Boy oh Boy, do I love you. A lot. And in the words of my dearest mother I "Pray my guts out" for all of you several times a day.
The mission is such a time warp. The days are long but the weeks are SO short I can hardly wrap my head around it.
I had so many amazing lessons this week but one that stands out was our lesson with our investigator Juanita. We had been teaching Juanita for about a week and we just never really seemed to be able to connect with her. She is very shy and reserved and it was SO hard because we just really felt so disconnected.
I prayed and prayed and studied and studied because I just so desperately wanted to know what I could do, what I could share, who I could BE to help her come unto Christ.
We went into our next lesson with her with a nicely prepared and practiced lesson plan about The Plan of Salvation but the second we sat down I knew that wasn't what we were going to teach her that day. Me and my companion looked at each other and I know we were both thinking the same thing. And just like that we launched into a lesson about repentance.
We talked about how through Christ and His Atonement we can be forgiven and that we can change. We bore powerful testimony of Jesus Christ, God, and the ability to become clean again.
We then sat there for a moment in silence.
Tears streamed down Juanita's face and she whispered quietly,
"You missionaries, you are angels sent from God to help me."
With the help of God we were able to teach Juanita exactly what she needed to hear.
As we all knelt in prayer with her at the end of the lesson we asked her to say the prayer. She prayed with such heart and sincerity I swear the whole room was glowing.
Wow. How on earth did I get so lucky as to be a missionary? There is no great job in the whole wide world. I'm convinced.
Something that I'm learning here on the mission is how aware God is of me. It blows my mind. Whenever I'm feeling down or insecure or frustrated he sends someone who says exactly what I need to hear. It's so amazing.
This last week, I was feeling a little down one day. It just really hit me how little I actually know when it comes to Spanish. I started to worry and stress about the future. One of my teachers Hermano Passentino came in and started chatting with us and he told us this story,
He was in Argentina and he got this companion from China. His poor Chinese companion could hardly speak Spanish at all and when he did speak it, no one could actually understand him because of his unique accent. He told us of a time they went into an investigators home and the man began to bad mouth the Book Of Mormon. Hermano Passentino and him debated for a good hour about it, throwing facts and evidences back and forth. Then the Elder from China interrupted. He looked at the investigator in the eyes and bore a simple but powerful testimony that the book of Mormon was a true book and that if he read it, it would change his life. And just like that, the man stopped arguing and agreed to give it a shot.
It's little, tiny, simple stories like that one that give me hope. I can do this. I know I can. I've got God on my side. In Psalms 8:22 it reads "Out of the mouth of babes..."
How many times a day do I feel like a baby? A million. I can't speak very well. I don't have very much life experience. I have to rely on a lot of people for help, for money, for food. But out of my mouth will come powerful things. Life changing things. I've seen it. Out of the mouth of babes, or in this case 19 and 18 year olds...lives can and WILL be changed.
Another cool experience I had this week was an interview with the big boss man of West Campus. He's on the orientation video they show you on you first day here and I'd seen him around and whenever I did I waved and said hello and as a result he called me into his office this week and had an interview with me. At the beginning of our meeting he told me he was only going to speak in Spanish and that he didn't know any English at all, he said that I needed to only speak in Spanish.
He asked me about my family, my life, my schooling, all sorts of stuff and GUESS WHAT! I was able to understand everything he said, AND I was able to answer! All in Spanish! We had a full on 30 minute conversation! Then he said he was going to pretend to be a random person on the street and he wanted be to just talk to him and get to know him. And by some miracle I did it! And not only did I get to know him but I was able to talk to him about the Book Of Mormon, Jesus Christ and invite him to church with me on Sunday! I was amazed. I did it. I spoke Spanish. I understood Spanish. I was on cloud 9.
This week was also full of a lot of FUN!
We had been playing 4 square during gym time (STRONG flashbacks to 4th grade) and it has been so much fun! We play with the other elders in our Zone and we just laugh and laugh. We all have improved a ton and our games get SUPER intense! We were playing yesterday and I looked around at all my dear friends, laughing, smiling, and having the time of our lives playing a silly game of 4 square and I realized in that moment just how happy I am to be where I am. To have had this MTC experience, and to have met the amazing people I have. Being a missionary is THE BEST THING EVER.
Something else that I learned this week is something in the scriptures. In D&C 123:12-17 it talks about missionary work but specifically it says
"A very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm."
For all of you NON boat people a helm is a tiny, itty bitty, teensy weensy piece on the back of the boat that basically controls where the ship is steered.
So why the heck are we talking about the parts of a boat? Because I am the helm. You are the helm. We are the helm.
In the grande scheme of things, I'm pretty small. I don't have THAT much influence, money, or power, but just like that helm, my little actions can move mountains. Or ships. Or the World.
Last night as my district and I walked back to our apartment we laughed and talked and one of the Hermanas said, "You know Hermana Matesen, when I first saw you I thought you were the funnest and happiest person I'd ever seen and when I found out one of you or your two companions were going to be part of our district I prayed it would be you."
My new district really struggled their first few days here. They were stressed. They were depressed. Many of them even thought about going home. But they shared with me how they prayed that I would be able to join their district and help them. I was amazed. God gives us certain gifts and talents specifically so we can help others. I just know it with all my heart. "When you joined our district everything changed!" Another sister chimed in. "We went from having no fun to having too much fun!" They laughed along with me and we group hugged. I love these girls. I know that I was not only sent to help them but they were put in my path to help me. I've learned so much from them. We're all Oh so different but we all have the same goal. And that is to serve the Lord with everything we've got. We know this work is true. Our testimonies are strong.
It reminds me of a scripture I read this week, Jacob 7:5
"He had hopes to shake me from my faith...I could not be shaken."
you don't stand from something, you'll fall for anything (I feel a Katy Perry song coming on...)
But seriously. I invite one and all to be unshaken. Whatever your beliefs, whatever you hold dear, whatever you know to be right...be unshakable. Be strong. Be true. Be YOU!
I am Hermana Matesen, and I am unshakable.
I know this church is true.
And it is, it's true. Is that not the best news you've heard all day? God love you! Yes YOU! Christ died for you, YES YOU and because of that we can change, we can repent, we can become better and better every single day. Wow. If that isn't the best thing ever that I don't know what is.
I love being a missionary.
It's the best time of my life.
I'm just so dang happy.
And in the words of my maestro Hermano Waddoups,
"The Gospel's Back Homeboys. Now come get baptized."
This Weeks FUNNIES:
- Me "Hey Hermana Empey what are you going to teach Melvin today?"
Hna. Empey, "We're going to teach him the word of wisdom! I don't know how to say the word of wisdom..but were going to teach it!"
Soooo typical. We may not know how to say it in Spanish, but we're going to teach it anyway.
- (read in a very thick Texan accent) "Hermana Matesen, you are going to soar with the eagles." Said by my dear Branch President Evans. Love that man.
-When I frolicked through our classroom/apartment hall singing Spanish hymns only to find a quiet room of praying Elders all glarring at me. Woops.