Wonderful week here in California. We had a Zone Dinner Meeting this past week and it was a great reminder that we are a part of God's Army. After my mission I will be back to working the "civilian sector". I don't think anyone else in that room quite took that metaphor the same way that I did, but it has stuck with me. Even while we were doing our daily run this morning I was laughing as I thought how sometime the Hispanic people think we are FBI, CIA, or Deportation Officers.... All of these agencies have to train they have to be prepared for the physical demands of their work... Why would being enlisted in the Army of Heaven be any different? This thought helped me put a little extra pep in my step as we finished out the run.
Another beautiful reminder came this week when a recent convert asked me to share with her non-member mother and grandmother the story of how I came to be on a mission. I told that story so much at the beginning of my mission, but it has kind of faded out at this point and honestly I had forgot that Rebekah even had heard it. Anyhow it was a great refresher on the tender mercies of the Lord and how it was definitely in HIS hands how I got to this point.
We were able to give a lot of service this week. We helped set up a bedroom and clean for a family in the ward that got an emergency foster child placement. Then we were able to go out to Merced and help the Carter's some more prepare to move by weeding and planting and painting.
This week has also been interesting to me to see what emotional triggers some people have. It is weird that what is totally normal to one person will send another away in tears and visa versa. Communication skills are hard. So often we think that we are sending one message and the recipient interprets something completely different... and that is even in our native languages. We just need to be more mindful of others and the type of things that we say. How did Christ love, how did he communicate with people?
Beauty doesn't need makeup. Period. It doesn't. We are all children of God. We have to look at ourselves and others in that light. It is so sad to see how some people forget their divine nature... they have lost sight of where they have come from. We are literally HIS Spirit children and we were created in his image. I wish that everyone could see that.
Howie was BAPTIZED!! It was a crazy fast Sunday and we felt like chickens with our heads cut off as we ran around trying to do everything and make it to all of our meetings. In the end it all worked out though. Noah one of the son's of the family that has fellowshipped Howie performed the baptism. And the best/cutest part was as they walked out to enter the font Howie looks at Noah and says, "Please don't drop me!" haha. He did great and we are excited for his confirmation this next Sunday when he receives the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We were also so excited to see that Montserrat came to Sacrament again this week and to the Baptism and SHE FASTED?!?! We have taught her a lot and I believe briefly mentioned fasting but she just did it! She is so hesitant to accept the truth that she feels but she is slowly and surely progressing and gaining her own testimony. I truly love the people we serve so much. Their faith in us and willingness to act on what we teach them reminds me of how we all need to be meek, submissive, and humble like little children to enter into God's kingdom.
Speaking of children.... Angelina is getting BAPTIZED! Having worked with her family these last 3 transfers I am so glad that she is finally going to be able to enter into the waters of baptism. We were so worried for her when she wasn't able to be baptized with her cousins 2 months ago, but it's always in the Lord's timing. And now her little brother Daniel just turned 8 and so they will both be baptized this Saturday!
This week we also were able to meet a Japanese exchange teacher who is staying with one of the members. She teaches English.... that would be like me teaching Spanish... haha oh it was great to see that we aren't the only ones who struggle with languages though. It also caused me to reflect this week and think about how coming on a mission I thought that it would be so many things. But honestly it hasn't been any of those things that I expected. I thought I would become a scriptorian and fluent Spanish speaker... I haven't. What I have learned though is worth soooo much more to me than any of that. The experiences of serving and loving people, the strengthening of my testimony and relationship with Jesus Christ... these are the things that I have learned and seen that I wouldn't trade for all the world.
2 Kings 6:16 "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them"