Saturday, January 19, 2013

Forward with Faith

Feliz New Year!!!!! It was such a trip to go back and look through my journal and see e v e r y t h i n g that happened in 2012! :) I accomplished so much in 2012: graduating from BYU, getting my mission call, touring in Nauvoo, going through the temple to name a few. Hna Tonga and I started the New Year by reading together, "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" a talk by Elder Callister. The talk is all about putting  disobedience, fears, romance, and such on the altar as a sacrifice, and serving the Lord with every ounce of energy. I'll be a missionary for all of 2013 and one of my New Year's resolutions is to by then end be the consecrated missionary I desire to be.
This week had it's up's and downs for sure, but on the tough days I still had little reminders that Heavenly Father and so many of you from back home are praying for me. I got two packages this week one from Tio Merrari and his family & the other from the Leiataua twins. Thank you times a million for your letters, for the sweets, and hood attire (Amaris & Audris, I'm repping my gear today!). Pasadena as I've said before has its challenges aka no active members and having not so much commitment, but I received the best letter from Tio Merrari, reminding me why I am here and who really is in charge. I also received letters from Hna Maughan and double from my family. It's funny, it's as if the Lord knew this was going to be a tough week so he lined up letters so I could get an extra dose of encouragement.
There were HUGE changes made in the mission this week. President Crawford is making the changes necessary to prepare for the surge of younger sisters and elders that will be coming in to the mission within the coming months. Sisters can no longer ride in the same car as Elders and we can no longer have more than one companionship at dinner appointments. Maybe that's not as big of a deal to you all, but it changes the dynamics of the mission a whole lot.  In reality it is such a blessing because these rules will help us really focus a lot more on the work, and our true purpose as missionaries.
Because there's a huge rush of new missionaries coming in, the reality is that I will most likely be training for a majority of my mission. Hna Tonga told me that Elder Holland came to the MTC to speak on Thanksgiving and that he told the missionaries there that all those who are currently on the field can expect to train for their entire missions. The thought of training my entire mission seems a bit like Mt. Everest right now, but I guess there's a reason to everything.
I came away from this week realizing that my faith isn't where I thought it was. That sounds awful doesn't it? But I was studying the principle of Faith esp in the Bible Dictionary and realized two things: Faith is a gift and Faith is a principle of action. Faith is something that we can't say that we have, it's something that we receive. We have belief, but ultimately Faith is a power that comes with acting on our beliefs. I've always known that Faith was a principle of action, but this week it all kind of just made sense. There's one part of the Bible Dictionary that explains, "where there is true faith there are miracles, visions, healings."
I put my faith into practice this week. For one, I was completely overwhelemed and knew I needed a blessing, so I texted the Zone Leaders and although Elder Conan was on exchanges, Elder Hatch & Elder Bock came and gave me a blessing that will always be dear to my heart. I was given such wonderful consejo (council) and I was promised blessings that I desire more than anything else. & Ultimately, I was able to strengthen my mission perspective as I was told that the plan the Lord has for my future begins with the decisions I make here in the field.
Secondly, I took Hna Tonga knocking. I hate knocking. I think it's uneffective and almost always not very helpful. But I decided, if the Lord sees I'm willing to try, maybe he'll offer us a miracle, and he did! We chose to knock Sullivan because we've now received two referrals on that street and I could almost here the words of Hna Maughan playing like a broken record in my hear "I like knocking where we get referrals because that may be a sign from Heavenly Father that we need to focus on a particular area." We also brought out with us pedigree charts and family history cards because in the new training program we had been counseled to try and use it as a means for finding. So out we went knocking in the pouring rain, and as I looked down at my watch I saw that there were two minutes left in the hour I had set apart for us to go knocking, but I thought, "Just this last door."
We knocked and a little boy answered eating a peanut butter sandwich. So I started telling him how I really was a big fan of Pb&J, then his Mom came to the door, and all she said was, "Come in! I haven't seen you for a while!" I was so confused, but we came in. & that's how we met *Maria. Maria loves welcoming in any kind of religious people because as she put it, "You never know if you can learn something new!" She currently is attending a Christian church, but she explained to us how at her previous home the missionaries were teaching her son, because she wanted him to find a church where people had high standards. We had such a great purpose lesson as we talked about what our role as missionaries are. & We have a return appointment with her Tuesday! There were so many things about that lesson that were similar to my first encounter with Veronica, there was a sincerity, a desire to learn, and Maria told us not to forget about the appointment, aka commitment! It was a miracle. A miracle I'd like to think came about because of our combined Faith.
This work is so rewarding. I can feel myself changing with each day. You learn lessons at an accelerated rate on the mission, and I have come to understand what return missionaries mean when they say the "highs are highs and the lows are low." I'm so excited to work this next week!
Con Todo mi Amor,
Hnita Flores
p.s. My mother formally complained about my lack of descriptions for photos, so they have returned.

                                                                  Planner for the transfer. :)
The dogs of Pasadena love me.

The Ruiz girls. They remind me SO much of my group of friends from High School! (L to R) Daniela, Diana, Stephanie, Jackie.
Little Fidel Castro playing in the trees in front of his house. His Dad says he named him Fidel on purpose, because he's so travieso! :)


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