Monday, March 10, 2014

3.5.2014

Quierido Mi Familia y amigos!!!!!!!

Today we were so privileged to go to the temple today in México City! Now, since the temple is under construction on the outside and inside, we only got to be in the visitors center, but it was incredible nonetheless! I had no idea there are so many temples in Méxio, it’s crazy!! :D  The picture of the temple in Chihuahua resides in the smallest town in the world that has a temple! Also, the visitor’s center here is the most visited in all of them in the world! Wow!! It’s very interesting being out of the CCM and seeing what it really looks like here! Every building has every color of the rainbow on it and there are so many BEAUTIFUL trees and plants all throughout the city! The only thing that makes me really nervous being out of the CCM is being on the bus. The cars you drive next to are a foot away or less, and they drive SO fast! People honk just as often as you would smile or say hello to someone, it’s so funny. When there are a lot going on at once it sounds like the cars are having a heated debate, haha! Plus, it’s a party town here almost every day of the week. Every now and again cannons go off in celebration of another holiday or party! At night when I lay down to go to sleep I can hear honking and music going off in the distance, as well as whistles (which scared me at first because it sounds like a woman screaming in panic)! This last fast Sunday during the meeting there was loud, club music going off right by our window. I tried my best to not be distracted by it or tap my feet. The Spirit was able to conquer it though and we had a lovely meeting. :)

On fast Sunday everyone in my district bore their testimony. It was really heartfelt and what everyone said was sincere. Here is part of what I shared of one of my favorite hymns: A me gusta la parte en "Las familias pueden eternas", cual es "yo quiero heredar el celestial hogar. Con la mía la eternidad, por toda la eternidad." Yo se que podemos vivir con las familias otra vez. Estoy muchas agradecidas por mí familia y la oportunidad vivr con Dios y Cristo por eternalemente. . . .For those who do speak Spanish, I apologize now, that my Spanish is not quite good yet. However, when the Spirit is with me, I am able to teach exactly how the Lord wants me to. :)  Predicad mí Evangelio teaches that the most essential part of teaching is to have the Spirit. Investigators, converts, and members cannot be converted if they do not have the Spirit of the Lord with them. In our video devotional this week Jeffrey R. Holland spoke. :)  He said that in the time of his mission, missionaries had to memorize and recite lessons word for word, all lessons mentioned in order. I had no idea that is how missionaries used to be. When President Hinckley was a prophet he noticed a HUGE decline in converts staying in the church, as well as the missionaries who came from their missions. That is why we have Preach my Gospel now!! What a miracle it is to know that times are changing, because the prophets and our Lord know what we need.

Elder Holland taught of the huge importance it is to teach by the Holy Ghost, to the very specific needs of others. He told a story that happened around the time between WWI and WWII. A missionary serving in Czechoslovakia was out tracting one day with his companion, and they came to the door of a single woman. When they knocked on the door, she immediately opened and then slammed the door before they could even get a word in. Well, they weren’t going to give up so easily so they were persistent and waited, knocking on the door the second time. Before she could close the door in their faces again, one of the elders put his foot in the door. He said, "Why don’t you want to hear us? We’re young missionaries and have a wonderful message to share with you." She looked at them and said, "Well, you’re ministers aren’t you?" The elder then responded, "Well, yes. We’re missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." She then firmly told them she wanted nothing to do with missionaries or ministers of the church. 

Quite a while back from this time, this woman’s only child died in a tragic accident, and she did not have a husband or anyone to help her with her grief. In complete despair, she seeks help from a minister in a nearby church. When she arrives at the church, she pours her feelings of tragedy to the minister, in hopes he will help her. However the minister replied with this, "You have never entered these doors and your child was not baptized. You have never entered this church before, and you expect me to help you now, when it is clearly to late? Your child is in Hell and you will eventually one day too." Since that time she completely shut herself off from anyone associated with the church. After the missionaries discovered this (as they are still communicating from the front door, not inside) this special elder, in the best Czech he could muster, he asked this woman, "Would you like to know where your child is?" After replying with a yes, he turned to Mosiah chapter eight. He then explained of the mercy of Jesus Christ’s Atonement and how through him are children automatically saved. This woman, by the elder’s ability to call upon the Lord and the Holy Ghost, was baptized and remained a Faithful member, and one of the few in their area. She and a few other woman served with all their might in this church, and took advantage of Priesthood authority when it was available to them at this time. Elder Holland said that we will never know where we will need to turn to in our Scriptures to find the answers someone needs, but we need to be prepared and worthy to bring forth exactly what they need, through the sacred, holy power of the Holy Ghost. I cannot even imagine how a mission would be if I did not have the Spirit with me. He is so essential, and the only true instrument of the word of God. :)

Elder Holland, the Lord, our Savior, and the Holy Ghost have invigorated me to know that I can do this. I need to put all my effort in and the Lord truly will provide the rest. Yesterday I was feeling very inadequate of my abilities to speak and help others in this language. My companion receives many compliments of how well she teaches and speaks. Then I realized that it is not our ability that makes anything possible, it is the Lord and our effort. A scripture that gave me a lot of comfort and strength in my weakness is Alma 32: 40-43. It teaches that when we have planted our seed of faith, and we have patience and diligence then we will: "reap the rewards of [these qualities], and long-suffering waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto [us]." The Lord truly blesses me, even when I fall short. What a miracle that is to know that He has that power. I am more than nervous to go to Nicaragua, but I know that as long as I have faith and do not fear, our Heavenly Father will give me the power to do His will. I love all of you endlessly and pray for you always. :) Sus todos en mí corazón siempre. Te amo!!!!

Love, Your Hermana Keri Chantel Stephenson :D

I ran out of time, so I’ll send pictures this next week

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