July 21, 2014 – Fasting, cleansing, forgiveness and miracles and mercy (3 Nefi 8:1)

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Dear the Family,

Firstly, sorry if this email is really long or doesn´t make sense. That´s just how my brain is. Long and senseless. (what?) Now on to the real email:

¨Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful.¨ (Elder Holland)

And oh, how merciful He was with us this week. All week, we didn´t have many lessons, we didn´t have very many prospects of people who wanted to come to church. Basically despite looking and teaching and praying, we didn´t have very many positive investigators. We dropped Rudy and a few other investigators because they weren´t fulfilling their commitments. We kept asking ourselves and God what we were doing wrong. We planned with what we had, and loved the investigators we had and tried our hardest with them but were still afraid we just wouldn´t have anyone in church this Sunday. Up until Saturday night.

Saturday, we went to the Colonia Molina to visit Fabi, a menos-activa who has started coming back to church because – de plano – we didn´t have any investigators to visit. So we visited her and it was great, she said she´d come to church, and the girl who works with her (not a member) said she´d come too. Then we left Fabi´s house and made our way up the scary stony path and passed a house full of references we´ve been trying to contact for mil años who are never home. Earlier in the week I´d said to Hna Richards ¨Maybe they just straight up don´t want anything and that´s why the kids always say their parents aren´t home¨ and Richards had said ¨Or it´s Satan working really hard on them.¨ (Richy, why are you always right??)

Anyways so Hna Richards goes and knocks on the door because – de plano – nothing else to do. It was around 8:00pm. A lady opens the door who we had never seen before, and without us even introducing ourselves, invites us in. We enter, and meet Libni, her mom Antonieta, and Libni´s three children, one of which we had already met because of all the times she had opened the door and told us nobody was home. Then 10 minutes in, Libni´s husband Colocho (okay, his real name is Viktor Hugo) walks in and joins us in the lesson. They´ve listened to missionaries before. We have a great lesson and invite them to church and Libni says ¨Yo sí voy a ir.¨ Like it was the easiest thing in the world. Just by inviting her we convinced her. Colocho couldn´t though, he had to work.

Sunday morning, we called them and Brendy (la nena) answered and said ¨Yeah, we´re getting ready!¨ We passed by for Libni and her three kids (the two oldest are 8 and 9) and we all went to church together. They knew everyone. We actually got a little worried because we thought maybe they were secretly already members. They had gone to church a lot like two years ago, but never got baptized and eventually just stopped going. Half the members thought they had been baptized.

Long story long, they loved church. It was so natural. That afternoon, we went and visited them with a member and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked if they wanted to be baptized and they said yes. Even Antonieta, who we thought was way Adventista, said she wants to start going to church and be baptized, but ¨más adelante¨ because she has some problems in her life she wants to solve first. Colocho wasn´t there but we´re going back tomorrow night to talk to all of them. Libni, Brendy, and Adoni now all have baptismal dates for the 9th of August.

We got out of that lesson and the only thing we could think to do was just say a prayer of gratitude. This really is the Lord´s work. His hand is in all things. We wander around blindly just trying to do the best we can, but when it´s the right time, He directs us and mercifully allows us to work and witness miracles in this beautiful amazing work. How kind. How loving. How mindful of us He is.

To top it all off, the changes calls were made last night, and neither of us have changes. (Although our district leader told me at first that I had changes and just about broke my heart.) So I get to finish the mission here in Cerrito del Maíz with Hna Richards and all of these other people I love so very very much.

Some blessings take time. ¨Indeed, when we are unduly impatient with an omnicient God´s timing, we really are suggesting that we know what is best. Strange, isn´t it, we who wear wristwatches seek to counsel Him who oversees cosmic clocks and calendars.¨ (Neal A. Maxwell) It´s all in the Lord´s timing.

I am so humbled and grateful and amazed.

I love you all,

Hna Stephens (for one more cambio)

p.s. Also we did divisions with Colonia and I went with mi primogénita and that was a really good experience. We talked about repentance and humility and exact obedience and un montón de cosas.

 

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