Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why Jesus Christ Is Important

Hi family!  (6-30-14 email)

Another week has gone by! Can you believe that? We are getting more comfortable and used to everything here. I can't believe we've been in this area for less than 2 weeks. It feels like at least a month. I really love this ward though. They are all so sweet and really love the missionaries. We don't have a ward mission leader right now, so we work really closely with the bishop, and he is awesome. Super funny and wants to know what is going on with our investigators and put us to work. And the members are so sweet to us. When we come over for dinner, they feed all 7 of us. It is quite a sight haha. But it is super fun to be able to see all the other missionaries in our ward so often. It’s like we are a big team. Okay so what did we do this week...

We don't really have any progressing investigators besides the Familia Ramirez. (The guy who was supposed to get baptized on Saturday, Manolo,disappeared this week and we couldn't contact him for anything. Guess he has done this before. But a sister from the Visitor’s Center finally got a hold of him last night and he says he still wants to learn?) Anyways, the familia Ramirez is just a really special family. They are sincerely looking for what is right, and just golden. So sweet and loving. They still aren't super excited about coming to this ward instead of Arboleda, but they are doing it and getting used to it! With their crazy work schedules, we were only able to teach them on Saturday this week, but it was a great lesson. We talked all about the plan of salvation and how Christ's Atonement and the principles of His gospel allow us to become perfected and return to God. They seemed to understand it really well and see how it all works together. We extended a baptismal date, but they seemed a little hesitant because they want to learn and really be sure about everything. We asked if we could come over more often, and so hopefully that will help them to progress more quickly. They really are just solid though.

Besides that, we made a goal to meet every member that lives in our area, and have met all that we can find. And have found a handful of less active/part member families. All of them received us pretty well. We are hoping to be able to progress with them. They are all very sweet and some of them even agreed to meeting with us a couple of times a week to help their families prepare to enter the temple, or to help them become stronger to be an example for their non-member families. I think that is super great. I always think it is so important to build up the ward and help strengthen what they already have. My theory is that if God can't trust us with the people that we already have in the ward, why would He trust us with converts/new baptisms? Bishop agrees with that as well, and admits that they do not have very good success in convert retention. He would also like us to work more on strengthening the ward, especially potential Elders and helping people advance in the Priesthood.

We are still trying to find new investigators as well. Most of the people we have found haven't been there for the follow-up appointments or have had to reschedule, so we are still looking! (Well, always looking!) We did find 2 really cool people this week though that I want to tell you about.
One, we were just walking down the street and there was this family outside, and so we waved and they invited us in. We started talking to the mom and her 19 year old daughter, Vanessa. Vanessa is dating a Muslim, who asks her several questions about her religion. Seeing as she is not very religious, it has made her really question everything herself, because she doesn't know how to answer him. She has even come to the point where she is questioning the divinity of Christ. So she started asking us all sorts of questions, sincerely desiring to understand for herself, about the difference between God and Jesus Christ - who they are, Who the Holy Ghost is and why it is important, all sorts of different things. And then I felt inspired to ask her if she even knew why Jesus Christ was important. And she said she didn't. So many people don't! It is so sad (really increasing my testimony of the Book of Mormon - such a powerful tool to come to know who Christ really is and why He is important). Anyways, so we were able to teach right there all about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and all the ways that it strengthens, helps, and blesses us. The Spirit was there so strongly and you could tell that it was helping her to understand the truth and testifying of Jesus Christ. It was so powerful and so natural. I am really excited to see where this goes. She agreed to meet with us again, and yesterday we dropped off a Bible for her so she can study before our next appointment.

Then the other is Amin. We had a bit of a rough afternoon, knocking doors all day in the hot sun with no one really answering, so I was feeling a little sorry for myself haha. But that evening we walked into an apartment complex, and I thought to myself, "I am tired. I am hot. I am sweaty. But none of that matters, because I am here to share the gospel with... You." And walked up to the first person that we saw. And that is when we met Amin! He is so cool! He reminds me a lot of Manuel. He was really funny and talkative. But at the same time you could tell he has things weighing him down and he is looking for more. I love people like that because I can just be super blunt with them, and it is the best (that's why I love Hispanics). I was just like, okay you know what you are going to do, you are going to read this book, you are going to read this chapter, and then we are going to come back on Tuesday and talk about it. And he seems pretty legit about it. Hopefully!

Okay, other things that happened this week... Oh we went to the temple! That was really good. Received some important, loving guidance on how to be better. The temple really does give you spiritual strength and it is amazing. Yesterday a lady invited us into her home while she had the JW missionaries over... that was a little awkward. Didn't know how to handle that situation too well. Pretty much just the same old routine: exercise, get ready, study, eat lunch, study, work, eat dinner, work, plan, go to bed, and start the routine all over again. Work, work, work - there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work! (haha quote from PMG that we say all the time here).

Well, I think that's about all for this week. I am still learning and trying to do my best. It is amazing the grace of Jesus Christ - that even our limited abilities and capacities can bring to pass great miracles because of Him. Every day I am just amazed about how He really does have a plan for all of us. He sees the big picture. And as we humbly and sincerely seek His guidance, He always gives it to us. He is our Father, and we are His children. He loves us perfectly and wants the best for us. He will always fulfill His promises, but we have to faithfully endure to the end. So don't give up! Because there are good things to come! Always!

I love you all so much!

con amor,

Hermana Haynes
My awesome little diagram. learned this fron another sister, but it really helps people understand.

I definitely played soccer with a little boy I found in the street in front of this sign.  Don't tell anyone....
Cutest little girl in a part-member family we are working with.

At the temple with my companion, Hna. hurd.

The tile guys was at our house working late so we got stuck in the car.  We got kind of bored......

My awesome shoe tan line!

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