July 10, 2011

I'm here!!!

May 24, 2011

Sorry!! Pday is today instead of monday. We had a conference and interviews with the President because he came down. :)

This week marks the change in my life!!

Hello family, hello all, shout out to Angelica who FINALLY remembered that the person she missed most in Alaska can receive emails hahaha kidding LOVE YOU!
It´s getting colder and colder. Sunday, it was dark in the morning when we went to find investigators for church and it was 1 below zero Celsius. Not even winter yet......ugh.
In the chapel, the heating is broken so no one took off their winter gear. President Cutini conducted the meeting with a scarf covering his face and gloves. We even had the meeting cut short to move to the other rooms in the other building that DID have heating. Kinda weak-sauce, but hey, I was hot from running all over town an hour before church started. :)
I lost my hat :( and the bandy thing i had knitted :( while doing said running.
Hna. Campos and I are started a diet.....haha Kinda. We WANT to. We were going to start yesterday but then they bought us facturas and we each ate THREE! oops. And then we hadn´t eaten all day (because interviews turned out to be 5 HOURS and no food in the middle of the day. This is me NOT complaining :) haha) and Hna Juan Urquia, who is a fantastically good cook made us a mountain of pasta with cream and a bunch of other stuff that was delicious and definitely not diet-friendly. But we couldn´t NOT eat it. Bucha....so we will start today.....or possibly tomorrow. hahaha
The diet is because my dearest, darling companion (who is getting better at her English prayers every day!) goes home in like 3 months!!! How sad but we gotta get rid of like 8 k before September and I will sacrifice and do it with her :) Hna Campos is seriously awesome. I don´t know if I’m getting better at getting used to companions or if she´s just spectacular because usually there´s like a 1 to 2 week cooling period before we get used to each other but we got along perfectly and teach well together since day 1. hooray! And she´s a ray of sunshine. LOVE HER!
I feel like a caution is necessary: The following email is pretty intense and I don´t mean to sound condescending in the least. Please know as you read this that I have shared MY thoughts toward ME and how I need to change and learn. I love you all and know that something in here somewhere will touch you as it did me. I share this with you in a spirit of love and profound gratitude for having learned it. :)
So this week started off with a BANG which equals President Gulbrandsen coming to visit this faraway land to make sure the missionaries are all good. :)
He started off interviews with Yours Truly and it was an amazing, spiritually power-packed 10 minutes that has changed my perspective of being down here in Gallegos quite a bit. More of that maybe later but the bulk of my email this week will be centered on the fantastically amazing devotional given by none other than Elder Jeffrey R Holland in the Provo MTC from this January. If Morgan was in the MTC at the time, I don´t know but if he was I´m green with jealousy and will try to repent later.
E Holland has the amazing power to share his thoughts and blow you away with his direct call for our repentance at the same time that he teaches you what, why and how you should change. When he talks about missionary work, he always says that his mission meant everything, EVERYTHING to him. That there never was nor will be anyone, anywhere who would feel the same way about his mission that he did. Then in this talk he said something that I hadn´t heard him say before. He said, I hope you feel the same way about your mission. If not, I will be terribly disappointed.
The mission field, the mission life and devoted missionary service is the hatching place of our future lives. That doesn´t mean it´s the hatching place of our testimonies, of our faith or knowledge. That we have to get BEFORE entering the MTC and BEFORE receiving this blessed nametag. This is the era, as E Holland said, of Preach my Gospel. That manual changed the way missionary work is done. It is an inspired manual that will be used to proclaim the gospel until the second coming. Preach My Gospel changed teaching the gospel and its principles to focus on the MISSIONARY. On ME, on YOU BEFORE getting to the investigator. The person receiving such missionary lessons is expecting that the words that come out of our mouths weren´t fed to us, weren´t memorized, they weren´t stuck there by someone with ulterior motives. When we have daily study, when we have frequent prayer PLANNED into our schedule, it´s because it´s important! If the missionary isn´t converted to the truths he or she is teaching, there´s no hope that it will reach the heart of the person with the yearning to know.
E Holland compared the study and knowledge and mastery of the scriptures to the difference between the two Russell´s of the twelve. Two Russell´s who are wonderful, faithful, intelligent and loving men....but which would you choose if a heart surgery needed to be performed on your mother? E Ballard could be very effective with a handy Swiss army knife but anyone informed would choose E Nelson to do the work.
Why? Because he studied, he worked, he practiced for hours and thousands of times before getting the knife in his hand to open your mom. He spent years in medical school, in a small apartment with his feet in cold water to stay awake and study and learn and apply the teachings of those who knew more than him.
Why should we settle for less in a missionary who is taking this ever-important message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the salvation of souls to the world? Practice, study, work, applying such teachings so that when a missionary opens his mouth, there is assurance, knowledge and a firm testimony. Not only will the daily study apply in the mission field but AFTER it too.
The problem before with memorizing lessons was not only that it was impersonal to the family who had recently suffered a death or tragedy, or the newly-wed couple etc but the message was going in one or both ears of the missionary and going out the mouth before ever reaching the heart. The missionaries going home the from field failed to stay active! Lack of testimony. How awful the thought.
E Holland talked about Peter, the apostle. After Christ´s death and the tomb was empty, Peter, the senior apostle, didn´t know what came next. He didn´t know what to do. All the converts to the church of Jesus Christ had less than 36 months in the church. No one knew where to go. Peter, in his innocence, went back to what he knew, what he was doing before the Savior had called him to follow Him. Fishing.
They went back to their boats and their nets. They fished all night without catching a thing. Then, the Lord, on the beach near where His apostles were discouraged and tired of casting their nets told them to cast on the right side. The apostles surely thought someone was trying to be cute and tell them how to do what they knew would fail. But they did it anyway. When they tried to pull in the nets, the ship began to sink from the weight of the fish. It was a miracle the nets didn´t break. Peter looked back to the shore and finally recognized the voice of the Savior. He jumped in the water and swam to the Savior´s side. Jesus had built a fire and lovingly prepared fish for them to eat. How amazing that small act is. He knew they had been on the boat, working through the night and He had fixed them breakfast.
Three (a very significant number for Peter) times the Lord asked Peter if he loved Him.
Lovest thou me?
Yes, I do.
Then feed my sheep.
Lovest thou me?
Yes, Lord thou knowest that I love thee.
Then feed my sheep.
(with patience, love and after ´taking a deep, understanding breath´.........Lovest thou me?........
Then Peter stands up because he understands that Jesus Christ, the Lord of Hosts, is teaching him what he must do, what comes next.

