We got a new distrito este semana! It is very exciting. They are going to be wonderful elderes y hermanas. Las Hermanas son Hermana Jackson y Hermana Shaffer, y Hermana Reyes y Hermana Anderson. Hermana Reyes is from Dallas, and she has been telling me a lot about my mission. I am very excited to get out there and serve the Lord. Hermana Reyes is going to Honduras, and the other hermanas are going to Nicaragua. They will only be in the Provo MTC for 3 weeks, because then they will go to the Guatemala MTC for 6 more weeks of additional study.
On Tuesday, during Leadership Training, we were encouraged to pray for a prompting to help those I serve. So I did. And at night when I was coughing (I have a cough, but it is not a big deal.), I felt like I should get a cough drop so my companion could sleep. It wasn't a big deal, so I did it. And then, I realized that it was a spiritual prompting. I get lots of seemingly trivial promptings all day long, and I do them. But I also realized that this prompting blessed me more than it blessed my companion, because I was the one who was coughing. So, wanting to fulfill this challenge to my absolute best, I prayed and thanked the Lord for the prompting, and asked that he continue to give me promptings like that, and I will continue to do them. But I also asked that he would give me a prompting that would be a little bit more difficult for me. I was a bit nervous while I was praying, because I have heard General Authorities say that when you ask the Lord for something hard, he will give it to you, but I really wanted to be the best leader I can be, so I prayed for it anyways.
The next morning, it came. When we were doing a practice lesson (role play) with each other, I just felt like I had no idea how to teach. I knew all the concepts int he lesson, but I felt like I had no idea how to share that. I didn't know what to say or what to ask, and it scared me.
Hermano Stoddard (Nuestro Maestro) came over and talked to us about it. We talked about how a lot of people's problems are like weeds in a garden. If you just cut off the weeds, then it won't do any good, and will just grow back stronger than before. But if you pull out the roots then the ground can begin to heal. If we just attack the problem that we see on the surface, then it won't actually solve anything. We have to dig deeper and find out what the true problem is.
As he was talkign to me, he was both teaching me how to help my investigadores, and how he was helping me right then. He told me that this problem wasn't just about questions, but that there was something deeper, there always is. He encouraged me to figure out what the deeper problem is and to then try to solve it. (The Lord always knows what the problems are and he can help you figure it out, if you don't know what the deeper problem is.)
I think that my problem is Pride. I want to be a perfect missionary, and when I am not, I don't want anyone to see it. I have been researching humility, and praying for the Lord to soften my heart. Again, my prompting is more about helping me than it is about helping the sisters that I serve. I think that the Lord is trying to tell me that if I do the best I can do, and be the best missionary that I can be, then that is enough, and I will have done all that I can do to help those that I am serving. Both here, and out in the field.
When we went to the TRC this week, it was awesome. We went with a whole bunch of questions about prayer and a leccion sobre oracion prepared. We talked to Trevor (name has been changed.), a member who volunteers to come in and help the missionaries.
We asked him about prayer and he gave the "right answers". He prays every day, and he recieved revelation from God that day. Then we read him a scripture, 2 Nephi 32:9. It talks about praying always. We asked him what he tought about it, and he said that he thought it was interesting that it said to pray always. He said that it is hard to pray always when you aren't doing good things. He said that our actions are reflected in our prayers. When our actions are good, then our prayers are good too, but when our actions are bad, it is hard to feel like praying because the Spirit isn't there. We asked him what were the things taht were keeping him from praying always, and he started talking about his music and when he listens to some of it, he can't feel the spirit and doesn't remember to pary. We asked him to change his music so that he could feel the spirit always. He said that he woulkd, and then we asked him how this change would help him in his life. He talked then about how he knew it would help him and that it is important to pray always. We were out of time, so we asked him to say the closing prayer, and he did. He thanked God for what he learned and asked for help.
I felt like Nephi then, "and I was led by the Spirit not knowing the things that I would do beforehand." I had no idea that we would be talking about the importance of righteous music. I never would have made the connection between praying always and listening to good music, but Trevor did. I learned about the importance of asking inspired questions and following the spirit.
After, our maestra pulled us aside and told us that Trevor had talked to the director afterwards. HE told him that he ahs been volunteering in the TRC for 8 months, and he never knew that i9t could be like that. He said that it really changed him and made him want to be better.
Ther fill out a survey afterwards and this is his:
How did you feel during your time with the missionaries?
I felt uncomfortable in a good way - uncomfortable thinking about things I knew I needed to change.
What new things did you learn today?
The way we pray is a reflection of the way we live.
Was you faith in Jesus Christ strengthened? How?
They actually invited me to do something that specifically applied to me. It will be hard but I'm going to do it.
What do you want to do as a result of this experience?
Earn the presence of the Spirit.
The strange thing is, that from my perspective, the lesson wasn't any different than all my lessions. I just went where the Spirit led me. The Lord knows how to help people and Trevor was willing to be taught by the Spirit.
On Friday, we had two really awesome lecciones. Our teachers taught us how to teach lesson 1. This is something new that they have just been taught. 10 minutes to get to know them. 10 minutes on the restoration (but do not talk about the Book of Mormon) and then 10 minutes on prayer, and have your investigador pray right then with you. You still teacher people, but rather you are teaching people through the lession instead of not teach the lession.
When we taught Joty, at the end of the lession, Hermano Stoddard stopped us, and talked to us out of character. He wanted to make sure that we recognized what a good leccion it was. He told us that we did a really good job, he also advised us that besides emphasizing prayer, we also need to emphasize praying for a purpose. We need to challenge them to baptism before we ask them to pray. It felt really good to be an instrument in the Lord's hand.
Then later when we taught Mari, we did the same thing all over again. Only this time we realy covered the apostacy and the need to understand which church to join, because that was what Mari needed, but with Joty we emphasized that becaseu God loves us, he calls propehts. (We ddin't even talk about the apostacy at all with Joty.) Then we asked Mari if she would liek to know for herself if it was true, she said that she wan't sure. She talked about how if she joined the mormon church, she would have to leave her family and Marcos (her boyfriend), and she wan't sure if she was ready. Instead of just asking her to pray to find out if the church was true, and our message was correct, we asked her to also pray for strength from the Lord. We read 1 Nephi 3:7, and talked about how God gives no commandments unless he shall prepare a way for them to keep it. We also said that we knw that God would provide a way for her. I bore my testimony of recieiving help from God and that I knew that this help from God could also be given to her. I also told her that I knew that the Gospel gives me happiness and that I want her to have the same happiness that I have.
Then we aksed her to pray again, and she did. Both her and Joty's prayers were amazing. They both prayed with a sincere heart., and I expect that they will continue praying.
I am almost out of time, and I want to be exactly obedient here, so you are going to have to wait to hear about our next leccion with Mari on Monday. I will write it down in paper format, and hopefully either my mom or my sister will type it up to my blog, so that you can all read it. But you will have to wait for the mail to come...
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez