*me singing* Thiiiis weekkk was soooo goooood!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did you hear my voice in your little head when you read that? Ok good.
I am like just overwhelmed with everything all the time. Every Monday, I get here and can't even properly form my thoughts - God is just so good. So good. I am so happy, despite the struggling and the pain and the exhaustion and everything, I am so happy. No puedo expresar todo que esta dentro de mi corazon - he cambiado muchisimo y voy a cambiar mas. Solo por medio de El, nuestro Salvador y Redentor. LA VIDA ES BUENA.
So yes, life is good. Let me tell you about it.
On Tuesday, we met with Flor again. We had an incredible lesson, all about our Heavenly Father. She opened up to us and told us crazy stories from her past. During one in particular, she couldn't hold back the tears as the painful memories came flooding back in. She said through quiet sobs, "I know God was with me. I know He lives." I myself fought back tears as I promised her that He was, that He loves her, and that she is una hija tan especial de su Padre Celestial. The Spirit was so strong, it was incredible. She looked both of us in the eye and said, "Sisters, if my family wants this - the church and everything - I promise you that I will be all in." I about had a FREAKING heart attack haha but I swallowed hard and looked her right back and said, "Flor, this is what your family needs." Prays and fasting, prays and fasting, prays and fasting - our schedule for the next couple three days until a miracle happens. Gosh dang. The next day her family came to mutual, where the boys played basketball and soccer, we all ate cake and ice cream, and we all just chatted and had a good time. They enjoyed it! But honestly, you have no idea how hard we are praying right now. We need a miracle. This family is amazing.
Thursday, we had lunch with a member in our ward, Hermana Bernal. About an hour before, she called us and invited her to her friend's house instead to eat. Can I just tell you how INSPIRED that was? We were sitting there, eating lunch, and Hermana Bernal started talking all about the church, which led to the Book of Mormon, which led to a discussion all about our beliefs. Her friends, Lizet and Lucy, happened to be looking for a church - they just wanted to know the truth. Lizet had been reading the Bible, and she loved what she had been learning. She had expressed a desire to know where the truth was. We testified that we knew the best way to look for an answer was to go to the source of all truth. She ended up taking a Book of Mormon, promising that she would read, and we finished with a closing prayer. See? GOD IS SO GOOD.
Right after that, we went and visited Esmerelda and Jose. This might've been the most emotional visit of mah life. We had a lesson planned about prophets and the Restoration, but as we were reading and whatnot, they started throwing question after question at us. Jose asked me to write them down so we could have someone else better answer them. As I struggled to answer their questions in Spanish, I was so overwhelmed. A couple days earlier at a zone training, we were reminded that "we as missionaries have the power to promise these people blessings. We have been set apart to do this work." I was reminded of this during the onslaught of questions, and as I tried my best to answer, I just stopped. I couldn't hold the tears back any longer, and I just testified. I said, "Esmerelda and Jose, I know that I can't really speak the language very well. I know that I am not the perfect teacher. But I know that we have been set apart by a prophet, by a living, breathing servant of the Lord. We have the right and authority to promise you these blessings." It was silent for a minute or two, and then Esmerelda spoke up. What she said changed my life, honestly. She said, "Hermana Gould, you are the reason our family is more united. I have never met anyone else who I can speak to. You listen to me and try your best to help me because you love me. You understand me. Our family is filled with love because you first showed us that love. We are better because of you." She wiped away tears as I wiped my own.
I was filled with an understanding in that moment: I'm not perfect, but He is. The Spirit practically yelled at me, "You are a missionary - not a perfect teacher or a fluent one either. You are a vessel in which the Lord needs to work!"
I left her home feeling uplifted, with a better understanding of my purpose.
"My way is oh so lacking, limited, and inferior to the way of Jesus Christ. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come."
I've come to learn a very important lesson: I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak. But I've also learned: In Him, I can find strength - my weaknesses, my will to keep moving forward, my faith, my abilities... all become stronger only in and through Him.
So trusting my all to thy tender care
and knowing thou lovest me
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere
I'll be what you want me to be
I could never have imagined how hard this whole experience would be. It's been so incredibly humbling. I love it.
Hermana Brie Gould