I have grown up all my life as a member of a strong family who has always been active in the church. I knew who the missionaries were and what they did, but I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to them because a mission was never realistically in my plans. But this week it’s really hit me the difference that missionaries make in people’s lives. Investigators, members, random people on the street…they look at us and see something different. They feel something different. And it’s become one of my favorite things about being a missionary.
We don’t receive comments about the spirit we bring way often [normally we can just see it in their faces] but this week it just seemed that everyone had something to say about it. We had a lesson with this suuuuuuper old lady, Felicita. She’s Sandy’s grandma who lives with them and can’t read well because of her eyes. We didn’t ever think she had a ton of interest til she approached us after a lesson we had with Sandy. We were just about to walk out the door when she shuffled over and asked us if we could explain more about the Libro de Mormon that we had left with her. We read through the Introduction with her, clarifying and testifying throughout the whole thing. She then told us about an experience she had while she was praying one night. She felt something so strong in her heart and then she looked up and saw the face of Christ. “I see that same face of Christ in your faces right now,” she told us, ” I never knew about this book. I want to know more and I want to come to church with you but I have no way to get there.”
We went over to see Brianna to prepare her for her confirmation on Sunday. We walked in to find her mom, Erika, about to cry because of how stressed she was for the activity she was planning for that night. We offered to help her in any way she needed and let her know that we’re always looking for ways to serve! She calmed down immediately and told us, “I love the missionaries. Ya’ll just bring so much peace into my home. Ya’ll bless my family so much.”
Liz told us that when we were having that giant scary FHE lesson with their family, that our faces actually visibly changed when we started talking about the “heavy stuff” [aka when the Spirit started speaking through us].
We did a couple “Peace and Blessings” this week. This is when we go into a home and leave the Savior’s Peace and Blessing on that home. It’s a really spiritual experience and usually softens people’s hearts enough for us to get a return appointment. With one family, it seemed they were totally ‘over it’ and weren’t really interested. It was a mom and her aunt, Rosa and Camelia. We did a Peace and Blessing, and right after Camelia leans over to Rosa and says, “When can they come back?” Last night we went back to go see Camelia at her own house. We knocked on the door and she came out grinning the biggest grin you’ve ever seen in your life. “HOOOOOLLLLAAAAAA!!!!!” She says and hugs us all, ushering us into the house. She loves us already. And she has no clue why. We left that night with 3 empenadas. #1 sign to tell if Mexicans love you: they give you food…not mad. [PS Those empenadas burned our mouths to the depths of oblivion. And I loved it. I have a newfound obsession for spicy Mexican food. I can’t wait to shock you all with my new cooking skills…that I have yet to gain…]
After another Peace and Blessing, the woman told us, “It’s so rare to see young women who believe in Christ enough to leave everything behind and teach people about him. It’s really amazing what you are doing. You’re blessing a lot of lives and God is proud of you because you’re spreading his word.”
On Sunday, Marisela and Hermana Rojas were talking to Hermana Larsen. Marisela told her, “The spirit that the missionaries bring…it’s like a magnet. I just want them around all the time!” Hermana Rojas [our little missionary mamma] readily agreed. Hermana Rojas is always asking us when we can come and visit her, and the Sebring missionaries spend their entire P Day cooking with Marisela.
It just really hit me how much of an impact we have on those that we come in contact with. We bring the Spirit with us everywhere we go and people feel it so strongly. Even though they look at us like we’re crazy, they get curious. Why would 3 cute, young, normal girls be out here sweating their faces off in the heat, riding bikes in skirts, knocking on stranger’s doors, working 16-hour days for 18 months?? They feel the peace we bring. They wonder what could be motivating us. And they want to learn more. We really are set-apart for this calling. It’s never been more clear to me. And I am so grateful for this opportunity. To be on the front lines, fighting in the Lord’s Army. It’s hard, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.