Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3.12.2014

Hello my wonderful, beautiful Family and Friends!!!!
     
This past week has many ups and downs, but mostly ups! :D Teaching lessons is definitely a challenge when you only know so many words, but I can testify that by the word of God and The Holy Ghost, my mouth is filled. :)  Almost every single day here we practice teaching to one another in this language. Every day the lesson and language is used differently. Earlier in the week my companion and I were practice teaching El Plan de Salvación (The Plan of Salvation). We had never taught the full lesson before, so every time I would speak I felt like I wasn’t being understood well or clearly. One of the maestros (teachers) from the other class that we were practicing with, came up to me while we were teaching. He whispered to me, "Pray always throughout the lesson. That’s why we are here, is to learn from our mistakes." That gave me a lot of comfort, and I quickly reminded myself not to dwell on my mistakes. The lesson came to the point of teaching about the Atonement. I taught it feeling the Spirit loving me in my heart. It was a great comfort to me, and since then, I pray throughout the day and lessons so that I always have the reassurance that "I CAN DO IT!" or "Yo puedo!!" :) This experience reminded me of the scripture in 1 Nefí 16:29--"by small means the Lord can bring about great things." And it also reminded me of one of my very favorite scriptures in Proverbs 3:5-6--"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths." It really is THAT easy! When we put forth our best esfuerzos (efforts), the Lord PROMISES us that he will direct us and help us!! The Lord says specifically tells us MANY times in the our scriptures that he will help us, and not forsake us. :) What a blessing!! Our lessons have gone well this week because I completely rely on the Spirit. He is the true teacher of God, and I am the mouthpiece. I feel so fortunate to have a voice to bring forth my testimony, love, and God’s truths to others.
     
Here, we emphasize the importance of truly teaching by others needs, and not what we think they need. It is difficult at times to know what those needs are, when I do not understand what people are saying, but I sincerely believe that I am understanding just a little bit more every day. Everything happens "line upon line, precept upon precept", and I am patient with that. :) Everything is done in the Lord’s timing and that is an extreme comfort to me!! My life is more fulfilling, not knowing what’s going to happen next. Every day is an adventure from 6:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night! I am more than blessed to be in a place where I am constantly improving on how to be a loving, effective teacher. :) . . . An INCREDIBLE experience happened this week for me!! So several weeks ago at devotional, our speaker talked about making "specific prayers". You ask the Lord what you need to be done, using specific times and places, and then you tell him what you are going to do to make it happen. He told MANY stories of specific prayers and the faith the people had to believe that their prayers would come true. The example in the scriptures is the love story between Isaac and Rebekah, please read it!! :) I wish I could share all the stories with you, but since I can’t I will tell you of my experience:
     
The other night I pulled my Patriarchal Blessing out and read it before going to bed. Before reading it I asked Heavenly Father if he would tell me what I must do next in my life, while here on my mission. Upon reading it, the Spirit prompted me very strongly to kneel down and say a specific prayer. My mind was already feeling so preoccupied upon the thoughts of my blessing, so I layed down to try to go to sleep. Nope. I couldn’t do it. My stomach and head began to feel sick, and so I got up from my bed and knelt down. However, when I knelt down, I had no idea what to ask specifically for. After a few moments I then thought of something to ask. I then asked Heavenly Father if he would make the answer known unto me like this: "Heavenly Father, if when I wake up tomorrow morning and I am not sick or anything, I will go to breakfast and then go do my personal study. During personal study, at exactly eight a.m., I will open my blue, paperback Book of Mormon and close my eyes, and flip to a random page. Heavenly Father, when I go to read what’s in front of me, please give me a distinct "yes" or "no" answer. Heavenly Father I will do my best to prepare for this. I will wake up at exactly 6:30 a.m., not 5 or 10 minutes later, and I promise to be completely ready for the day at exactly 7 a.m. I felt so nervous and inadequate to be so specific in my prayer, and unworthy to ask Heavenly Father to give me a specific answer at a specific time. However, the Spirit of the Lord filled me and prompted me to do it. The next morning everything was great, and I did exactly what I told God I would do. At exactly 8 a.m. I said a prayer again to receive an answer, and then proceeded to close my eyes and flip to a random passage of scripture. I landed in Alma chapter 13, and the first verse my eyes rested on was in verse 12. Well, I sat there reading it and thought, I am not receiving anything. This verse is not giving me a yes or a no. I sat there feeling sad and wanting to know what to do. The Spirit then prompted me to read the whole chapter. I flipped the page and proceeded to read..."being left to choose good or evil; therefore having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling (verse 3)...[I] have been called to this holy calling on account of [my] faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren (verse 4)...humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit (verse 28)...Having faith on the Lord; having a hope...having the love of God (verse 29." WOW!!!!! Heavenly Father truly answered my prayer and I got a "yes" to my question!!! Of course I wanted to know the answer to my question, but I truly can testify from my experience, that the power of specific prayers really do work!!!! Try it out, with ANY question!! It works!!!!!
     
