So it's definitely been one of those weeks where you feel like you're on a terrible roller coaster ride and all you want to do is get off. But when you get off the sick feeling doesn't really leave until your organs all return to their correct place. haha I know that might sound a bit dramatic, but that's really how I felt. The week started out... well... ROUGH. EVERYWHERE we went we saw and felt Satan at work destroying families. And it felt like everyone. Members... LOTS of member families crumbling here in this ward as one or both spouses decide to let go of the iron rod and walk toward the great and spacious building of the world. And Investigators... LOTS of investigators stumbling in the mist of darkness as they try to figure out where to go and who to go with. Satan is so sneaky. I hate him. The first half of the week we literally felt like we were wading into deep swamps of sin trying to rescue people. Some of them calling out for us to help them. Some of them rejecting our offer to help pull them out and even becoming offended that we had offered. And all the while trying not to get bogged down or stuck in the swamp yourself. Yeah, does that paint a good enough picture for you of how the first few days felt? It wasn't despair, because that would mean I didn't have hope, and I always have hope in Jesus Christ. But it was definitely a time of "sorrowing for the sins of the world" as Christ warned His disciples about. Yeah that was rough.
And then I got a letter on Wednesday night. TENDER MERCY. This letter was from my dear friend and teacher Richard Rust who is an incredible scholar on the Book of Mormon and gratefully followed the promptings from the Spirit to send me this letter. Well he talked about how I was in the middle of a war between good and evil, a continuation of the War in Heaven. And he sent me some scriptures and the lyrics to the hymn "Let Us All Press On." It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I immediately got on my knees and pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me press on with the steadfastness He needs from me. At least I know I'm on the winning team!! Anyway, THANK YOU to Brother Rust for helping me out this week. Just another testimony, too, that God REALLY does know me and He is going to help me in whatever way He can, and sometimes that means using some of YOU. So be obedient and FOLLOW the promptings of the Spirit.
Well, that letter was the turning point of the week. That's when my organs started return to their rightful places... first and foremost, MY HEART returned to be how it SHOULD. And on Thursday we had our weekly planning. Well, my companion decided that we should set a goal to set one more baptismal date by the end of this week. That was Sunday... yesterday. I was quiet and just looked at her, but in my head I was thinking "WHO?!?!?! NO ONE WANTS GOD'S HELP. WE HAVE TO START ALL OVER!" But I didn't say anything. But she knew what I was thinking. haha She said, "Compa, don't even ask me who, but we're going to set a goal, and we're going to WORK. Only God knows who it's gonna be, but we can be excited to find out!" Well, I thought back to the words of the hymn I had read the night before and so I agreed. We set the goal. And then we made some plans to start all over with the work in our area and with the ward.
So now I have to tell you just "how great the tender mercies of Lord are unto all those that believe in His name." They aren't just great. They are AWESOME!!!
This woman, Marta Martinez called our number asking about English class. Just before the other Hermanas left their area last transfer, they had made a flyer for English class and put it I don't even know where. But Marta saw it. And she called. Well, we set an appointment to see her on Saturday and we were actually able to find a member to come with us (another miracle in and of itself) and we did "How to Begin Teaching" with her and her 3 children (Daniel 12, Oswaldo 10, & Karen 8). (It's a section in PMG ch.10, Tanner, and you should DEFINITELY LEARN IT WELL!!) Well they live in one room of an apartment, that might be 11x14ft if they are lucky. The most humble circumstances I've seen yet. They have bunk beds, a microwave, a little shelf, and a little tv. That is it. And the 4 of them live in there all together. Well we also taught them how to pray, and the Spirit was SO STRONG. Oh my goodness, I seriously can't even tell you how much Heavenly Father loves this family. I feel it SO STRONGLY for them. We invited them to church and they were so happy and excited to come. We found them a ride (another miracle!) and they CAME TO CHURCH. We taught them again yesterday after church (again with a member!) about the Atonement and we watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with them on our little dvd player. Both Hna. Garcia and I felt we should extend a baptismal date to them, but we hadn't talked about it with each other. And then each on our own, we came to the same conclusion--24 July. And so as I was getting ready to just go with the Spirit, even though I hadn't talked to my compa about it, I was going to just invite them. And then my companion starts talking and she invites them to be baptized. On the 24th of July. Coincidence? Absolutely not. INSPIRATION. Let the Holy Spirit Guide. Yep... that's how missionary work SHOULD BE. So within 2 days of meeting us, Marta and her son Daniel accepted the invitation to be baptized. Oswaldo had fallen asleep from the heat and Karen had left, but we'll definitely invite them when we see them on Wednesday. We are so stoked. So of course, awhile later I realize that miracle of all miracles, we REACHED OUR GOAL. And we EXCEEDED OUR GOAL. 2 MORE baptismal dates by Sunday. Yeah. God is REALLY good to us. Because this is HIS work. HIS CHILDREN and Their eternal salvation. And He wants them back even MORE than we do!!!
After a really rough beginning of the week, we ended up exceeding almost every single one of our goals. I have no idea how it happened, but I know that God did it. God helped get 10 investigators to church yesterday. TEN! We're normally lucky if we can get ONE. But TEN. And we now have TEN investigators progressing toward Baptism. And oh I can't even find the words to express the incredible blessings that await them after baptism!!!! SO EXCITED. And the ward... starting to see miracles, there, too. We started calling literally every single member on our ward roster that lives in our area. We're doing a lot of clean-up, but in the end, we will be leaving the area a thousand times better than we found it. Just like we should.
The Monrroy family is still incredible! Still the great light throughout our week. Still getting baptized this Sunday. Oh sweet JOY!!!
So moral of the story, God works miracles when we BELIEVE and WORK. James says that "faith without works is dead." But have you ever thought about how faith WITH works is so very much ALIVE?! Because it is. Seriously. So "do not doubt. BUT BE BELIEVING." And have a great week! I love you all!!!