July 29, 2013
Starting out a new week is so refreshing. New investigators, new goals, new resolve to work as hard as we absolutely can.
This week, like all weeks, was full of miracles. I mentioned last week that we’re on a scavenger hunt to find future priesthood holders. Well. We found em. But they’re a little more of a challenge than we thought.
I’m talking about the Juarez Family.
We fasted for them last Sunday. And then our lesson last FHE…was…the scariest, most amazing, most powerful lesson I’ve ever had on my mission. And I don’t know if I’ll have another lesson like it.
I’ve talked about the Juarez fam before. 6 kids, none married members, inactive dad, 3 nonmember in-laws, 5 inactive families, all with the stubbornness of a bull. Ofelia and Liz are the only ones in the family that go to church. Some haven’t gone in 10 years. So yeah. It’s a tad intimidating and extremely discouraging to go into their home each and every week, share a lesson, and then BEG them all…To pray. To come to church. To read their scriptures. To do anything. Well after getting some advice from President Cusick, we went in to this house last Monday, ready to tell them all that the Lord needs strong members. So who of your friends can be that cause obviously you can’t. …. I love President Cusick.
So we went into the house, ate dinner and talked a little, and then felt sick about what we were about to do. We were about to just leave without any message at all when Raul [the inactive father who all the kids followed out of the church] came up to us and asked us to please share something. We shared a little scripture [3 Nephi 9:14] and did an analogy with Raul about prayer and how if one of his kids did something wrong, he would still love them and want to talk to them. It was great. We brought the Spirit. We were about to close up and leave. But the Spirit took over.
Before we knew it we were explaining why we’re here. Our purpose is to invite people to come to Christ by helping them…etc. etc. We pointed out that missionaries have come into their home for a long time. 20 years in fact. And nobody is making changes. And we feel like we’re not fulfilling our purpose.
Well. That got em. The immediately started defending FHE nights and assured us that we’re making a difference. That we keep the family together.
We were silent.
Til the Spirit told one of us to say something.
The lesson continued on in that manner and quickly turned to temples. We told them we want to see them ALL in the temple. Because there is nothing better. We said “If you don’t want this, tell us. We can handle it. We deal with rejection every single day. But if you do, we’re going to come into each of your homes and set goals and work with you to get you to the temple.” Ofelia bore her testimony on the temple [she just went last week] and the Spirit was so strong. I’ve never experience anything quite like what happened.
We, 3 tiny white girl missionaries, were sitting in front of this stubborn, intimidating family and calling them to repentance. And this was no lovey-dovey feel-good lesson. I look back at what we said and I think, wow that was a little harsh. But when the Spirit tells you to say something, you say it. And we did. And they felt it. They each agreed to let us come in their homes and help them. Even the part-member couples. It was amazing.
That night we called and reported it to President Clover [stake president], who told us, “You fasted. You saw your miracle. Now it’s all downhill from here.”
We know that it’s going to be a long process. But we’re building up this branch. Building up the kingdom of God in Florida. And we couldn’t do it without the Spirit.
It’s amazing when the little miracles we see each week roll together snowball-style and form these huge miracles. But if we don’t appreciate the small miracles, we won’t recognize the big one. And we saw a lot of little miracles:
–We taught a boy named Lucious and his friend Carl this week. They’re two black boys who are so great. Carl is our neighbor. It’s Carl Jr. actually. His dad Carl is our friend who sits on his porch and smokes cigarettes and talks on the phone all day. We feel safe in our house because we know Carl won’t let anyone mess with us. anyways. We met Lucious around 2 months ago. He loved the Book of Mormon right off the bat and has been reading it on his own. So he introduced it to Carl Jr. Who also loves it. We finally got the chance to teach them about the Restoration this Wednesday. They LOVED it. Right after the First Vision, Lucious said with such certainty, “I know it’s true. I know it happened. And I know I was meant to meet ya’ll from the second I walked through that gate over there.” [we met him in the street outside his house.] Carl said, “It’s like my eyes are being opened. I just never knew all this. It’s all new to me and I guess I’ll have to read and find out for myself.” Well. We committed to them to baptism. They’re awesome.
–We saw a record number of people at the activity Wednesday night! We took a picture we were so excited.
–We met a family that is so adorable and so perfect and speak only Spanish. The mother, Patricia, told us she felt something different from the first time we visited them. She felt more peace than she’d ever felt in her life. And that she wants to move closer to God and knows we can help her.
–We ran into an old investigator at the library. Perfect timing.
–Nancy told us about a miracle that happened with their family in their car because she prayed. They passed over this giant puddle hole in the road like it was nothing because they said a prayer. Her husband, Abel, has not been supportive of her baptism up to this point. He agreed to reconsider after that incident.
–Jorge and his mom Susana were in church. They told us they appreciate everything the church has done for them thus far and are looking for a church near their new home in Tampa.
–We’ve been able to meet with the individual families in the Juarez family, some of whom we’ve never been able to have a real conversation with.
–We finally set up a real appointment with Noe’s neighbors. Ralph and Amy. [for tonight!!!] The family that we’ve been trying to teach for months. And we had a perfect lesson with Amy on her front porch. It’s baby steps with that family but they’re coming around.
–We met almost all our goals. It’s never about the numbers but it always feels so good to accomplish a goal.
Missionary work is difficult. It’s never not difficult. Sometimes I’m more excited about the difficulty of it than other times. Sometimes I want to sleep for 24 hours straight to recover. But I can’t. [Another life parallel in missionary work: the work of a missionary never stops, the work of a parent never stops. I should write all these life parallels down. There’s a million.] This is 18 months that I’ve handed over to the Lord. I’m His. And with all these little miracles, it’s never too difficult. I can’t ever thank Him enough for the life He’s given me. The opportunity to be a missionary. The family I was born into. The friends I have. The place I live. The fact that I have the Gospel in my life and I don’t have to ever wonder. There’s too much and my gratitude for it all overwhelms me on the daily.
I may not ever see the difference I make here.
But I know that no testimony born of the Savior is wasted.
And little miracles are cumulative.
That big miracles come.
And that this 18 months is so worth it.