Monday, July 11, 2016

el 11 de julio

alrighty my friends. the last saga has begun.

to tell you the honest truth, dying sucks. everyone goes super trunky on you and then everyone asks what you are going to do to help them remember you... ummm. meet me up on facebook friends! i'll be there on friday.

i love you all. thank you all for your support and your letters, your emails, and everything in between. it really has made it all possible.

note about the picture of the four sisters in the back of a pickup truck. these are celeste, her mom, hermana estelvina; kiara and jaqueline (counterclockwise). hermana estelvina's husband, luis, gave us a ride back to the house on friday night because the whole world was a little giddy about a memorial march from managua to masaya. we decided it was safer to use a member's good offer than a taxi that night... 

my favorite person of the week is andy. a couple of weeks ago i sent a letter to a few of my converts, letting them know how much i love them and that this sunday would be my last here in nicaragua. andy and his mom came to say goodbye yesterday, and it was so tender to see him. my joy was full to see him and his mother sitting on the bench in the chapel. there really are no words to describe the joy that it gives me to hear that they go to church every sunday. margarita is still a single mother, since her husband moved out shortly after andy was baptized, and sister gomez and i supposedly really touched her heart. we had a good time playing the piano and sharing some memories. andy asked me if i still had all the pictures, and i proudly said yes. all my love for him. the gospel changed their lives.

today i finished reading doctrine and covenants, a goal that i really had to work for! but i read something that really touched me in the first official declaration of the church. it was something that wilford woodruff declared in 1890 in response to some bad comments were made about the church's polgamy practices. but it applies to all things that the prophet and other church leaders give to us:

::It matters not who lives or who dies, or who is called to lead this Church, they have got to lead it by the inspiration of Almighty God. If they do not do it that way, they cannot do it at all.::

there is a sister in our ward who really has touched my heart. hermana marlene is an older woman, who reminds me a lot of my grandmother graves. she even looks a little like her. ;) she has a very tender and growing testimony of the gospel and is the optime of a sister who is striving hard to be strong in a world full of everything wrong. she and her husband have had some difficult times spiritually lately, but we spent sometime with her this week sharing about the gospel and the church, and all the great programs that we have to help the members stay active and busy, even when they have been members for years... but the most tender part was a card she made for me and my companion. she worked hours, meticulously working on it, and poured her heart into a beautiful note. she's a gem, really. 

the biggest challenge this week was finding the balance of saying goodbye and working hard until the end. we took a coke break on wednesday and timed it just right that the coke guy came while we were there. he is a real jokester and ended up drinking a pepsi, while dressed to work for the coca cola... o what a cheester.

this week i learned that love and joy really are intertwined. there is no greater joy in seeing your investigators progress, no great joy in seeing them understand a principle personally in their life. there really is no greater love in crying and being sad when they decide not to listen to you one day, or they close the door. but love is still the same that it was forty years ago, four hundred, or four thousand years ago. 

john 3:16
::For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.::

everlasting life, that is what we as missionaries preach. an everlasting life with our savior and redeemer, jesus christ.

the thing that i will miss most about the mission is the constant ability to say the right thing because the spirit is always there to tell you what to say. there isn't a day that goes by that words don't come out of my mouth that i don't see help someone do something different with their lives. it's obviously not something that i boast about, but something that i can see happen. missionaries really do become the lord's mouthpieces, a chosen vessel to say the words the people need to hear to repent and come unto christ. 

let us all go up to zion, and establish her foundations, and bring the four corners of the earth to the mountian of the lord.

hermana graves

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