Estoy bien bien entusiasmada y agradecida a Dios por este nuevas que ha llegado a mi. My corazon ha sido tocado mucho.
(I am so excited and grateful to God that I received this news. My heart has been touched greatly. )
Dear Sammy, receiving a mission call is an incredible experience. It takes so much trust in the Lord to hand your life over to him. I am so proud of you and I love you very much. I think I am still getting over the shock of reading about this news. I had your email pulled up and held a paper over the word and read down each line just like how you would've. As soon as I read the location I started to cry. This is your mission and, again with your call, I feel like the randomness and the coincidence of everything shows that this call came from God. I am so grateful that Jessa is there to be there for you. She will look out for you and take care of you and you will have something familiar from home and to remind you of your family. Sam, what are the chances of this happening?
You are probably in shock. I was in shock for at least a week. I'm almost surprised that you aren't coming to my mission, but this is still pretty crazy. I know the Lord plans things. I want to show you some of the letters I have from Jessa with her writing on it. I'll take a picture of some of the script that she has written me. I am so excited that you will get to learn that and stretch your mind in that way. I'm not going to lie, I thought the chances of you serving a Spanish-speaking mission were pretty high and I thought we were going to be able to speak in Spanish together for the rest of our lives, but it's ok. How I see it is that you can learn Spanish from me and I can learn Cambodian from you. When I get home from my mission, I'll study some of it. :)
Sam, I know you will do such a wonderful job. I am excited to hear about the miracles that you have. Serving a mission has made me love God and his gospel. I have grown so much conviction and passion and dedication for the work of the Lord. I had a cool experience last night that I only could've had as a missionary, one called of God to preach repentance. I am in the Newhall area just for this week and we had a dinner with the Secas familia. I can't even explain or fully diagnose what exactly is wrong with the dad, but he needs to change. After the dinner and sharing the message with just the wife, I felt that there was more that had to be done there. I invited the dad from the other room to come because we were going to share a verse and head out. He came and we shared a scripture and talked for a moment. I know the things I said were guided by the Lord because they were a lot bolder than I would normally have found appropriate and the wife started crying and the husband responded. Basically, the Lord had me tell him that we were representatives of Jesus Christ and as such, the message we were about to deliver was directly from God. God loved him very much and was reaching out to him because that time has finally come when a change needs to be made. He was nodding very much. We invited him to read the scripture and pray with his family every day and come to church. There is a bit more of the story, but before we left I told him to think about how much love and trust God was showing him by trusting him with the spirits of his family. About how God had trusted with him with his wife and his kids because he knew that he would take care of them during this short time that we are separated from Him and on this Earth. The mom wants nothing more than to have the dad join them in her righteous efforts to raise the kids and she started crying at this point. We let the spirit fill the room and left them with a prayer. I was a tool in the Lord's hands. That couldn't have happened to me and I couldn't have delivered a message like that from God if I wasn't a set apart missionary. Sammy, I love you and I am so excited for you.
I experienced so many miracles this week. This is undoubtedly the Lord's work.
We received a referral with a return appointment. Her name is Jasmine and she is 14. She was with her best friend and met missionaries. We met her for the appointment and taught her about the restoration. We returned a second time this week to teach her about the plan God has for her. She is a brave and valiant soul. She has a lot of opposition from members of her family, but she is determined to give this a chance. She told us that she had to hide to foyettos and Book of Mormon so that her grandma wouldn't get rid of them. I told her about how prophets had been guarding those same words for centuries. They carefully guarded the words and passed them down to their children so that precious truths could be preserved. Finally, Moroni had to bury the plates so that God could keep them safe for a time and then bring them to light in a time when those words could never be lost or distorted or destroyed. Those words have a long history and legacy or being treasured and guarded, and she will have to carry this tradition.
We had an incredible lesson with a man named Oscar De La Oya. ...turns out I'm too gullible and he is really just Oscar Garcia. His story is a cool one. He went to the Home Depot parking lot on Sunday to find people to help him move the next day. I don't know why that seemed like a promising idea...definitely a prompting from the spirit. There he found Elder Wilson...no idea what he was doing there. Elder Wilson loves offering service and volunteered us to be there the next day. We moved them the next day. I told the mom that we loved to help people but that the most meaningful way we could help people was to tell them about the gospel. It's so true too. If you help someone in some temporal, physical way, that's cool and I'm sure they can be grateful for your time, but there is no comparison in value to helping someone learn and practice a true gospel principle or law and have the spirit confirm to them that they are finding the path.
