Monday, July 27, 2015

Photo for your enjoyement

Right before Elder Uceda I took a nice chunk out of my head with my nail! It was worse after this pic. #oops


ONE WORD THIS WEEK YALL... EXHAUSTED. HOLY COW. So all week we have had the incredible privilege of listening to Elder Uceda - apostle of the Lord and the President of the Northwest South America Area in the first Quorom of the 70. SO INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, SO INCREDIBLE. But seriously I am dead. From feeling the Spirit so strong every single day I think I might just spend this p-day sleeping... #missionaryprobs.

So Wednesday we traveled from Puerto to Cusco! It was horrible to say the least. So it is about an 11 hour drive and it is SUPER windy. Plus you go up in elevation to about 11,000 feet. I was fine, but one of the Elders right behind us was throwing up the whole time, my  companion threw up, and the sisters across from us were sick as well. Not fun yall, not fun. But we finally made it! Thursday we had conference in Cusco with Elder Uceda with all the missionaries in the mission with the exception of two zones who didnt come. It was awesome because usually big conferences like this in the mission only happen around Christmas time. It was THE BEST! I wish I could tell you all everything he talked about and what his wife talked about and the powerful, powerful Spirit that was present. In the beginning for a good 30 minutes he talked about repentance - he told us that while he had not planned at all to talk about repentance he felt that it was what we needed here. In fact, most of what he ended up sharing was not what he had planned but was exactly what we needed to hear as missionaries. Elder Uceda said many many times "El arrepentimiento es un principio de perfeccion." Repentance is a principle of perfection. It is the most beautiful and perfect gift that we have from our Heavenly Father to be able to repent EVERYDAY and become better. Incredible. Only when we have come to see sin differently, with a changed heart and no more desire to sin, only then have we fully repented! Suffering is not repentance. Confession is not repentance. Asking for forgiveness is not repentance. A CHANGE OF HEART IS REPENTANCE. Repentance is a process and all of the steps are important, but until we have had this change we have not repented.

The Friday we came back to Puerto from Cusco and the drive was better! On Saturday Elder Uceda came here to Puerto and we got to listen to him again! He did a training with us  missionaries and with our leaders. He talked a lot about unity and that the Spirit of Contention is never from the Lord! It is Satans most powerful tool he uses among us to drive away the Spirit of the Lord and ruin our success. He also talked a lot about "renewing our spirit of sacrifice." In this church we do not ask for a release from our callings - that just doesnt exist. We work until we love our calling, and if we ask to be let go it is because we do not understand the eternal law of sacrifice. IT WAS SO GOOD.

THEN (even more I know I am blessed) on Sunday we had District conference with Elder Uceda!!! Him and his wife both talked about modesty and how our bodies are temples for the Spirit. "We are not better than anyone as members of the church, BUT WE ARE DIFFERENT." We have to be! We are not of the world, and until we learn this we cannot become fully converted to the Gospel. Me, my comp, and two other members had the chance to sing "I Believe in Christ" (in Spanish of course) and it was the best.

A seriously incredible week. I feel so blessed to have learned what I learned and to have felt the Spirit so strongly all week long. I encourage you all to "renew your sense of sacrifice" like Elder Uceda said. If you dont like your calling or feel inadequate first know that I promise you you are not the only one and then get on your knees and pray for strength from the Lord to change your heart! This Gospel is marvelous and perfect. The Lord works through his servants - each one of us play an important role in building up the Kingdom of God in this time on the Earth.

I love you all!

Hermana Miceli :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Coconuts and The Spirit

Wow this week was so crazy I literally dont know where to start. Well not really that crazy, I just cant remember anything from the HEAT STROKE I am receiving here in the jungle everyday... Okay there is my rant. I love it yall dont fret.

So Tuesday this week we did something different and had training with our mission president out in the field! So we went to this really pretty jungle resortish place by the river and were there all day! OUR PRES IS THE BEST PEOPLE. We talked about tons of stuff and our course the whole "get married and your joy will be full" talk. We had literally the best lunch I have had thus far in my mission! Some grilled chicken with salad and a banana ball thing that is a specialty here in Puerto! IT WAS SO GOOD. I really loved everything our president said, but what struck me most was when his wife, Hermana Harbertson talked to us. She had us all hold our bags out in front of us as she gave her talk and talked about holding onto our sins longer than we need to. She stated very boldly "If you think that you can repent later for the sins your commit now you do not understand nor appreciate the atoning sacrifice of our savior Jesus Christ." It was the best! It is so true - why hold on to our sins when we have the way in front of us in each moment to become better and receive forgiveness from a loving Heavenly Father. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is a gift and an opportunity that when we accept it, it allows us to become free from our mortal mistakes and become more like our perfect Savior. So grateful for the atonement and I know without a shadow of a down that it is real and available for each and every one of us.

