Monday, March 16, 2015

{Week 66} Oriental - March 16, 2015

Dad, I would love to go camping. That would be amazing. And I want steak, mashed potatoes and gravy when I get home :) But I don't want to talk about that stuff for at least 86 more days (Thanks mom - not a number I wanted to know.)

Tell congrats to Kennedy if you see her for me. And when does Jaime get home? And Jordy I love you! Thanks for your letter! I always love hearing from you.

I have bad news. Michelle's dad has decided that she's not allowed to get baptized. She's only 17, so we need permission from him to do it, and before he said yes but has since changed his mind. And on Friday, Michelle moved. They just up and left and went to another part of the city to live. We didn't even know until Saturday night. But I have her email and I'm keeping in contact - she'll be 18 in July and she's planning to go live with her aunt in Baja California in July and she's planning to get baptized over there. Hopefully that works out. We're sad that she's gone and we couldn't say goodbye.

So this week we lost almost all our investigators due to several different circumstances... but the miracle is that we found several new ones! And in the activity, we've received a ton of references that we'll be teaching this week! And a lot of them are for families! Please pray for my area so that the people here will be ready and willing to accept the gospel and change their lives!

We've all been kind of emotional in our house right now - Hna Cárdenas has reached the end of her 18 months, and is less than 48 hours away from being at home with her family. None of us cried until Saturday night when we did a quick FHE after the contacting activity to say goodbye to Hna Cárdenas. All the missionaries said a few words - and being the crybaby I am, I bawled lol. She was in my first district and helped me a ton when I first got here. It's funny because she was in her first area for seven and a half months - but returned to the same area for her last cycle in the mission (6 weeks). When she first came back, she was questioning why the Lord wanted her to return to her first area - but during the cycle, they were able to find and teach a 22 year old guy named Axel. And he got baptized yesterday - so Hna Cárdenas finished her mission with a baptism of a golden convert. She is a huge example to me and although we were never comps, I'm so glad I've gotten to live with her for the last 6 weeks. She worked super hard and to the end. I love her and I'm going to miss her! And Hna Gurley is going to be training now - so it'll be us in the house together with our ''daughters''!

There is a scripture in Jacob 7:26 that says ''our lives passed away like it were unto us a dream''. I feel like that's my life right now - the days are just flying past, like it were a dream. I love it here. Sometimes (not very often!) I think about you all and miss you all. But I feel like the mission life is the normal life, and the real life back home with all of you is the dream. I love being here so much - sometimes I never want it to end. But I was called by the Lord to serve for 18 months and I'm planning to serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength right up to the end. I love being here. I love serving the Lord. I used to always think that I would give the Lord 18 months of my life, but the more time I have here the more I come to understand that I'm not giving Him this time, He's giving it to me, and I'll never be able to repay Him. All I can do is serve Him and give it all I've got - as Elder Holland said ''run hard, run fast and to the tape''. And that's the miracle, because when I'm tired and frustrated and feeling down, He's there to raise me up and give me the strength to keep going. I love the poem ''get up and win the race'' (If you'd like to insert it here in the blog mom, I wouldn't be upset).

The Race by D. H. Groberg

“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” they shout at me and plead,
“There’s just too much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.”
And as I started to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will as I recall that scene.
For just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; now I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope. Each thought to win the race
Or tie for first, if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his dad that he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they sped, as if they were on fire
To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s desire.
And one boy in particular, his dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought, “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field, across the shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arm flew out to brace,
And ‘mid the laughter of the crowd, he fell flat on his face.
So, down he fell, and with him, hope. He couldn’t win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished he’d disappear somehow.
But, as he fell, his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win the race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit, that’s all.
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for the fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”
But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face.
That steady look that said again, “Get up and win the race!”
So, he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last;
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running more. Three strikes, I’m out…why try?”
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away.
So far behind, so error-prone, a loser all the way.
“I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought, “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But, then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “Get up and take your place.
You weren’t meant for failure here; get up and win the race.”
With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said, “You haven’t lost at all,
For winning is no more than this–to rise each time you fall.”
So up he rose to win once more. And with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been.
Still, he gave it all he had, and ran as though to win.
Three times he fallen, stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner, as he crossed the line, first place,
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen crossed the finish line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad, he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me you won,” his father said, “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!” They still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win the race!”

I hope you're all having a wonderful snowy day back home. I love you all tons. Be good, say your prayers, and always trust in the Lord.

-Hermana Taylor

Photos courtesy of Hna Valdivia.  These are from a few weeks ago.

Street contacting outside the church.

The District

Probably Hna Cardenas birthday - she looks like she's ready to blow out candles.

Hermanas Ortiz, Valdivia, Gurley, Cardenas, Taylor and Ramirez

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