Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10-24-11 letter

Dearest Family,

Wow! I can´t believe another week has flown right by! I am very grateful for the chance to be a missionary, it´s just flying by too fast! haha. (Hopefully you all feel the same).

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had a good day of hard work, and I still don´t feel like I am 22. HA! Our lunch appointment had a cake on hand, so we even had birthday cake. haha. It was super delish. Thank you for thinking of me :)

So where to start??? I guess I will start with this. I was on the verge of frustration with myself (only on the verge, because feelings of frustration are from Satan...) because I have been here SEVEN weeks and haven´t seen baptisms. What is my problem? Do I not have enough faith? Am I not working hard enough? Am I ever going to be able to understand everything that the people say? If I did, would we see baptisms??? Well... I have repented. We ARE going to see baptisms. We ARE working super hard. I need to have more faith and I need to change how I teach and work to gain more Christlike attributes. Hermana Malhue and I have said things like "well, they will be baptized. I guess it doesn´t matter when as long as the baptism happens since we are worried about souls, not numbers." Well, I want to share one of our studies that teaches us that it DOES matter when... these people are God´s children and He wants them all to return to Him. There is no time to wait. These feelings started when our wonderful zone leaders invited us to work to feel more urgency in the work. So we started praying for urgency and then this morning had the most awesome study. I remembered a scripture that we had used in the council in Alma about ANXIETY and the rest came from there:

  • 2Nephi 1:16-19 I need to feel anxiety for the souls of men.
  • 2Nephi 6:3 This anxiety leads to DILIGENCE in the work
  • Jacob 1:5-6 TRULY caring about souls brings REVELATION on how to help them (verse 7 tells us that we must then ACT on the revelation)
  • Mosiah 28:3 Can´t stand the thought that ONE soul should perish
  • Alma 13:27 Anxiety unto PAIN because of the love for his brethren
Wow... the Savior will come again very soon! We don´t know when, but we know that we MUST be prepared. What if I didn´t do all I could for an investigator and the Savior came tomorrow? Wow. I started to feel it. Then I read in Moroni 9 where Mormon is talking to Moroni about how they have to work diligently, even though the people are not accepting the truth, because they have to do EVERYTHING in their power to bring souls to Christ. Wow. Now, I was really feeling it, and really wanting it. Not wanting a baptism to have a baptism. Wanting baptisms because these are souls coming unto Christ. Then I had a thought that I am sure came from Heavenly Father: "How would you feel if Mackay of Kadon weren´t in the Celestial Kingdom? It´s the same with these people. They, too are your brothers and sisters and you want them ALL... ´no empty seats´ and no crying eyes." Wow. That was a powerful moment and I just sat and cried for a moment. (ya, ya. Typical, I know). But really, I finally felt this anxiety that I have been wanting to feel. I am striving for more diligence and more faith. People still have their agency, but I must do EVERYTHING in my power to invite them to fully come unto Christ through the ordnance of BAPTISM! We have SEVEN investigators who are on track to be baptized this weekend. PLEASE pray for the Torres Family (3), Elías, Isabel, María and Barbara. I have learned that Satan is real, and he is going to be working hard this week. But I have also had reinforced that he really has no power. Only what we choose to give him. Pray for these wonderful people. 

So along with this, Hermana Malhue told me a story. Three of satan´s angels returned to him with souls they had taken. The first had 1000. Satan told him that he had done well and asked how he had done it. He said that he had led them to break the commandments. The second angel had 2000, and Satan was very impressed and asked how. He said that he had attacked the family. The third arrived with MILLIONS of souls. Satan again asked how he had done it. The angel said that it was easy, he had just taught the doctrine of Christ. Satan was confused and asked how that had worked. The angel said "ah... you see, all I had to do was tell them to do it TOMORROW." Wow. There is danger in "some day" or even in "tomorrow." We do not know what tomorrow will bring. I am reminded of President Eyring´s talk about someday. The day is TODAY! We have to repent every day, read the scriptures, pray, and all those other Sunday School answers that are SOOO important. And... everyone must enter the waters of baptism. It is the gate to the path. We NEED to baptize. I am really glad that we feel this urgency and that we are rededicated in this work. We are going to help our investigators understand that this is their salvation. Of course, with much love and charity.


Milagros is progressing as well. She is a very special young woman. We had a scare when she told us that he parents didn´t want her to learn any more. We went and visited with them and their only worry ended up being how she was going to get the the church and what she would do when she was supposed to be watching her siblings. When they realized that we could get her a ride and that the younger kids could come and go to primary, they were more than willing to let her come. PHEW! 

