This week was definitely a departure from the norm, in some ways good and in another way really not good.
I will start with the good. We have been working a lot with the members for a month now but this week we had a LOT of member appointments. This means that I have a double chin now and that hopefully we will be getting some referrals soon. We also visited our investigators, but a new thing was that a lot of ex investigators have been coming out of the woodworks. We had an appointment with one who admitted to us that she's afraid of commitment because she's a really indecisive person and needs to be sure about things. We read in Ether with her, the verse that talks about weakness...
"27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
And we talked about how this barrier of uncertainty can come down if she prays to the Lord and asks to know if these things are true and asks for the faith to believe and to act.
We also had a lesson with a girl who is just like, 22 years old. She is married, her husband is also a member. They are less active and have made some mistakes in their life, like we all have. Meeting with her I think is one of the reasons why I'm here, if there is a specific reason. Talking to her makes me realize how much I have to offer her and also how grateful I am for repentance. If anyone had ever repented of a mistake before, they know the awful feeling of guilt beforehand and during repentance, but they also know the sweet and peaceful joy that comes when we forsake those things, are forgiven, and can forgive ourselves. We want to help her understand that, even if we can't turn back time, our experiences will be for our good and for the good of others. She will be able to be a warning cry against sin and a messenger of hope to others who have made the same mistakes. There is a phrase I really like from the same talk I think I quoted last week, it says:
"Now, you may be thinking to yourself, 'I already blew it. My four minutes are already a disaster. I may as well give up.' If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again. The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance."
I love that, it's so true. It's never to late to change which path we want to walk on.
Well, that was all the good was lots of appointments and lots of keeping busy and more talking to people on the bus and street than normal which was awesome (I love talking to people. Yesterday we met an Indian man who was studying mechanical engineering and then decided to study culinary arts so he quit that and started working in a restaurant and now is studying in Florence. Cool.).
The sad thing was that a member passed away evening. He is a husband and a father who has been battling cancer for eight years, multiple operations, and then over the course of two days he had to be run into the hospital, a hemorrhage had to be taken care of so they did a surgery, he made it through the surgery but then he passed away soon after. Their son who is serving in the Rome mission got to come say goodbye to him, but their daughter was on the plane coming back. The worst part is that she didn't even know that his trip to the hospital was serious. My companion and I have tried to wrap our heads around how difficult this will be for her to hear but one can only imagine.
Anyways, Fratello Larrain we will really miss. He was always joking. An interesting thing about this situation though, is that his son before going back to Rome called US and had an emergency meeting with US and asked US to take care of his mom and inactive sister during this time. After he had passed to, Sorella Larrain called US. It really impacted us because who are we? We are just Sorella Arndt and Sorella Garcia. We are nobody. But the level at which people confide in us (the 22 year-old) and trust us to support them makes me realize the true value of missionary work. Missionary work is literally just being a spiritual support to someone. That support can come in many ways. It can come from telling a brother on the street that our Heavenly Father loves him, or teaching someone about the restoration, or it can come from serving a grieving widow and her daughter.
I love the mission and am grateful for this opportunity to be a part of something that is so much bigger than myself. I know that God and Christ live and that they love us. I love you all and hope you have a good week!
|Italian Chickens are the same as American Chickens|
|Squid Ink Spaghetti|
|Jill and Sorella Garcia|
|Fratello Larrain on the far right|