Then spake Jesus saying, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Monday, September 21, 2015

sep 21: in one week, i'll be home! hit me up

This week I got a few emails in which my family members expressed their testimonies. These testimonies mean the world to me. Thank you. I would absolutely love a testimony from each and every one of you. Whether it is one line or one page, whether you are a member of the church or not, it is a gift for me to peek into your hearts. A testimony is what you can’t see but you know is true, and we have that capacity. To trust beyond what we can prove or measure. Because we can feel. I know that inside every human body is a spirit—a child of God that lived with Him before being born on earth—that feels. And vaguely— very vaguely—recognizes that there is something greater. Not only a Supreme Being, but a Supreme Plan. Before telescopes, we couldn't prove or measure most of the other planets, but they were there, just waiting for us to discover them. One day we will all see and hear God, but we don’t have to wait until then to believe. 

I know that God is our Heavenly Father, that He has a body of blood and bones. That we accepted His offer to come to earth—suffer, laugh, sacrifice, risk, love, create—and grow. We are brave.

We trusted that our Father would give us everything we need to get back to Him—and He has. He has given us prayer to be able to talk to him and the Holy Ghost to be able to feel His reply and know that He exists. He has given us His church—which He directs through people that put His will above their own—to teach us everything we can’t remember. He has given an ultimate sacrifice that has healed or will heal every wound and trauma—lost limbs, mental illness, abuse— His Son, Jesus Christ. There are no words to describe His sacrifice.

He never overrides our freedom. But He has a bird’s eye view, and has established His church to help us elevate our view and see the same. There are many churches, but He is the head of one. I know without a doubt that THIS is HIS church—the instruction manual from the Manufacturer. In His church, we can be sealed with our families for time and all eternity. I know that He has called many, including Moses, Peter, Joseph Smith, and Thomas S. Monson, to be His representatives and establish His church. It’s not hard for me to believe that God calls prophets in our day because the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know that those I mentioned and all the rest He has sent throughout the history of the world are men of God because I have read and Bible and the Book of Mormon and asked in prayer if they are true. And what I felt was undeniable. I know the Lord answers petitions and answers questions and truly exists.

Lots of people talk about life before and after the mission as the “real world.” But I have learned that the world we live in isn’t the real world. The movies and the music and the art are temporary things. There are only three things that are permanent: our families, the things we learn, and the person we are. This past year and a half, I haven’t seen TV, listened to music, or gotten on the internet. But I have been more in the real world than ever: The things I have been able to do are eternal. And I am grateful to my Heavenly Father because I felt Him giving me health and strength to do them. I am grateful to you—my family and closest friends—for your love and confidence in me. Because I couldn’t have done it alone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sep 7: fotos!

August 31: Don’t just ask for answers; BE the answer

When we get home at 9, we don’t change into our pajamas or eat or get on the internet or listen to music. We thank God for the health and safety we enjoyed that day, pray for His inspiration, then sit at our desks. We pull out the binder with the names of all the church members and investigators in our ward, and plan for the next day. It awesome because even though we’re tired, because we have fresh in our minds what it is we want to accomplish the next day, and we plan it all out. When I wake up in the morning, I am excited to visit and help the people we are going to see that day. You don’t have to be a missionary to do this. We can all do it. When the alarm rings in the morning and you’re super tired, it’s exactly what you need to you out of bed.

So this week we were planning like normal, when my companion say Yessenia’s name and said, “It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Yessenia. Wanna go visit her?” We planned to visit her the next day and sent her a text, asking if she’d be home at 5. The next day, we got to her house and knocked on the door. She opened and told her they’d just diagnosed her with cancer. The night before, she had been praying and asking the Lord for help and comfort, and in the middle of her prayer she heard our text arrive.

Aunt Kate gave me one of the quotes that has motivated me since Day One of my mission:  “The number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of far greater significance,” President Uchtdorf.

It is one of the sweetest feelings to know that the Lord has used you as an instrument in His hands. We should ALL be instruments in His hands, not just missionaries. I know that if we really want to be, He will give us thousands of opportunities to be the answers to others’ prayers. There’s no shortage of need in the world. There’s a shortage of those willing to seek divine inspiration to help fulfill those needs. I literally love the prophets and apostles of our days, because they are literally the Lord’s spokesmen. They have worked so hard all their lives to be sensitive to the Lord’s still small whispers. President Monson once said: “I always have tried to live in such a way that when the Lord needs an errand run, he says, I know Tommy Monson will do it.”

I invite you all to make that one of your highest priorities, too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

August 24, 2015: Scrapbook Day

The day one of the hermanas (she's our age) forgot it was her day to feed us. we we got there and everything was locked up. we thought, if we had a smartphone we would totally send her this snapchat

you can see in the bottom right corner the name DOMINUS. he's our fav graffitti artist and the other day we saw someone starting a new mural, but it looked like a totally different style, so we just kept walking. that night, when we passed the same spot, it had his signature! awweee we coulda met dominus...

One day we got to church early and there was a dog running around inside! hahaha it was so funny to see a dog going crazy in the cultural hall. this dog was literally dixies long lost twin so yeah you can imagine exactly how this dog was acting

I just realized that i am wearing the same shirt in all three pictures... if it looks like by this point in the mission, i don't have a lot of clothes, you would be guessing right lol. luckily this shirt takes like two seconds to wash by hand and 2 more seconds to iron.

here's another pictures with a dog. how many pictures do i have with dogs on my blog? and i'm not even an animal person! but the mexicans are animal people. i think i've met like 3 families in my whole mission that don't have a dog! these little girls are super sweet. the day we took this photo, we were helping her get ready for her baptism :)

This is one of the less-active sisters we work with. 

She's awesome. she lives right by a park, so she started the "No Trash Club" and when a kid joins the no trash trash club, they paint their handprint on the wall of her house and promise to pick up 5 pieces of trash every time they go to the park. and they do it! haha okay so see right above my head where it says Elder Villagomez? and then a little to the right where it says Elder Lessard? haha those are our handprints. we amy not be kids but i think we go to that park more than any kid in the neighborhood because it's right in the area where we work a lot and when we're in that neighboorhood, we cross it a million times a day. haha and Elder Lessard donesn't refer to my brother... she knows we're hermanas but she likes to call us "Elderas" haha for those of you who don't speak Spanish, that word doesnt exist :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

August 10: And if He received not my Spirit, He shall not preach

Today we taught Meri, our hardest investigator. She has been praying to find out if what we have taught her is true, but says she hasn’t received an answer yet. We’ve asked her how she has received her answers in the past, and she said that she has seen things, like a little light, etc. Hermano Javier came with us and he was awesome as always, but for some reason, Meri was out to fight. She was getting mad at everything he said, and or a few minutes is looked like there was gonna be a showdown. And we were just like, “What do we do?” because she was almost yelling.

But Hermano Javier didn’t give in to the bait, and when there was a small pause we started to teach. And she calmed down and listened. At the end, we simply said, “I know it’s hard to believe. I’ve been there. I wish I could just take out of my mind and heart what I know and give it to you, because I see you battling to figure it all out. But that battle is an important part of the process.”

She asked me to give the last prayer, and partway through, I felt a very special tranquility. When I finished, Hermano Javier said, “I felt the Spirit,” but the best part was when Meri said, “I saw a little light.” It was the first time in all our lessons where she accepted her answer—because she always denies the Spirit. She has been waiting and waiting for a manifestation, and I know the Lord sent her that little light.