Hola mi familia!
Wow. Where to begin? This week flew by. Well . . . it started in Quito. We had verification (since I’m still a greenie and all) to see how training was going and to learn some new things as well. It was awesome! I learned so much and had some of my prayers answered for sure. I had to share a memorized scripture with a spiritual thought in front of everyone, including President Christensen and in Spanish and I was so nervous! I literally got up there and thought I was going to pass out. I could hardly breathe. I’m positive I’ve never been so nervous in my life. Everything went fine and I didn’t have any problems besides almost dying of fear so I don’t know what the problem was.
I think its just because my ability to speak the language not only reflects my efforts but also my trainer’s, and I really didn’t want to disappoint her or President. She said I did great though, so that’s good, “Oh man”, we also had to teach a lesson in front of everyone. That was intense too but the feedback really helped. We’re always trying to find ways to improve our teaching skills. Its kind of funny, everyone is always surprised when I tell that this is my first transfer in the field. They tell me I speak really well and I always wonder why they say that because they only hear me say a few things but Herman Pace says its because they’re surprised when I understand what they’re saying. This is true, but it also really helps that I definitely feel the difference between when I have full access to the gift of tongues and when I don’t -- I literally would not be able to do any of this without Heavenly Father’s help.
There are days when the language is so discouraging, and then there are days where I don’t even pay attention to the language and we just teach and teach and it doesn’t phase us. I think that the thing that helps the most is when you’re more focused on your love for the people. When I’ve focused on the people the words just come, no problem. It’s definitely something I’m still working on through. Every day!
So anyways, after verification, we only had Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday to work because Saturday evening the elders in our ward had a baptism that we helped set up for. Hermana Pace and I decided that we should be promoted to be the mission florists. We always make it a point at our baptisms to have tons of flowers (which are super cheap here) and we try to make the service as beautiful as possible. Someone’s baptism day is so important. It’s one of the biggest days of their lives. So, we try and make it look pretty as well. But anyways, man, Saturday was crazy. We showed up an hour before the baptism to help set up and arrange the flowers and the font was completely empty! And the font in our chapel takes 4 hours to fill up. So my companion and I went to fill it up and it wasn’t turning on. It turns out there was no water in the church. Absolutely NONE! My companion and I were “freaking out” a bit while the elders were super tranquilo (calm) and not worried at all. Luckily, we have another chapel in el Centro about 30 minutes away with a font that only takes about two hours to fill. There were elders there already who started to fill it. The baptism started a bit later but it turned out to a beautiful service and there was just enough water for Brandon to be completely baptized, Haha!
Speaking of Brandon, we were mostly freaking out because Brandon had been waiting for over three months to be able to be baptized. I will never forget the day we found out he was finally going to be able to be baptized. H had to have weekly interviews with the stake president to see if he was ready, and two weeks ago we were waiting for Pamela to finish her interview and she passed. We were so excited and so we waited around to see how Brandon’s went as well. He finally came out and he had this serious and sad look on his face with tears in his eyes. So, we felt bad and didn’t know what to say or do, but then he walked up to the elders and said he could get baptized! One of the elders picked Brandon up in the air. They were so excited! It was seriously one of the happiest moments of my mission so far.
The Gospel changes lives. And I’m so blessed to be able to see people’s lives changing through our Savior, Jesus Christ everyday.
This week was quite rough actually. Our time was practically cut in half and then on top of that we’re still experiencing some of the effects of what happened in that lesson with Jose Luis. That night we felt prompted to bring Veronica and her son, Jose David. They’re recent converts and were our pensionista (boarder) at the beginning of the change. Veronica has one of the strongest testimonies and is such a huge help to us. She comes to lessons all the time and her testimony always helps our investigators. Well, we thought after the lesson with Jose Luis (when we taught about the priesthood but he brought up polygamy and his doubts about Jose Smith) that she was going to be okay because she testified about Joseph Smith and everything. Turns out she wasn’t.
We went to visit her and Jose David this week and she told us she was having the same doubts. It was like déjà vu. It was probably more heartbreaking than the lesson with Jose Luis. She had stopped reading her book of Mormon and praying and was considering asking the Bishop to take away her calling in the Relief Society Presidency. I could feel my companion shaking. The lesson with Jose Luis took a toll on her and it was happening all over again. Then Veronica said, “and the work you two are doing is amazing. You’re changing people’s lives” which really broke my heart because those were the exact words Jose Luis used when he dropped us the night before his baptism. But what put me into tears was when she said, “it’s incredible, you leave home for a year and a half, you’re without your family and you leave everything behind to help people.” I completely broke down. She was breaking my heart and making me homesick at the same time. But that’s when I remembered my purpose, not the missionary purpose, but my purpose. Then I told her. “You’re right, I’ve left my family and I’ve left everything behind and it’s hard, but I’m here. And tonight I’m not here because I can answer your question or revolve your doubts about Joseph Smith, but I’m here tonight and I’m here in the mission to testify of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m here to promise you that through Him, you can receive peace to know that everything will be okay, despite your doubts and that you can continue onward through and only through your faith in Jesus Christ.”
