My Dear Friends & Fam!
The next time you hear from me, I will be EN EL CAMPO!! I can hardly believe my six weeks here is coming to a close. This is craziness. I'm scared to death but frankly I don't think I'll ever feel totally prepared for what's around the corner. With the end nearing, our lessons with our fake investigators are actually becoming really real now!! I get so emotionally involved and have such a great desire to help these people realize the role Jesus Christ can play in their lives, I just go crazy! I just love our fake investigators so much, I can't wait for real ones!
Okay so the scriptures are literally my best friends. Whenever we have personal study or a bit of extra time, reading and being enriched by the scriptures feels like Christmas! I just want to really know them. Like conocer ("to be familiar with") know, rather than saber ("to understand as facts") know. Lately I've been studying the topical guide section completely about Jesus Christ. All of His roles, all of His names, all of His life. I LOVE IT! I was studying about Him as our "Good Shepherd" and loved 1 Nephi 13:41 that perfectly explains that He is both the "Lamb" and the "Shepherd." I also love 1 Nephi 22:25 that explains his role as the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep and we must follow Him but we are asked to be as He is, that is, as a shepherd. We are asked to "gather [His] children," "number [His] sheep," "FEED [His] sheep" and lead them back to the perfect Lamb so they can find pasture. Gorgeous thought! With this nametag on, I am a representative of Jesus Christ with the responsibility to be like Him! The symbolism in the scriptures never ceases to amaze and inspire me.
So I hopped right up to start off fast and testimony meeting this week! I guest I was just a LITTLE excited (sounds like Camille!). I love testimony meeting! Our group of elders and hermanas are just wonderful. Comparing that testimony with my testimony from the first sunday just blows my mind. I really have learned SO MUCH! And I'm not just talking about my Spanish. My knowledge of the truthfulness and importance of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has been solidified more than I ever thought possible in these five weeks. I definitely din't know everything and I still have so much growing to do but I think I know enough. In an Elder Scott devotional from this week, he said, "If you want to achieve things you have never achieved before, you have to do things you've never done before." It seems like an obvious statement but it's just so true! A mission is all about getting out of your comfort zone and now that I'm totally comfortable and ruling the CCM, it's time to go!
Last night we had a devotional (LIVE this time!!) from Elder Christopher Waddell of the First Quorum of the Seventy and he was awesome! He spoke about what makes this generation of missionaries different. He called us "missionary 2.0." He said as of the mission president training meeting with the Twelve in June 2013, the focus of missionary work fundamentally changed. We as missionaries are to 1) convert, 2) retain and 3) activate. Not simply baptize. Elder Waddell then explained how after the First Vision, Joseph's next revelation was D&C 2 which was NOT about baptism but was about families. It was about the sealing power and the temple. Our goal as missionaries now needs to be helping them reach the end goal of being sealed as families forever and keeping those covenants in order for them to live eternally in their families with God. That is the work of salvation. That is the hastening. Nephi explains baptism as the "gate" you must enter into but it is not the destination! My favorite quote from last night was this: "missionary work should begin and end with the blessings of the temple." This is eternal salvation that is at stake here. I cannot express in words my enthusiasm and excitement for the hastening of His work of salvation! D&C 88:73 tells that it is finally time and D&C 88:72 says it is about ME being called as a shepherd at this time for a reason. I believe with every ounce of my being that Joseph Smith did see our day. He saw this hastening. He saw me! I'm so grateful for this calling, for the knowledge I have, and for the opportunity I have to share it. When I signed my name and accepted my call, I entered into a covenant with God. I accepted the conditions of my call letter. I'm all in. This is the work of salvation and I will be forever grateful that I get to be a part of it!
Love you all! Don't know when I'll be emailing next week but I'll be traveling Tuesday (I'm pretty sure?). Keep doing all you can to help hasten this work back home. You guys are my heroes!
<3 Hermana Ras