Monday, July 7, 2014

Sabe de Jesucristo, o conoce a Jesucristo? & Adios to the Pingrees!

Another letter where there is just so much to say that it's going to be all over the place. So bear with me! This week has been so so amazing! I have so many stories and so many thoughts.

First off, Samantha and Barbara were baptized on Tuesday!! And, Hermano was able to be the one to perform the ordinance!! When we walked up with the girls to the baptismal font to help them, I was overcome with the Spirit. To see them be baptized, to see Hermano with his daughters, to witness the Priesthood power, to witness the power the Atonement has to help people change...I AM SO GRATEFUL AND SO HAPPY!!!! Samantha was first, and as Hermano said the words to baptize her, the Spirit overcame him, and he was very emotional. He felt that priesthood power again, and I know he felt so good to have it back. He now remembers what he had been missing. The Lord works miracles--they have not ceased, and I am blessed to be a witness of some of the miracles He performs. The Atonement is miraculous and there truly is not one thing more amazing than witnessing that power change a person. Such a beautiful experience! On Sunday, Hermano bore his testimony too--with such an amazing Spirit. Love that family. 

Okay, get ready for this one. This is awesome. You know those stories that returned missionaries always share at their homecoming and you just think, "There is no way that really happened." Well, we had the biggest miracle ever! That happened to us! We were going to visit Rigoberto and Ricardo and they weren't home, but Mari opened the door. She came outside and started talking with us. First we were talking about the Book of Mormon and how the gospel makes us happy. She began to ask us many questions about the "requirements" of our religion, because she has heard many different things about our church. She told us that she's Catholic, but not from the heart. We began answering her questions and she invited us to come inside becuase she had so many more. She asked us an awesome question--a question that usually one who is prepared asks. The very same question that Joseph Smith had when he prayed and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. She was asking "Why are there so many churches? There is one God, so why are there so many churches that teach such different things? Why is it that when religion is something that should unify us is today something that pulls us apart?" Wow. We have the answer!! So into the Restoration lesson we dove. And it just gets better. We talked about prophets, the priesthood, apostasy, and Jesus Christ. We talked about what Jesus Christ did for us. She then told us that her mom was killed and how that was something so hard for her. We read Alma 7:11-12 with her and I know the Spirit touched her. All the sudden she looks at us and says "Do you believe in dreams?" We told her that yes, we believe dreams can be a form of personal revelation.Then she told us about a dream she had about a year ago. She said "I have shared this with so many people, but no one can tell me what it means." She said, I was in a field with my family, surrounded by a lot of trees, all of them covered in fruit. From the field into the trees there was a path that we began to follow. As we were walking down this path, I looked up at the sky to see a hand that looked like a cloud, as if it were telling me to stop. We all stopped and then I noticed another path. I began to tell my family to follow me down the other path. As we followed this path, it led us directly to God. We looked ahead and saw God, and saw that He was a normal person, that He looked just like us. I ran towards Him, shouting and we embraced. I was able to feel Him when I hugged Him, He was like us! I made it to God, and then the dream ended." Ummm....I was SPEECHLESS. All that was going through my mind was "Lehi's dream!! 1 Nephi 8, the tree of life!!!!!" She said "Do you know what it means?" Hermana Miller and I looked at each other, dumbfounded. Then we said "Hermana, there is a prophet in the Book of Mormon who had a dream almost exactly like this. Do you want to read it?" With big eyes she said "Really? Yes!!!" So we read 1 Nephi 8 to her and after she was in awe too. She asked what the hand could have meant and we told her that it was the Lord guiding her to the right path. Then she stopped and said "I just want to know everything." Oh my goodness. What in the world? That really happened? We went back to visit her, and sadly she is moving. :( But we got her address and we are going to send missionaries to her ASAP! Wow, GOD IS GOOD!!! 
               Adios to the Pingrees! They are amazing and will be missed!
                 We can't thank you enough for your service!
                   Hola to the Mortensen family from Irvine California!

On the 4th of July we met President Mortensen and his family! (oh and by the know it's the fourth of July in Texas when you wake up and 6:00 in the morning to go running and there are people already barbecuing...haha) They are such an adorable family! The have six kids--their oldest daughter Mallory is on a mission, Sophie-17, Grace-14, Paige-12, Anders-9, and Dane-5. Such a cute family. Sure will miss the Pingrees and all the good that they have done, but I also know that the Mortensen family is here for a reason and are going to do so much for everyone here. When Hermana Miller and I talked to President, he challenges us to double our contacts. So instead of 25...50. Sometimes, okay a lot of the time, it is a struggle to get 25 contacts! Running to and from appointments, being in the car, sometimes it's hard. But we took the challenge and we talked to EVERYONE. Everyone that was in our sight. We got 60 contacts!! It was amazing too, because we didn't even really go out of our way to talk to people, the Lord put them right in our path! We found some really prepared people and found 11 new investigators! The Lord truly is blessing us. This last weekend I was more tired than I think I have ever been in my life when we got home, but there is no better feeling than knowing that you gave your all in the Lord's work. Every appointment we had that day fell through, but the Lord had some divine appointments waiting for us! BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE BEST THING EVER. I never want it to end! I am just so happy and feel so blessed and so grateful!

One more miracle. Saturday night we got a call from a random number asking us where our church was and what time it started. Then he said he'd see us there! So we get to church on Sunday and when we went to the gospel principles class there were two guys that none of us knew, but I didn't know at first if it was him. We went up to talk to him after and I realized that he is the son of one of our previous investigators! His name is Moises. I went by his house once to see if his dad was home, and he opened the door. The other guy that was with him, Immanuel, is the son of one of the members in our ward, but he isn't a member. Moises was asking so many questions and really wants to know about the church. We later found out that he knew his friend knew where the Mormon church was and said Take me! How awesome is that! The Lord truly is preparing so many people! There are people literally searching for the truth! We just have to find them!!

Last but not least, one of the things I have really been thinking a lot about lately is the title of my email. Translated, for those of you who don't know Spanish, it means Do you know of Jesus Christ, or do you know Jesus Christ? It isn't enough to simply know of Jesus Christ. We have to know Him personally! And one might ask, how do we get to know Him? Let me share with you a quote by Joseph Smith. He said,
"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
There you have it. The Book of Mormon. It's purpose is to testify of Christ! We will come to know God and Jesus Christ by reading it, pondering it, and praying to know that it is true. It is the only way to do so! I love the Book of Mormon, and it is such an incredible experience to be able to testify of it, along with the Savior, every day. I am so lucky! But the good news is that you can do that too! Yes, I am a missionary so this is my focus every day, but you as well have the opportunity to do the same thing! We are here to help others come unto Christ, invite them to come to know Christ. This is how we can do it, sharing the Book of Mormon. So that's my challenge for you! Share your testimony of the Book of Mormon with someone who is not a member, post a scripture, give someone a Book of Mormon to keep for themselves. I promise that you will be filled with the greatest happiness ever! Do it! Okay?! Love you all so much! Have a fabulous week!!!

Hermana Hoj

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