- Well, I survived Semana Santa! :)
Yesterday I was reading the talk Elder Holland gave in this past conference called, "The Cost -- and Blessings-- of Discipleship". Lately I have been feeling a lot like the hermana that he talks about. We aren´t really sure why but lately everyone has been running from us, literally. Hiding, running, lying, the works. And on top of that, we have met some pretty mean people this week. This week was Semana Santa and everyday and night there was a different Catholic procession. For some, this week is a week of religious devotion, for others, it's a national holiday where no one is in school, no one works, so EVERYONE goes to the cantina. I have truly never seen more drunks in my life than I did this week. It's such a sad part of the alleged "Holy Week" here in Guatemala. It seems like the meanest and most lost people came out to meet us this week. So when I read this talk I just thought to myself, you know what... missionary work is HARD. WHY is it so hard sometimes?? Elder Holland talked about a few scriptures in Hebrews where it talks about some apostles doing miracles and seeing great success while others were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, afflicted and tormented. He said they were "those of whom the world was not worthy". Too good to be a part of the world. We don't go through nearly what the apostles did; but we do have to suffer a large cost in discipleship. Rejection is just one part.
|Happy Easter! Love, the Hermanas of San Francisco|
This week someone asked me how I knew that this was the true church. She asked me in a mocking way, "How do YOU know? Did God tell you??". I told her Yes He did, in my heart and He continues to tell me everyday. She then looked me square in the eyes and told me, "No te creo." or I don´t believe you. Sometimes it hurts, as Elder Holland put it, to have your most cherished beliefs reviled. My heart hurts for this woman, so lost and so confused. Something I am learning right now is that the road to the promised land isn't all rainbows and daisies, it's hard. People don't flock to the baptismal fonts just because I say God told me it's true. People have distorted their image of God into that of their own.
On the other hand, being a disciple of Jesus Christ has been the BIGGEST blessing in my life. Amidst all of the rejection and emberassment, there are miracles. Just yesterday we were in a lesson with a husband and wife who were not at all wanting to listen to us. The lesson was kind of scattered and I wondered what to do. I thought to pull out a picture of Jesus Christ that I have in my Scriptures. I asked the husband, "How do you feel when you look at Him?" He paused for a while and then said quite simply, I will go back to Him one day. I felt really impressed to cover up one side of the painting and tell them about how Christ is all just and all merciful, just like in the painting where one side of his face is hard and darker which represents the law, the other side of his face is soft and full of light. I explained to them that He LOVES us. He wants us to return to Him to the point where He DIED so that we could. In that moment the kids were really quiet, the pigs stopped making noise and a big breeze came by. As tears welled up in my eyes I KNEW in that moment that Jesus Christ loved them. He loves all of them! All of these people that run and hide from us because they find the truth to be hard. He loves them and He sent my companion and me to them to bring them back to Him. God loves us. He loved me enough to send me here. not so I can teach, but so I can learn, so I can be His mouthpiece in bringing many to repentance. I hope that I can become a better disciple of Jesus Christ everyday. During one day this week we didn't work because of processions that involved Judas scarecrows being toured around the city with loud kids begging for bread, (more about that when I get home), and I read all of the mission of Alma , like Alma 14-27. I hope that one day I can have that faith to bring so many souls to repentance. I know that of myself I am nothing, but with my Savior, all is possible. I know He lives and that He is risen! What a glorious blessing it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I will never get tired of saying that.
The cost of discipleship for some was their own lives, for me all it has been is some tears and sadness. But one thing I know to be true is that God LIVES. How do I know? He told Me.
Be strong. Take Heart.
love love love,
Pictures from our Hermana Sleepover during Semana Santa.
|Eight Hermanas in one place with four beds. It was nuts!|
|Cute Latina friends|
These pics go together. Hermana Natividad is from El Salvador and she is nuts! hahaha. She threatened that whoever went to sleep she would draw on their face with a marker. Well Hermana Phillips fell asleep first!
Haha! These Latinas are nuts.
Proof she's nuts! Oh and we did corn rows in Hermana Phillips' hair. Sleepovers gone crazy! Hahahahaha!
p.s. On a less serious note, I lost my voice this week and the elders have now dubbed me, Elder Moore. Thanks parents for giving me a deep voice and thanks sickness for making it even deeper. The ward members are so excited that the quartet of hermanas that we have for special musical numbers for baptisms now has a tenor. Hahahahahahahaha. Life is funny.