Monday, March 23, 2015

A year ago today

I'm understanding a lot more Spanish than I was. If people talk slower, I can actually make out a lot of what they're saying. 
 Good thing Mexicans talk at the speed of light. *sigh* haha


 So remember a couple weeks ago, the area kinda died a little, and everyone dropped us, and we didn't really have anyone to teach anymore all of a sudden? It's waaaaay crazy again. we're soooo busy! Last night after a lesson I was looking at our planner to schedule another time with him, and as he was telling us when he was available, and I was looking at our plans, I freaked out and closed my eyes and said a little prayer, "Father, please make this week work out. Because I know I can't." 

 But, being busy is a blessing I do not want to go away! It feels a lot better than when we were struggling to fill our time productively. In fact, it feels amazing. It's hard, but it's an adventure, and adventures are fun and a little scary. 

 Ramon is still on FIRE!! He's seriously been giving up so much, he'd give up everything for the Gospel if God asked him to. Seriously. He goes to two wards now, btw. That's 6 hours of church. You guys. He reminds me so much of King Lamoni's dad in the Book of Mormon, a few weeks ago he was just kinda like, "Um, I'll...I'll give up to half of my Kingdom, but not much more...." and now he's all, "I would give up everything and anything to know God!!" 

 Nessa disappeared......her fellowship said she wants to find a different LDS church to go to. :p, I don't even know how to explain this week.

 SO, I don't remember if I've talked about them, but we're teaching a group of teenagers now. It started with a 14-year-old, her mom wants her to go to church to learn good things and keep her out of trouble (but her mom isn't really willing to come herself and just drops her off, picks her's so funny to me how people see something good and want it for their kids, but they don't want to do it themselves. Also, it makes it really hard to teach those kids. THey don't care, because their parents obviously don't care either). But she started brining her 12-year-old niece she's really close to, and then her best friend has started coming. RIght now she mainly just seems to enjoy the social aspect, but there's something interesting about the "I'm here and I want my friends and family here too" thought process. And her friend actually really seemed to enjoy church a lot, and she pays the most attention when we teach (we have to take their phones and put it in a basket, though. Man, teenagers. :p) 

Wanna know something crazy?

 March 23 2014, I had hands laid upon my head and I was set apart to be a missionary and preach the Gospel. A year ago today. It's caused me to think a lot about being a missionary and what has happened in the last year. What I've been doing, what I want to do in 7 months (I didn't start my mission until April 8, so I'm not at my year mark yet :p), who I was and who I'm becoming. You think you go on a mission to serve God and give back, even though you know it's  just a little bit and you'll never repay everything. But I've been so blessed that there isn't room to recieve it, He just keeps on pouring out. I can't imagine who I'd be, what life would've been like, if I hadn't served a mission. It's been a short amount of time, but it's made that big of a difference in me. 

 TEaching is the best part of missionary work. I loooove seeing the change happening behind people's eyes. I love helping people understand that there's still time for them, that God hasn't given up, that they can have hope and be forgiven and work to make things right in their life. There were a lot of people we ran into this week who just feel hopeless and just kinda resigned themselves to the fact that they screwed up too bad and they are what they are and they're going to stay that way until they die, but there's always hope, and it's the most satisfying thing to be there to tell them that. I'm learning, this is something I"ll be doing for the rest of my life. I just want to speak truth forever and correct all the little lies that are whispered in our ears. Truth is, God loves us, always has and always will, and even though we have weaknesses and make mistakes, we don't have to be miserable or hopeless because we have a Savior who loves us. We have a God who is eager and excited to heal us. 

 I don't have to wear a nametag to tell the truth to people, let them know what they're worth. I can do that forever.

 A while back, I found my first spiritual journal on my mission, and there were notes from like the third week on my mission. I was writing down who I wanted to be and what I wanted to accomplish and say I did at the end of the mission, and it hasn't really changed much, surprisingly. And it felt good, I felt like I've been working towards that goal the entire time and have made excellent progress since then. But I want to add something. I want to be a truth-speaker, and to help people see who they really are. Help them see themselves how God sees them. That's basically just what I've been doing for the past year or so, and I don't need to be a set-apart full-time missionary to do that. 

speaking of seeing you how God sees you

 I'm suuuuuuuuuper excited for GENERAL CONFERENCE



 WOmen's conference is this Saturday. ALl the sisters in the mission are getting together to watch it. Is that crazy cool or what?!? It's going to be so great. I've been writing down questions I want answered (I've actually been doing that for every meeting, I got SO MUCH REVELATION at church yesterday, you guys, everyone should do that. It's so great.), I'm just super pumped up for it.

 General conference is the best and I"m grateful women get their session a week early, cuz I'm impatient, haha. 

 Love you all!! Thanks for the letters, prayers, and support!! You're the best! :)

 -Sister Stratford


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