February 2011-August 2012

24 March 2011

Week 5

So, this week has been even CRAZIER than the last if you can imagine that, but so much better in a lot of ways! I still can't really say much in Spanish, but I am having lots of opportunities to serve. I was assigned to be the new coordinating sister for my zone. This means I'm in charge of making sure all the other sisters in my zone are happy, healthy, etc... I have 10 sisters in my zone, 3 leave next week. But their have been some issues with a couple of them so I've spent a lot of my time this week helping them with their own individual struggles. This has taken me out of class several times, so my Spanish is really suffering. But Like Aunt Jan wrote me, when I'm on the Lord's errand, I cannot fail. So I'm going to take that one to the bank. :) We were assigned a solo sister for a couple days, and we had to accompany her to a doctor's appt. off campus yesterday... yeah. You heard me. THE REAL WORLD. It was so great! We practiced contacting all sorts of people in the dr. office, made lots of new friends, and even practiced our Spanish on a few people. I read a book to a 4 yr old named Santiago... yeah, it was a Dora and Diego book. :) hahaha So great! Anyway, this was all a great experience, but I realized I still have a LONG way to go... and only 3 1/2 weeks to do it! So I really need to buckle down. As mom so thoughtfully said, "Work harder!!!!!!!" hahaha... I'll see what I can do... And more good news, I finally got Hermana Ponaveitongo to sleep through the night and keep all her food down for 2 days straight!!! I consider that quite an accomplishment! She is doing much better. Hermana Randall and I wore all black with her for a week to help honor her family and cultural traditions. But yesterday she gave us permission to wear color again. Good thing, too. I hardly have any black clothes. And I was REALLY missing my bright colors!! Thanks for all your prayers on her behalf. We had Elder and Sister Claudio Costa of the presidency of the Seventy speak to us at our devotional on Tuesday. It was so great. He shared his experience of joining the church when he was 28 years old, and how he's allowed the Lord to use him in his life ever since. He said something that really struck me: "When someone is truly converted by the SPIRIT, he will do ANYTHING to serve the Lord." We have definitely seen this to be true with our investigators this week. Remember how I told you about Mike and David last week? Well Mike is still progressing. He was able to witness the power of the priesthood work in his life and in his family. He now has a testimony for himself that God really has restored this power to the earth because He LOVES US. It's incredible to watch someone come to a personal understanding and begin to have experiences with the Spirit on their own. He hasn't finished hearing the lessons yet, but he is determined to still be baptized on April 1 like we originally planned. He want to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost in his life, and he wants to receive the priesthood so that he can help his family. He is truly being converted to the Lord by the Spirit, not us, and it is miraculous to watch his mighty change of heart as the prophet Alma teaches about in Alma 5. David is going home for Springbreak this week, and we'll see how things go with his mom (who has threatened to cut him off financially if he joins the church). But he, too, is experiencing a mighty change of heart. He loves his family so much and would do anything for them. But he is starting to recognize that perhaps the best thing he could do for them is to go ahead and be baptized on April 10 as planned and be that light and example to his family. He wants an eternal family, and he is realizing that he can only have that if he acts in faith on the things he's learning by being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end happily. He now understands that by him doing these things, he can one day help to bring his family to the gospel and eventually have this eternal family that he wants so deeply. We gave him Ether 12 to read, all about faith. When we taught him earlier in the week, I thought it was great that his favorite verse was verse 4 (sorry you'll have to look it up on your own...), because he DOES hope for a better world, and he needs a solid anchor in his life. This kid is only 19 years old. Wisdom beyond his years! How much we ALL NEED an anchor in our lives, which we find in our Savior Jesus Christ, and the true gospel which He has blessed us with to help us all return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father!!!! The most important thing I have to say to anyone is to become and remain worthy to keep the Holy Ghost with you at all times. It is the most precious gift we could ask for in this life... a member of the Godhead to be with us CONSTANTLY... There are not words in the English language for me to be able to emphasize enough how crucial this is. The gospel is true, and Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. All we have to do is turn our hearts to Him, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end happily. Then, we will get to live with God and our families forever. It really is just that simple. I love you all!!! Be good. Love, Hermana Blackburn

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