Wow, time really does go by faster with each week! I´ve hit 3 months, and things are as busy as ever. Supper happy because 23 people came to family home evening last week, wahoo! After no water coming through the tap in our house for 2 weeks, it finally came on Saturday, so halelujah! Our mission president and his wife came to Ocoa on Friday for interviews, and part of it was a timed on-the-spot lesson with each of them without our companions. I was nervous at first, but the lessons went really well; President and Hermana Nuckols were very pleased, especially with my Spanish, so happy day!
Although it hasn´t been easy, teaching the Gospel in another language has been an absolute blessing. It has helped me to SLOW DOWN and really think abou twhat I´m saying--y'all know how much and how fast I talk in English. I have to think more simply now because I don´t have the knowledge to convert all my English thoughts into Spanish words, plus so many English phrases (like ''It´s up to you'' or ''That cracks me up'') don´t properly translate. Simple sentences that are clear and informative are what investigators need to hear--simple truths are key! You don´t need to make long, elaborate sentences; you've got to break it down. I don´t think I would have been as good at that if I was teaching in English. So now, I focus more on what people need to hear rather than what I want to say; that´s why it´s so important to be receptive to promptings of the Spirit: to teach what will touch the people´s hearts. That is where the Spirit penetrates. Naturally, when the Spirit is felt, the people understand the message of the Gospel better, then their testimony grows stronger, and that emptiness in their heart (that they may not have previously realized existed) is filled, and they have the light of Christ in their life.
Our 3 strongest investigators who are preparing for baptism are Karla (15), Alexander (18), and Denia (50ish). The first 2 are progressing super well and love each lesson! We taught Karla about the Word of Wisdom on Wednesday, and it turns out that she´s allergic to coffee haha so she has no problems following trhat commandment, and it all made sense to her:) We gave Alexdander his own Book of Mormon and he´s totally reading it! Hermana Dibble and I are focusing more onstudying (not just reading) and pondering/meditating what we read, and we´re teaching that principle to our investigators and less-actives; it´s gone well so far!
That essential step of pondering/meditating about what we read in the scriptures has been skipped by Denia. She read a ton and got all teh way to Mosiah 4 in the Book of Mormon (that´s an insane amount for an investigator to read!), but the problem was the she´s just been reading to read. She hasn´t taken the time to ponder the lessons we can learn from teh scriptures and think abou thow they apply to her life, so she hasn´t been feeling the Spirit. the other problem is that she never worked to gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. She was tuaght lesson 1 before I got here, but I´ve taught all teh other lessons to her with Hermana Dibble, and Denia has received it all so incredibly well: law of chastity, Word of Wisdom, baptism and the other 4 principles of the Gospel, Plan of Salvation, everything. She is so strong and has so much faith, and because of that, Satan attacked her HARD. The stronger a person is, the tougher Satan works on them to stop them from learning about/teaching the Gospel and feeling the Holy Ghost´s presence. 2 weeks ago, we went to go visit her, and she ended up benting for about an hour and a half and tolod us about all her doubts that suddenly popped up and how she isn´t feeling the Spirit when she reads the Book of Mormon. Satan played on her lack of testimony of teh Restoration and infiltrated her testimony of all else she knew to be true. We have been praying for her so hard, and when we went to see her this week, she was rude to us and just left us on her doorstep.
2 of the most important thigs I have learned form this are 1) do not underestimate Satan´s power, and 2) obtaining a testimony of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon is absolutely essential in our conversion, a process that occurs each day and must be continually nurtured. Our living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, taught: ¨When we know the Book of Mrmon is ture, then it follows that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet and that he saw God teh Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. it also follows that the gospel was restored in these latter days through Joseph Smith--including the restoration of both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.¨ That is why it´s called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I have a firm testimony of the Gospel--Christ´s Gospel--and the book of Mormon. I finished reading it again a couple weeks ago, and I have never truly studied it and pondered is message the way I have in the past few months. My testimony of Jesus Christ, specifically, has been incredibly strengthened through marking every reference to Him and Heavenly Father. It really is my faorite book, and I know that we ALL have the ability to strengthen our testimonies and lives through the careful study and pondering of it. We then need to pray with a sincere desire to know if it is true, and I can testify, along with millions of others, that it is the most correct book of any on this earth. I know that a testimony of the Book of Mrmon and Christ´s Gospel is essential to our individual conversion adn ability to resist the temptations of Satan. Presiden tMonson also said, Ï maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior and of His gospel will protect you from teh sin and evil around you. If you do not already have a testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to hae your own testimony, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far.¨ I love this Gospel, I´m grateful for our living prophet who has been called by God to direct us and receive direct revelation from God for us, and I know, without a doubt, that the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God. May we feel of the Holy Ghost as we study and ponder the scriptures this week, and I hope you all know how much I love and appreciate every one of you!