Monday, April 15, 2013

A God of Miracles

Well hello family and friends!!

I am so excited to write to yall this week. So many great things are happening right now and other, not so great things. But nonetheless I know that God loves every single one of us and that he truly does work miracles.

We had our very first baptism on Saturday! It was a 13 year old boy Irving. His mom was reactivated my first Sunday in the ward and she came up to us that day and said that her son wanted to be baptized. Let me just tell you, that is not normal in missionary work. I remember thinking wow this is awesome, people really just come to us when they want to be baptized. But no! It takes a lot of hard work and prayer to find those people that need this gospel right now. Anyways, it was awesome. He was so fun to teach. We taught him in English and then we would translate for the mom. Saturday though was such a happy day. He was getting baptized with his 2 cousins. First of all, that just touched my heart because I love my cousins so much and it is so awesome to be able to be serving missions at the same time. Second, they were all so excited for each other because they all knew that this was a step that would enable them all to live together forever!! It was so sweet and my heart seriously melted. The funny thing is that the baptism started over an hour late because they went to the Houston Temple instead of the stake center... I'm guessing they just got a little anxious? Haha nonetheless, they arrived and it was an amazing service. The smiles of their faces were priceless. I know for a fact that baptism really does open the door to eternal happiness. They are so happy! You are going to love seeing the pictures of that day. Irving would always cheer "woo-whooo!" when we would talk about his baptism and when the day finally came, you could tell that he was beyond words happy.
Irving - age 13 ready for baptism
Just when you thought that things couldn't get better from Saturday, Sunday came around. All the missionaries take doors and greet people as they walk into the chapel. Well I was standing there with some of the Elders in another ward and bam, miracle number 1 happened. This less active (Hermana Cardenas) walked in. I had to do a double take. I just could not believe it was here. Right when I got into Gulfbank we worked with her 2 times a week. We had great, powerful talks with her. She is from Peru. Her problem was the hypocracy that was in the ward- just like a majority of the people here. She is going through a lot of financial problems right now though so it has really been softening her heart and humbling her. About a week ago we left her with a really awesome, thought provoking lesson. We used Alma 50- when Moroni is fortifying all the cities to protect them from war. We talked about the different strategies he used and how she needs to protect herself and her family from hardships by going to church, reading her scriptures, praying, etc. We then decided we werent going to see her for a while. We knew that we were not going to be able to make her change. Agency is a wonderful, frustrating gift isnt it? She had to make the decision if she wanted God's help to overcome all the trials in her life right now. Well, when I saw her walk in on Sunday. I basically collapsed. I was so overcome with happiness. This is where agency becomes beautiful. I saw her make the decision to come to church all by herself and let the Lord change her hard heart. I ran up to her and gave her the most excited welcome ever known to mankind. I am sure I scared her. But I couldnt help it! I was so happy! Okay so after that whole ordeal, I saw an investigator, who the sisters before me had to drop, come in. I have never met with him but my companera has told me a lot about him. Some other miraculous things happened but Hermana Cardenas was just the most miraculous to me. Typing this up my emotions from yesterday all came back. I'm stoked. Missionary work is the best. Oh, I guess I should always tell you how thankful I was that it was fast and testimony meeting so that I could go up and tell everyone was much I love them. The bishop's daughter thought that I was going to explode because I was so happy up there- she is the same age as Kayla!

My very first Zone Conference was this week too! I know that I say this in every single email, but wow. I have the best Mission President. Now that that is out of the way. I feel like the topic of our zone conference was specifically for me. He hit on every single thing that has been on my mind since I have been out in the field. I love when things like that happen- tender mercy for sure! The whole theme was about baptism and teaching so that people will want to be baptized and take this step for themselves. It is now a mission goal for each companionship to baptize one a month. It will be really hard but I know that we can do it. There are some awesome missionaries out here right now. This is going to take more than just optimism, this is going to take deep abiding faith. Something that I am working really hard on- especially with learning the language. But we listened to this really awesome talk and the speaker was saying how baptism should be the focal point of the lesson, not the final point. What do you think about missionary work after hearing that statement? Exciting huh? It is so vital to always have that purpose in mind. The spirit will sustain you. A lot of my personal study has been focused on the Lord sustaining righteous people. I know that the Lord wants us to baptize one a month. He is going to help us succeed. Its exciting!

This week was full of service. We redid Hermana Trujillo's roof, worked at a Peanut Butter Factory, fed dinner at a homeless shelter. It was awesome. Our teaching pool is kind of dwindling but it was really fun to do service! That's why we are here. "call the missionaries, they can help!" haha but seriously.

Remember how I was telling you about that golden family, Ricardo and Margarita and their 5 beautiful children? On Wednesday we recieved a call from them. They called and told us that their family in Mexico had just been killed by drug cartels and that they just can't be thinking about God right now. First thought was are you kidding me, this is when you need him the most!! I was heart broken. I just thought about them all holding hands when we taught them about the plan of salvation and how they just loved learning about it all. Then I remembered, todo en su propio tiempo. Its all going to be ok. We are not giving up. We are leaving them scriptures on their doorstep every so often with our testimonies. I know that things will work out but wow, that was hard.

Also, Yesenia has been told that she can't meet with us anymore. Her mom walked in to one of our lessons with Yesenia at the grandma's apartment and we felt darkness immediately. That was the last time we've seen her. I pray that she is still reading her Book of Mormon. One day, she is going to be baptized and be able to fully access the atonement so that she doesn't have to be sad anymore.
I love this work. It's so hard and I'm learning so much. It truly is giving me soul-stretching opportunities. I am so grateful for ALL the missionaries throughout the world right now. Maybe I'm a little bias, but this is the best time to be a missionary. Whenever someone finds out that I am 19, they freak out. I freak out. Who would have thought that girls could be serving right now? It is awesome to be serving with the first 19 year old sisters and 18 elders. I am so happy. I love you all so much!


Hermana Mackynzie Parry

P.S. We are trying to get the ward more involved in missionary work. It is so hard to get member referrals right now. So we have been giving certain families "desafios." We are telling them to pray and give a book of mormon away or hand out tarjetas. There is this little old woman, Hermana Juarez, who totally reminds me of Aunt Vera, that we went to visit and give the "desafio" to. We followed up this week and she said oh yes I gave one to Hermana Leyva (Relief Society President) and I framed the other and hung it up in my house. Is she not just the cutest thing ever? I am happy to know that she loves Christ and wants to see him while she is cooking in her kitchen.


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