Monday, November 4, 2013

Jalo. (That's Colombian for hello!)

Well, I forgot my journal this week. I feel like I had a ton to tell you, but now of course I can't remember anything.

 Let me think about each day at a time...

 Monday was p-day! Woot. Not too much to report there.

 Tuesday we had a mission-wide sisters' conference. The theme was "Too blessed to be stressed," so we heard about gratitude and humor and things like that. They also fed us Hawaiian haystacks for lunch. There was a clothing exchange, and I found some surprisingly good things.

 Wednesday... not a clue. Oh! We went and saw Angel, the less active that we've been working with a lot. We read Mosiah 4:11-12 with him and talked about the importance of scripture study, prayer, and church attendance in retaining a remission of our sins.

 Ohh, now I remember Monday. I fasted! Because Sunday night we met with Angel and he told us about the things that he has gone through in life and how he feels tired and hopeless at this point. He doesn't think that God can forgive him or that he can change. Right there in his kitching I started crying like a little girl.

In my defense, he cried too.

 Anyway, on Monday I was feeling like I needed some heavenly help.

 You see, people often expect us, as missionaries, to be super humans. We should never be sad, tired, or angry, and we should always know the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. Well, it's just not so. I am a twenty-year-old girl and I'm as ignorant as the next kid with a nametag on. I do, however, have the authority to receive revelation for the people in my stewardship. And if there was ever an hermana in need of revelation, it was I.

 Angel's situation raised questions that I had never thought about before. He was baptized, and one of the requirements for baptism is complete repentance of all your sins, which means that he should already be free from his past mistakes. Why, then, does he still feel the guilt and pain? Is it just because he can't forgive himself, or did God revoke his forgiveness? Is that even possible? Never in my life had I thought about these things before, at least not seriously. So Monday I fasted, asking Heavenly Father to help me to understand and to just bring peace to my soul about the situation.

Well, it worked. By the end of the day I felt calm and peaceful, and I know that that change did not come from my own power. I also found an answer in the scriptures, and it surprised me. I had always thought that once God had forgiven us, that was it - the sins were gone. But it says in various places that we have to RETAIN a remission of our sins. Retain? Woah. Mind blown. Like King Benjamin says in Mosiah, one-time repentance is not enough. We have to humble ourselves continually, pray daily, and endure to the end (continue striving to keep all of the commandments), in order to rejoice, be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of our sins. Big learning moment for me.

 This is something that I'm learning on my mission. I don't understand ANYTHING. I do, but I don't. Every day we teach about faith, repentance, the Atonement, the love of God, prayer, and other principles. I understand them, but at the same time, I understand nothing. What is faith, really? How can I even begin to comprehend the grand scope of the Atonement? I've listened to Brad Wilcox's talk about grace about five times and it still just blows my mind when I try to comprehend it. I also read the Pearl of Great Price over the last few days and my mind just about exploded. Because of this, Mosiah 4:9 has become one of my favorite scriptures:

 Believe in aGod; believe that he is, and that he bcreated all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all cwisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not dcomprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

 Simply put, I have a mortal brain, and I just can't wrap my head around the perfection of the Gospel. So I just believe and do my best, trusting that someday I will understand.

 Thursday was Halloween! We had to stop proselyting when it got dark, so the stake president's family had our entire zone of missionaries over for pizza and fun. After that we went to Angel's house to help them make tamales for their Halloween party the next day.

All I remember about Friday is eating, and eating, and eating some more. People think the missionaries starve, but really all we do is grow... outward.

 Saturday we did exchanges with the hermanas in Gloucester. Hermana Karson came here to be with me and Hermana Johnson went up there with her companions. It was way fun! I thoroughly enjoyed being with Hermana Karson again for the day, and we got some good work done.

 Sunday was crazy. Two of our less actives had committed to come to church and then fell through, which was really disappointing. By the time we got to church I was not in the mood to smile and greet all of the branch members, but it turned out fine. We had some good classes, testimony meeting was great as always, and then after church we had a couple really good appointments and dinner with a family from the branch.

 So, as always, a wonderful and terrible week! I never knew that life could be so amazing and so awful all at the same time, but that's how it is out here. By the end of every week I think, "I never want to live that week again." And at the same time I think, "Wow. I am so blessed to be here. I love this." Pretty crazy.

 Well, I LOVE YOU! Have a great week.

 Hermana Bennett

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