Monday, September 2, 2013

Letter #50 09/02/2013

These past two weeks have been completely oposite of each other, but each has been really amazing. This week we had an intercambio with Hermana Neufer and Hermana Figueroa, who are two of the Traveling Sisters of our mission. Also I completed a year on Friday! And, for the first time in my mission we completed *almost* all our weekly goals. We actually went over on most of them. I normally try not to stress out about numbers, because they are simply not the most important thing, but in this case I'll use them to illustrate the hand of God. He really heard my prayers and after each one followed a tender mercy designed to increase my faith and my love for Him. I truly do love my Heavenly Father and my Savior; every day I find that love growing more and more.

Along with that thought, last week was particularly hard for Hermana Nelson and I, as far as the numbers were concerned. It was probably the lowest of my mission. Even so, that Sunday night after verification talking to a disappointed district leader, I felt the best I ever had at the end of any week out of the past 52. I had tried my best that day and the days before to bear pure testimony of Jesus Christ, felt the Spirit so strongly and been guided by it, and I felt that my faith had grown and my love for God had expanded in ways that before I hadn't considered. Hermana Nelson felt the same. We spent some time talking and came up with the following True Key Indicators by which we now evaluate our work every day, along with the normal ones:

1- Have I testified of Jesus Christ?
2- Have I helped someone in need?
3- Am I exhausted but happy?
4- Have I felt the Spirit today?
5- Do I love the members, the people I teach, my companion and the Lord more today than I did yesterday?

This week I can honestly answer "yes" to each of those True Key Indicators. A phrase from a blessing I received in the mission has also become a theme for our companionship and our work: "You will know that you are being successful by the feelings you will have." That is so true.
Here are a couple of experiences from our time here in San Carlos:
Two Sundays ago we decided to spend the last precious hour of our week singing to the patients. The scriptures keep urging us to "raise our voices" and we wanted to try something we've never done before. We only got to be with one family, and we couldn't sing because their precious two-year-old boy was sleeping, recovering from surgery. As we stood in the doorway, the mom told us we couldn't sing, but if we had a message to share to please come in and share it-- which we gladly did. It was the mom, who was evangelical, and her parents, who are catholics. Her father was actually a deacon for the catholic church. I'm not 100% positive what that means, but it sounds impressive. I shared Alma 7:11-13 which talks about the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and bore my testimony of Him. My companion went next. By the time we were done, every person in the room (except the sleeping baby) had born testimony of the Savior. The Spirit in that room was so strong, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to hear the testimoies of others from different denominations about the same person.
We've been visiting a young family-- Darwin (investigator), Inès (member) and their baby, Santiago ("Slash"). They are struggling financially, and have been struggling just to eat for about two weeks now. We talked to the bishop about them but I wasn't sure he was very interested in our investigators. Last week Hermana Nelson and I had a special fast for them. On Saturday, we visited Inés, and she looked much better, saying that the bishop had stopped by that day. As we sang the opening song, "There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today," I saw something out of the corner of my eye out the open doorway. When I turned my head, there was Bishop Machado, his wife, and 6-year-old daughter, laden down with grocery bags full of things for a young family. Hermana Nelson and I couldn't finish the hymn because there were tears running down our faces. They looked just like angels. Inès was beaming as well. I love this work with all my heart.
I know that a lot of you, family and friends, are struggling with huge trials right now. I know that sometimes it feels like we are blocked at every turn, that we have no way out, or that the world is coming down on top of us. Please know that I love you and I am praying for you. I love you so much and I know that Heavenly Father loves you so much infinitely more. He knows you. Watch and wait patiently for the tender mercies, which God bestows upon all who faithfully follow Him.
Love you forever,
Hermana Phillips

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