On October 12 Hermana VanWie sent this great email:
Querida Familia y amigos
This week has been a wonderful week! We got to have Hermana Gacio with us for a few days before she goes home. She is a great missionary who has given her whole heart to the Lord. I am grateful for her example and for her service her in the California Fresno Mission!
This week we had three investigators at church--A and J and their family and J. J was a miracle this week. We have been doing new member lessons with S and her grandfather. As we have reviewed the lessons we taught before, S and her grandfather have both gained even more of a desire to share the wonderful feelings they have at church with others. Her grandfather recently told us that he is friends with J and her mother and as we finished the lesson asked if they were planning on coming to church. We told him that we had just come from talking with them and that her mother had said no they were not. However, he called her then and there and invited her to come to church and told her that he would stop by at 9:45 to pick them up. Through his invitation and boldness J came to church. S was so happy!! It has been wonderful to see her joy and her grandfather's joy as they invite their friends to come unto Christ!
This week we have also been emphasizing talking with everyone! I'm grateful for the opportunity that Hermana Jimenez and I got to do Open Your Mouth again! Every time I have done it, it has amazed me how many prepared people are put into our paths. Truly the experiences these new missionaries have are important to the Lord. Yesterday as we were doing this we found a woman named R. As we said hello to her and got to know her we found that she had been taught by missionaries before and is very willing and wanting to learn more. I know that we talk with everyone we will find people that have been prepared by the Lord.
We have also been doing a lot of less active work as we look for new investigators. We know that as we work on bringing others back and helping them progress again that Heavenly Father will bless them to know which of their friends and family members are ready to be taught and accept the gospel.
This week we had a lesson about the Word of Wisdom (or the Lord's Law of Health). The question was brought up about the why of not drinking coffee. As I reflected on this lesson a quote from PMG came to mind: (Chapter 6 of PMG) "Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. You may sometimes be required to do things you do not completely understand. As you obey, you increase in faith, knowledge, wisdom, testimony, protection, and freedom." I know that as we are obedient to the commandments and mission rules, we are blessed with these things.
Tomorrow we are going to have the opportunity to hear from Elder Nielson and his wife (Elder Brent Nielson a church leader) We are going to be talking about the Atonement. Studying the Atonement is something we are really focused on as a mission. I am learning so much!! As I was studying the talks in preparation for the conference, a quote I recently received from you came to mind: "The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time" (Brad Wilcox "His Grace is Sufficient"). Thank you for sending that quote!!
I know that the way we can apply the Atonement into our lives is through understanding who God is and who we are to Him. When we understand that we are His children and He loves us, we can also understand that this life is a time to learn and grow. As we learn and grow we make mistakes and as we realize these mistakes we also come to realize the necessity of a Savior. As we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we begin to change because we want to be more like Him. I am grateful to learn more about my Savior and His Atonement and to teach others about it as well. As I have taught and studied about the Atonement this week I have learned that it enables us and, as Elder Bednar says, we can put off the natural man and be strengthened to do and be good and serve beyond what we think we can. I am grateful for the opportunity that the Atonement gives me to change and to do hard things and to gain "spiritual traction" from them.
Gracias por todo lo que hacen! Los quiero!
Gracias por todo lo que hacen! Los quiero!