Then Friday was THE BEST DAY EVER. So during our training with president we talked a ton about finding new people through contacting and through references. Well, my comp and I were determined to put what president had taught us to the test and find new people. We found one new lady on Friday through a member in the ward, Hna. Raquel. The ladys name is Dora and it turns out she had taken the missionary lessons a while back and was actively attending church but stopped because her husband told her he didnt want her listening to gospel anymore. Well, we taught her again and she is GREAT. Her husband wouldnt come out and talk to us, but I have all the faith that with time his heart will soften! Pray for her and for their family - they are a family that truly needs the Gospel now in their lives and she is so ready to listen!

Then we also found another new family! The family lives in Triunfo and at night there are no lights  - it is literally pitch black! So we were walking Thursday night with my little flashlight to go visit a member and these two savage dogs decided they wanted to eat us. So as we are trying and failing to evade them, literally out of the darkness comes this man who literally saved us! We contacted him and then came back on Friday to visit him and his wife and it was THE BEST. He was asking us tons of questions about the Sabbath Day and even prayed at the end! It was a failure on our part because we didnt explain that we pray out loud so he did it out loud, but none the less the spirit was so strong!

Then to continue the miracles that night - we usually eat dinner at 8 and our pension is a restaurant so when there arent people they close early. Well we had a Family Home Evening and arrived at our pension at 9:15 to find it deserted. So with 15 minutes to get home we went around to this little pizza place. Sitting there was a man who recognized us and told the girl to give us his two pizzas because we had to get home in 15 minutes and that he would pay for us. WHAT. Turns out the man is a less active who the sisters havent visited in a long time but said he would love to have us visit him now. Tender mercies people, tender mercies.

But if you can believe it, the biggest spiritual high of the week comes from Saturday afternoon. So there is a young less active girl Iscra who the missionaries have always visited. Her whole family are less active members as well but usually they dont like to listen to us. Well, we were able to get her mom and her aunt to listen to us on Saturday! So we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and talked a lot about Faith and Repentance and it was AWESOME but Iscra hadnt really been paying attention the entire time. Well at the end I asked her if she could say the closing prayer and she reluctantly agreed. She started and gave thanks for a few things and then paused and started to weep. She continued and gave one of the most powerful, simple, faithful prayers I have ever heard asking for blessins for her family and for her mom. THE SPIRIT TOUCHES PEOPLES HEARTS PEOPLE. It was incredible to see that while she hadnt really been listening to us, in her heart she had been listening to and feeling the spirit during the lesson. It was a moment I will never forget. The Spirit testifies and when he does people cannot deny his power and influence.

Then on Sunday tons of people came to church!!! Hermana Leelo a less active lady who always said she couldnt leave her store in the mornings and had to work worked it out to have her friend watch her store so she could come to church! And Familia Gimenez have now come to church for 2 weeks in a row and have stayed all 3 hourse! AND Hermana Daniela finally came after promising for 3 weeks that she would come, and her "husband" who isnt a member and never really wants to listen to us came! We didnt have any investigators show up, but it didnt matter! I was so happy to see these people sacrificing for the Lord and acting on their faith! I also got to give a talk in sacrament and teach Gospel Principles! Here in our Rama they rely a lot on the missionaries to do almost everything on Sundays, but we are trying to help the members understand their resposibilities to help the ward function. Things are looking up!

Sorry this is a Machu Picchu email - it was just such a good week! The jungle is still good! I have yet to see a monkey, but I have seen plenty of bugs. I even stole a coconut off of a tree on the side of the road this week courtesy of the encouragement of my companion. Haha, there are coconut trees everywhere here so I dont think anyone will notice.

I love you all! God loves you. The Gospel is true. There is only one true church on the face of the earth and it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of that I boldly testify. I know our Savior lives and waits for us in each moment to come to him. Also, always pay your tithing. Like the missionary pamphlet says "it is a manifestation of our faith for The Lord AND HIS WORK." By being a faithful tithe payer you are contributing to the work of Salvation and building the Lords Kingdom!

Love you all always,
Hermana Miceli