So, we had another hard week, and sometimes the only thing that gets me through is repeating this scripture over and over in my head: Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless, whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the lasted day. I honestly think that the Lord has decided to feed me humility with a spoon for my whole mission (as Hermana Chamberlain once told me). But my comfort comes from the promise that if we will go to the Lord with our weaknesses, He will make weak things become strong. I am putting ALL my faith in that promise. The mission has made me realize that I lack so so so much in my journey to become like Christ, but . . . the good news is that I still have time to learn.
So this week, as I said, was hard. Each day I woke up, it was harder and harder to see the light, and hard to hold on the the shred of hope that was connecting me to heaven. But, as Elder Scott said: "When you feel that there is only a thin thread of hope, it is really not a thread but a massive connecting link, like a life preserver to strengthen and lift you. It will provide comfort so you can cease to fear. Strive to live worthily and place your trust int he Lord." I think that all along I have been closer to heaven than I knew.
So this week we had to dejar all our investigators, ummm . .. dejar in English is kinda like let go, or drop . . . but so say we had to let go of all our investigators sounds weird to me. You see, no one was progressing. Like no one, and Hermana Leyva and I felt like we had literally done everything we could. As mom says, we planted the seed, and I pray that they will let it take root so that the next time the missionaries knock on their door, they will accept them!! So we are no longer teaching P*, J*, C*, JP, L*, C*, L* or, O*:( It was super hard to dejar them, especially O*. But, it was weird, because after we left his house, Hermana Leyva turned to me and said, "I think that someday we will see him again, maybe not in this life, but I think in the next life he will come find us and thank us for trying." I told her that I felt the same way! So you might not meet him when you come to Chile, but I will make sure to introduce you to him someday.
So that was the beginning of our week. Talk about FOME! The second half of your week was literally knocking doors every day! I have a wound on my knuckles! The doors in Chile are super duro! On Friday we didn't teach one lesson. We just knocked doors, and we literally got door after door slammed in the face! It was hard, and sometimes it is hard to find that happiness that you were talking about mom in these moments. But Hermana Leyva and I found little things to make us laugh. But we are passing through a lot of difficulties right now, not just with the work, but with other missionaries and the ward. I know I am not yet as Job, Jose Smith, of even Jose in Egypt, but sometimes it is hard not to look at the sky and ask why!
But it is in the hard times of our life that the Lord teaches us the most profound lessons, and it is in these times when we learn to look for the little blessings of everyday. For example, yesterday during church, when I was feeling so so so down, one of the Elders in our ward came up to me and gave me a piece of candy. Blessing. We had three milagro investigators in church (they might not progress, or get baptized, but they came to church!!). Blessing. Twice this week we only waited 5 minutes for the micro instead of 30 minutes. Blessing. One day we left the house and had no planes to teach lessons with members, cause we have no investigators, but somehow we had two milago lessons with members that day. Blessing. Yesterday in church, a recent convert came up to us and asked when he could come with us to teach a lesson, or knock doors, or whatever. Blessing. I have an amazing companion who strengthens me EVERYDAY! Blessing. And I received a very thick envelope full of letters and pictures from my amazing Ostler family. BLESSING!! All of these are small things, almost insignificant when there are other missionaries baptizing every stinking week, but they are evidences that the Lord, en verdad, is with us, and that He loves us.
Oh this week we had an amazing lesson with a newish investigator, C*. She is passing through a lot of difficulties familiares, and when went to her house to teach her daughter. But her daughter didn't want to listen. She said that it was ridiculous to listen to us if she doesn't believe in what we believe. Then she left the room. Awkward! So we were just sitting there with her mom, not reallying knowing what to do. Then Hermana Leyva just started in teaching about the Book of Mormon. I knew she was going to pass the ball to me, and that I had to say something, but I really had no idea what to say. Or what this woman needed to hear. So I sat there and listened to Hermana Leyva, and prayed that the Lord would fill my mouth. Then, Hermana Leyva stopped talking, and it was my turn.
It was silent for a moment, as I thought, then it came to me. The story of Alma the Younger. I opened my scriptures and started explaining the story of Alma the younger, and Hermana Leyva and I taught a beautiful lesson about prayer and Gods love, and that if she had faith her daughter could have a change of heart just like Alma did. Well, it wasn't really us, it was the spirit. Before we left, Hermana C* said that she had never felt this way before, and we told her it was the spirit testifying that what we were teaching was true. It was a super bacan experience, but we haven't been able to find her in her house again. Well, once, but we are not sure if she will progress. But the seed is planted. I did what the Lord called me to do. I invited her to come unto Christ. To pray. To repent. Now the rest is up to her.
This morning I had another cool experience. Hermana Leyva woke up and I could tell she was not in a good mood, but she was trying really hard not to show it. Then when it was time to do companionship study she said she didn't want to. I sat there, thinking of what I could say to her to make her feel better. But nothing came to mind. 45 minutes passed, and I continued reading my scriptures, hoping I could find something to say. Nothing. Well, she finally turned to me and said, "I'm not mad at you, I just don't want to do this anymore." I asked her if there was anything I could do to help. She said no. She said she didn't even want to go email today, cause then she would just tell her family that she wanted to go home.
I sat there in silence, remembering how I always had the perfect thing to say to people in moments like this. But nothing. I couldn't think of one thing to say to her. Then I went away from my own knowledge and poured my heart out to the Lord. I begged him that he would give me what to say. That he would help me help my companion through this difficult time like she had helped me. She continued to tell me about some emotional difficulties she was passing through, and how she just really didn't want to do this anymore, and she started crying. I was barely holding the tears in myself because everything she was saying was exactly how I had been feeling, and I knew I couldn't help her because she was asking questions that I hadn't yet found answers to. After she was done, we sat in silence for a time, as I continued to pray, and to beg with the Lord that he would pour a portion of his spirit out on me so that I could help Hermana Leyva.
Then, once again, something came to mind. It was a general conference talk I had recently read by Elder Uchdorf. I got up, went into our room and got my ensign and read to her the words of an apostle of God. It was about how we are all children of God and have divine potential. And then told her that I knew God loved her, and that she should never forget that, and being a good person does not mean that you will not pass through difficulties. It does not mean you will never cry, or never fall, it just means that you will get up every time you do. Then she said, but why get up if I know that I am just going to fall again? And I said, as long as you don't fall in the same place than it means you are just a little bit stronger. Then we cried together, and I felt the spirit with us. I felt our heavenly father with us, telling us that he loves us, and that he is ever waiting to help us back up when we fall.
Man, the mission is a constant struggle, but as long as you keep moving forward, and falling forward then it will not be in vain. Sometimes the Lord sees fit to chasten his people, and not because they are wicked, but because he needs to try their faith. He needs to know how committed we are to live his commandment and do his will.
So, that's the week. Oh, and Hermana Leyva made an itinerary of our vacation to Peru. We are definitely going. Here's what I was thinking. After our week in Chile, we hop over to Peru, but Hermana Leyva and I have talked, and we think it best if after the week in Chile, we return home, I get released, and have a month and a half of chill. Then in the middle of August we take a family trip to Peru, have a personal tour guide (aka, Hermana Leyva) And when we come back Hermana Leyva and her two siblings come with us, then we all drive to Provo together to start the new semester! Best plan ever!! So start making preparations. Also, I have invited Hermana Leyva and her two sibling for thanksgiving in 2014. Just so you know.
I love you all! Thanks for the prayers, the letters, and just everything! I love you all!