Monday, December 16, 2013

Ten More Days Till the Best Christmas Present Ever! (Not that we are counting or anything . . . )

Hola Hola Hola mi familia! Como estan este dia? How is the weather up there in Utah this week? Because right here, right now the sun is shining and we are warm. :) haha but I do miss the snow as well, Christmas just isn't the same without it! I, likewise, am super oober excited to get to talk with all of you! At the beginning of yesterday we still had no idea how we would be communicating with you, but we found a solution, and if everything goes according to plan we should all get to Skype or Facetime! Whoo! One of the families in our ward is letting us come over so we can call ya'll. So that will be awesome. I might have to let you know what time next Monday if that's okay. We are still trying to figure out our schedule for that day. Thanks so much for sending the package, I'll be waiting for it! Thanks for being such a great little family, I feel of your love and support through and through every day!

This past week has definitely been a busy one, but that is always good in the life of a missionary. I had a really cool realization this week with an experience we had as a companionship. Someone in the CCM said something about it, but it really struck me again. Here is my little bit of enlightenment from this week. All of us go through experiences and think we do all that we can in that moment. We help others and we grow ourselves. Once we accomplish that experience we look back on it and see the difference it has made and we also think about what we could have done better. We sometimes think that we didn't give it our all. But, what we don't realize is that we have progressed, grown, and learned in many ways through that experience. We didn't have that knowledge in the moment that we were going through those experiences, but now with that new experience we can make it through even more difficult times and continually grow stronger. I don't know if that really made much sense, it does in my mind but explaining it was harder than I thought. haha but basically just that we beat ourselves up too often for not giving it our all when in reality we did. But we gained new knowledge through that experience that can help us along even more. Hmmm..I don't think that's making a lot of sense. haha hopefully the Spirit will help you understand what I mean.
This week we have had some incredible lessons! There is this one investigator we are working with, Celalina, that I just come to love more and more each time we visit her. She is so great. I don't know if I have already told you about her or not, but I'll say it again anyways. She is a woman in her 70s and is the mom of two recent converts into the English ward in this area, but she only speaks Spanish. She cannot read or write, and she has a hard time remembering things, so the lessons have been a little slower than usual, but it's kind of nice that way. She sometimes gets frustrated with herself that she can't remember many things, but I can tell you she has some of the strongest desires I have seen out of an investigator. Her knowledge is not what matters, it's the feelings she feels and the love and desires she has to follow the Savior. She believes what we have taught her to be true, and she has a desire to be baptized too! We just found out that she wants her recently converted son to do that baptism, but it is a little difficult because he is in prison right now. I'm not really sure why, but it was from some accident years ago and they can't afford a lawyer to help get him out right now. So keep him in your prayers if you can, his name is Omar. The last lesson that we had with her, I just felt such strong feelings of love well up inside me. It makes me so so happy to see her have such strong desires to do what is right, and to hear her testify of how she knows it to be true. We watched the Restoration video with her and asked her if she believed it was true. She told us that she knows it is true. She went on to tell us that she had an accident once where she was unconscious. She told us that her brain was still working but that her heart had died. In this moment she was surrounded by darkness, but in one corner of the room she saw a beautiful, beautiful light--just like the one Joseph Smith saw, and she felt so much peace and love. That's how she knows it is true. It is incredible to me how the Lord prepares people to accept this gospel, and I love more than anything in the world to see these people have desires to come to Christ and accept His teachings. Not only accept them, but to live them. I just cannot get over the love and happiness I felt for her in that moment when we taught her. I like to think that maybe the Savior is letting me feel a little bit of the love that He has for everyone.
Yesterday we also had a great great miracle. We decided to try to visit a less-active, part-member family. We have tried to stop by and visit them multiple times and haven't been able to get in with them. As we got out of the car we saw Hermano in his garage, went up to him, and said hello. He told us they were decorating their Christmas tree and asked if we would like to help him! So of course we said yes! We were able to visit with them, help them, and share a Christmas message with them. They also gave us delicious tamales and postre. But that was the first time I have ever visited them since being here, and I am really grateful that we were able to build better trust and a better relationship with them. They even invited us to come over on Christmas! So that was a great miracle, and we are hopeful that we will be able to visit them more often. Beginning with Christmas Day! I have a feeling that I am going to be eating and eating and eating on that day...yikes.
This week I read a lot in Jesus the Christ and have grown to be more and more grateful every single day for His great sacrifice. I finished Mark in the New Testament, so I wanted to read in Jesus the Christ to get more insight and understanding of the last fews days of the Savior's life on earth, His atonement, and crucifixion. Wow, is that a profound book. I learned so many things, and my testimony of the Savior grew and grew and grew. I can't even begin to comprehend all that He went through for us, but I am forever grateful that He did, and that He was willing to do so. Dad, I love what you said in your email about how we have to accept and believe in the Atonement ourselves if we want to be able to feel that healing power. We can't receive that help without having faith and believing that it can help us. I can testify to you that the power of the Atonement is real. I have felt it here on my mission more than I ever have in my life. I am so imperfect and I need so much help from the Savior to help me become as perfect as I can be in this life. Sometimes I get discouraged, frustrated, upset, etc. but ALL of those feelings can completely disappear if we put our trust in the Atoning power of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am to have a relationship with my Savior, and how grateful I am for Him. Do all you can this week to think of Him and His life, and I will be doing the same. I love you all and cannot wait to get to talk with you soon! You are the best family that any person could have ever asked for, thank you thank you thank you for your love and support!
Hermana Hoj


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