Take advantage of the scriptures, all the answers you need to know are found in all of these precious, sacred, works!!! Joseph Smith is one of my greatest heroes who ever lived! Every time I read my scriptures I make sure to treasure them up with all my heart, just like he did (J.S.H. 1:11-12). All those who came before us sacrificed to much for us to enjoy the holy blessings of God. The Salt Lake temple took 40 years to finish!!! The Saints experienced much adversity when trying to build a house of the Lord! I realize I need to truly take every opportunity to renew my covenants with God during Sacrament, and the sacred covenants in the temple. Jesus Christ not only suffered for our pains, sins, and temptations, but he suffered so that we can make SACRED convenios (covenants). So many have suffered much for my well-being and happiness, so I am doing my best to be more grateful through my prayers, words, thoughts, and actions. :) I know in every corner of my mind and heart that this church is undoubtedly true. As the song from "Love Actually" says, "I feel it in my fingers; I feel it in my toes. Love is all around us, come on and let it show!" I love our Heavenly Father, Redeemer, and The Holy Ghost. Yes, I suffer from the pains of the adversary daily, but God’s love and blessings outweigh all of that. My purpose here is for others, not of myself, and when I completely put my focus and heart on others, I experience a greater happiness that I have never had before. :D
     
We as a branch, including a few others, sang the EFY Medley "As Sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman" this week! :) It was fantastic, and I did my best not to cry while feeling the Spirit in me, during the song. Whenever I saw someone in the audience crying I had to look away, because it is a chain reaction for me. If I see someone crying, then I cry, so I did my best to control myself, haha. :) We as a district also sang "Grande éres Tú!" ("How Great Thou Art") on Sunday. I played and arranged how everyone was to sing it. It was a great time with everyone. :)
     
I also want to give you a list of funny things that happened this week:
           -Whenever the lights go off anywhere, the elders yell, "¡Castidad!" which means chastity. Hahaha, our teacher Hermano López taught us that, when he turned off the lights for a movie clip.
           -So, our elders LOVE to talk in hashtags every now and again. The other night they talked ONLY in hashtags in their casa (house) for 2 hours. When our district leader Elder Paraso and his companion Elder Woodland went to have companionship prayer before going to bed, Elder Paraso accidentally asked God for something in a hashtag. Hahahaha. SO great!
           -I was about to walk out of our casa for the day, and I thought, "I am completely ready and I have everything I need! Then as I exited the casa, I realized I was going out in my Winnie the Pooh flip flops. Haha, I quickly went back inside and changed my shoes. Hehe.
          -The other day when I went to leave the bathroom stall, I realized that the lach on the door in the stall had locked. I locked myself inside. Trying my hardest to open the door it wouldn’t open. I decided to just crawl underneath the door to get out and I thought, "No, that’s silly, I can get this door open!" After a few more tries I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to get it open. My companion noticed that I was taking longer than normal, while she was standing outside, so as she was about to enter the bathroom, I called out to her, "Hermana, I’m stuck." We both just laughed and laughed. She crawled underneath the door and got it open in one go. Wow. Hahahahaha. :D There is a first time for everything!
   
I love all of you SO much, es muy increible!!! All of you ser mí milagros!!!!

Love, Your Hermana Keri Chantel Stephenson :D

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