¡Que tal familia!
The other day, Hermana Tax and I had a life-changing conversation with a returned missionary. We'll call him RL. We needed to get a DVD from him, which got left in his computer after a lesson with an investigator. So we got the disc and were going to leave.... that was the intention.... until we got talking outside at the gate of the house. RL asked us, "What is the vision of President Wright for your mission?". I had never thought of this.... As we talked and and compared his mission president with ours, we started realizing some things. From what I've seen, President Wright's vision is that we leave the mission converted, that we teach others how to 'come into Christ' through understanding the gospel, and we work really hard for the time we're here. RL was saying the vision they had in his mission was to baptize (he baptized a huge number of people). I came to realize after this conversation how grateful I am for President & Hermana Wright and this mission. Also the conference we had with Elder Holland in which he said the one soul we should bring to Christ is our own, then we can bring others with us. (And how he never wants to see any of us returned missionaries less active or he will hunt us down). Anyway, I now have all of the tools I need in order to endure to the end and progress after the mission; because really, I'm the most important covert after all. (I probably would have never learned this had I not come on a mission.) The vision in this mission, I believe, will carry me through my life and inspire me to "never be satisfied with who I am" (President Wright).
RL was saying that after the mission (about a year now), he has felt stuck. Honestly, you could tell in his face and his umph to continue moving forward. From the spiritual high of the mission to now waiting to find his future wife, he feels that he can't spiritually progress. He said that his focus is to just maintain his spiritual strength until he can seal himself to his wife. I thought in my head, in that moment, "oh no! you can't do that or you'll never progress!". We talked about how our spiritual growth should not be a flat line and then change to be vertical when something amazing happens like the mission or marriage; but rather, it is an gradual, inclining line. After the mission, the preparation for marriage and a family
starts day one, not 4 months before the marriage date. Then after this, to progress in everyway with your family and individually. It just all depends on your desires and goals in life.
That's how we endure to the end.
That's how we become better everyday. That's how we become people who are naturally bad ... to good ... to better.
It was wonderful to talk with RL, even if the lesson didn't count in our missionary numbers or for a future baptism (like Hermana Tax said: if we don't show love to everyone, what are we doing?). We were able to talk to him like a friend and to hopefully help him out a little. However, I after the conversation, I realized I was thinking more and more about the advice I gave to him. And came to the conclusion that it really was for me... not for him.
Hermana Tax might have done something really funny 2 weeks ago. We were with an inactive member talking to her. Her mother is an alcoholic and they are struggling in their house right now. When her mom goes through a drinking binge, she doesn't stop and obligates her daughter to buy her alcohol as she has shame to leave the house. Also, they can't leave her alone because she falls. Anyway, the inactive member was very frustrated with her drunk mom and just was utterly stressed out. We shared a short message with her (at the gate) and invited her to pray with us. She said that she couldn't because she was unable to focus on a prayer. I explained to her that it would help her calm down and have patience. She agreed and prayed. Well during the prayer, Hermana Tax says very strongly, "Amen!". I thought in my head 'I didn't hear an amen, but maybe she did finish and I'm gonna be here like a dummy with my head down, eyes closed, and arms folded'. So I opened my eyes, realize the member is still praying, and look at Hermana Tax with a shocked smile on my face. Hermana Tax hits me and chuckles and Inimmediately go back to listening to the prayer. The member didn't say anything... we are hoping that she didn't hear. The only saving grace we have is that it was raining outside. -_-
I have felt some nights of discouragement and exhaustion lately. Mostly, because in my life I have had drastic changes almost every year (leaving Utah, going to college which is always changing, working 1 year, now on the mission)... I think I am just ready for a change... Anyway, my self-talk/mental encouraging sessions are becoming a habit. Haha. Sometimes I wish I could do more in order to show these people the vision that I see of what living this gospel will do for them and their families. I have felt that I have given all I can in order for them to feel the spirit and to see the vision; only to find they have not even tried to see. It's discouraging at times. I know many times we cannot see the fruits of our labors and it's the seed that's been planted that matters. I continue to try to covey the spirit in our lessons, to show them the gospel vision, allow them their agency, keep a positive attitude, and be patient. :)
The pictures. Me and Hermana Tax. We were sick and tired of carrying our books in our hands, so we walked for a while with them on our heads. (they're on Hermana Tax's head in the photo).
Another is of me and Hermana Benitez, our Hermana Leader.
The last one is of us with Elder and Hermana Rasmussen (they are temple missionaries, but they assist our ward on Sundays... currently they are leaving with us to visit people after church... it's been a BLESSING!).
Love you all. See you all soon!
P.S. We have changed our names... We are no longer "Hermanas". We are "Elderas". LoL. You wouldn't believe how many times we are called this on a weekly basis.