This was the first time that I felt that my personal purpose took effect in the mission. Each and every missionary has a different purpose, which comes from the main missionary purpose. I came on the mission knowing to an extent this purpose of mine, but I didn’t know the people behind it. I learned this week that practically everything we do in the Gospel and even in life is for other people. We gain a testimony to share it with others. We go to church to serve others. We read the Book of Mormon and the Bible to gain a testimony to share with others, and we pray for others. We have experiences and trials so we can help others to make it through those same trials. We are all brothers and sisters, here on this earth to help each other. We all have a purpose in life. It’s written on our hearts. It comes with our natural instinct to do good and to love one another (even if we may not feel like it at times). I’ve had experiences on this mission where I’ve felt like I personally have made an impact, like with Pamela, or some of the people in the CCM, but this truly was the first time where I’ve known without a doubt that I, Hermana Beutler, have made a lasting effect on someone with my personal purpose that I have.
I don’t share this experience by any means to make myself appear better than I really am, because I don’t do any of this work or share any of my purpose with others without my Savior, Jesus Christ. But I share it because I know there are times in life where we don’t know if our individual purpose is having any affect on anyone else. Well, I can promise each one of you that you do have an affect and you do make a difference. As long as we’re striving to be obedient and trying our best to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands, you will make an impact on someone’s life.
We left that lesson heartbroken and unsure of what was going to happen with Veronica and Jose David but what gave us comfort was that they wanted and had faith that they could overcome their doubts. Veronica had the idea of doing a fast to receive peace. We joined her in it the next day.
I thought I had a pretty strong testimony before of the power of a fast, but even more so now I know that fasting with real intent truly works. 3 Nephi 18:20 says, “and whatsoever je shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.” And this is exactly what happened.
At church, that Sunday towards the end of our fast during Relief Society miracles happened. We’ve had investigators come to church and the talk during Sacramento Meeting is exactly what they needed to hear, but this Relief Society lesson was spot on for Veronica. It was about the parable of the seek sower, and how sometimes seeds can be planted in dry soil. They still grow immediately and everything seems to be fine. However, the second the sun (or trials/doubts) come out, the plant (or your testimony) dies. She talked about how sometimes if we have doubts, we can’t let go of our faith, and we just need to take it day by day. It was the perfect lesson for Veronica.
And then! The real miracle was when Veronica got up at the end to close the meeting and she testified to everyone saying how important our role is as women, and how she received a great feeling of peace during the lesson, and that (in her words) “Estoy agradecida por estar aqui hoy dia, y siempre sequire aqui.” Or in English “I’m thankful to be here today and I’ll always be here.” WOW. Probably the biggest miracle I’ve seen so far. I couldn’t hold back the tears. My companion I went after church into one of the rooms to pray and thank Heavenly Father for answering our prayers. We know that it was only through God’s grace and mercy that we saw that miracle. We know that Vero still needs a lot of support, and we’re going to visit her everyday this week, but we know that everything is going to be okay.
We’re going to stop by and bring her flowers today (since we clearly love flowers) with a note to remind her to continue to develop her seed of faith through prayer and reading the scriptures. And now I invite all of you to do the same, if you’re not already doing so. We can’t expect our faith to grow if we’re not willing to do anything to nourish it.
I’ve learned that this analogy of faith being like a seed is so true. And faith without works is literally dead, just like the scriptures say - daily prayer and scripture study along with weekly church attendance changes lives. It may seem like a sacrifice of time at first, but if you just apply Alma 32:28, you will, with time, know of a surety of the existence of God and the truthfulness of the Gospel, and those three things will truly begin to enlighten your understanding and become delicious to you.
Speaking of delicious, thanks to my wonderful companion who is dying (aka finishing her mission this Sunday) We’re going to be treated to a delicacy this Saturday. One of the humblest families I’ve ever met, the Toalomos, are feeding us cuy (guinea pig) this Saturday!!! Oh man! Hermana Pace has gone her whole mission without eating it and I’m starting out my mission with it. I don’t know if that’s a sign about the type of food, I’ll be having in the future . . . but still I’m super excited! And cuy is super expensive here, if you don’t raise them yourself, so we know it’s a huge sacrifice for this family. So, we’ll definitely be eating it, no questions asked. But wow. I’ll definitely take some pictures for you.
Well, now that I’ve written a novel, I just want to say thanks for making it to the end of my email.
I love the mission. I’ve experienced some of the greatest joy as well as some of the greatest heartache but it’s the best. My companion and I have some big goals for this last week of the transfer. It’s going to be really hard and I’m definitely going to cry this Sunday when my mission mom (Hermana Pace) leaves me. But, my mission president told me that the Lord is preparing someone very special to be my next trainer, so that’s pretty awesome.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you all again next week, and I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. Eat some turkey for me! This year, I’m thankful for the Gospel in my life, my family, my companions, and clean water.
Don’t forget to doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith!
Con mucho amor,
P.S. I’ve really been slacking in telling you my ponderizing scripture. (Sorry about that.) This week’s Alma 8:10. My goal this week is to be more like Alma!