Monday, June 23, 2014

Then am I Strong


Our GOLDEN investigator Estela dropped by our house to ask for another Book of Mormon to give to her mom who was coming to visit.  "Look," she said, "Have you two been praying for me or something?"  We both looked at each other and answered, "YES!"

"I knew it!" she shouted, "I just feel like there's something different in my life.  I feel happier, and I want to do good things," she said.  

Prayer is real my friends. Sometimes it's so easy to wonder if God really is listening to the repeated list of names and needs. Sometimes its easy to wonder if they're just getting put on some sort of wait list in heaven. But let me just tell you, there is NO SUCH THING as a wait list in heaven.  He hears.  He answers.  He cares.


This last Saturday and Sunday we had a big Stake Conference.  We had to take a handful of buses, taxis, and motos to make it.  About an hour of travel time and a lot of interesting people watching along the way.  I tried to study my little notebook of Spanish vocab as we bumped our along.  When we got to the conference on Saturday it was the coolest thing. They really involved everybody, especially the youth, and I loved it! 

Everybody was participating, and there was a lot of visual aids and examples. Towards the end, our mission president spoke.  He asked the youth, ages 16 and 17, to come to the front. They all - shyly and giggling, slinked their way to the stage, trying to hide behind one another.  Our mission president then told them very directly and powerfully, "Do you realize that in 2 or 3 years you could be serving a mission?" They all looked at one another nervously. Then our mission president looked out into the very large congregation. "Would all the missionaries here in this room please stand."  We stood.  Our mission president then went on to say the kindest and most powerful things about how those youth should be living and striving everyday to become missionaries like those in that room. 

I looked at that small group of youth and they all smiled right at me.  It was so nice to be recognized. Sometimes its really easy to feel underappreciated as a missionary.  It was an answer to prayer for sure. I had been feeling really down.  Like I didn't matter.  Like I wasn't making much of an impact or a difference.  And then I saw all the kids looking to me as an example.  Me?  An example?  It's like the thought had never even occurred to me. 

I hope that everyday I can live in a way that I can proudly stand in front of all the young people everywhere and proudly say, "Come, follow me."  Or even better, "Come follow CHRIST."  

I was in a district meeting the other day when my district leader started talking about the difference between the word GO and the word COME.  When you tell someone to GO to something it's usually not something that's really close to you.  When you tell someone to COME to something, you're usually pretty darn close to it (sorry if that is confusing, it makes more sense in Spanish).  We need to be standing side by side WITH Christ, and we need to tell people to COME to Christ.  And there they will go with us.  And together we will try a little more to be more like HIM.  We will walk together.  We will work together!  And we will COME unto Christ.


For Stake Conference on Sunday a bus came and picked up  a lot of the members.  As we continued our journey to the Stake Center more and more people got on.  With every person, we all cheered and they went down the line shaking hands and kissing cheeks and hugging.  We all had to sit pretty close to smash everybody onto that tiny bus.  As the bus rattled along, it filled with laughter and conversation. 

I imagined for a moment that when this life is over, and we all arrive in the next life, it will be somewhat like that little bus.  With every person arriving to a warm welcome, with hugs, kisses, and cheers.  And we will sit together and bump our way along with laughter and happy conversation.


This last change has been a bit of a rough go for me.  My area and companion are no walk in the park.  In many moments I felt really down.  Many times I thought, "There just HAS to be something I need to learn here." 

The other day I had my AHA! moment.  Or light bulb moment.  Or epiphany.  Whatever you want to call it.  I received a talk from my dearest mom, in a package.  The talk was titled with a scripture from the Bible "For When I am Weak, Then am I Strong."

This last change, I've really had to rely on the Lord.  I've had to pray harder than I ever have in my life. I've had to cry harder and work harder.  I've had to struggle big time.  But in these moments of great weakness, then was my faith strengthened the most.  Oh how I wish I could properly express the comfort.  The love.  And the...well...REALNESS of my Heavenly Father.  Christ has carried me through these last 4 or 5 weeks.  When I was weak, I was strong.

*it doesnt even look that big in the picture but i promise you that in real life it was gigantor.
(arrow added for emphasis, via Ruby's mom)

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