I think one of the hardest things about P-day is seeing a little white box on your computer screen and thinking, "How in the world am I going to get across how amazing this week was?"
Well this week was pretty darn great. We saw so many miracles and we are getting really busy again which I LOVE. Yesterday a single mom and her daughter we started teaching came to church. They said they loved it. Another investigator we had dropped showed up to church all by herself. Mercedes, who's preparing to get baptized on the 10th of September also came and had her baptismal interview this week. Luis and his little brother Edison also showed up.
It's hard to describe how much work and thought and prayer and worry and faith goes into each one of those people in an email, but let me tell you, it's a lot. Some of them occupy more space in your mind than others. This week Luis took priority as nearly all my study time, worry, and prayers were directed to him. Luis is an investigator we picked up not too long ago and he's been constant with coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon. You'd think he'd be fine and wouldn't be a concern. But for about two weeks now he's been telling us the same thing: "I just haven't got an answer. I don't know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God." He gave us a list of scriptures to compare to the Bible of things he didn't understand. We talked about the role of the Spirit in every lesson. We talked about asking specific questions. We brought members to share their testimonies. We told him to be patient and keep reading (even though he'd nearly ended the book already in just 2 or 3 weeks). Yet all the work seemed to be in vain as he continued to tell us the same thing: "I still haven't gotten an answer. I feel nothing."
Yet something magical happened last night. Luis didn't show up to the appointment we had set to have in the chapel. We went to look for him and found him at home. His mom and his siblings weren't home so we couldn't go in and teach. We began talking through the window about when we could come back and have a lesson. We asked him if he was reading in his Book of Mormon still. He said yes. He then paused and proceeded to tell us that he had found the answer to one of the questions. He then began talking about how before he didn't believe God could choose modern-day prophets (a doubt he'd never expressed before), but that he had found scriptures in the Bible that helped him understand their importance. He then proceeded to tell us, "I know.. that The Book of Mormon.. is.. the word of God". The Spirit was so heavy and the loud music behind us didn't even seem to sound. The drunken laughter dimmed. It stayed for quite a bit that way, as we shared our testimonies that we, too, knew the Book of Mormon was the word of God. Before we could end with the whole thought, his younger siblings came bouncing down the street, "HERMANAS! HERMANAS!" By that time we had to go home and couldn't talk more, but wow. I don't think I'll ever forget that night.
I know that this is the work of the Lord. This is where we are supposed to be. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that it is another testament of Christ. That book is something special. I love to read, but it's my absolute favorite book of them all. There is so much to learn from it.
I love you all, shine bright,
Today we had a Zone Activity! Kickball with flour, charades, and an obstacle course. Hermana Silva and I organized everything. It was a blast! Shout out to Grandma Flake - We used the water balloon and water guns you sent me a while back as part of the obstacle course :)
Other side note:I turned 1 in the mission! I've got a year down! Crazy
We are malleable beings. The mission has proved this to me. Do you remember Felicia Acosta? The one with nine kids? She didn't want to get married when I first got here. Then went to the temple and it changed everything. But her husband, pedro, who didn't accompany us on the temple trip, still didn't want to get married. It was hard to get her to church since she had work and there was a bunch of opposition, yet she fought to be able to make it each Sunday. Every day she became more and more determined to get married and get baptized. Soon her husband followed her example and one day as we went to fix her papers, he accepted the baptismal invitation we extended while waiting on the papers. After that he began going to church as well. And he has seen a great change. On Thursday, Pedro and Felicia got married, andon Saturday, Felicia got baptized. Pedro is preparing to get baptized soon. oh the joy! She was beaming the whole day and after her confirmation as well. I love that family with my whole heart. And the perks of being in Gazcue still = even though i technically left that area 2 weeks ago, I got to go to both their wedding and her baptism!
Sister Burton, the General Relief Society President, and Sister Marriot, the 2nd counselor in the General Young Women's presidency, came to visit our ward!! What??! So cool! Sister Burton even went to visit the Contreras Family and it was so sweet to see her present Elizabeth to the Relief Society in Gazcue and invite them to embrace her as their own, knowing that it took great courage for her to come back to church after many years.
The mission doctor's daughter and grandaughter, Molly and Macy, accompanied us on Monday to go visit some people. It was awesome! We had a bunch of great visits and sweet Macy shared her testimony in each one. We translated for her and afterwards she told me she's really excited to serve a mission some day.
Today we went to the Zoo and on the way home, the little guagua we were in broke down. well, the tire went flat. So there we were, on a busy highway, with the driver fixing up the tire as it started to rain. Adventures! He fixed it up and we returned fine, all in one piece.
This week I felt pretty drained and oddly just out of energy. It was strange because I had been feeling so "high" lately. Yet I am grateful for every experience that has brought me closer to my Father in Heaven. We are malleable beings. I learned that, not only from pedro and felicia, but by seeing my own life and self change. The Carpenter knows how to use us and shape us. We must trust Him. He sees us as much greater than we do. Yet as we believe in our potential with great faith, we start to see ourselves as we are seen and know as we are known. The Lord has a better plan than we do.
I love you all, may you shine as brightly as the Master sees you,
How powerful is faith? They say it's enough to move mountains.
This week I learned that faith is strong enough to get a family of 5 to church, on time, dressed up, and very warmly welcomed by a Dominican ward. This week I learned that faith is strong enough to help a lady that's been investigating the church for more than a year and has never accepted a baptismal date, to finally accept one in the coming month. This week I learned that it's worth working to help an 11-year-old girl's mom that isn't too fond of the church, give her permission to get baptized. This week I learned that there are a bunch of people waiting to hear the message we have, but they just don't know where to find it.
