Happy New Years Eve!
I definitely encourage you all to make goals for this coming year. Goals that are realistic but will make you stretch. Then do everything within your power to achieve the goals this year! In this way 2013 can be a year of miracles. I also encourage you to make a goal about what you can do this year to be an even better member-missionary. When we are truly converted we want to share the gospel. Look for little opportunities of service and love for nonmembers, active members, and less active as well.
I think that is all on my mind because yesterday was a 5th Sunday and I had to give a talk in Reseda again haha. 5 months ago, on the very first Sunday of my mission I was standing there at the same pulpit in the same ward giving a talk about missionary work as well. And you know what is really cool? Maybe the ward hasn't changed that much, but I have changed a lot. I am a better missionary, a harder worker, nicer, better at Spanish, more knowledgeable in the gospel, more outgoing to talk to people on the streets etc. It is cool to be able to look back and see that I am better. But at the same time I know I have a long way to go, so I'm excited to see where 2013 will take me, what more miracles I will see, who I will help, and how I can let the mission change me forever.
That being said, one of the cool things about Hermana Mulliner is that she always pulls these jokes out of I don't know where but they are really funny.... she is hilarious and so fun to be around. But here are two of hers, one is an English joke and one is a Spanish. I have the answers at the bottom of the letter.
1) Why do so many people in the Book of Mormon have sore knees?
2) Cuantas estrellas hay en los cielos?
Anyway... I have a cool story I'd like to tell about Hermana Mulliner. You know the story you told me on skype about how you have been collecting coins and you gave them away? (In fact, if you happen to have that story you told me, you should attach it to the blog!) Well you want to know something cool? On the way home, Hermana Mulliner was telling me that a year ago she received one such jar of coins. She said it was given to her and it was to help her out for her mission fund. It is kind of cool to think about it. You can take care of some of Heavenly Father's children, and have trust that someone else will take care of another child of Heavenly Father elsewhere. Suddenly the world is full of little acts of Christian service as everyone is taking care of each other. It is kind of like the talk about the bees from general conference. Each bee doesn't do a huge amount of work... only like 1/12 of a teaspoon's worth. But it is when all of the bees do their part that you get a lot of honey. As we do our part and have faith that others will do theirs too the world becomes a better place.
On Christmas I finished reading through the Book of Mormon in Spanish and I was so excited but the next day I started right up again in 1 Nephi 1. This time while reading through it, I actually took the advice/activity in the Chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel under the Mission President section where you get a fresh paperback copy and read it while highlighting different things in different colors like every time it mentions Christ, what his words are, what his attributes are, etc. I am only in Chapter 7 or 8 now, but reading while doing this is so helpful to me. I am learning so many new principles all the time and the Holy Ghost is able to teach me so much more. I am also super excited because I can read through it with ease and am understanding everything even though it is in Spanish. It is so cool because when I first started last time I needed to have my English and Spanish copies right next to each other and read them side by side. I love the Spanish language and am excited that little by little I'm working on learning it better.
Hermana Mulliner was still sick a lot of this week so for several days she like slept all day then we went out to have one or two appointments in the night. Like every time she ate she got huge stomach pains, so for several days she just ate crackers, apple sauce, and simple things like that to let her system kind of reset and as of a couple of days ago, she is okay again! Yay! But yeah, our numbers of lessons weren't fantastic because of that, but the highlight of this week was definitely at the baptism we had last night. Antonio got baptized and I attached a photo we took right beforehand. It was so great!! His is such a simple but cool story. He literally got baptized a month and 2 days after we first met him. It seemed like his conversion process was so quick and so easy as far as our work was. When I look back, I remember he did have tons of questions at first. Like at our first lesson he had so many questions and we had to tell him that we can't answer everything in only one visit. He didn't accept the Book of Mormon as scripture right away. He wanted proof to know where the gold plates are now so he can see it. But now he is baptized. And for me that is a testimony that there are people in the world who are so prepared for the gospel. It is a testimony that people can get baptized in a month. But most of all, it is a testimony to me of the importance of commitments. We never had one of those super memorable lessons with him where the spirit was there undeniably strong. But with him, he kept every single commitment we gave him and so all along the way, he was able to have mini spiritual experiences so that eventually he did come to know it was true. Oh and it was also a testimony that the Lord helps the missionaries who are learning languages too. He is from Peru and he speaks very fast and slurred so we didn't understand a lot of what he said and he didn't understand a lot of what we said probably. But the spirit was able to help us. We loved going over there because he was so funny all the time. We like almost couldn't stop laughing sometimes. Like he listens so intently in church and he is always catching things we didn't expect him to. Like one day he said something like, "I'd like to welcome you to this meeting. I am presiding and Hermana Whetten will be saying the opening prayer today." It was so funny! He also saw a tithing slip in those little boxes at church and so he brought one home and so at the next lesson it was just sitting there on his table and so we got to explain all about how that works. It was so cool! But what a miracle he was for us!!
I have one more story I'd like to share. After the baptism last night we wanted to get at least one more lesson in before we came home to do some language study (since we can't fit that in Sunday mornings). We tried several people who we had thought of and we got some return appointments, but the people weren't available for a lesson right then. And I just had the idea that after we try the last one we can go run by Jose Antonio to check on how he's doing and try to get his new phone number. It didn't seem like a magnificent thought or a huge stroke of revelation, but when we got there, he was telling us about how he's been a bit depressed during the holidays because he's been feeling lonely since his family is having some problems and he recently hurt his foot and he had said a prayer that maybe we would come and not long after, we showed up. So to me it didn't seem like revelation at the time, but God knows Jose Antonio and his needs and I am just glad I was able to be an instrument in God's hand to do his work that night. I think on a mission maybe we get so used to listening to the spirit that we don't even realize when we're receiving revelation like that and when it's just us. But it is cool to know that I must be doing something right and I hope that I can continue to be worthy for little spiritual revelations like that.
Anyway, have a fantastic new years! Go make great goals and do everything within your power to achieve the goals and let's see even more miracles in 2013!!!
1) Because of all of the Nephites... knee fights haha!
2) cincuenta.... sin cuenta :D