We didn't have too much time in my area because this week we are a tripan and are working both areas, but the hours we spent in my area were very quality. We stopped by Oscar's house and found him home. We taught him one of the most spiritual versions of the first lesson that I have taught. I felt so much love of God in my chest and I felt so much love for the message we were carrying. Oscar was interested and sincere and willing to learn. I believe that he is very sincere and has the potential to really know this is true too.
James is incredible. James wins the award for the most responsible, sincere potential. I think I like him so much because if I was a sincere investigator, I think I would be a lot like him. He listened intently to the first lesson, asked many questions, and understood everything we taught. He has some critical questions, but he is asking them because he wants to understand. After the first lesson, he read the things we left him and prayed to Heavenly Father twice about the Book of Mormon. He didn't feel he received an answer.
We taught him the second lesson. He didn't see the need for religion. James is really cool because you can explain things to him and he'll really consider them and then look up and not because he's felt that it makes sense to him and then let us go on. He said yes to being baptized the 2nd of February, but I think that will probably have to be changed.
James by himself is a miracle because he is being prepared by God and I feel that he could make the journey to the knowledge that this church is true, but the real miracle with James is:
Adrian came to the lesson we had with James this week. I have had two best moments on my mission, and this is the second one. The first best moment was when Francisca came to a lesson with Victor Torrez when she was still sub 1 week being a member of the church and she bore her testimony about the word of wisdom. She is sweet and a bit timid, but she boldly assured him that he could over come his addiction to alcohol because her husband had done it with El Libro De Mormon and a priesthood blessing and she had given up her addiction to coffee because of the help they'd received from the Lord and because of El Libro De Mormon. She bore pure testimony and the spirit confirmed every word she spoke. It was that night that we set his baptismal date for 8 december 2013, the date that he later entered into a covenant with the Lord after overcoming his addiction.
Adrian was sub 1 week. Without acting the story out to you in person, and even if I did that, there is no way that I could do it justice. When I asked Adrian to come, he immediately responded and said he'd be there. We let him say the prayer before we went to James’s house. Adrian pleaded with the Lord to be with us in helping teach another and bring them to the knowledge. The plan had to change because James’s mom was there and she wanted to clash--she would cut in and interrupt. We changed plans and told her we'd teach the restoration so we could answer her questions. After changing plans and starting, she impatiently demanded an answer about the Book of Mormon and just as I was about to speak, Adrian leans forward and starts talking. Adrian was a champion and shared exactly what needed to be said throughout the lesson. He could understand some of her arguments because he'd been outside of the church and ignorantly rooted only in the Bible for a while. Adrian is very smart and he read the whole Book of Mormon. Adrian talked about the Book of Mormon and what it is, its purpose, his experience with it at first, how it changed him, what it means. She was concerned about only wanting to learn things about Jesus Christ and not Joseph Smith. Adrian told her how the Book of Mormon was written anciently by prophets and talks about Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith's role was to translate the book. She had a very hard heart and Adrian obviously knew that.
This lesson could have seemed like it didn't accomplish its purpose, but there were some important things that happened below the obvious level. First, I saw in James's eyes an apology for how his mom was behaving which grew to reflect a lot of respect. Second, James got to hear about the restoration again, which is the most important and unique message. Third, he heard Adrian's testimony. I'd invited James to come to Adrian's baptism, but we couldn't, but he realized that it's only happened this week. I watched him, and he was thinking very deeply about everything Adrian was saying. Even if the mom didn't absorb much besides the very obvious logical points he made, James heard all the things he needed to hear.
I will get a new companion on Tuesday and I will be back in my area and commuting much less. Crazy thing, I actually went to the temple again this week. One of my favorite parts of going to the temple is seeing all the faithful people that take their time to come and serve in the house of the Lord. Another thing I realized is that no one is prayed for more than the missionaries. I know that there is a certain day of the week that the prophet prays for the missionaries, they pray for us in the temple, families and children around the world pray for us. It is incredible and I love being a missionary for Jesus Christ.
I love you so much and I will talk to you soon!!!! :)
Con amor y besitos,