Monday, July 25, 2016

Week 2 In the Field

Hola, Familia!

The bridal shower sounds like a blast! I wish I could be there! One fun thing about this week, though, was that we actually got to help out with a wedding here in the branch! It was wonderful to be able to help them have such a special experience, and it was fun imagining how great that day will be for my family in August!! 

So, I'm going to go right ahead and start with the sad news of the week - Rosa dropped us. She was the one who committed to a baptismal date, and we were so excited and happy that night. Well, Saturday we were supposed to go on a church tour with her, and she texted us and told us that she wasn't going to change her religion and would we please not visit her again. It was heartwrenching, especially since we'd just been praying and planning about the church tour and how we could best help her. All we can do is keep praying for her and let her know we're still here.

Okay, on to the rest of the week - WE CAN DRIVE!!!!!!!!!! Hna Cedeño and I woke up SUPER early on Wednesday morning to go to the DMV so she could retake the written test. We got to meet a lot of people there and talk to them as we were waiting for the DMV to open - we were the third ones in. Anyway, we went in, and Hna Cedeño took her test. She passed it, which was super exciting! The DMV only has 25 tickets for the road tests per day, and since it's summer and all the high school kids are out of school those tickets go super fast. We were sure we wouldn't be able to do the road test that same day, but the woman who was doing the paperwork for Hna Cedeño after she passed her test was the same one who'd been there last week and helped us figure out what we needed to do in order for her to come back and pass her test. Well, as soon as she saw that Hna Cedeño had passed, she smiled and kind of winked at her and said, "I have a card for you." She'd remembered we were going to come that day and planned ahead so there would be space for us in the schedule!! It was really a tender mercy of the Lord! Hna Cedeño was able to take and PASS her driving test that day, and it was perfect timing because we went to the temple that night with a recent convert and we were able to drive ourselves!
There were a lot of cancelled appointments this week, a lot of slammed doors, and a lot of rejected invitations. But at the same time, there were a lot of beautiful moments with us teaching and getting to know more of God's children. I saw the Lord touch peoples' hearts and help them be a little more humble, even as others have hardened their hearts. I've noticed a pattern - every time Christ performed a miracle by healing someone, first, they came to Him. They called out to Him. They asked to be healed. If we don't ask - if we don't come to Him with real intent and purpose of heart, believing we can receive - He cannot help us, because he will not ever take away our agency and ability to choose. But if we merely call out to Him, we will see miracles in our lives.

We didn't teach as much this week as we'd intended to, because there was a lot of training and a lot of service projects that we were involved with. We also spent a good amount of our time trying to contact our referrals, and the ones we contacted either weren't interested or weren't home. So there have been a lot of hours walking around and knocking doors, but we know we're working! It's really fulfilling to come home at the end of the day and know that you've really WORKED and done everything you could, even if your "stats" don't exactly reflect it the way you'd like them to.

One investigator that I met this week (that Hna Cedeño already knew) was Daniela. She's seriously amazing, but at the moment her family is going through a lot, so if you can remember please pray for them. Anyway, the first time I met her she told us about some of the spiritual experiences she's had, and it was just amazing to hear. We went over on Saturday night to visit with her and teach her about the Plan of Salvation, but that was when she'd just gotten some bad news from her parents. They were leaving as we came in, and rather than teaching a lesson we just talked with her and comforted her for 45 minutes. But I know that though we didn't "teach" her, we were still able to help her grow her testimony. We did share a couple scriptures with her and we bore our testimonies of the power of the atonement to heal and comfort us in our lives. And then she told us that every time she's gone through a trial like this in her life, almost immediately the missionaries have shown up at her door. She called us her angels. I was able to bear testimony to her that we were sent to her from God, because He loves her, and that it wasn't a coincidence that He sent us that night. 

It's amazing how the Spirit leads you even when you don't realize it to those who need you right at that specific moment. That happened at least two other times this week that I know of, but there were probably more that I don't know about. It's really humbling to see how the Lord is using us as His instruments as we strive to do His work!

So, the appointment I was waiting for all week was with Vielka!! We met her last Sunday night (she was the one looking for her dog) and our appointment was for Saturday. I'd been praying about it all week and looking forward to being able to teach her. When we got there, she initially didn't answer the door, and I felt my heart start to break, but then I called her and she picked up and quickly let us in. We were able to teach about the Plan of Salvation to her and one of her sons, Enrique. They're truly an amazing family - a FAMILY - and really so ready to receive the gospel if they hearken to the spirit!! We have another appointment with her on Wednesday, and we fasted for her, Daniela, and Rosa on Sunday, because she too is going through some difficulties that can't be easily fixed without help from the Lord. The spirit in her home as we taught her was amazing, and I know she felt it. When she said the closing prayer, I felt the spirit surround us all, and I pointed it out to her, to which she just nodded with a smile. 

It was an emotional night, and what made it all that better was that we were able to bring an AWESOME member of the branch with us to fellowship her! Sister Espadas and Vielka are both fairly new to the area and they live just about a block away from each other, so it's perfect! They also discovered that they have a lot in common! Hopefully it's a budding friendship that can help her feel more comfortable and open up to receiving a witness from God about the truthfulness of this gospel!

Members make SUCH a huge difference in missionary work!!!

Well, that's it as far as news for this week! (Other than the GIANT wolf spider that was in our house that took up all our exercise time one morning) 
Hna Garner

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