Monday, December 12, 2016

Ups and Downs and Spirals and Fun!

This week was another roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs and spirals and fun! Monday and Tuesday were FANTASTIC. Monday night we spent Noche de Hogar with a member family from Colombia, who asked us to come and share a lesson with their non-member son and a brother in law. (After little to no consideration, we happily said YES PLEASE.) We shared an object lesson about prayer where you have a scarf and you tell them that they have to tie a knot in the middle with one hand on each end, without letting it go. (Kinda hard to describe over email... but it works.) Everyone tries, and thinks it's impossible. Then you read Alma 37:36-37 or James 1:5 or another scripture about prayer, and talk about how sometimes we have a problem that we wrestle with and wrestle with because we just can't get our minds around it, but that ultimately, we'll solve the issue a LOT faster and a LOT easier if we ask help from the Lord through prayer. Then you fold your arms, and while doing so, grab each end of the scarf, and as you unfold your arms, it makes a simple, beautiful little knot. BOOM! Magic. So we talked about that with them for a LONG time, and both were really active in the discussion and really eager to hear about what we believe. They're super super great people who have been going through a lot lately, and they've seen the changes that have come to the lives of their family members, and they want to know why that is. Then we all had arroz con leche and that night ended just like a fairy tale - happily ever after!
We met with them again on tuesday and explained a little more about the book of mormon, and it was an equally amazing lesson COMPLETELY led by the spirit. (That's one of my favorite things about being a missionary. Sometimes you go in all ready and prepared to teach a lesson according to YOUR plan, but then the impression comes to change it completely! And you and your companion just look at each other and you both just know, you know? And the words that you say and the scriptures you use don't really come from you, you're just the lucky duck that gets to say them. Gahh it's just the best!!!!)  We'd love to keep teaching them, but they actually live in the Elder's area right now, so we passed them over this week. Speaking of which, we have elders again! Elder Bradshaw and Elder de Leon who are both from the US and who came in with Hermana McBride (about 4 months ago). They're both super hard working and can both speak spanish super well so we're not worried about these amazing investigators; they're in good hands. We also had to give over one of my personal favorite investigators that we found - Angel. He's just the cutest little grandpa from Ecuador and he has passed through a lot of really difficult trials through the last little bit that have brought him to search for God. We had our first lesson with him on a park bench in front of a giant electronic Christmas tree in a plaza in the middle of Santander, and he asked us to help him to get closer to God because he wants to change his life. (Again, YES PLEASE). We talked with him and as we closed with a prayer, he started crying and he told us how much that meant to him, that we would pray for him and his family. *heart melts* He's so cute, and every time we met with him or saw him in the street, he would say something like "hola mi hijitas!" So cute. We also had to pass him over this week, which was a little sad, but again, the Elders will take good care of him, so I'm not worried. We also had to have a talk with Saul this week about how we can't meet with him anymore because he's not keeping his commitments and he just likes to have us as friends. We told him that we like being his friends, but that our objective first and foremost here in Spain is to help people come closer to God - to learn and to grow to depend more on Christ. That was also a pretty spiritual lesson, which, to be honest, I wasn't really anticipating. It's always hard to explain to people that we aren't going to be able to meet anymore, but the Spirit is always there to guide and direct us in what to say and how to be sure to communicate our love for them at the same time. THIS IS WHAT MAKES THE MISSION SO DIFFICULT. You just fall for these people so hard!!! 
BUT when everything gets difficult, that's when the best miracles happen. Like once upon a time, Hermana Nelson and I were walking back to piso at the end of a day, and a man we don't know comes walking up to us and asks us what time church is at! (I know. We were a little freaked out at first, too. :) Turns out he's a member from Argentina who just had moved to Santander about 2 days before, and was looking for the church! He brought us to meet his daughter, who is 9 and who isn't baptized yet, so we'll be meeting with their family tonight to start going through the lessons with her. :) She's so cute!!! She's already my bestest friend. 
I'm also going to be honest.... I don't really remember a whole lot about most of the days this week because i had an AWFUL cold and couldn't breathe/sleep/talk/think, and I tended to cry unintentionally when we were sitting down. (Not out of any kind of negative emotion... my eyes would just get super dry all of a sudden. It confused and concerned quite a few of our investigators on multiple occasions, jajaja.) But another highlight of the week is that we got invited to eat with someone EVERY SINGLE DAY this week!!! Which was a HUGE blessing and was SO fun. We're really trying to boost our standing with the ward as Hermana Misioneras, and we're seeing huge blessings as a result. It's working!!! i LOVE this ward here in Santander, and together we're all working to move to a brand new chapel that they have built here! The work is progressing and the Gospel is flourishing!!! I heard a quote this week that made me literally drop everything and write it down, (which was pretty embarrassing, because we were in Relief Society at the time.) I wrote it in Spanish, and I don't know what it is in English, so I'll write it the best I can reallly quick. It says, "and if nobody else apart from the Lord kept his name in their memory, that would be a blessing enough for him, as it would be for any of us." - Howard W. Hunter. Hahaha that's probably kinda close to what it says in english... in Spanish it's, "y si nadie más aparte del Señor guardara su nombre en memoria, esa seria una bendición suficiente para él, como lo sería para cualquiera de nosotros." We were talking about Service, and this quote about one of the early saints filled my heart. This is the kind of person that I want to be, especially on my mission. Quietly going about doing good! Seeking opportunities to be a good and faithful servant, without seeking for praise for doing so. 
I want you all to know that I know that this gospel is true. I know that Christ lives and that there is true converting power in the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of God, that it was written by prophets guided by the spirit, and that it was written to help us in our day. I know that it was translated by a prophet called of God in these latter days, and that the promise found in Moroni 10:3-5 is real. That it works for those who are reading for the first time or the fiftieth time. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. 
I love you all! Have a good week! 

-Hermana Larson

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