Monday, November 25, 2013

Tried to come up with a good creative title . . . . . But I got nothing (a direct quote from Annie)

Buenos Dias mi familia!
So good to hear from you all, it's always a good day when you get to check your email! I'm so glad that your Thanksgiving dinner went well and that everyone was able to come! I wish I could have been there with you, but this is the place I've gotta be right now...and I am loving it here in Texas! (quick side note...I think that I have developed a slight allergy to pineapple...I ate it twice this week and both times my mouth was all weird and tingly and itchy! Que triste! Except I don't know that it's really enough to stop me from eating it because it is just too good! haha but mom don't worry I'll be careful) The temperature has dropped, so it's been in the forties here for the past week. It's a good thing I bought tights last Monday! I'm wearing them as we speak! So I am jealous that you get to go to San Diego and experience that beautiful weather! Let me know how everything goes and make sure you drive safe. Liv, good luck with all of your games..kick some butt alrighty? (haha am I allowed to say that? If not...por favor perdoneme.) And dad, can I just say that picture you sent me had me in tears I was laughing so hard! hahahahahahahaha and the caption along with it just made it that much better. Meg looked pretty good too. And then the story of your proof reading skills on the program...that got me too! haha So thanks for brightening my day with some laughter! I just love you all too much. One last thing before I move on...Jake and Tay, or any one who has some good ideas...what are some object lessons you used to teach on your mission? We're trying to get our investigators and the people we are teaching more involved and help them understand it better. So if you have any ideas please let me know!
Oh and one other thing too. Mom, know I am thinking of you a lot this week with Thanksgiving coming up and everything. I know it's a difficult time for you, grandpa, your sisters, the Petersons, etc. and know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. How great it is to have this knowledge through the gospel that we can live with our families for eternity and that we are never alone. I grow more grateful every day for this knowledge and how it has been able to help me through my life. The power of the atonement is something remarkable that every one of us can feel, and that is something that I am trying to understand and apply more to my life every day. Also trying to help others understand this and have more faith in the Savior. It really makes all of the challenges and difficulties in life so much more bearable. Christ invites us to "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." What a comfort that is to know that we can be relieved of our pains and burdens through Jesus Christ, our Savior. I know that you can be filled with the love of Christ during this hard time. And know that I will be listening to "Come to Jesus" right along side with you!
So this week has been a very interesting one, very different than the ones we've had in the past, but incredible nevertheless! We didn't have many lessons with investigators this week, however hard we tried. We had tons of lessons set up but they all fell through. A lot of things just didn't go according to plan, but I've realized that our back up plans and back up back up plans are usually God's first choice of plans. haha So all of these things fall through and then God helps us recognize what it really is we should be doing in that moment of time. He always finds a way to help us out though, and if we are ready and willing to listen to and follow the direction of the Spirit, all is well. We had a lot of lessons with our members and menos activos and I guess that is just what the Lord is having us do right now. We have seen some incredible miracles through this though! We have met with the same menos activo family that I wrote home about last week, and they are so incredible! They were going to come to church, but we found out yesterday that his car wouldn't start. Ugh. Satan's little tricks huh? But what is important is their desire. It is there! Their desire to return is there and they are so willing to make the steps to come back. Both lessons that we had with them were so incredible and it is really helping him remember those feelings that he had while he was active. I am so excited for them and so excited to see what great things will happen with them! On Friday we had a big ward activity for Thanksgiving and a lot of people came! We were able to get a referral from that and we'll be visiting them this week! It was a referral from Obispo and he says that they seem really ready to accept the gospel, so be praying for them! Saturday was kind of an off day too, but ended tremendously! I woke up a little sick from something I ate at the party the night before so I wasn't feeling well the whole day, but we had a baptism in our ward!!! Whooo!!! One of the investigators of the other Hermanas in nuestro barrio fue bautizado! This was the same man that I was able to extend the baptismal date to when I was on exchanges with Hna. Bruneel, so it was cool because I felt like I had a part in it too. He was so ready and is so happy to finally have been baptized! It was such a beautiful, incredible, spiritual experience.
One thing I learned this week was at our district meeting. We were talking a lot about the doctrine of Christ--fe, arrepentimiento, bautismo, el Espiritu Santo, y perseverar hasta el fin. I realized that it all comes back to this. This is what we are here to teach, the doctrine of Christ! It doesn't matter if I don't have a ton of baptisms on my mission, what matters is that I am sharing this and helping others feel the love of God. If I can help someone increase their faith, that's a victory in and of itself! If I can help someone demonstrate their faith through repentance, even better! If I can help someone take the steps to receive baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost--Whoo!! And if I can help them keep those covenants and endure to the end, wow! It is a process, and not every one is ready to take all the steps at once, no matter how badly we want them to. Patience is key. But in all of these things I can find reason to rejoice. It's such incredible work, being a missionary. We simply must do the best we can do to share what we know, and it's up to the person listening and the Spirit how it will be received. I am so grateful to be a missionary right now. Mom and Dad, I just want to thank you for helping make this possible for me, I don't think I thank you nearly enough! Thank you for raising me in a way to understand and appreciate this gospel and the importance of it in our lives and for helping me have that desire to share it with others. Thank you for all of your sacrifices and time and service to me and others, for being the best examples I could have ever had. I really cannot thank you enough. Thanks for being my parents! I sure love you lots! (And the rest of the fam too. :) you are all just as fantastic) LOVE YOU ALL! Happy Thanksgiving!!
con MUCHISIMO amor,
Hermana Hoj
                       Dinner at an investigator's for his birthday                      

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