This week had a lot of interesting miracles. Small, but interesting.
My companion is doing well. She comes from a very, very wealthy background (like her dad is the CEO or something like that of Apple) and there have been some clashing moments, but she is an excellent missionary who knows how to bring the spirit into the lessons, and I am learning a lot from her. Her dad is Argentine and was baptized about 7 years ago. They are all active, but her mom was inactive for about 15 years because her dad didn't want anything to do with the church, and now they are sealed. It is a fun story.
I got permission to Skype with Josh, so that will be fun. We will need to set that up! I still don't have specific times, I will let you know as soon as I do.
But yeah, this week was crazy, we are working like locas (crazies), and having a blast. That is the good thing about having an American comp, you can just talk about all of the inside jokes and all that...haha, We did an open house this last week and they showed the movie Meet The Mormons, and that last part in the airport...my comp and I were dying...we were kind of trunky, not gonna lie. I am excited to see you guys, but freaking out about starting off in real life again.
But something that I really liked about this week was that we read and studied about "The Divine Gift of Repentance", a talk by Elder Christofferson. He gives 5 steps to the repentance process:
First, the invitation to repent is an expression of love. Lots of times, especially as missionaries or parents or whatever, sometimes we feel like telling people they need to repent is like the most awkward thing ever. But Elder Christofferson says:
"If we do not invite others to change or if we do not demand repentance of ourselves, we fail in a fundamental duty we owe to one another and to ourselves. A permissive parent, an indulgent friend, a fearful Church leader are in reality more concerned about themselves than the welfare and happiness of those they could help. Yes, the call to repentance is at times regarded as intolerant or offensive and may even be resented, but guided by the Spirit, it is in reality an act of genuine caring."
That hit me really hard. IF we really love someone, we will help them to get over what is bothering them and we will do it with love.
Second, repentance means striving to change. "Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving. Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul, for indeed "virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; [and] mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own"
Third, repentance means not only abandoning sin but also committing to obedience.
Fourth, repentance requires a seriousness of purpose and a willingness to persevere, even through pain. A resolve to abandon and forsake the sin and to repair, as fully as one possibly can, the damage he or she has caused now forms in that new heart. This resolve soon matures into a covenant of obedience to God. With that covenant in place, the Holy Ghost, the messenger of divine grace, will bring relief and forgiveness.
Fifth, whatever the cost of repentance, it is swallowed up in the joy of forgiveness. "In April of 1847, Brigham Young led the first company of pioneers out of Winter Quarters. At that same time, 1,600 miles [2,575 km] to the west the pathetic survivors of the Donner Party straggled down the slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley.
"They had spent the ferocious winter trapped in the snowdrifts below the summit. That any survived the days and weeks and months of starvation and indescribable suffering is almost beyond belief.
"Among them was fifteen-year-old John Breen. On the night of April 24 he walked into Johnson's Ranch. Years later John wrote:
"'It was long after dark when we got to Johnson's Ranch, so the first time I saw it was early in the morning. The weather was fine, the ground was covered with green grass, the birds were singing from the tops of the trees, and the journey was over. I could scarcely believe that I was alive.
"The scene that I saw that morning seems to be photographed on my mind. Most of the incidents are gone from memory, but I can always see the camp near Johnson's Ranch.'"
Said President Packer: "At first I was very puzzled by his statement that 'most of the incidents are gone from memory.' How could long months of incredible suffering and sorrow ever be gone from his mind? How could that brutal dark winter be replaced with one brilliant morning?"
I know that repentance is real, and I have a lot to work on, especially the sincerely trying to change and not justifying myself in repeating what I had already repented for. But hey, we are getting there. Depending on our choices, we will all be able to arrive and see that brilliant morning of forgiveness. I love you all so much and I love this work! The Lord is perfect and never makes mistakes!!