Friday, October 24, 2014

German's Baptism

Hermana Floisand, Hermana Bennett and German at his baptism
 Megan's Letter to President Pace August 25th:

"Germans baptism was beautiful. This whole experience with him has seemed almost too good to be true. I remember that Monday evening, everything had fired on us, and we were just struggling to keep our chins up. I remember saying a fervent prayer, I felt the need for some guidance. I will admit I even felt a little alone, and I was concerned about the progress of the work in our area. About a minute later, you and Hermana Pace called, congratulating us on the poutas and reminding us how great you thought we were. Hermana Floisand and I both recognized that as an answer to our prayers. When we hung up, we hit the road with a good second wind... and that's when we found him. He was walking his dog, we chatted with him and found that he was interested in our message because he was a little depressed and he felt like he needed something more. After our second visit, Hermana Floisand looked at me and said, "I think he is going to be baptized." His interest was sincere. Our third visit was in his home. We asked him if he had begun reading the Book of Mormon. He told us he had only read a little and then showed us that he was in First Nefi chapter 3! He has read the introduction, the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses, as well as Joseph Smith's account of retrieving the plates. He continued to share with us a scripture that stood out to him. He proceeded to read aloud First Nefi 3:7 "Iré y haré lo que el Señor ha mandado, porque sé que él nunca da mandamientos a los hijos de los hombres sin prepararles la vía para que cumplan lo que les ha mandado." It was a touching moment. As we continued teaching him we realized that the Lord was teaching us how to help people prepare for baptism thru him. He would say things like, "Do you have any scriptures about baptism that I could read", or "what are the requesites for baptism?" We had a member at every lesson, and the 2 main members we used were both praying for opportunities to serve before we called them, that was inspiring. It makes me wonder how many more members there are like that, just waiting for the opportunity to serve. German's baptism was programmed for the same weekend as the ward temple trip, so nobody would be able to come. We also realized we had not presented him to the bishop yet. German was so excited for baptism, we were prepared to make everything happen sooner, and go to the bishop's work to present him to German; however, after thinking and praying about it, we realized we could go thru with it if we wanted to, but we would be robbing him of a much richer, much more memorable experience. We waited and as a result: he was more prepared for baptism and the Aaronic priesthood, we filled the baptismal room, and we had a sweeter spirit there. German came 4 hours early to cook for his own baptism, he was so excited and calm. He told us he was more concerned about making his temple cake than he was about the baptism. He was just so prepared! His family came and he has faith that one day they will be baptized as well. He kept on going for his confirmation as well, he was terrible sick with a cold on Saturday, and Sunday he was still pretty bad, but he came anyway and even stayed all 3 hours. I have never seen anyone so prepared, he is such a great example of dedication and a pure desire to serve. I can feel the Lord is hastening his work, and I know because he in raising up leaders, like German, because we have more work ahead. What a blessing it is to be part of this marvelous work!

Hermana Bennett

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Enjoying Food and Sights While in Barcelona

Megan enjoying food made by her companion.

Megan with Companion Herman Floisand

Cathedral in Tibee-da-bo

Megan Staying in Barcelona

Letter from Megan August 5th

Dear Family,

The news for transfers: I am staying in Barcelona with Hermana Floisand! We both let out a sigh of relief when we found out. I am going to really enjoy this transfer. Now that this transfer has begun so will my Sister Training Leader responsibilities. In our mission sister Training Leaders do the following:
We go out and work with the other assigned Hermanas for 24 hours just to help them with the work learn and love them, we set the standard with the Poutas (Baptisms, new investigators found, lessons taught with members present, etc.) We teach during Zone meetings and attend leadership meetings in which we are trained and participate in setting monthly goals and finding ways to lift the vision of the mission.

