Hello! I hope that this week was wonderful for everyone!
First of all, I came up with a motto for myself! My Motto: 212. What does it mean? Well, water boils at 212 degrees. Nothing less. You can heat water to 210 degrees for 100 years and you won't get a single iota of steam. It is that difference of 2 degrees that makes all the difference. That is like life. You can be doing good and you can feel like you're on fire practically even. But it is that difference of going the extra mile of being exactly obedient to the commandments (or mission rules in my case) or making your study time that much more effective or being that much more obedient to the spirit or making your prayers that much better that creates that 2 degree heating that really makes all the differences. That is when you can see the steam or the miracles in life. That is when you can finally be completely an instrument in the Lord's hands. It's also kind of like the scripture in the Bible about how you should either be cold or hot. What good is lukewarm water for but to spew it out of my mouth. Either go completely to the 212 degrees or don't go at all. And you want to know the cooler part? My birthday is 2-12. Coincidence? I think NOT!!
Oh, I want to tell you about a cool object lesson we came up with this week when we were preparing a Lesson 3 (The Gospel of Jesus Christ which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End) lesson with Stephany. It was really silly and really fun and it workout out so perfectly in the lesson. Like Stephany was even like, "wow, that is a really cool way to think about it." So here it is:
Imagine that you have this blouse which is your favorite blouse and you love to wear it everywhere and it is white and attractive and goes perfectly with everything. You're just going about your day and enjoying an ice cream cone when suddenly you look down and a huge blob of chocolate ice cream was spilled on this blouse. How terrible! So what do you do? You get your handy-dandy Tide-to-go pen and work on trying to get the stain to come out. That is really really good and you're so glad that you had that in your bag. But it isn't really clean. The stain is still there and you can still kind of see the edges. So the way to really get it clean again is to obviously go get it washed. Then when you're done washing it you don't just put on the wet shirt, you then put it in the dryer. Then when that is done and you want to make it look really nice and presentable again you get your iron and iron out the wrinkles. Then you're good again to go and get interviewed for a job or to go spend time with your family and friends without shame or embarrassment.
This is like life! You are the blouse and inevitably by living we will make a mistake. Sometimes it is just a little one but some of them are like a huge blob of chocolate ice cream right down the front of the shirt. Obviously you don't want to go around wearing that for the rest of your life like that. You would be embarrassed and ashamed and sad. So you get your tide-to-go pen which is like repentance. You can work it out a bit so that it is kind of clean again. But to really get it clean, you have to go through the whole process and get it washed. This is like putting your shirt in the washer. It can then become completely clean as if it was never there in the first place. No one needs to remember the old stain any more because it isn't there anymore so who cares?! Then obviously you don't wear a shirt that just got out of the washer and is soaking wet. You put it in the dryer to finish the process. That is like receiving the gift of the holy ghost or the second half which completes the first half--the baptism of fire in a way. Then after that you're still not done. You have to take the iron and throughout the rest of your life you have to work on ironing out the wrinkles again until it is perfect enough that you can wear it to the big interview or to return back to heavenly father.
Life isn't over after that. You have to continually go through and do it all again because you're going to make more mistakes after this baptism. You have to continually work on your faith. Then when you make mistakes you go through the process of repenting and scrubbing at the future stains again. Then you can wash it again which is the sacrament where you literally can become just as clean as that baptism day again (just like we wash our clothes each week, we take the sacrament each week!). Then we dry it again or do the things to keep the Holy Ghost with us and we can iron out the wrinkles or our imperfections.
It was so cool teaching that lesson. We taught it with scriptures at each point to help emphasize it all then we wrapped it up perfectly with the scripture: 3 Nephi 27: 19-20. Man I loved teaching that lesson because the spirit was so strong the whole time. Like when I feel the spirit strongly I feel literal tingles and I was tingling throughout the whole lesson! It was so cool to be in it.
Anyway, let's see...
One really cool thing happened this week. After sacrament meeting, the bishop introduced us to someone who was like "what is the process of getting baptized? I want to get baptized. My dad was a member and I just never got baptized so I want to." Holy cow!! You never imagine that just happening to you! She is so great! She is in the process of moving and so she may end up in Reseda (my area) or she may end up in Van Nuys but we'll have to see. She is a YSA, though, so we might be able to teach her anyways through that but it'll depend on if her mom wants to be taught too. We'll just have to see haha! But that was seriously so cool!
Also, there was a cool missionary fireside we put on. I was in the missionary choir (of course :) ) and so everyone stared off in the chapel and then they took half of the people away at first then about 15 or 20 minutes later they took the other half so the groups could be smaller. They went through 4 classes on faith, repentance, baptism, and receiving the holy ghost and the choir got to entertain them with music and Mormon message videos. Then when everyone was done and we met back up all together again, the stake president had a short talk on missionary work and also enduring to the end. It was such a great experience for everyone!! It was really fun too!
So I'm super excited for the Relief Society broadcast this coming week and then General Conference next week! I have no clue if I'll be listening in English or Spanish, but it should be fun either way. I've lately noticed that I am getting better and better at listening and comprehending. Now I just need to especially work on my speaking. Maybe I'll get a nativa in a future transfer and I can speak in mostly Spanish.
Oh yeah, we did this new thing this week where instead of getting frustrated because every time we wanted a member to come we would go through all the members who live in the area and none of them are available... we are now passing a list around of time slots that people can sign up to go out with us. We'll pass that around Relief Society. That has been so helpful! Of course some members ended up falling through, but we did our part to try to make it so there was a lesson for every member instead of the other way around and trying to get a member for every lesson and being frustrated because there are so many schedules to coordinate. It has worked out great and I know as we work on getting members to lessons we'll see even more miracles! They always have such strong testimonies to share of how they found out that the church was true for themselves. We also found out that Eurice who is living here for a few months (she's from Guatemala) wants to go on a mission in a few years. So when we move to our area, we're going to try picking her up in the morning and then having her be with us all day so she can see what missionary life is like. It'll be super fun!
I think that's about all. Have a great week and may the spirit always be with you!
oh, PS-Sarah, I hope you're doing all right and that the baby'll flip and you can be able to get good sleep sometimes!