is so important that we follow these steps of repentance and change and every single one of us should always be there to help out and look out for one another because we know what happiness and joy we feel when we live the gospel. Let us each repent and ‘wax stronger and stronger in our humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the PURIFYING and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification come because of their yielding our hearts unto God.” (Helaman 3:35)
We can heal, clean, and purify ourselves through the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ and we are taught and demonstrated the way very clearly by what we can do to get us there when we feel those comforting and consoling words stating from our Savior Jesus Christ.......thy faith has saved thee, go in peace. (Luke 7:50) I am so grateful for such a loving and understanding and forgiving Savior that is willing to erase our errors and strengthen our weaknesses and lift our burdens and sorrows. I can testify as his living witness that only through him we can feel the healing power of repentance and that we can become made clean again. Come unto him and partake of this joy and forgiveness. Humble yourselves and follow his way and you will enter into this peace.