Monday, October 5, 2015

Ignacio Merino week #14 - General Conference, lots of new contacts, happy to be a missionary

So this week we ate octopus, taught an Israeli Jew, and had so many investigators coming to general conf that we had to do divisions! 

Thursday - Sunday were a bit of a roller coaster.
On Thursday we had our weekly planning all morning and then I had to skip language study to catch up on registros. I was fairly stressed and feeling down, especially as we haven´t been able to contact Hna Avanell for a week or two (she went on vacation, got sick, and stopped answering phone calls the WEEK of her baptism. My heart has been breaking). We were about to leave the house and I told Hna Glunt that today was just not my day. And then without even thinking about it the tears came. I just sat down at our desk and struggled for a minute to find the words and calm myself. Being a missionary is H-A-R-D. I´ve had my heart broken twice now with investigators who dropped off the face of the earth the week of their baptism. People I care about a lot. I just felt so exhausted and kind of poured out my frustration to Hna Glunt and just said ´I don´t know what more I can do´. But Hna Glunt talked me through it and reminded me of the miracles we HAVE seen in our area and the investigators who ARE progressing. We talked about the goals we have and how we´re going to put them into action this week. Although I left the house with a headache and tear stained eyes, I felt so loved, guided, and blessed the rest of the day. We were led to a house that we had never visited and met a less active family, something we had been praying for because our list of less actives is really weak. As I opened my little hymn book to pick an opening song to sing with them, I turned to Count your Many Blessings and holy cow, it was exactly what I needed. We were able to teach about prophets and the opportunity we had coming up to listen to our living prophet and apostles. The Spirit was very strong in that room as Hna Glunt and I testified of personal revelation through conference and the reality and divinity of prophets and apostles. I left feeling rejuvenated and hopeful. 

Friday we had a lesson with Eliana, a 16 year old investigator we found tocando puertas a couple weeks ago. Her family friend, Eres, was in town who just happens to be a Jew straight from Israel! At the beginning of the lesson we said we wanted to sing a hymn and Eres asked if he could video us singing it, haha! He is hilarious. He listened in as we taught The Restoration and watched the video. He goes back to Israel next week but he had a ton of questions for us and we hope he´ll continue learning about the gospel! Also we gained trust with Eliana and her family as we stayed over for a while after the lesson. Eres shared his hummus and pita bread with us and taught us words in Hebrew. Hna Glunt lived with a Jewish family in New York for like a year so they hit it off fast. Then Eliana came to General Conference with us!! She is fantastic. Afterwards she asked us when we were going to visit her again. Yay for progressing investigators! 

That same night we found la familia Araujo tocando puertas. They live in more humble circumstances, a mother and her 3 children. They have NO religion whatsoever but have great faith in God. We couldn´t ask for a better situation for investigators, haha. The mom, Gina, had a ton of questions for us as we taught The Restoration like ´Are there prophets and apostles today?´and ´Where do we go after we die?´and I had to tell her that we´d talk about those subjects mas adelante, haha. I just wanted to teach her all the lessons right then and there! Unfortunately Gina went out of town with her little daughter Ana but Eduardo came to TWO sessions of conference, literally after only teaching them once. So pilas. He´s 18 and quiet but really enjoyed conference. We are so so so excited to continue teaching them! Gina asked when church normally is and their whole family is coming this week! Woot woot! As we walked home that night Hna Glunt and I just hugged each other and she said ¨STOKED TO BE A MISSIONARY AGAIN.¨ Ditto that.Thursday´s tears were consumed by Friday´s joy. I´m stoked to be a missionary again. 

General Conference was beyond amazing, per the usual. It was sliiiightly more stressful with picking up our 5 investigators who attended and trying to make sure they were comfortable and had a good experience, but I still received so much personal revelation! Specifically I loved Elder Lawrence´s talk on self evaluation and the Spirit. He talked about how the Spirit will tell us things and give us counsel that no one else can. When we accept and apply the whisperings of the Spirit, we receive MORE inspiration to guide us. I liked the questions he invited us to ask including ¨What´s preventing me from progressing?¨and ¨What do I lack?¨.. I have confidence in the promise that the Spirit will tell us the answers to those questions is we LISTEN in faith, with real intent to act. I never understood or appreciated the power of the Holy Ghost until I´ve been here on my mission when the Holy Ghost is not only a valuable tool, it is THE essential tool of this work. 
Also one of my fav scriptures was mentioned like 3 times in the conference. Alma 5:26. Speaking of scriptures, how cool was that talk on Ponderizing?? Hna Glunt picked our scriptures this morning and put them on the front of our agendas to read and ponder throughout the week! What a cool invitation. The words of Christ will really tell us ALL things that we should do and we will be blessed as we treasure up the words of life. 
Also, Elder Holland´s talk was SO powerful. And I got to listen to that session in English which was awesome. 

What hit me throughout many of the talks in conference is about submitting my will to the Father´s. Elder Bednar talked about how the greatest desire of the apostles of The Lord is to discern and do the will of the Father. How cool is that? I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary because every day I am tested emotionally and physically to give up my will (like wanting more sleep or personal time or wanting to talk to my family or hike mountains :) and I´m learning to submit my will to the Father´s. I´m still really imperfect with this principle, but it´s something I really want to improve, and I know that I can through the Atonement of Christ. As one of the speakers mentioned, self disciple is a muscle that we can condition and improve. It´s gradual, and my weaknesses are still glaringly apparent, but as I look back on these last 3 months, I see how The Lord is molding me into someone better than I was before. 

Overall, I love this work and I love my area. I love the bishop and his wife for making us the best papas a la huancaina on planet earth. I love Hermana Glunt for talking me through my doubts and struggles. I love the dusty windy streets and the cute kids on the street who ask us how to say words in English. I love the people we´re teaching, I love sharing the simple truths of The Restoration, and I love this calling I have. 

Con amor,
Hermana Parks
 Feliz cumpleanos Elder Campo
 P day photo
 Pancakes for conference!

 Hna Glunt's bishop in WA was Bro Russell, formerly of Medford 6th ward.  Small world
 las hermanas
 learning how to use the selfie stick.  dangerous.
 Life in the desert!
 Sweet investigator Eliana
 More pancake selfies
 Investigator Eduardo with presidente de los YM Hno Jairo
 La zona

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