Monday, June 9, 2014

All that you have and are

Dear Family,
Great week here in Santiago. It’s been really fun getting to know these sisters. We are a happy group of sisters in our apartment, all SO very different, even complete opposite at times with one of the sisters, haha but we get along WAY well and are having lots of fun being in the same ward together. We loved our splits this past week, and I got to work with my apo (grandchild) in the mission, Sister Sae. She’s from Samoa and is super sweet and a hard working sister. She’s a real missionary here and likes to work hard. She, like I, started her mission in Bayombong as well so we had so much fun sharing stories, and I was so happy to hear from her about the changes and progress happening back in my first area. And according to her I am still remembered down in Bayombong- I mean a sister who falls off of the back of a tricey is not easily forgotten haha. We just had such a fun day together, worked hard and saw lots of blessings, aka referrals! (Which is exactly what we are in need of right now in this area.)
            My favorite day of the week though was Wednesday when we went to Cauayan for MLC. I was SO happy to see and talk with Sister Broqueza about all that is happening in Alicia, one of the couples we taught getting baptized just this past Saturday, and hearing the great news that our awesome investigator has stopped smoking and now has a baptismal date! Ah so so happy! Yep my heart is still in Alicia haha. But I am coming to love this new place and these new people here in Santiago as well. It was also fun seeing other great friends here and feeling their support, I’ve been blessed to have such good friends on the mission. These are sisters I will really be friends with for life.
So, long story short, MLC was amazing. President and Sister Rahlf are spiritual giants and I always learn so much from them. Our topic that day was all about the role of the Holy Ghost in missionary work, and it really is everything. I loved the topic of qualifying for the spirit- clearing out the junk and distractions in our life to really focus on the spirit. Sister Rahlf compared it to clearing out an irrigation channel on a farm to let the water flow through freely. But I, coming from the beautiful southern California desert :) will compare it a little differently… and relate it to the wonderful days of building popsicle stick boats with the cousins and sending it down the stream of water that would build up out in front of our houses whenever it would get raining pretty hard. Once we set the boat down we’d watch it and run along side of it as it made its way down, but occasionally it’d get stuck on rocks or sticks, tumble weeds, etc. and we’d have to clear it out of the way so the boat could continue down its path. So, the comparison Sister Rahlf made there is to a life cluttered with trivial distractions, things that prevent the spirit from flowing freely into our lives. So we read in Doctrine and Covenants 4 about what things do qualify us for the spirit, and invite it more into our lives:
5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the gloryof God, qualify him for the work.
 6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience,brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
She had us look at the list and then come up with what things disqualify us for the spirit- doubt, uncleanliness, ignorance, impatience, unkindness, ungodliness, pride/hate/selfishness, and several others. I looked at that list as a good self-check, what things I can work on to feel more powerfully the spirit in my life. I am learning that more and more here on the mission. We must have the spirit in this work, and like it was mentioned in our meeting we may not be perfect teachers, but we’re striving to remain worthy, and once we do he will endow us with the power that we need. And I can’t leave out the wise words from President Rahlf to us that we must continue to focus on the spirit, yes we’ve been here in the mission for a while now, so he said- don’t get too comfortable in what you know. Don’t do this work on your own.
I’m so thankful for the great things I’m learning here. I love being a missionary and love learning to recognize and rely on the spirit- I feel it so much more in my life and I feel so very grateful for all that the mission has done for me. The bus ride back to Santiago after MLC was some very good reflecting time on all that has happened and changed in the past 16 months of my life. I am so happy with the life and opportunities I’ve been given. The song “I feel my Savior’s love” has become a special one here as the words come to mind- He knows I will follow him, give all my life to him. It went well with what I’ve been reading in the Book of Mormon this week- Mosiah 2:34 “render to Him all that you have and are.” I am determined to live out my mission and my life this way. My time here is winding down, and I can feel it, but I will continue to give my all each day being a real missionary up until the very end.
We are seeing some good things happening in this area, and I know that there will be more good news to come! Keep us in your prayers! Love and miss you all and I hope you have a great week!
-       Sister Stabenow

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