We are teaching an amazing family of four kids and a single mother - The Urraca Family. They are so adorable. Yesterday they went to church for the first time and they loved it. Afterwards the mom, Betania, told us, "I don't know what I'm doing in my church! Here is much better!" They were greeted by the members and embraced and participated and smiling and so happy. The oldest kid, who's actually not really a kid, he's 22 years old, is furiously studying the Book of Mormon. He's already in Alma and we gave him the BoM a week ago. Wow.
Mercedes accepted a baptismal date this week for September. That in and of itself is a miracle. The sisters before had always told me she would never accept a baptismal date and would never tell them why. We entered in that house with all the faith we had and no fear, invited her, and she said yes! She is amazing and is so constant in church. She has such a good knowledge of the gospel and studies the Liahonas in English. I love her!
We're working with a 11-year-old named Cookielove (yes, seriously that's her name) who wants to get baptized so bad, and has gone to church several times, but as of now her mom is not giving her the permission. We have plans to get to know her mom and help her soften her heart. We are hopeful and faithful.
I love the work. All is well in Mi Sion. My companion, Hermana Delcompare, is awesome and I still get to live with Hermana Silva! We are working hard and it's like I'm not even training. She already knows everything!
This week were interviews with President, Consejo de Lideres, and as always, District Meeting... lots of meetings, yet we were still able to get a lot done in the area. Awesome.
Hard work and faith gets things done.
I love you all,
On Tuesday Hermana Silva and I met our new companions, fresh from the MTC. Hermana Delcompare is from Guatemala and is way awesome. She is beyond capable and I'm pretty sure she got called to train me. She knows way too much.
The first week in Gazcue B went pretty well. We are learning how to whitewash together and getting to know the streets and investigators. Fun fun. Luckily the area isn't too unknown to me because of some intercambios we did over the last two transfers. I have learned a lot this week about the importance of not looking back. In Gazcue A I saw the what sometimes seems like a fruitless fight of missionary work grow and expand into an explosion of progress and miracles. It was just getting more and more miraculous every day. Then transfers came. And this week I really have learned how important it is to not look back (or even to the side in this case). The work will only progress here if I have both feet in and if my sight is fixed forward with a perfect brightness of hope. God has already proved to me that miracles happen. And who I am to doubt when He has already proven me so? There is so much to do here. We are going to see miracles. We already seeing miracles. And the increase will be even more wonderful because of the difference we will see. Everything is in His hands.
This week we found a lot of cool new people that we are excited to work with. We are trying to talk with everyone and have found many that have had contact with missionaries before. The Lord is in this work.
I love you all! Keep strong, keep shining, keep smiling,
1 - Our generation! Hermana Barreda (my first daughter), Hermana Barreda's daughter AKA my grandaughter, me, and my new daughter and companion, Hermana Delcompare. They're all from Guatemala! Apparently I'm Guatamalen.
2 - Last night with Hermana Silva. We visited the Contreras Family. Rafael's preparing to get baptized and his wife, Elizabeth is reactivating. I love that family and will miss visiting them! At least we'll still see each other at church!
3 - We made cookies! also... Hermana Delcompare is awesome!
I can not count the amount of miracles we are seeing here in Gazcue. My goodness.
This week we had basically decided that Santa would have to get baptized next week because when we went to set an appointment for her wedding, they told us they were too backed up and that we would have to wait. Well the Zone Leaders wouldn't accept that news so after a kneeling prayer in District Meeting, they went to go see if they could fix an appointment for the next day. They came back with a receipt in their hands and the news that Santa and Javier would be able to get married that Friday. Hermana Silva and I nearly screamed we were so happy. We got to be witnesses at their wedding and Santa got baptized the day after, on Saturday. Santa was so happy and even brought two friends to church! Wow. Really the Lord is pouring out His blessings. Her husband, Javier, is working to reactivate himself and is really excited to prepare to enter in the temple with her.
The Contreras Family is still doing wonderfully. Rafael's baptism is getting changed to August but that's okay. He is so excited still. I'm in love with that family.
The Acosta Family is doing great as well. This week we ran around, trying to fix their papers before their marriage. Pedro, the husband, would never listen to us before but has been slowly opening up. While we were fixing one of the papers in the government building, we began teasing Pedro about when he would get baptized... and he said "soon". We were shocked. We took advantage of the moment and asked him if he would get baptized in August. He said yes!!! I actually teared up in that government building. The next day we had the first lesson where he sat and listened to us talk about the gospel. Wow. That family. I love them.
OH. Transfers news! So... I'm leaving Gazcue A... :..( BUT I'm not going too far! I'm going to be in Gazcue B now, so I'll still be in the same ward and the same house, but I'll be working in the other side and with a new companion. Hermana Silva is staying in our area and we're both going to train new sisters. Tomorrow I'll found out who my new companion is! I'm pretty excited. It'll be fun. We'll be whitewashing but at least I know some of the investigators already, so it's not exactly starting from ground 0. Gazcue is probably the best area to whitewash in as far as getting around goes because the streets are actually marked and there's a map. Woo!
The mission is going crazy with higher goals and everyone is seeing more miracles. As a whole we are more obedient. As a whole we are more believing. The Lord is doing something great here in the Dominican Republic. More individuals and more families are getting baptized. It's kind of cool to be living by the office and see a little piece of the madness.
The Sisters had a baptism on Sunday and we had to fill the font with water from buckets and 5-gallon bottles we found around the church. I got really wet.
I love you all. I know that God lives and that He loves us. I know that His hand is in our lives. I know that miracles happen. The more we thank Him for them, the more we see.
Our last Zone Meeting of the transfer!
We were the witness at Santa and Javier's wedding
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