Okay, first of all, I want to copy and paste something Ryan sent to me in an e-mail. He said:
"So in the first two weeks after the missionary announcement at conference there has been 8000 people who have submitted their mission paperwork! Can you believe that! usually they only get about 300-400 every two weeks. I have a feeling that a large part of those could be sisters so I might be at the MTC during a very historic time. It could be the only time that the sisters out number the elders at the MTC."
Can you believe it?! 8000 people submitted in two weeks! Those poor apostles!!! They probably had all of them working all day and all night practically to go through all of those. I can just imagine them being like, "we're going to need a few more computers in this room!" But isn't that so great!?!! I am so lucky to be a missionary right now! I am a part of this historic time for missionaries!
Now let me tell you about some of the miracles of this week. First of all, last week we were at 5 baptismal dates set if I recall correctly. And now we're at 7!!!! This is definitely the Lord's work and he has his hand in it all! So for the other two, one was the husband of an investigator that we have currently who has a baptism date. He is even more excited about this gospel than she was (this is Herminia --the one that sews really great, she made the wedding quality dress for a Catholic confirmation dress for someone who couldn't afford it-- and her husband is Miguel). When we talked about the restoration he was so excited. Then we talked about the Book of Mormon and testified of it. And when we said we would like to give him a copy of it too, he basically said the Spanish equivalent of "no way! are you serious?! you're giving one to me?!" It was so great! He said sometimes he sits in his car or at a bench and sometimes he is depressed but he was like, "so why not read something great instead?!" It was crazy because we just happened to go over there because we had a little bit of extra time before coming home for the night. They are so great and they are super busy with work, but I hope we can keep coming back to teach them more. He was even like, "my birthday is next month, maybe I can get baptized on that day!"
The other date we have is that of Alba. Hers is a miracle. Like when the ward mission leader read on our progress record that she had a baptismal date his jaw dropped. She has been an investigator since about February and she has been coming to church basically every week for about 3 or 4 months. But she never would commit to a date because she just kept on saying that it is still so new to her and that she might eventually join but never really doing anything about it. But hers for me is a testament of how important it is to practice during companionship study in the mornings. Because all of the concerns or doubts we brought up that we thought she might tell us during the study time were exactly what she ended up saying. and because we practiced it, we already knew how to answer and what scriptures we were going to use et cetera. It is just like God's work.... you have to create things spiritually before you create them physically. So it might be surprising to new missionaries how much time is spent planning and training. But through it all, revelation is able to come because you spend time planning, preparing, etc.
I guess another thing I can talk about is faith. About a week and a half ago I decided to go through the chapter in Preach My Gospel about Christ like Attributes and to really work through and read through every reference it lists and to work on developing these attributes for myself. That task becomes a little longer when you look at it and realize that several of the attributes ask you to read through all the scriptures in the topical guide under that topic. haha! so because of that, I'm still on the first one--faith. But through spending that much time focusing on it, I've really learned a ton. Faith is so cool. Faith is a principle of action...when you have faith it will always be accompanied by the drive and need to go do something about it. But as it is built, strengthened, and developed, it becomes a principle of power as well. Through faith it is possible for hope to arise, for forgiveness to come (which are not small things), for miracles, signs, and visions to happen, for dreams and revelation to arise, etc. Faith is so great!
In a way, faith is like a blob. In itself it can't do much. But between your hopes/desires and your actions, you define what your faith is to you. So that blob can grow, shrink, harden, soften, sweeten, brighten, dim, etc. In that way, faith can become a sword, shield, or breastplate (several scriptures liken it unto that). It can become a flower that you want to share with everyone to make them happier. It can be a rock in a backpack that is a burden to carry around. It can be like blubber or a weak muscle if you don't work at it. It can be your golden heart which you want to break and share with people, it can be bread that feeds your spiritual side, et cetera. In a way every day you create for yourself what your faith means to you by how your hopes and actions drive you. So what is your faith today?
But so much is possible through faith. The effects of faith are huge! You can get to the point that unquestionably you know that the direction that you're living life is acceptable to God. (like being on a road--you don't have to make U-turns all the time. You know exactly where you're going and how you're going to get there). Eventually you can receive in this life all the blessings God has for you through faith (receive is the key word there. God wants to give us everything! But we have to get to the point where we are worthy of, desiring of, and able to receive every good blessing.) And finally, through faith it is possible to eventually get to the point where you unquestionably know that salvation is guaranteed for you. (all of that is found in the Bible Dictionary: Faith)
Faith is so great! I never really gave it much credit before. I think it is the center of the Christ like attributes. Because you need the other attributes like humility, patience, hope, etc to really develop true faith. But faith will also feed those attributes. So that is what I'm working on right now... faith. And it is so great. God wants to bless us. And so as we do the actions to become worthy of them, he will bless us with them. I know that because I see miracles practically on a daily basis.
This work is so great!
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week. I was so excited to hear about Jason's baptism! Great missionary work, Shaun and Sarah!! Sarah, good luck with the last stretch of the pregnancy! I hope it isn't too uncomfortable. I love you all and hope life is treating you fantastically!
Oh, one more random thing... haha! Living here you eventually get to know the noises of the street venders:
- the cucaracha song is for the cucaracha trucks which are huge trucks that sell all kinds of snacks
- a horn honked several times is for snacks like helote (corn on the cob with mayonaise covering the outside with like cheese and spice on that), respados (basically a snow cone but the ice is a little bit less fine than snow cones), and other things like grilled fat things that people put in a bag.
- a bell is a street ice cream vendor
- there are also normal ice cream trucks with the songs that play. we have one that comes around usually while we're doing our nightly planning session and it has animal sounds incorporated into the song which makes us laugh all the time.
- a person screaming out "
basically, if Hispanics can't find or get a job they get a cart and start vending foods. You can tell how long they've been selling by how decked out their carts are. Like if they're just starting it'll be out of a grocery cart that they walk all over.
Okay that's all, I'd better take off. Have a great week!! and may the Spirit be with you!