Monday, July 25, 2016

His Grace is Sufficient

SPOILER ALERT: There are some emotionally hard days on the mission. And sometimes you blame yourself when things go wrong like the members aren´t accompanying us as much as past weeks, or investigators cancelled on us Sunday morning, or a ton of appointments fall through in a row and we end up walking the pioneer trek instead of teaching. BUT, you learn from these types of days. 

Like Thursday. We had had a lot of things fall through ... but we were teaching Ruth and David around 7 and had another good appointment set for 8 with a member to come with us. Then during our lesson with Ruth and David (David is a reference from the stake president and really receptive but is having difficulty keeping commitments and his wife is kind of really stubborn and insists that they don´t get married until January and that ¨God will understand¨ because they´re still praying and remembering God day to day....?) ANYWAYS, it was a tough lesson. I wanted so badly for them to realize the blessings they´re missing out on, while at the same time respecting their agency. While all this is going on, we get 2 texts in a row -- 1. our investigator family can´t do it at 8. and 2. the member who was going to accompany us had something come up. Everything was crashing down. We ended the night going to the only person who WAS available to receive us... the guy who sells hamburgers down the street. So we bought hamburgers and went home to eat away our stress :) 

But as I was laying on my bed, Hermana Dionicio thoughtfully asked me: ¨Hermana Parks, what did you learn today?¨ Well, I had to think for a while on that one.... but then I remembered the Spirit I had felt during the lesson with Ruth and David -- even though there was a little frustration, I marveled at the power and authority that God has given us. He has entrusted his power and authority to preach the gospel to two 20 year old girls -- authority to call people to repentance (people a lot older and wiser), to invite them to come unto Christ, and the power to bring the Spirit unto their lives. (Unto, because THEY decide if the Spirit goes INTO their lives.) And I felt so grateful in that moment. For my calling, for trials, for rock solid companions, and my Savior Jesus Christ. 

And there WERE a ton of miracles this week to compensate for the stressful moments. 

- Someone gave us a false address but God´s plan is perfect because Monica, the 20 year old girl living at the false address, had just been having doubts that week and we showed up when she needed it. She totally lighted up when we taught her about the Book of Mormon and we´re so excited to go back! 

- Sometimes you find those prepared RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE! Hermana Dionicio had the crazy idea to knock on our manzana this week (a manzana is a block of houses) ... I was thinking yeahhhh right, they see us walk by a million times a day, I´m sure that if they needed the gospel they would´ve flagged us down by now. WRONG. We found 2 awesome new investigators in 2 separate houses. A single mom and her 2 kids, and a 25 year old yoga instructor who doesn´t have a religion but great faith in God! I´m grateful for companions who have way more faith than I do :) 

- Lenin blessed the sacrament this week! And did it perfectly the first time. What a stud. He´s already got names ready for the temple! He´ll be going to Trujillo with the ward in August! (President can I pleeeeeease go too???) :)

- Maria de Poma has a baptismal date! Her daughter was baptized this year in Lima and had been calling her telling her to go to the church! Put that with running into Elders in the street, and us receiving the reference, and WA-LA! She has found what she´s been searching for and I´ve never seen an investigator so eager to LEARN -- she is like a sponge. 

This week Hna Dionicio and I studied Grace. Could you go a lifetime and perfectly understand Grace? No. It´ll be a lifetime pursuit. But this week our minds were blown reading Brad Wilcox´ BYU devo called His Grace is Sufficient and President´s recommendation -- the book Believing Christ. Both  are incredible. I encourage everyone to read Brad Wilcox´ talk especially. It will change how you think about and understand Grace and the Atonement. 

A quote that stood out to me: 
¨If we believe only IN Christ without believing Christ, then we are like people sitting in a cold, dark houses surrounded by unused lamps and heaters, people who believe in electricity but who never throw the switch to turn on the power. People like this often pretend to themselves and to others that merely BELIEVING in electricity makes them warm and gives them light, but they still shiver in the dark until they turn on the power. Though the appliances may all work and the wiring may be in good order, until we accept the power itself, beyond merely believing in the theory of power, we cannot enjoy the warmth and the light. This is why genuine faith in Christ - and active acceptance of his power and not just passive belief in his identity - is and must be the very first principle of the gospel.

I´m learning tons from studying the Christ-like attribute of FAITH for July. 

I love my Savior. I know He lives. I know that this is His church. I love being a personal representative of Him!
Hermana Parks
Matching ankle wraps! People in the streets were giving us some weird looks... both wraps were on our right ankles so they probably thought it was some religious symbol haha. But we´re improving! 

And the day we were gifted a life´s supply of oranges, bananas, yogurt, milk, gelatina, etc. (??) We were laughing so hard trying to get a pic of all of it with the selfie stick! 

purple wall on the way to church. HOLD IT. picture time. 

Consejo de lideres fotos

We love hermana luzby so so much! She made us aji de gallina on Sunday

Lunch with Lenin and his mom

2 weeks after. ... it looks so bad!! This is Hna Dionicio´s leg, but I promise she´s way better. 

Familia Viera! I love what I hear when we knock on their door...
Mamá, las hermanas!! Libros! Himnarios!
 Love teaching them all in a circle in their dirt floor house, the love and peace there is tangible! 

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