Yelka is a 16 year old that we found up in the barrios, a friend of a member, and she too is progressing with her prayers and reading. She got really sick this week and couldn´t come to church, so we are still lacking that. To be baptized, the investigators need 3 attendances, so we had to push her baptism back a bit, but we are still working with her. 

Really, all the investigators are doing well. We have 10 who are really progressing and we are focusing most of our efforts on and 20 or so others who are going to do great things as well. We are SO blessed with investigators as we work and simply open our mouths to talk with everyone. 

So I don´t know if I told you, but the schedule in the South is different. Instead of 6:30am to 10:30pm, it is 7:00am to 11:00pm because of the people´s schedules here. I am finally starting to get used to it! ha! well... the rule is that we have to be back in the house at 9:30 unless we are in a lesson, then we have until 10. Saturday, we came out of a lesson and were just getting in the house at about 9:50 when the zone leaders called. They said "Hermanas! How soon can you be in the chapel with the baptismal record???" WHAT??? They said "JUST COME!!!" Okay! The leaders said come, so we came, not really knowing why. We had to wait for a taxi for a bit (we were supposed to come to their chapel, which is in the other area) and arrived at the chapel around 10:30. Come to find out, there were having a BAPTISM at that hour! WOAH! We stayed and witnessed the most beautiful baptism that I have ever seen. The Spirit was so strong and I was so grateful to be there. When she came out of the water, I just felt Heavenly Father´s love so strongly. It was amazing! Come to find out, she has been saying no to baptism. The Elders had a lesson with her on Saturday, and she told them that she was moving on Wednesday. They said they had a super spiritual lesson and invited her to be baptized right then. She accepted!!!!! Since she was moving Wednesday and converts have to be confirmed in Sacrament Meeting, they had to do it that night. Thus, the 10:30 baptism. (Of course with permission from President). It was the greatest miracle, and you could just see happiness radiating from her. Wow. I felt the Spirit really strongly and am so grateful that we got to take part in that. 

Ushuaia is so beautiful. I am super bummed because I forgot my camera chord at home, so I can´t send pictures this week. Sorry. Next week. WITH baptism pictures, because I KNOW that they will happen!!! It was super cold this week. Especially last night. We got home, and my skin was red because it was so cold! Ha. But we are happy. So very happy! I thought about how if I had been that cold at home that it would have been terrible, but as a missionary, I am just truly blessed to be able to handle it. It started snowing as we were walking home last night, but nothing stuck. The mountains are totally covered again though. And supposedly this is summer... haha. I am really glad to be here spring/summer. I can´t even imagine what winter will bring! Plus, I am beating the Buenos Aires summer! I hear they are brutal. I feel very very blessed!

There are 4 branches here in Ushuaia and the members are so awesome. It is really amazing how quickly you can come to love people. They are so willing to help in the work as well, so we love that. 

Hermana Malhue is AMAZING. I just love working with her. It is fun that we are both so knew because we really just HAVE to rely on the Spirit to direct us and go forward with faith. She is doing a great job finishing my training and I am so grateful to have been blessed with another great companion. She works so hard and has so much faith and love. I have a lot to learn from her. She is also learning English (the Church really encouraged natives to learn English and has a program for missionaries to learn it) and so we are helping each other with the language. My Spanish is better every day. I understand almost everything that people say as long as they don´t talk TOO fast. HA! The thing that is hard is when people don´t understand me. I really want to help them come unto Christ, but when they don´t understand that is hard. For the most part, people understand me, but I have to make sure that I am speaking clearly... which is good for me! ha. I think that the most difficult thing is when I have such a strong desire to help people and I am not 100% sure about what they said... because I want to help and teach, but what if they are talking about their job and I say something about their kids? This is why I really just have to rely on the Spirit. I am learning to hear His whisperings more every day. And in all honesty, the Spanish isn´t bad. We just have 2 investigators that talk SO fast and that´s hard for me. But I am progressing and I really am so grateful for the gift of tongues so that I can express myself. 

We went and played soccer with the Elders today and it was actually really fun. I think I´ve played soccer twice in my life, but it actually was pretty fun. I even scored 2 goals! Ha. It was good to get to know the Elder´s better and have some fun. We have an amazing district and all of the missionaries are really supportive of each other. I love it! 

Well... I think I better close. I love you all TONS! I pray for you daily and feel your prayers and support as well. Thank you so much for everything you do for me. I am so blessed with the most amazing family. I hope you are all well and that you know how much I love you!!!

All my love,
Hermana Shelley

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