Tuesday, April 24, 2012

¿Cómo están? I hope all is going well. Things here have been cooling down a lot. We are wearing tights and thermals here. So the infection is better and I will be so happy with winter when it gets here. No more mosquitos!! Things really are going great.
We now have 5 progressing investigators and 3 with baptismal dates! They are all doing great. We are working hard with all of them and preparing them for their baptisms and a clean slate. They each have their own difficulties and doubts and you really learn how to use the gift of discernment as a missionary. You cannot be an effective missionary without it.
I first want to apologize. I am trying really hard to answer questions and I am so sorry if I miss one. So its answer time. I remember when we received a talk from, I believe it was Elder Christofferson. He told us that we were companions with the Twelve Apostles. I was caught off guard by that. I left all my notes at the pension about that, but what I do remember was that we have a great responsibility. One thing I learned with interviews this week was that my calling is to baptize. The calling of every missionary is to build and fortify the church through baptism and confirmation. This is the only time in my life when I am set apart from the rest of the world to fulfill this specific calling, in this specific place, at this specific time. It is also a very short time. I have been on the mission for 7 months and have so much left to learn. A year is not sufficient. It sounds like a lot of time, but it isn´t. I love the less actives, and we will continue to work with them, but I cannot put all my efforts there. We will support and help them, but I need to fulfill my promise to the Lord to share His Gospel. The more you open your mouth and talk, the easier it will be. It´s scary sometimes, but the more you practice, the easier it is. I have also learned something veeeeeeeeeery important.  UPDATE THE AREA BOOK NEATLY AND WITH DETAILS!!! We are still learning how to do that, but it´s amazing the difference it makes. These are children of God and we need to take care of them in every way for the missionaries now and to come. It is a very important calling and it should not be taken lightly. We are accountable for the time here and everything we do.
We are still trying to receive the ¨Vision¨ for our area. We just received a new bishop and had ward council. The work here is going to explode. Our responsibility now is to find people. The ward will take care of the ward. We are comfortable with that now. We are focusing more of our efforts outside the ward and are praying every day to know, that in reality, ¨el campo blanco está ya!¨ There is not a word in english for ¨ya¨, but basically it means ¨right now; at this moment; at this second¨. That has been one of the hardest things to believe. You always believe that all the other areas are prepared and that all the other missionaries are better, but part of receiving the vision, is realizing your own potential as a child of God set apart at this time to find those people He has prepared in a way that no one else can. We are fulfilling promises here that we made in the premortal existense and we can´t let everyone, especially our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, down. I believe that I have just scratched the surface of what can and will happen here and in this world in regards to the Gospel spreading forth as a stone cut out without hands. I truly am starting to see that man is nothing and yet has a divine light that will grow greater than anything we can imagine in this life. We are Literal Children of a Loving All Powerful Heavenly Father. There is not greater knowledge than that.
The spanish is still coming every day. As you speak you learn new words and phrases. When to use certain words and verb tenses becomes familiar as you listen and practice. I have not been as effective in my language study and need to get better at that. You´re right: you can´t be too fluent. The Lord is also not just preparing us for these 18 months to 2 years. The skills we are developing here are going to be used throughout our entire lives and He has a purpose for everything. Take advantage of every moment and every experience and enjoy it. One other thing I have learned is that you have to plan and hope for the future, but if you aren´t happy today, the future isn´t going to make you happy either. I´m not saying that you will be happy every moment, but you choose how you react and if you are happy with the things you have now. Happiness doesn´t come from the outside; it comes from the inside. I believe that we underestimate the power of agency. President Gulbrandsen spoke to us a lot about agency during interviews this last week. There are two kinds of creatures in this world: those that act and those that are acted upon. One of Satan´s greatest lies is that you are a creature that is acted upon. That you are ¨just lazy, just unhappy, just.....anything¨. You are not just anything. The amazing miracle of this life and being human is that you are constantly changing every moment of every day. You choose how you will react to situations. You choose to be mad, sad, happy, loving, etc. Satan wins if he can convince you to get discouraged or angry. He also wins if he can convince you that you are a creature to be acted upon, because that idea brings with it, the idea that you aren´t responsible for your feelings (aka choices). President Gulbrandsen talked a lot about agency, and I can understand why. We have been studying Lesson 2: Plan of Salvation a lot this week for our investigators. The war in heaven was fought over agency. Satan fell because he wanted to take away agency. One of the greatest gifts of God to His children is agency. You have the capacity and the power to choose what you will do, how you will feel, and how you will react every moment of every day for eternity. It is a great power and responsibility. We used our agency wisely once; we are all here with bodies. The trial now, is to see if we will use our agency wisely again and choose our Heavenly Father. We are also given the responsibility as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to share the Gospel so that others may use their agency to the greatest effect that they can. This was a promise we made in the preexistence. We will be held responsible for all the times we were asked to open our mouths and did not. That brings me to a most amazing gift that changes eternity as much as agency. I have often not opened my mouth when called upon and for that I need to repent. We are all imperfect, we all fall short, but it is through the Atonement that we can be clean and try again. We can try again. We have been called as Saviors on Mount Zion. What a wonderful calling. How great is God´s love and trust in us that we have been given this calling. I testify with all the love and gratitude of my heart that Jesus lives! He suffered so that we wouldn´t have to suffer the pains of sin. He knows every hurt, every angry thought, every trial. He knows how to succor His people and will do so. All we have to do is turn to Him. Take His hand. The road to the tree of life is rough and we fall down, but He will never leave us alone. He never leaves, it´s us who walk away and He is always waiting. Waiting with arms stretched out and boundless love. You are never too far away for His love to reach you. Come home.
I apologize that I did not write much about my week. In reality I have learned a lot this week personally and for my investigators. I wrote what the Spirit inspired me to write. I love you all so much and my testimony burns so strong that I have to share it with you. There is so little time in this life and even less now with the Second Coming right at the door. The Lord is pleading with us to fortify our testimonies, because it is the foundation that we will stand on in the last days. You are a chosen generation. Everyone who is alive right now came at this time to prepare the way for the Lord. You showed exceedingly great faith in the preexistence and have a potential that you cannot even imagine. We have been constantly encouraged and reminded of our great calling to come to the earth at this time. Please do not take it lightly. You, each of you, are a great and marvelous work. I love you. Your Heavenly Father Loves you. I don't know who needs to hear this right now, but please know that you are so special in His eyes. Every single one of you. Don´t give up. Never give up. You´re so close. He´s waiting for you to welcome you home.
I love you.
Hermana Alvey

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