Well Dad, it´s pretty ironic that you sent me some scriptures about opposition last Monday. It didn´t seem to apply in the moment... and then Tuesday happened.
We had an appointment with Mark. (you already know he is my favorite.) Hermana Kelley and I had already planned to share the story of Peter walking on the water and talk about opposition (inspiration is real). And what do you know, his mom had made a surprise visit from Mancora and when she found out he was going to get baptized she flipped. Basically told him that she and his dad will not support him in his university studies if he goes through with it and a whole bunch of other stuff. Mark was in a state of serious emotional distress, you could see it on his face (and you could probably see it on my face too, oh man). He just said ¨Hermanas, I don´t know what to do...¨ Well, I had great faith in this moment. I wasn´t even that surprised this had come up, something always comes up the week of people´s baptism. Opposition in all things, right? So I prayed about 50 times during that hour as we talked, shared scriptures, asked inspired questions, had Claudio (EQ prez) testify, etc. At the end it felt right to challenge him to pray that day and night to know what the Lord would have him do. When we walked out of the house I took my water bottle out, dumped it out in the street and said ¨Hermana Kelley, we are going to fast.¨ We fasted for over 24 hours until our appointment with him the next day. I had no doubt that the Lord could bring forth this miracle. I had no doubt in Mark´s spiritual foundation and strength. I knew that everything would work out...
But it didn´t work out how I wanted. Long story short, Mark decided to wait. (like until October or November when he gets off vacation home in Mancora). He told us that he is 100% committed to stick with this and prepare himself to be baptized, but he wants to wait. I´ll admit my heart dropped. I was devastated. We walked home weak from fasting to kneel down and end it and I´ll admit I was a little bitter. In fact, I spent about 20 solid minutes on the phone with our district leader trying to understand all of this and why can´t he just push through this trial and why is it so hard and just WHY? There was this little voice (not the Spirit) that was telling me ¨so you fasted for nothing...¨
But no. Let me tell you what I DID get out of this experience. I know God loves His children. I know that God loves Mark and is so proud of the changes he has made in his life. Mark is HIS investigator, not ours. At the same time that Mark received a lot of opposition, he also received a lot of support from members, friends, and even running into an old highschool friend who is a member that he hasn´t seen in years. There were miracles weaved through all of this...
Personally, I felt my capacity to exercise patience increase. Fasting helped me to reach a feeling of peace with Mark´s decision. It humbled me. It helped me to understand God´s will. Without fasting, I probably would´ve been torn apart, frustrated, racking my brain for a scripture or story or testimony that would change his mind. Instead, I felt increased patience and peace and understanding. I was able to see all the positives in this -- all the sacrifices Mark is making to change his life and meet with us even though he kills himself with his studies (super intelligent, finishing his master´s in economics at the best university in piura). He ALWAYS reads the BoM, no matter how busy he is. I don´t know if an investigator has ever caused me this much emotional turmoil but also joy.
Phew. Sorry for the novel. I´m just really grateful for this trial, I feel like it´s to strengthen me just as much as Mark. Opposition was the theme this week! Miracles ... then walking hours underneath the sun while no one was home ... then getting bible bashed ... then more miracles ... then having 3 awesome investigators at church! -- Soledad, Maricielo, and Claudia (who we found from a part-member family). AND the coolest new investigator ever has a bap. date, Victor. He had so many questions on the plan of salvation, we could´ve been there for hours. He is so prepared... you can see the light of Christ in him.
To close, I am so grateful for opposition. I learned tons this week from fasting, prayer, studying Elder Oaks´talk from this past conf, and talking with mission leaders and my comp. I know that there is divine purpose in the opposition we face in this life. Ultimately, it is an opportunity to become what Heavenly Father wants us to be.
¨The best antidote for worry is work.
The best medicine for despair is service.
The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired.¨
- President Hinckley -
playing with fam viera´s chicken at our noche de hogar.
bahahah. so hermana kelley is kneeled down praying at her desk to start personal study and all of a sudden I accidentally knock over the bowl of scrambled eggs which falls ON TOP OF HER. Funniest moment of my life .... I also felt really bad :)
And ... aunt Emily & fam! That was THE most thoughtful package! Seriously. The missionaries in my district were thrilled to have some of the Skittles from America and I know the kids here will LOVE the stickers. And I love the shirt! You guys are the best.
Sweet Soledad y Maricielo! It was their first time at church!
We woke up at this morning for .....
CANCHAQUE. After 13 months, I´m back!! It was seriously amazing.
matching Brian Head UT shirts courtesy of Hermana K.
Seriously the most beautiful pueblito...
... you know you´re back in piura when it looks like this from the bus window... hahah