August 18, 2014 – Penúltima (ayuno with Libni, bolo Tonio, no sea ¨chute¨)

Dear Familia,

This week we fasted with Libni. It was the. most. special. experience. On Thursday when we arrived to start our fast together, she had already started (hadn´t even lunched). We talked about Helaman 3:35 (one of my favorite scriptures) and asked her what she wanted the purpose of the fast to be. She said ¨So that God can change this hard heart of mine so that I can forgive my husband and want to marry him, so we can get married and I and my kids can be baptized. Because by being baptized I can set a good example for them and above all, have salvation.¨ What faith. And oh, she received the blessing she so desired. Because she sought not to change her situation, but her self, (1 Nefi 7:17) the power of the Atonement touched her life and her heart.
On Friday she ended the fast with a prayer and in her prayer she told Heavenly Father ¨Consider this fast as my way of just saying thanks, because Thou hast already answered my petition.¨ Her heart was softened, her prayer answered. Her heart ¨was changed by faith on His name¨ and now she will ¨be born of Him¨ and ¨become His daughter¨ (Mosiah 5:2, 7). How will she do that? This Saturday she and two of her children will be baptized into the true Church of God. Her husband will attend her baptism, and hopefully it will help him make the decision to start listening to the missionaries and going to church as well.
I am so incredibly grateful to have been a part of their story. I am astounded at God`s mercy and grace. I know I don`t deserve it. I know I lack so much refinement, but God`s grace is sufficient. His love is eternal. Obedience to His Gospel is what saves us andchanges us. I`ve seen people fall so far. I`ve walked my ward mission leader home drunk. But then I`ve seen how repentance heals those wounds and somehow they come out even stronger, with deeper roots and unbreakable testimonies.
On Tuesday I entered into the temple in Xela for probably the last time. I cannot explain the depth of gratitude and joy I felt there…. There just aren`t words. I couldn`t stop smiling as I prayed and thanked my Heavenly Father for his perfect plan and the redeeming sacrifice of His Son. Tuesday night we had the testimony meeting of those that ya se van (are…leaving…already? I can`t speak English). That was a special experience as well. I love the mission and the Gospel and these people who I have been so priveleged to be able to serve for a time. I love the people of Salcajá, San Mateo, El Prado, La Esperanza, and beloved Cerrito del Maíz. I`ve thought for this year and a half that I was teaching and changing lives, but really they`ve been changing mine and teaching me.
But it´s not time for tears yet…. I still have a blessed week full of miracles left. (See picture of me with the menu from Monte Alto.)
Hermana Stephens
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