Wednesday, June 29, 2011
WHAT A GREAT BLESSING, How Lucky Am I :)
Dear Momma and wonderful family and friends! What a week it has been. (The picture is of me and one of my fave elders. Elder Deriada. In Santiago)
We went to Santiago on Tuesday for the mission tours. Elder Keith Edwards of the seventy came to train/speak with us. His presentation/talk/discussion, whatever you classify it as, reminded me of some of the lesson's/lectures I'd experienced at BYU-I. It was SO refreshing to dig deep into the Doctrine and Covenants and learn about the nature of Heavenly Father. He talked a lot about purification and bringing all we have to the alter. The spirit was thick and warm. I cried when I remembered my actual coming on a mission...how it took so much faith for me to actually make the jump and put my trust in Him. I have been putting myself on the alter since I have been out. He compared our putting it in the alter to Abraham's sacrifice. What trust he had in God. And he explained that before the blessings, we need to suffer and be chastened. I sat silently through the whole presentation and listened and soaked things in.
After the meeting, as we ate pork barbecue and actual green leafy salad (something I haven't had in about 10 months) President Carlos tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I wanted to be interviewed by Elder Edwards. I kind of experienced a small heart attack, and then slowly nodded my head. I asked, "Bakit po, President?" And he just smiled as he walked away.
Elder Edwards began our interview by kneeling in prayer. I don’t remember his prayer cause I was too busy praying myself. We sat facing one another and he asked me to tell him about myself. I never know what to say when people ask me to tell them about myself...so I asked what he wanted to know. I told him about my family, where I'm from, and basics. And he asked me how my missions going. I told him good. He asked me how my Tagalog was going. I told him, it’s been coming slowly, and sometimes I still feel like a small child when I speak. He told me there was nothing wrong with sounding like a small child. In fact, that was a good thing. Then he asked me what one thing I've learned is. I told him patience and longgggggggg suffering--to be patient with myself, to be patient with difficult situations, etc. Then he asked if he could do something for me.
I told him about how sometimes I just want to go home. I know this is the work of my Father in Heaven; I know this is the most important work, but sometimes I just want to give up. I told him that sometimes I'm not working because I want to, but I'm working because I feel like I was commanded to. I want to do this work because I love it and because I love my Savior and Heavenly Father, not because I've been commanded. He paused and smiled a closed smile. He looked me in the eyes and said, "There's nothing wrong with wanting to go home. That just means home is a good place." And he told me about how the Savior even asked for his cup to be removed from Him. He also told me about how doing something because it is a commandment is good enough.
Of course by this time I was in tears, and he said, "Can I give you a blessing?" And the moment he said that I thought of all of the priesthood blessings I've asked for from Pop, from my brothers, from missionaries, from President, and here, my Heavenly Father was wanting to speak to me. I felt the literal love of my Father in Heaven. The blessing was beautiful and promised so many beautiful things momma. After he called me by name and everything, the first thing he said was, "Heavenly Father knows your every tear." And right when he said that, a tear fell down my cheek. It talked about how I have to be chastened and tried first, before I receive the wonderful blessings in store for me. There are so many things promised to me. It’s just hard to see them when I'm trekking through the mud. I expressed thanks to Elder Edwards, and he pointed me to the direction of the bathroom, to find a tissue :)
President saw me after, patted me on the back and said, "Wasn’t that a special experience?" And it was, and I am so grateful to have been one of the chosen missionaries to be interviewed by him.
So many other amazing things happened this week!
We found a man named Tirso who speaks kind of like the Spanish guy in The Princess Bride--slow and gently, kind of? He told us about how he was in prison for 7 years and read the bible the whole time. He said he's met founders of religions--of Iglesia ni Cristo, Espirtista, etc., but he still has not found answers to his questions. He's been listening to us for about 2 weeks now, and welcomes us warmly every time. He comes with questions like, aren't there two types of the holy priesthood? And what are the three kingdoms I've read about in the bible? and why would God plant the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden if he knew it would separate us from him? Every time we teach him, we are so excited, because he just wants to know everything. Its amazing to think that even after meeting these high ranked ecclesiastical leaders, he is listening to a 24 year old girl from Texas speak 2-year old Tagalog and he believes. Sister Roncal and I can see the lights turn on in his head after every answer we give him. I am reminded of the scripture in Mosiah 23:10-11. I am weak, but in my weakness, I am an instrument of my Father in Heaven. It’s almost like I can literally see the truth pass from me to the hearts of those I teach. And maybe years from now they will never remember my name or my face, but I am so happy that I played a small part of bringing them the full truth.
A mission is hard. People say it all the time. It’s true. But I am given so many more blessings than I deserve for the small service I am rendering. And those blessings, I've been promised, will reach through eternity.
I love my Heavenly Father. He is my literal Father and I've never felt it so often and so real than I have here in His service. I love you momma. I know there's a plan for me.
Tell grandma I love her and can’t wait to hug her again. Tell everyone that I love them and can’t wait to see and hug them too. I love you all.
PS we also had District Conference this week and Elder Misalucha of the seventy came and spoke. So, this week I shook two general authorities' hands. Lucky :) :) :)!!!