Hermana Shaw's definition of "The Emotional Flat-line:
A state of not caring. A state where there is no sorrow, yet no real happiness. Where you can feel no real joy because you have felt no pain. Often this line is ridden because people think it will protect them from disappointment. Upon entering this line, they often don't realize how much they really are missing. They don't see that instead of protecting themselves from disappointment, they are actually neglecting themselves from experiencing the best that life has to offer: deep caring, deep love,and deep joy.
This is a story of the appreciation for the lack of emotional flatness.
Do you guys remember Petra? She was the lady who we contacted, taught, accepted a baptismal date, and was so excited for everything right on the first visit. Later she called us to tell us she had decided to stick with her church. Well fast forward to this week. On Tuesday we felt strongly we should go visit her and talk to her in person to see what happened. She was so warm when she saw us and she let us in. After a bit of talking, we taught the entire lesson of The Restoration and the Spirit was SO STRONG. Hermana Schmidt and I agreed it was one of the most clearly-explained, well-accepted Lesson 1 we had ever had in all of our missions. The Spirit just guided us and Petra and her daughter, Paloma, got so into it. They were all on board. They said they believed in our words and they felt good. We closed with a prayer and left, just glowing and so happy we had gone. From even the first visit we had developed a special care for Petra and her family so we were extremely glad we went back. Okay. Fast forward three days toThursday. Hermana Schmidt calls and yet AGAIN Petra informs her that we can't come because they feel good in their church and they won't leave it. Later that day we both felt like we needed to go visit them and see what was going on. And let me tell you, this whole process, but especially that last lesson with them, was nothing like riding the emotional flat line. In the lesson the Spirit was so strong. We let Him guide us in asking questions and testifying of the church. Yet nothing we said, nothing at all, could make them change their mind. I felt our missionary authority being exercised so powerfully, yet they did not accept it. And I felt so sad. I felt so emotionally low. Yet at the same time, I could feel the Spirit strengthening me. We sang "Joseph Smith's Prayer" to close and said a prayer. Tears were in Petra's eyes. And seeing it all was heartbreaking. They were very friendly the whole time, but made it clear they would never go to church or join with us. Even though we were taken so low emotionally, we were able to see such a great high, leaving with firmer testimonies of this church and its necessity for our eternal salvation. I am grateful that we didn't chose to ride the emotional flatline. It hurt, but taking off the emotional blinders and letting everything be felt, was worth it.
I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that there is only one true church on the Earth. It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is guided by Him, through a living day prophet. It is organized after the manner in which Jesus Christ established it.
I love you all,
Hermana Schmidt and I love to make mango smoothies and popcorn. It's our weakness.
Today for Pday we went to La Basilica, a cool Catholic church in Higuey.
At the Noche Blanca in the Stake Center.
Some members of the ward that we love to pieces.
So Hermana Shaw and Hermana Schmidt are sitting peacefully in their weekly meeting with their Ward Mission Leader. It's dark out and the breeze feels good through the window. They're seated around a table in his house, calmly discussing their investigators. Hermana Shaw takes a sip of water as Hermana Schmidt talks, And BOOM. A lizard just lands, straight on Hermana Shaw's shoulder. And note what's written two sentences back... Hermana Shaw was taking a sip from her water bottle as this happened. Yet miraculously, Hermana Shaw did not spew water out. Not even a bit. Hermana Shaw kept her cool, jumped a bit, looked over, saw the lizard, let out a frightened noise, and shook the little creature off.
> A lot of this week was spent in the capital (Santo Domingo), at meetings in the Mission Office. I had my first Leadership Counsel on Wednesday and then two days later we traveled back for a New Leaders Meeting. They were great. I learned a lot. One thing we've been talking a lot in the mission is the power there is in our faith in Christ. Somehow our faith in Christ works so many miracles. As we have faith in the blessings we have been promised, and treat them like present, current blessings in our life, they are manifested with more frecuency and power. Faith moves mountains. Faith is what brings our blessings to the surface.
> I'm pretty sure I have the coolest companion in the world. We have so much fun together and sometimes we just catch ourselves talking forever about anything. We work hard and we are seeing a lot of miracles. The Lord is blessing us and this area. I love La Romana and I love Hermana Schmidt! One thing I ESPECIALLY love is that she makes me do last minute things like sing a solo in church, with just a few hours notice. It started out as a joke but it escalated and I ended up giving in. Pretty soon she was on the phone calling the Bishop and setting up everything. In church I sang "Oh My Father" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount." Hermana Schmidt played the piano. She's so talented.
> We have seen a lot of miracles lately, especially with people accepting to prepare to be baptized. I often feel so desperate when people don't accept baptismal invitations. I just wish everyone could see with perfect clarity the importance of that small decision. Yet the Lord has been preparing people and we are seeing a lot of miracles in that aspect of the work.
> One of our investigators, a thirteen year old girl named Nayua, told us she believes the church is true. We then asked her why. She said with so much confidence and maturity, "Because I've been to other churches and they're not the same."
> I add my testimony to Nayua's. I know that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is true. I know that Christ lives and that He directs this church through a living prophet. I know we have the fulness of the gospel, and that is what makes us different from any other church.
> I love you all. Keep strong. Smile.
> Hermana Shaw
After a long day of waiting around in the Mission Office for transfers, a very long bus ride, and unpacking, we receive a knock on the door of our apartment. Hermana Schmidt opens it up to find the Zone Leaders and our Bishop standing there, with visual annoyance. Apparently, the Zone Leaders had called us 36 times, the District Leader about 7 times, and the Bishop about 4, to find out if we had arrived home safely or not. Well. We arrived safely. Just turns out our phone was on silent and we were so absorbed in our conversation that we didn´t check it for quite some time. Life lesson learned. The phone will not be left on silent anymore.
