Wow, what a great week. We had a zone conference with Elder Martino of the seventy and that changed my life. I don't have my notebook on me of my notes, so you're just gonna have to believe me that it was really good. I left that meeting feeling so pumped and ready a cambiar el mundo con el evangelio!!!!
After zone conference, we headed back to our area and met up with Flor and her little girl, Flor :) Confusing, I know. Florcita will be celebrating her 4th birthday in January and they are planning a huge Frozen-themed birthday! And of course, they are already planning for it! Flor invited us to come with her to go dress shopping! It was a lot of fun, and she was grateful for the company. We found a beautiful, little blue dress, perfect for Frozen, and Florcita was in loooove. It was so cute. Afterwards, we went and got ice cream and chatted for a bit. Flor told us that she actually loved going to church the last Sunday. She said it felt really good and peaceful, and it was cool for her to see the little Primary children testifying of the Savior. We talked all about how she can continue to feel that feeling - through prayer and scripture study. I honestly feel so good about Flor. We are told we should be finding people are good, Christian people - those who are going about doing good. Flor is so strong, her desires are so real, and she just wants the best for her family. I have so much faith that she will take the step of baptism. I can already see her dressed in white, not only for baptism but also to go to the temple. She's amazing.
After we finished up our ice cream, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. Hermana Miller and I decided to go visit Esmerelda and Jose, to see how they were doing. We only have about 30 minutes, and we wanted to share a quick, powerful message about the Restoration, but when we got there, we just kind of lost control on the situation. It was pretty chaotic and the Spirit was not able to dwell with us. I struggled to teach, the words just weren't coming, and as we left, I felt like I had failed as a missionary. I didn't think we had done anything to help build their faith. As we drove to our next appointment - which we were 45 minutes late too - I prayed fervently for help and to feel the Spirit again.
We parked in front of Casandra's house, went over our lesson plan, and then said a prayer. As we were walking up to the house, a feeling of peace just rested over me. Casandra welcomed us in, and I noticed that she looked a little more tired than usual - not just physically, but emotionally. We asked her how she was doing, and she said fine. And then a thought came to me of a video full of amazing advice from Elder Busche. I asked her if we could watch it, hoping that my companion wouldn't be too thrown off by the change of plans, and prayed that we would be able to teach according to Casandra's needs, because obviously something was wrong. As we watched, I swear the Spirit just filled the room - it was tangible. I payed attention to the feelings I personally was feeling, trying to discern what the Spirit wanted me to say after the video finished.
We asked Casandra what stood out to her. We kept the conversation going, asking different questions, and found out that she had stopped praying recently because she just didn't have much faith that God was listening. We testified powerfully that God loved her, that he had a plan for her, and that "we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith." It was incredible to see the Spirit working on her, and it felt so good to teach according to her needs. As we finished, we knelt in prayer and she offered a simple but beautiful prayer, asking for forgiveness for not praying but giving thanks for all that He had done. That girl... amazing.
We had another really cool experience last night up at the Mormon Trail Center at Winters Quarters. We were able to get Shana and Victor to come along as well. BUTTTT they took so long to get there, I was stressin' for like 45 min, pacing back and forth. It was the third time that we had tried to get them to come, and the last two had both failed... oh ye of little faith, I know. But anyway, it just made it THAT MUCH BETTER when they walked through the door :) We watched a little video about eternal family, which set the tone perfectly. We did a little tour, but ended up just mainly focusing on the sacrifices of the pioneers and early saints. It was really neat to see the Spirit working so powerfully on Victor, he was just soaking it all up. He was so interested to know more. As we finished in a little room that looks out to the temple, the Spirit was so strong. We bore testimony that Victor could feel and would feel the power of the Atonement in his life every day for the rest of his life if he took that first step of baptism. We testified of the truthfulness of this gospel - that no one would ever make so many painful sacrifices for something that wasn't true. And we held back tears as we promised both Shana and Victor that God had a plan for them - a wonderful, glorious plan. Victor, a little choked up by emotion, told us he wanted to be baptized. So we set him right there, for December 5th :) So amazing.
GOD IS A GOD OF MIRACLES.
I am so grateful for everything. Literally, just everything.
Hermana Brie Gould