Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2 months down! Work is tough but baptisms are scheduled!!

I love getting updates from Mariah but it is difficult to hear of the many struggles that missionaries face. It is so comforting though to know that they are in the Lord's hands. It's also nice to know that there are members where they are who feed them and help take care and watch over them. Mariah recently had dinner with her district at her branch mission leaders house. All of the missionaries received stockings that a ward Relief Society in their Stake had made for them. How nice! Below is a pic of Riah with her stocking..(cute missionary) and then a picture of those in her district minus one group of Elders.

Mariah says that her and her companion are learning a lot together since both of them haven't been out very long.  She is getting more and more comfortable with her Spanish and she says that the people in her ward can’t believe that she has only been out of the MTC for such a short time because of the way she speaks.  I guess all of those Spanish classes in school really paid off!

She has really had an eventful past week. Here are some stories from her most recent email. I love how it's just some quick detail to let you know a little about a lot of things that she has been doing. 
In Mariah's words..

"Ok so I have a few stories. First-I got attacked by a dog. Well, no, not really, well actually kindof, but it completely ruined one of my boots so that's ok. Ha the owner didn't really do anything about it but oh well, I'm fine I don't really care! Second- we have been teaching English classes for service every week at the church to people who speak Spanish, which has been really fun, I love it! Third- we had a baby blessing in our ward last week that we forgot to mention, and he did it in English, so the mom like rushed and handed us paper and pens to write down everything we could remember during the blessing, that was a cool experience! Fourth- We had a weird experience where this sweet old lady member that we went to visit wanted to give us a drink, and I am pretty sure she was drinking coffee but says it wasn't. We looked at the label and I am pretty sure it was, she was just like, "Nooo noo! Esto es Nestle!" haha so she made us this herbal drink instead that she dumped a bunch of sugar in, and the water (I hope it wasn't water) that she poured in it was like yellow, so we just didn't ask and drank it anyway. It wasn't too bad. But I dunno, she was breaking up cheese chunks and putting it in her "coffee" so we were just kindof whatever with it haha :) She is SO SO sweet though!!

Ok, last story. So yesterday we had stake conference and when we walked out of our apartment our car was gone. So we looked around a bit and then realized that we had parked in a reserved spot. It was dark and rainy the night before and we couldn't see it. Yeah. So that means someone called on us. It's weird though because all the reserved spots are just randomly throughout the parking lot, there isn't like a specific section, yeah our bad. So we had the sisters who lived across the street from us drive us and then ended up finding out after church from the front office where they had taken our car. So we broke the Sabbath and the sisters drove us to the tow center where lo and behold was our car, and it was $185!! OUCH!! We split the cost though, but still. We felt bad but we have such a huge area of coverage since we are in the Spanish program so we kinda need a car.. it's all good, though."

Mariah always sends a written letter home to us each week as well. It just gives her a way to go into more detail about what she is doing and answer all of our questions:). In her last letter to us she said that they have 4 people on date for baptism and one more person that she feels is really close.  Two of the baptisms are scheduled for this Saturday the 13th of December. She has been blessed to teach A LOT of lessons so far. This is what she said about her teaching in her last letter…” Missionary Work is more just teaching to the needs.  So I mean, we still teach lessons but only according to what they need. So we kinda still go in order but it’s different for everyone. It is so cool. You can seriously feel God’s love for everyone and you just know what they need when you are in tune with the Spirit!

She feels so blessed to be able to share the Gospel but says that missionary work is not easy. Her vision is clear though and she knows why she is out there serving. Here is something more that she shared with us in her last letter…” This past week we have gone tracting a bit and we have had doors slammed in our face, like literally. I didn’t know some people could be that rude- OK, I shouldn’t say that- but it was kind of depressing cuz you build up this courage and love/desire to share something with someone and they just completely and utterly reject it-OUCH! But it’s ok, we just have to remember that in the war in Heaven we FOUGHT for agency. We FOUGHT for those people to have the ability to choose. Whether or not they feel something, just as us, it is THEIR decision to act on it. So está bien, (meaning-‘it’s good’) It just hurts sometimes. Bless my companion, such a tender heart, she can get really discouraged at times cuz she isn’t used to tracting as much, so when we started doing that more and having people reject us, I just have to remind her that it’s OK and to keep our heads up because as long as we have the spirit with us and know that we are doing God’s will, we will be blessed and all will be well. Because who was rejected without measure? CHRIST was. Christ was betrayed by HIS OWN apostles. HIS OWN friends. HIS OWN acquaintances-crucified Him. Unimaginable! So, it’s ok-we just keep going! God sent us here to find those souls who are prepared to receive this Gospel. Every day I realize more and more how glorious God’s plan is for us, and how grateful I am to be the Lord’s representative right now, here, at this time. Read (Alma 17:10-17)

On Fast Sunday our family fasted and prayed for Mariah and her investigators.  We sent her an email to let her know that and asked her if she would give us specifics about some of the people she is teaching so that we can pray for them specifically.  In Jared's email to her he mentioned some of the things that he would share with his investigators that he was teaching on his mission after they had committed to baptism. One being that the adversary will work extra hard on them because he does not want them to be baptized. Jared told Mariah that he would share the experience that Joseph Smith had while he was searching for the truth. How Satan tried to stop him because he knew what great vision and blessings were ahead. Below is Mariah's response to the email... I took out the name of the investigator just for privacy reasons.
"So yesterday was our mission fast. You all didn't know that, but it was. My diabetes has been acting kinda weird the past few weeks with changes and all, so when I fasted last week it was kinda rough but I still did it. I wasn't able to fast this week because of that, and it's almost like you fasted in my place, not even knowing that, through the spirit. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!

Oh, and it even gets better. Last night I was praying for one of our investigators. He is 15 and we have been teaching him for a while. He was taught even before I got here, and has already changed his baptismal date a few times. The other night, we kinda got chewed out by his uncle (you know latino homes, there are always a ton of fam in the house), not necessarily chewed out but told like it was. He came over as we were teaching (our investigator). (Our investigator) has kindof stopped progressing as he used to be Pentecostal and his grandfather still is. We were told that his grandpa, every time after (our investigator) had a lesson with us, would come in and tell him that we were of the devil and that this is the devil's church and he is getting sucked in. His family environment has made it really hard for him to keep commitments, and on and on I could go about this, but what it comes down to is that he is super confused and being torn every which way. So we have been praying SO HARD for him. Last night, after we had kindof come to the conclusion with him that we had to let him go, (which was HEARTBREAKING for us and him, he still is going to activites and everything tho cuz he likes it) and only stop by every so often, I was praying so hard. It was like during my prayer I got this revelation that I needed to share that part of the first vision about Joseph Smith being overcome with opposition, and that whenever we are about to make SUPER big decisions in our life for the better, there will ALWAYS come opposition for us as well, because who doesn't want us to be baptized? Satan. So I had the EXACT same thought come to my mind and I knew it was an answer to my prayer, so much I was almost weeping, I can't even describe it. So when you sent that in your email today I could just FEEL it and I KNEW! God has a plan for us, he really does!!"
How neat is that!? God works in mysterious ways.  I am so grateful that Mariah is putting her faith in and relying on Heavenly Father to help her through her mission. Missionary work is not a piece of cake but there is a sweetness to it that cannot be described.

Mariah eating cheesecake from the Cheescake Factory for the first time.
Look at her apartment in the background. Boy she has it rough! Haha

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