Monday, February 8, 2010

St. Petersburg Week 18

First of all, this has been the best week on my entire mission! It's crazy to say, because I have had some pretty amazing weeks so far!!!
First, my new companion is Hermana Alva! and she is amazing! She has been out about 14 months, so she is almost done. Two more transfers I think. Her Spanish is soooo good. I am learning so much! The day we did transfers in Tampa it was really late and we got back to our apartment at about 7:30. We threw her stuff in the room, literally, and ran right out the door because we were eager to work. We stopped by the Saldivar shop to introduce her and she shared a spiritual message. Oh man, was I just soooo excited to have her be my companion!
We have worked our... sorry to say it, BUMS off this week! We taught 8 lessons in one day and each were very powerful! I'd like to share something about one of the people we taught. Her name is Veronica and she is from Mexico and is 17 yrs old. I don't want to share too much of the personal story, but she doesn't have her close family here. They are still in Mexico. We first tracted into her a week ago. She invited us right in and we shared a message with her. She seemed so happy to have us there. We gave her a Book of Mormon. She expressed how much she doesn't know about the Bible and how she has so much difficulty understanding it as she reads. On our return visit this week we had an AMAZING lesson with her. We asked her how her reading was in the Book of Mormon. She said she felt so good as she read it. She compared it to the Bible and said, that she actually understands the Book of Mormon. She prayed before to have help from God to understand it, and gave thanks after reading it that she could! I was soooo stinking excited when she said that! We then read 3 Nephi 11 together. When we talked about authority and how Christ gave authority to Nephi, and taught the way we are supposed to be baptized, there was no confusion. We asked her if she desired to be cleansed from all of her past sins and mistakes. She started to break down and open up to us. Two weeks before we met her, she had been praying to God. She prayed for a way to feel free from her past mistakes. She wanted to know more about him. She said that she felt that "good" feeling when we knocked on her door and taught her the first time, and she knew that we were an answer from God.

Oh my goodness! How blessed I feel to be an instrument in the hands of the LORD! I feel humbled to know that even an inadequate person like myself can be some means to helping a person come more fully unto Christ and enter the waters of baptism. She has accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 28th of this month.
I have been thinking about my preparation for my mission and the things I wish I would have done, the things that have helped me the most to prepare. Especially in the last week as I have had to rely on the Lord more than I have thus far as I have felt the weight and responsibilty for the people that live in our stewardship. It is a tremendous responsibility and there is a lot of people in our care right now. The preparation I have drawn the most strength from is the temple. I was privileged before I reported for my mission to attend the temple often. By attending as often as I could (3-4 a week or more, sometimes every day of the week) I was able to memorize the words of a lot of the ordinances that are performed therein. There is Divine power in those ordinances that we cannot even comprehend in this life. Many times as I find my self unable to sleep, I recite the words of the endowment in my head.
I am at a loss of words as my heart is full and overflowing with gratitude to my Savior, for the knowledge that I have of Him. In the last few weeks I've really tried to focus my studies on Him. I have focused on the Bible and the book, "Jesus the Christ." Oh how I have drawn closer to Him. We have had a lot of our inactive and recent converts start a reading program for this month. We have asked them to read one chapter a day from Third Nephi. It is amazing to see the difference in them. The light of Christ that comes from them is brighter every time that we see them.
I love you all!!!
Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

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