16 October 2013

Samana 39


So I read my email that I sent you in that I sent you last week that also made it into the Proselytor. My mission is not my own. Still trying to learn that! Too bad I've been out on my mission almost half way and I'm just barely learning things that I wish I knew all along. I still have to remind myself that my mission isn't my own...
My mission will be a holy place for me. It really will be! I hit 9 months this month. CRAZY.

I've loved being able to enjoy the gifts of the Spirit on my mission. 
I've never prayed harder on my mission.
I've never cried harder for someone else's salvation. 
I've never hungered more for an answer of my own, but more importantly I've never hungered more for an answer for someone else. 
I've never had more confidence in the promise in Moroni 10:3-5.
I've never had so much gratitude fill my heart. 
I've never wanted something so much more than to see the people that I've come to learn make the right decision and follow the Lord and His commandments.
I've never understood more about my Savior than my mission. 

I think a lot about how as missionaries we are sitting on the sidelines trying to cheer our investigators, or less actives on. We are there on the sidelines of the game trying to help them endure to the end and make sacred covenants. It hurts so bad that I can't just get them to come to church, quit smoking, read the Book of Mormon FOR THEM. It is so hard having to depend on someone else's agency all that time as a missionary.... but I know that that is exactly how the Savior feels. He knows what is in store for us. He knows that this is just a short time and that if we endure it we will be exalted on high. All of us who are going through a mortal life are out there on the playing field and we have a Savior who is there to not just cheer us on the sidelines, but play along side of us, pick us up on his shoulders and carry us to the end. We don't need to play this game alone,  we have the Savior there for us. 

There is an amazing talk that I read by Brad Wilcox about Grace. I've never understood Grace before like I do know. The amazing thing about Grace is that it is always there and that the price has already be paid. 

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will never sink more deep into my heart than it has on my mission. I'll be honest, I never understood it before, but I think I'm finally coming to that point where I know I will need it for the rest of my mission, the rest of my life and the rest of eternity. I don't need to play this game alone-- I have the Savior. 

What is our purpose as missionaries? "To invite others to COME UNTO CHRIST." To teach them that they don't have to play this game alone. He is there waiting for us to depend on Him. Man, this is still a lesson I'm trying to learn... but I'm so grateful that my mission is helping me learn that. 

So did I ever tell yall that I kind of have a baptism from my first area of Manchester? I really think it is so funny that I came back to McMinnville where I'm literally only 20 minutes away from my first area. My trainer, Sister Smith, was in Manchester for about 6 months and came away with only one baptism.... and it wasn't even Spanish! But man, this guy Dallas is SOLID GOLD. I don't know if I already told you this last week but I had the opportunity to teach this guy Dallas who was dating Tahsa, the daughter of the RS president whose house we were living in... we really only had one solid lesson with him, but the Spirit was there. That was MONTHS ago. After that lesson that we had with Dallas he went away to basic training for 10 weeks where he really started to go to church and investigate in North Carolina. He ended up getting baptized in July when I was still in Hopkinsville, KY. I only saw it on a mission newsletter and I was a little bummed that I never got to hear about that baptism. Fast forward to last week I was in Manchester helping the missionaries out there and got to see Dallas. He shines so bright with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is amazing. He was already a solid guy, but so much more amazing to see him now. What Sister Smith ended up telling me was that what had helped Dallas get through what became immense opposition as he was joining the church was the Spirit that he felt during that first lesson. THE GOSPEL CHANGES LIVES. Dallas and Tasha got married last week! Their reception was in McMinnville and I was able to go with Sister Jensen. So cool that the rest of their life is changed by something that I was able to be a part of. I'm so grateful that I was able to see some result of my effort as a missionary. It meant to so much to me! I'll be honest, my mission is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but somehow the Lord provides me with tender mercies which continue to make it worth it for me. 

This last week we set FOUR BAPTISMAL DATES and had ELEVEN INVESTIGATORS at church yesterday. Our branch had 37 people at church yesterday and TEN WERE INVESTIGATORS. Crazy, I know. Do you want to know the funny thing? Of those 4 baptismal dates that we set, none of them actually came to church.... Sister Jensen and I thought that was interesting so our goal this week is to visit all of the 11 investigators that came to church and help get them to baptism! 

Cool experience last night we were so lost as to where we were supposed to be and who we were supposed to visit (literally every appointment fell through) ... so we stopped and prayed again where we needed to be... who came to our mind? Enrique and Adalide who came to church yesterday. 

We had an amazing lesson with this couple! Enrique was taught by missionaries years ago and they had an amazing influence on his life, it is incredible. Those Elders loved him so much. I've never seen a grown man cry with so much genuinity as I have Enrique. I love them already so much! And yesterday they asked us how they could be baptized. SO AMAZING. They will have some difficulties helping them get to baptism (they aren't married, they were both married to other people in Mexico --- oh no, don't even want to think about trying to work on their divorce in mexico...) but they are ready to baptism and the Lord is truly leading us to those who are ready to be baptized! 

Again, my mission is not my own, but I'm so blessed to be a part of this great work! 

Sorry I rambled about a lot of things! Thank you for your prayers. I feel them! We are making so many advances with our investigators. Please keep praying for

Erika, Betty, Oscar, Mariana, Jocelyn, Jennifer, Cory, and Valentin

Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

celebratory smoothies when we set a baptismal date

Burning tights for 6 months and a skirt for my 9 months

random tractor...

Northcutt Cove! Look up the history there!

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