This week I got to teach about Charity and Obedience in our Zone meeting. I was exited and anxious to teach. When assigned the topic the Zone Leaders felt inspired that I should speak on the topic and I couldn't ignore the spiritual confirmation I felt as they assigned it to me. I really wanted to bring a good spirit, while praying about the topic I felt specifically inspired to be sure to ponder well beforehand what I would say. Hermana Floisand and I had an inspired Chat about the topic as we ran in the morning, the revelation just kept coming as we came in to stretch and we sat there stretching and chatting for a good 10 minutes longer than normal. When the time came I felt calm and I felt very blessed because that calmness just let me lay back and totally rely on the spirit. I was able to confidently present a message guided by the spirit. There was a strong spirit there in the meeting and I just sat down with that clean feeling I get after teaching a lesson. I don't mean to brag that I brought this incredible spirit into the meeting, but it was just such a spiritually edifying experience to me. I really felt the spirit as I taught to a degree I don't believe I have felt before. I felt the Lord confirming that he was not going to leave me alone in this new calling, that he would be there to lift me up, give me energy, and fill my mouth, what a comforting feeling. To share a little about what I taught, I explained a little about how the Pharisees and the Saducees had a list of many rules and in an effort to trick Christ they asked which was the most important. Without hesitation he used this as a teaching opportunity and replied "Love". This is where we are taught that we should love the Lord, ourself and others. We connected that with the commandments and the missionary handbook; these become a list of Do's and Dont's like the list of laws from the Pharisees and Sadducees...when we forget why we are doing them-Love. They were given to us out of love, and when we obey we should do it out of love. We talked about how that applies to missionary work when we obey and teach and do everything out of love that's when the missionary work becomes enjoyable. With love the commandments and missionary guidelines become liberating instead of suffocating.

On another note, we get to house 4 of the new sister missionaries coming in. Tonight we will take two of them to go on splits and the other two will go with 2 of the trainers coming in (one of them being Hermana Rhodes!). We are going to clean up the piso and bake so the hermana's coming in will feel at home. We are so excited to have them! I remember my first night was hard, and I really want them to have a great experience their first night. I am also excited because Hermana Pace (mission presidents wife) has put us in charge of the lunch for the new missionaries and their trainers tomorrow, so we will do last minute preparation and we will also get to eat with them. These are the benefits of being the Sister Missionaries closest to the office. We feel so blessed, plus Hermana Floisand loves serving, so it will be fun!

Funny Story for the week: to begin you know we give two kisses to say hello and goodbye, but only to girls. The other night we contacted a younger man. He looked like he was 20, he couldn't stop smiling for some reason. We talked about our English classes, when his bus came I shook his hand but gave him a stiff arm so he would know I would not kiss him. I was safe, but when he went over to my companion she tried to do the same and she even leaned back a little to make it clear, he blatently ignored her and gave her two fat kisses on both cheeks. Normally you just touch cheeks when you do it, but he went all in, he jumped onto the bus and laughed as he watched our reaction from the window. We waited for the bus to pull away before cracking up.

Megan Called to be a Sister Training Leader

Excerpt from Megan on July 28th:

"So President Pace called Saturday while we were eating at a recent converts house. I picked up and chatted with him as they brought out the food. I was a little nervous because transfers are coming up and that usually means change. He asked me to be a Sister Training Leader. To be honest I had had a hard night the night before that call. I was disappointed because we had a lesson that didn't go the way I wanted and I knew I could have done better. I was feeling pretty inadequate when he called. Today was the Leadership meeting which was an incredible spiritual experience. It was 4 hours of pure spiritual high. The missionaries going home in the next transfer bore their testimonies which of course just rips your heart out. We spoke about working more effectively with the members, asking for referrals from everyone and how to do it, and we decided our mission focus for August. Our focus will be on baptism, we will be working to invite someone to be baptized every day. I am excited for this goal. We did this as a district in the islands and it really helped us focus in on baptism. I am excited, but I also saw what Hermana Rhodes went thru and I know the Lord has a lot of work to do with me so I can fulfill this calling. This will not be easy, but it will be a great learning experience.

Joy in the Journey

Excerpt from Megan's letter July 14th:

"Mom, I have always appreciated your encouragement and support regarding helping us focus in 100% on our missions. I remember sitting on the futon next to you while you were doing case notes one day. This was after I got my mission call, about a week before I left. I just have in my head "Enjoy it! Get lost in the work and just love it!" You just said it so happily and in a manner that was like "don't worry! Its going to be great if you can just enjoy it". I have subconsciously kept that comment present. I have also heard your voice in my head again as just about EVERY companion has echoed you in saying "Be nice to yourself!"  I have lots of drive, but I feel like I am finally learning how to enjoy the journey. I think sometimes I substitute working efficiently, with working hard. I will go around and take the harder route as long as I can just keep walking and not stop for crosswalks, but Hermana Floisand is teaching me to smell the flowers enjoy the journey and work hard but efficiently. There is a special spirit in our companionship, we are both focused in on the work and I pray that the Lord will continue to guide our efforts.