Despite the bumpy welcoming to La Romana, I am loving my new area and I am especially loving being here with Hermana Schmidt! She´s the coolest. She has one more transfer left, and she´s my first American companion. We get along really well and just talk all the time. Benjamin, the name of my area, is really big and has a lot of variety in the different sectors. We have a super nice, rich area, then a more middle class one, then parts that are definitely struggling more. The ocean borders us and is beautiful. There aren´t a lot of places to see it, but it´s pretty when you do. I´m in a ward with a lot of great members that are willing to help us out. I have a lot of good feelings about this place.
This week we had an awesome Zone Conference that lasted nearly all day on Friday. It was amazing. President Corbitt, Hermana Corbitt, and the Assistants all gave talks which were great. After that, we met this lady on the street and offered to help her with her bags. We walked her home and got talking and everything flowed amazingly. Long story short, we ended up teaching her in her house and putting a baptismal date right then and there. She accepted. We were so happy. On Saturday, we called her to remind her about church, and she informed us that she will no longer be listening to us because her mom told her not to. When Hermana Schmidt got off the phone we kind of just hugged each other and were in shock. We´re planning to go back and visit her to see exactly what happened. That situation got me thinking though about how church should never be just a social thing, because your salvation is not just a social matter. Her true opinions that she expressed to us were all in agreeance with ours. She really felt like she had found many answers in the lesson. Yet she took back all her impressions, all her excitement, just because her mom told her to. Do we really have Christ and our testimony written in our hearts? Or are we willing to take back what we have felt to be true just because of one comment? Every day is another day to write His name deeper, to put forth the effort to base ourselves more firmly in His gospel, and to decide for ourselves to follow Him, despite whatever comment or opinion that comes.
I love you all! Keep firm in the faith.
So transfers have arrived yet again. Yesterday President Corbitt called to let me know I´m going to be a Sister Leader in an area called Benjamin in the zone, La Romana, with Hermana Schmidt. It´s her last transfer in the mission, and I actually met her mom on Facebook before leaving on the mission! Hermana Monjaras will finish the training of my mission daughter, Hermana Barreda.
It´s weird to leave the comfort of Nuevo Amanecer. It´s so lovely here and I really enjoyed this transfer with Hermana Barreda. She is incredible. And the people here will always be a part of me. Yet I´m also excited to experience new things and see what it´s like having an American companion ;)
On Tuesday we celebrated the fact that I completed another year of life. I guess I´m 20 now? Weird stuff. One of our investigators made us lunch, then Hermana Monjaras made us lunch when we got home, then Anthony, an investigator, gave me two candy bars. Let´s just say there was a lot of food going around that day.
This week we had some pretty powerful lessons about the Restoration. I never get tired of hearing the First Vision. I think it´s my favorite part. Just hearing those words and thinking about how God restored the fulness of the gospel to the Earth through a prophet that had that authority. It never ceases to amaze me.
This week I have thought a lot about how patient Jesus Christ is with us. He loves us even though we are so far behind Him and who He asks us to be. As we understand that love He has for us, it is easier for us to love others. We also come to love and respect Him more. Everything He did for us was out of the love He has. He is amazing. Even if we don´t understand everything in the moment, His timing is perfect. And His love is infinite.
I love you all, Keep strong, Love a little more,
Wow. What a week. We had our Noche Blanca on Saturday, where all the baptisms of the zone/stake were realized. We got to witness 26 people enter into the waters of baptism. There were about 300 people there which was incredible. It was an amazing experience that I honestly will never forget.
So something really cool happened the night before the Noche Blanca. ON FRIDAY HERMANO APOLINAR AGREED TO GET BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY. Yes, you read that right. The night before the Noche Blanca, Hermano Apolinar agreed to get baptized the very next day. The lesson we had with him is one I will never forget. We had something entirely different in our plans... We were going to talk about the 10 Commandments, but luckily the Spirit took us in a different direction. What happened in that lesson is very close to my heart. After much discussion and a very powerful lesson about the Spirit and how He communicates with us, we began to fill out the paperwork for his baptism and scheduled his baptismal interview for Saturday in the morning.
So on Saturday we got to see two of our investigators get baptized: one planned and one unplanned. Isaias, the father of a family of members, and Apolinar, who agreed to get baptized so last minute. It was amazing to see those two men enter into that covenant with their Father in Heaven. They are both amazing and I love them so much. I can´t count how many times Hermano Apolinar tried to hug us (which you can´t do as a missionary since he´s a guy). He was so happy. The Sunday after we ate with Isaias and his family. They are so happy as well. Let´s just say everyone is so happy!
This week a green lizard snuck into our bathroom. After a lot of screaming from all the Hermanas, chasing, and jumping, I finally caught it. We named it Elder Green and let it loose into the wild.
The flood situation has finally been fixed. We no longer have to return home to a reeking, flooded house. HALLELUJAH.
Dominican Republic Fun Fact: In our Branch we don´t have anyone to play piano so we nearly always sing without one. Dominicans have a very low singing range and also have a tendency to change keys every once in a while in the middle of a song. Let´s just say I am learning to sing lower than my usual soprano voice.
I love you all! Thank you for your support and prayers. I know all of it helped us to have such a wonderful week with so many miracles. I appreciate all of it.
Write me! I would love to hear from you! :)
Santo Domingo East MIssion
SDQ 4102, 2250 NW 114th Ave.
Miami, FL 33172-3652
8540 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33195 - 2698
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission