Monday, February 27, 2017

Front Street

Week # 50

You know you are a Spanish speaking missionary in the United States when being called Señora makes you really happy.

Usually people see that we are American and don't think that we speak Spanish. Hermana Jensen especially gets a lot of surprised looks because she is blonde. I love when people start off talking to us in Spanish. Actually, what I love most is when people will be talking to us for a few minutes thinking that we are speaking in English and then halfway through the conversation say "hablan Español?!" because they don't even recognize that that's the language we have been speaking while they are speaking in broken English so that we "understand". I love the people here. I do have to say that I struggled at first with the changes in the areas, but I really have come to love the people of "Little Mexico". 

This email is titled Front Street because that is where we spent our Pday today. There are a bunch of little Hispanic stores and a cute ice cream place. It was really fun. There was a pile of machetes. Literally just a pile of machetes with nothing covering them. Not the safest.

I don't know how long this one will be because I am drained and emailing sometimes takes too much energy. This week was a long, but good one. I feel like the things that happened this week were so long ago.

I know I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but we finally were able to have the lesson with some young investigators where they taught us about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was awesome! They even made a slide show titled "LDS lesson". It was a little out of order starting with the great apostasy, but the effort that was put into it was amazing. All missionaries should prepare as much as these young investigators did.

Speaking of preparing, Hermana Jensen and I made a "Vision" or what our goal are this transfer. We both really want to help this area progress and leave it better than we found it, but recently we have had to start from scratch. It's going to take patience and hard work (and not getting sick) so we chose to base it on the scripture 2 Nephi 28:30.

"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of me line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, form them shall be taken away even that which they have."

Line upon line. That is how it's going to happen. We made a plan to help us as well. We also put a focus on what being a successful missionary means. There is a part in Preach My Gospel that says that the way you should measure success is your desire and efforts to work hard and to help others. We may not see the fruit of our labors here and that's okay.

What I really want to email about is yesterday's Sacrament meeting. Well all of yesterday was good. A recent convert here in the branch is leaving for a mission so she had her farewell yesterday. I know that my typed words through email won't do it justice, but the Spirit was so strong. That morning I had specifically prayed to feel the Spirit in Sacrament meeting. Sometimes I just need a little reminder that He is there. The last song was so hard to sing because so many people were overwhelmed with emotion and the Spirit. I can honestly say that it was the most powerful Sacrament meeting I have been to and the strongest I have ever felt the Spirit. The words were simple of her testimony, but so so strong. We have been teaching her sisters and hope to teach her mother as well. Karina (the departing missionary) testified that she knew that one day her family will be eternal. It was so powerful and it really emphasized to me the responsibility that I have as a missionary. Karina is a convert and now she is going to be touching the lives of countless souls in Ecuador. I don't think that the missionaries who were teaching Karina in the beginning understood the consequences and blessings that would come years down the road. I just really felt the love of my Heavenly Father in that meeting. After church we went and visited a man and I again felt the love of my Heavenly Father. As missionaries we are often blessed to be able to feel a portion of His love for individuals that we visit. I felt it yesterday for that man.

Another blessing from yesterday is that I prayed and asked for a confirmation from the Spirit that Hermano Farfan was baptized. I am not serving in Forest Grove anymore so I didn't have any way of knowing until today. The Spirit also confirmed to me that yes, he was baptized and confirmed and Lourdes and Hermana Hunt emailed me today to confirm that. He was baptized by his son and they have a goal to be sealed as a family. The email I received from Lourdes made my mission. It was good to hear from her in the first place, but I could feel the joy and the love through her email. They also are going to reach out to their daughter in California so that eventually they can all be sealed together.

My heart is so full. This is why I am serving a mission.

Les Quiero,

Hermana Lauren Dickson

Pictures include my companion in the Hispanic tienda and a picture of the family Farfan for Hermano's baptism courtesy of Hermana Hunt.

Shopping in the Hispanic tienda

Family Farfan for Hermanos baptism courtesy of Hermana Hunt

Valentine's Day. Seeing others through the Savior's eyes. With Love.

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