Monday, January 26, 2015

Man oh man, what a week!

Holita,
Man oh man, what a week. I am completely exhausted and completely happy! There are always miracles to see on the mission, but this week it was beautiful. The progress of the people we're teaching (investigators, less-active members, and recent converts) is incredible! The crazy thing is, when I see all that progress and I know that it's the Lord's work. 
I think I told you guys last week, but Alicia (the mom of the 4 crazy kids, whom I love) is getting baptized this Sunday! Miracle numero 1: We went to visit her and she told us that her 8 year old daughter, Martina, also wants to get baptized. This wasn't a miracle to me at first...actually it kind of stressed me out! It worries me to baptize a little girl when both of her parents aren't getting baptized, but then I remembered how President Wright is always telling us that we need to have the faith to baptize. We can't have these people waiting forever when they have a desire and a repentant heart! So, Alicia and Martina are getting baptized this Sunday :) They couldn't be more excited! Plenty of pictures of that next week!

We visited a less-active woman, named Hermana Carmen on Saturday. We've actually been visiting her since I got to Macul, but she hasn't ever come back to church...her husband passed away, so it's hard for her to go. Anyway, we visited her and taught her about the enabling power of the Atonement and how we can access that power by partaking of the Sacrament. It was a pretty normal lesson, but in the end she was like "I have two things I need to do: start going to church and be sealed to my husband! He's waiting for me." She went to church the next day for the first time in 2 years :) MIRACLE.

I've told you guys about the Cabrera Family, who are less-active and have 3 kids. We have had some awesome lessons with them where the Spirit is felt super strongly, but they have never made it back to church! We didn't get a chance to visit them this week, but we called them Saturday night to invite them to church. They said they would go, but we just didn't take it too seriously because they have said that before. "Oh ye of little faith" is one of the first things that went through my mind when I saw them sitting there in sacrament meeting. It was like a small slap in the face, but also one of the happiest moments of my mission. It's hard to explain that kind of joy :)

We have been visiting Camila (the mom of Antonella, the super catholic 9 year old) all of my mission. She can never go to church because she's working all the time, but she has this beautiful testimony! She knows the church is true and she loves the gospel, but she can't receive all the blessings if she's not going to church! We really didn't push it too much because the woman's got to work. She called us at 7:30 sunday morning asking what time church starts and she went!!! It turn out she had a really hard week and just finally reached a point where she needed that strength and blessing. So, she went to church. She skipped work and went to church and said "My boss is super angry and she's going to fire me, but I don't care. I'm happy because I know I'm where I need to be." FAITH. 

I know this is all short, but we only have an hour today! I just wanted to share these stories because I feel so blessed to know these people. They are examples of faith to me and I can't express the joy that comes from being able to watch them change and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. Often we will have to change in order to live the gospel. A lot of times we will have to sacrifice things in order to receive the many blessings that Heavenly Father has for us. They beautiful thing is when giving up those things is no longer a sacrifice. The beautiful thing is when we love the Lord so much, that we sacrifice, but we don't even realize it. We aren't counting the cost, just the blessings. If you ask me, that's the easier, happier way to live. Count the blessings, not the cost, because there are always so many more blessings than we could ever "give" the Lord.

This week, the zone leaders called us after our district leader gave them a report of our week (they do that every week). They were SUPER happy and excited and asking what we're doing that we're having so much success. They thanked us 100 times for the work that we're doing and asked us again what we're doing to see what we saw this week. Honestly, you all know that every week is not like that. I'm trying hard to give the Lord everything I have to offer. Even though it's too insignificant to really be worth anything, He makes it so much more. When the zone leaders asked what we're doing, I didn't have anything to say. In that moment I knew that it's not us. This work has very little to do with us. This is the Lord's work and He does it all. He let's the Spirit work within the hearts of these people, so that they can change and be happy. We are the lucky one's that get to watch the change and be happy with the people. I have already been SO BLESSED in these 5 months on the mission. The happiness is something I can't even explain! I could never give the Lord or these people in 18 months what they have given me in this short time. I am blessed :)

I'm sorry that I couldn't write you all individually, but I LOVE YOU!!! We only had a little bit of time.
Mama, your story of how the missionaries passed by when you were younger brought me to tears. Heavenly Father is so good :) 
Pa, your entire email is in spanish, so I'll have to read that when I get home haha I know you said something in there that will change my life! 
Jaz, I'm so proud of you and the progress you're making! Keep writing me letters! I love getting your letters :)
Rick, THANK YOU FOR EMAILING ME! I emailed you back.
Jake, you still remember who I am?! I emailed you back.
Jack and Abe: Where the heck are your emails?!
Ella, Sam, Liv: Why ddin't you guys email me!? I love you!!! Be good and be happy :)

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!

Love the best,
Hermana Nomi Aponte

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