Thursday, September 20, 2012

"God is just merciful and I don't think we will ever be able to comprehend how much he cares for us." (Hilary)

Hi Family,

I hope you are all doing so well. We have had quite the week. We had a lot of lessons and we have really seen a difference, which is so nice after for a while feeling like our work was profiting nothing for anyone. Okay here is a part of what I wrote to President Ghent (the stuff in italics in blue is what I sent him):

We have had quite the week here in Imbabura. We had a few days that were so excellent. We have had our share of trials. Yesterday I really felt like I felt a tiny part of what Heavenly Father feels watching His children. We have been working really hard with a family of five kids and a single mom 
(This is F, J  , L, C, A, and S. The picture I attached is J and C. C. is the younger of the two and is so adorable. He calls me his princesita and the other day he gave me this little heart pillow and said "Hermanita! Le doy mí corazon!")
The children really have desires to progress but the mom has been harder to work with. We really thought we had a break through the other day. But something I have had to learn is that as much as I can do on my end and as much as Heavenly Father wants this work out for them, they will always have their agency. I feel like I have been able to get a glimpse of the love and respect Heavenly Father has for each of His children in giving them their agency but also giving them so many opportunities and blessings and reasons to choose the right. It is tough to see, but Hermana Guevara and I have been working hard on applying what we teach, with having hope and faith and patience in God's timing and will. (Yesterday I had a little break down. We have literally done everything we can with this family. We visit them daily. We are praying and fasting. We have spent so much time working through doubts they have had. But no matter what we do, she (F.) won't hold up her end of the commitments. It is so so hard to care about someone so much and then see them reject the blessings that are waiting for them.)

FE. is doing really well. His progress has been such a blessing to see. We have had a few of those shining missionary moments when everything pays off. He wanted to change and has really changed and has so much faith that his baptism this week will make such a difference in his life. He is really going through some hard times but has put into practice the repentance process and is starting to see differences. It is a blessing to be working with him and to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. 
(Yesterday we had a lesson in the church with FE and as we were walking to the chapel with him, the member who was with us asked him how we had found him (he's a contact). He said something along the lines of, "Me salvaron. Estaba en oscuridad y vi una mano... reaching down to me." ("I'm saved, I was in darkness and I saw a hand..." .. something like that) Later in the lesson he was telling us about the trials he has had recently and he began to cry. This grown man. It was really powerful. And what else is so powerful is his faith. He knows what blessings stand in store for him after his baptism.)

Okay I am attaching three photos. The other day we met/exceeded our goals and it was a super awesome day, so we bought ourselves this mousse thing. The minute we tasted it we realized it was coffee.... Hahahah so that was pretty funny. We were like, "Cool. So much for that." Jajajaj.

Yesterday was a dedication of a new chapel here in our stake. It was so beautiful and the chapel is so beautiful. There were sooooo many people all in their traditional dress. I attached a picture of that too. Really really cool experience.

Dad, I love hearing about the experiences you have had recently. Do you keep a journal of these things? I hope so. I feel like I am constantly learning new things and receiving impressions from the spirit as a missionary. It is so cool to be in a position where I am worthy of receiving the whispers of the Holy Ghost. I remember thinking before my mission that I hoped I would be able to learn to recognize the spirit more in my life and how I receive promptings so that once I got home I could be more in tune and use the spirit more in my life. One thing I learned is that before I wasn't doing everything I should have been doing to be WORTHY of the spirit's guidance. I think there was a lot of static and I couldn't hear the answers that the spirit was trying to give me. I remember thinking "Whhyyyyyyyyy am I not able to recognize answers?! Why don't I know what Heavenly Father wants me to do in this situation." But it was because I think it was like I was out of hearing range, and it was definitely my fault. Anyway. My mission has saved me in more sense than one. I believe I have really been converted and have really recognized what it means to live righteously. And I have a very firm testimony of the atonement and the power it has to change lives.

Okay, well I am going to write Sam and Mitch real quick. I love you all! I am doing well. Thanks for writing! Keep praying. Read the Book of Mormon everyday. It is the KEYSTONE to our religion! I didn't used to understand why people said that, but now I do. Pray and read. I love this gospel with all of my heart and I know that it is true. Every once in a while I really try to renew my testimony of the truth of the things we teach, so it doesn't dry out. Everytime I recognize that THIS is the truth, the next thought that comes to my mind is "Why on earth did I get to be born into this? Why was I chosen to receive all these blessings? What makes me worthy of this?!" I haven't answered that question yet... And I guess really, nothing makes me worthy of this. God is just merciful and I don't think we will ever be able to comprehend how much he cares for us.

Okay, enough rambling. I love you all so much!

Hermana Norton

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