At the beginning of my mission I created a vision for who I wanted to become by the end of my service here in New Jersey. I knew it would include a lot of twisting and stretching, but looking into the future, I said to myself, "It's worth it". I set goals for how I was going to become that type of person. As I strived for my goals, I felt the twisting and stretching process begin. At sometimes, I didn't know if I could be stretched or twisted anymore, but still looking into the future I said, "It's worth it." This last week's experiences have caused me to reflect on the past 14 months of my mission. Even though my experience here isn't over yet, I can say, "It was all worth it."
This week I have felt the most like the person that I have wanted to become.
I've felt like I've lost it. haha No, not like you are thinking. I feel like I've lost whatever was holding me back from becoming who I was supposed to become. I've lost myself, and in turn, found myself.
Until this week, I didn't realize how much I love and would give to do missionary work; how all I want to do is eat, sleep, and breath the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I like to just think about that for a second.
I wasn't that person before. But I'm grateful that I can be that person now and forever. I'm grateful that there is no end to progression.
Our area this week was completely remodeled. It seemed to change so rapidly! How or why, I couldn't tell you, other than God works miracles through our faith.
We've been working with the Familia Ramirez. They are a part member family. Lucia Ramirez is a less active member and is currently dating and living with her boyfriend, Angel. Lucia's son, Chris (17 years old), also is a less active member. Whenever we have gone over to visit, Lucia always is so excited about having us over. I can see her desire to change and she knows that we can help. Because she cares for her boyfriend, she invites him into our lessons as well. He attends the lessons, but with a "I've got nothing else to do right now" attitude. Chris, on the other hand, is always invited, but rarely leaves his room to listen to us. This week while teaching them, Angel was really engaged in the lesson. Fireworks seemed to be going off in his brain as he was making the connections about the restored gospel. He kept saying, "this makes sense!" Chris was another huge miracle. For the first time ever he left his room to listen to the message we had to share. We asked him several questions and as he was answering, he would turn to his mom's boyfriend and while giving the response to the question, testify of the truth. It was such a neat experience to see!
Another one of the biggest successes is with the Familia Sosa. They are a less active family much like the Ramirez. Nadia, the mother, is a member of 5 years and is living with her boyfriend Christian, who is also a member. They both have their own kids and all live together. We have been working really really hard with them. When I first got to the area, they weren't coming to church at all. Now, they come almost every week. The next goal for us was to get them to read their scriptures. It has been quite the struggle to help them see the importance of scripture reading. Finally, last Tuesday, during our weekly Family Home Evening with them, we challenged them to read The Book of Mormon every day. I told them that I would personally read it with them. They thought it was easy for a missionary to do, so I told them that I would read it in my "free time" if they could just find time in their day to read. I am proud to say that they have read every day for a week and are father ahead in the scriptures than I am in this challenge.
Eddie, a new investigator, is someone who I am so excited to be teaching right now. On an exchange on Tuesday, we went to go contacting in a neighborhood for an hour. We had contacted quite a few people and were about to head back towards the car to go to our next appointment, but I turned around and felt like we needed to speak with the man who was walking towards us. So, even though the light was green and would could have clearly walked across the street to our destination, we awkwardly waited like we weren't planning on crossing. As he approached us we could see that he was kinda....well...not kinda... rough around the edges. He's a large in stature and by looking on the outside, you would definitely say that he looks "tough". As we got to know him, we found out that he's the gangbuster, running the streets kind of tough guy. Now, imagine me walking up to him and sticking my hand out and saying, "Hey, I'm Sister Childs. I'm your missionary." haha Imagine it. Because it happened. We started to talk to him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how it changes lives and brings peace. He seemed pretty interested. We got his phone number and he got ours and by the end of the night he had already texted us first. We had our first lesson with him last night. He has a lot to work through, but I already love him so much. He has SO much potential. I can just see it. :)
All of our hard work is showing through.
We are being so blessed. We even had 23 less actives/recent converts at church yesterday. We were so excited that we texted the president!
I love missionary work.