Week 46: [in which there is no subject line]

Dear family and friends,

I don’t know why, but Sunday miracles seem to be the sweetest kind. This Sunday in church was really incredible. In sacrament meeting, Felix, who’s been inactive for about 20 years, gave one of the most heart-felt talks I’ve ever heard. It was an incredible feeling to see him at the pulpit sharing his testimony and then to see him seated next to his daughter in the pew. Also, David, who’s been inactive for 30 years–most of his life–came to church with his girlfriend, whom we are teaching, and their two beautiful daughters. His mom, who’s in our ward, almost cried with joy. Words can’t describe the joy I also felt, and I’m sure it’s just a small taste of the joy that God feels to see His children finding their way back to the path. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to be part of this beautiful work.

In our district meeting we talked about what it means to be a  successful missionary and how success is not luck but the blessing that comes as a result of hard work, love, dedication, and obedience. This week I’ve thought a lot about what it means to “give my whole heart to the Lord.” There are some times when I let my mind wander a little and become unfocused in lessons or in the street, and this week I’ve tried really hard to be more focused and more aware of what thoughts I allow in my mind. I’ve noticed a difference in how I feel at the end of the day; I’m more positive and excited for the work, and I feel more sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit.

On Tuesday I had an incredible experience in a lesson with a very tired mother, Andrea, and her son, Lorenzo. Andrea often says that, as much she wants to, she doesn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to “changing her religion.” Her children have expressed a desire to be baptized, and Lorenzo started saying his prayers often after our very first visit. He even puts soccer off to listen to us! But as I listened to Andrea talk about how overwhelmed she felt, I wondered what we could do to help her. What came to mind was the object lesson about time management that includes fitting rocks and sand into a bottle. (If you’re not familiar with that I encourage you look it up.) I didn’t have either of those, but the Spirit led my eyes to the differently-sized blocks that littered the living room where we were seated. I asked if she had a pot that I could use, and while she and my companion talked, I figured out how many big and little blocks we needed to fill the pot. We used the object lesson to talk about priorities and the putting the things of God first–in other words, making time to study the scriptures, go to church, pray, and spend time in family and putting the other small, fun things in second place. The Spirit testified of the promise of the scriptures that when we “seek…first the kingdom of God,” all other things shall be given. Andrea was greatly comforted by the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 58, which says, “Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?” They committed themselves to read and pray as a family, and we left the house with a wonderful feeling of peace. It was so cool to feel so clearly guided by the Spirit to help one of God’s children. I love being a missionary!

Thursday: We had another wonderful multi-zone conference with the other nearby zones. (For those who don’t know, a district is a group of companionships, and a zone is a group of generally two or three districts.) Afterwards we had a women’s conference with Hermana May and talked about the importance that every single one of us has in the work of the Lord. It also rained all evening, but thanks to my FrogTogg rain jacket and my rain skirt, I stayed nice and dry. I looked like a giant pink marshmallow, but I was dry! (If you are called to serve in a rainy area, buy a rain skirt!! Unless you’re an elder. It is definitely one of the best inventions I’ve ever seen.)

Sometimes I wish I could just strap a camera to my head and videotape the mission life because I cannot fit it into one e-mail in less than half an hour. But it sufficeth me to say that we had a great week, we had wonderful miracles, and despite the cold we continue happy and warm. (It’s interesting being with a Brazilian because this is something very new for her. XD) I love being a missionary, and I love serving the people of Chile.

I hope this e-mail finds you all in good health and busy with lots of good things to do this summer. I encourage you to look for the miracles in every day and find joy in the little things. Always remember who you are and whose you are. Remember, God made you special, and He loves you very much!

Until next week,
Hermana Saunders