Monday, September 7, 2015

Redeemer of Israel‏

First of all we have an investigator with date!!! Woohoo! It's Dina, and she has a date for the 19th. Yes, she had a date last week but we decided to put another one down because we have to finish some teaching and she feels she needs to make some changes in her life.

It's been an interesting experience with her. When I first came here one of the first appointments we had was with her family, the Gracia-Viteri family. They reminded me so much of the experience I'd had fresh from the coast (because the parents are from the coast) and I was so excited to teach them. But as we did we saw problems - most of the family lost interest, it was  a challenge because many of them didn't know how to read, they weren't coming to short, not progressing. I did want to leave them or at the very least was very discouraged. But something, not just my companion, told me to keep teaching them. And we came to realize that Dina was the one who listened to us most and was ready to fulfill commitments.

So we started focusing more on her! It's been a long journey so far but this Sunday she took a huge step and came to church alone! So we need to work hard to include her and make sure she has friends (especially because she's pretty timid) but we have a working goal that she'd like to achieve as well. It's exciting! The closest I've been in all my time here in the Orient.

But apart from that this week was ROUGH. Appointments fell through, it seemed like we didn't find people to teach, the people we found didn't seem to progress...for me it was kind of hard. I remember in one appointment especially I was excited because we found an entire family (Married, at that! That's not very common here.) but we spent about an hour and a half teaching and at the end they somehow just DID NOT GET the message of the Restoration. I left pretty darn frustrated.

Sometimes it's pretty hard for me to have faith that the church will grow in the way it should, the members, or the missionaries. It's easy to see the difficult things.

But apart from my forever fight to be more patient, I've learned a bit this week. In our Book of Mormon reading this week I finished 1 Nephi and I loved some scriptures I found. The more I read it the more I come to like the Isaiah chapters and the prophecies of the prophets about the House of Israel. I like to apply them more to me. I love what it says in chapter 20 of 1 Nephi:

 10 For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction 

It's disconcerting but comforting at the same time to know that the Lord loves us so much that he wants to purify us through affliction. And, some companion verses in the next chapter:

14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.

 15 For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Pretty great, huh? The Lord never forgets us! I also love the middle two verses of the hymn "Redeemer of Israel."

2. We know he is coming
To gather his sheep
And lead them to Zion in love,
For why in the valley
Of death should they weep
Or in the lone wilderness rove?

3. How long we have wandered
As strangers in sin
And cried in the desert for thee!
Our foes have rejoiced
When our sorrows they've seen,
But Israel will shortly be free.

Have a good week people! Oh yeah I'm going to turn 20 years old this week and 1 year old in the mission! But I don't think I'll feel any different. Best not to think about how old I am.

We finally went to a park here with some actually cool animals. I had someone take a rare picture of me. Look at how burnt I am. One year more and I'm going to come back pretty crispy.

I realized today I'm used to eating this but you guys aren't so I should probably send a pic. The good thing is that I was in a restaurant so I could leave it uneaten there and no one would kill me.

A terrible selfie but I should probably be proud of how bad I am at taking them.

A gigantic snake.

Some turtles.

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