E Holland, in his very emotional, powerful way then shared his thoughts about the bible account of that early morning lesson.
When the Lord invited the fishermen to leave their nets,
When the Lord called them to the apostleship
When the Lord called them to teach them and to sent them to preach the word

I won´t go back the same. Not if I REALLY love Him. I will follow Him and share the gospel all my days. I will stand as a witness of Him at all times, and in all things and in all places (Mosiah 18:9) until the end.
It´s over when it´s over.
Even when we are tempted, stay the course, fight the good fight, leave the nets, Feed His sheep.

I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here. I am grateful for the experiences I´ve had and will have. For the miracles I have witnessed and the blessing fulfilled. How good and wonderful and merciful the Lord is. His plan offers peace in a tumultuous world.
It is our opportunity as believers who have been warned of His coming, who know and repent to prepare, to warn others.
I am so grateful for my family. I love you all so much. I use experiences from my life and of your lives to help the people we teach see that the gospel applies to everyone, everywhere.

I love you all dearly; I know this gospel is true. I know the Lord Jesus lives and loves us,
May His spirit always be with you, you are in my prayers always,
With all my love,
Hermana Gonzalez

Pictures: I went fishing in the Atlantic Ocean! I´ve fished coast to coast!! haha
Hna Campos holding the fish is with Hna Olga Urquia who is a doll and I love her dearly. She´s the Primary President and her husband (the bald guy in the orange supersuit) is Juan Urquia and he was the Branch Mission Leader until recently.
Penguin pictures FINALLY! That penguin did NOT accept (nor bit) the book of Mormon.
The zone I arrived with (which is no longer all here) at the beach of the Magellan Strait! Cool beans!
My hat was lost to the unforgiving winds of the south but was quickly replaced by this one Hna Urquia gave me haha. kinda furry but it´s not real. :) promise

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