We had a great lesson on repentance this week. One thing I really appreciate about the culture here is that most people don't feel a need to mask their problems. We were meeting with someone who hasn't come to Church in several years and our last lesson with him he told us that he knows he needs to return to the Church before he dies but that, essentially, he is not ready to obey the commandments yet. I thought a lot about him this past week. I felt somewhat a hippocrite as I told him sometimes we just have to obey the commandments of God even if we don't have the desire. Here I am, asking people to change their whole lives, and I can't even open my mouth? We talked about what this investigator needed and decided to go with repentance, since that was actually what we felt inspired to teach the last time but kind of talked ourselves out of it since it was our first lesson with him.
As I studied more about repentance I realized that my heart was changing. And that is exactly what repentance is, a change of heart that is then applied to our actions. I began to open my mouth and it felt so good!!! Now I just have to work to continue doing so, because there is SO much room for improvement. My goal is to approach ONE person every day all by myself (but obviously not by myself, because that has proven futile), and it is still hard for me to reach. Isn't that crazy? It seems so silly, but everyone has their own difficulties, and this is one of mine.
Then we had our lesson on repentance. We read a lot of Alma 34 and it was so perfect. I love how Heavenly Father knows exactly what each person needs and then works it all together into this beautiful masterpiece. We were bold, blunt, and loving. It felt so good to follow the Spirit and not be worried about offending someone. We cried repentance. Our purpose as missionaries is "Al invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su Expiacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del Espiritu Santo, y el perserverar hasta el fin." That day, we invited him to repent to come closer to Christ.
The interesting part of this story is that he didn't really accept out invitation. But he's trying and he was so grateful for the lesson we had together. Our part, full-time missionaries and not alike, is to invite. And inviting through the Spirit is the only way to go.
Mom, you asked about Spanish. Well. Let me tell you. It is coming, sort of. I am forever grateful for the basic knowledge of Spanish I had coming in and that has been such a wonderful blessing. I am able to get by and I understand the majority of what people say. I can definitely understand a lot better than I could five weeks ago! But as far as speaking goes, the improvement is slow. My companion has had a lot of difficulty learning Spanish and we're almost the same level, so we can teach and testify, which is the most important part, but we require patience from the people we talk to. The good news is that this doesn't ever stop us from trying our best, and Hermana Williams has no fear! It's just hard for us to catch onto all the little phrases and word orders. We're are working hard to learn more Spanish though and it is a lot of fun. I LOVE Spanish. I am grateful to be speaking it.
Heidi, YOU ARE STARTING COLLEGE!!! AT BYU! I am so excited for you. You will love it. Have a fun road trip with the mama. I'll try and have a letter waiting for you in your new home. :)
Papi, Happy Father's Day! I hope it was grand. Thanks for your email. Your last line, about telling the people I love them and that the Lord loves them- you have no idea how timely that was. We have been talking about that and trying to implement it. Thanks for the reminder. You are such an incredible father. You lead and teach and love and pray and serve and provide and you love my mother. :) I'm so grateful. Just keep doing what you're doing.
A lot of changes coming up- the mission is splitting and I'll be getting a new mission president (and maybe a new mailing address), we're getting three more sets of missionaries in our ward, making 10 missionaries, so our area will have new, smaller boundaries, and it doesn't look like we'll be transferred, but you never know.
Spread the joy and keep in touch,