Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 74: "Yo Quiero Ir Al Reino Celestial" *Pointing to a Little Drawing of the Sun*

5 Questions:
1) Have you started with "my plan" instructions/studies (a short preparation course online fro missionaries nearing the end of their mission to help them transition back to "normal" life) yet?

2) What does that have you doing?  How is your studying affected?

3) Does your comp do something else while you are working on that stuff?

4) Have you missed wearing your contacts?

5) Do you hear from your brother each week?

  1. Yes, the way it works is you do one of six parts once a week for your last transfer. So I've done two of the six. It's...interesting.
  2. Well, I'm not exactly sure if I'm supposed to be doing it during personal study or something, but that one hour a day is precious, sacred time that I want to prepare for my investigators, so for me personally, I do the My Plan thing during lunch or dinner times. It's nice because it helps me to do some extra study during those times. So far it's had me look back on my mission, looking for things that have changed about myself, and set some goals for after I'm released--good thing I already had some set for the year 2016 because I knew I'd need some goal. Also, note for all my missionary friends reading this: it doesn't let you save your answers if you leave in the middle of the session. You HAVE to get to the end if you want your answers to be saved.
  3. Since I'm doing it during meal times, Hermana Albrechtsen usually does something at her desk next to mine (since we have WiFi in our apartment, we have to be able to see each other's iPad screens at all times, and since that's how I do the My Plan stuff, she has to be right here with me for me to be able to do it.) I think usually she works on Area Book stuff or studies or reads--just something here at her desk.
  4. Not really.... I still have basically a whole box of contacts for each eye. It's just too much work to wear them. Plus, no one would recognize me if I wore contacts...haha the most recent time I did was in Bloomingdale because it was POURING rain. And then of course it stopped five minutes later.
  5. No, not every week. Sometimes he'll respond to my emails the week I write them, sometimes a little later. But I haven't been super good at being consistent either. But I hear from him every once in a while.

As for what happened this week, well: it was the second best-day-of-my-life! On Saturday, 30 January 2016, four of my favorite people of all time entered into the waters of baptism and made a covenant with their Father in Heaven through the authority of the restored Priesthood power. I have been so blessed to be a part of their conversion. Heavenly Father is so good to me. I know that these four individuals--two families--will be blessed throughout eternity for this decision. As they continue faithful to the end of their lives, living and keeping those covenants, preparing to make others in the temple, the very house of the Lord, they will receive unimaginable blessings. They are such great examples to me of Christlike attributes. So let me tell you a little bit about each one of these children of God:

Saul: he and his 7 year old son, Diego, met the missionaries as they were walking out of a Mexican restaurant. He is one of the smartest people I've ever had the privilege to teach, in that he just "gets" the Gospel. He paid tithing before we'd even taught him that it was a commandment, thanks to some amazing testimonies shared by ward members the beginning of the month. When we taught him about the Word of Wisdom--God's law of health for His children's benefit and safety--he thought it made perfect sense and immediately gave us all social drinking and the occasional coffee. He already knows many of the stories in the Book of Mormon and is now somewhere in Alma as he reads consecutively through that sacred book of scripture. He is thrilled, overjoyed, at the prospect of baptizing his son in a month and a half and will be more than prepared to hold the priesthood power and authority of God. He already has an eternal perspective and the temple is his goal for him and his family. He teaches me so much about obedience and making changes to be in harmony with the will of God.

Francisca: She is the wife of Saul and the mother of Diego. When we first met her, she was shy and not very talkative, a bit afraid to ask questions. Since then, she will timidly jump in with the questions she has because she wants to understand everything she can. She previously had to work on Sunday's but when she found out that part of keeping the Sabbath day holy was not working, she made arrangements so that she wouldn't have to work on that sacred day, on the Lord's day. She was willing to get married so that she could be baptized and work towards an eternal marriage, keeping in mind that their wedding in the church building is far from the end goal. She has taught me so much about sacrifice and humility and it truly is a blessing to see her sweet example of Christlike love and living.

Jose: he and his wife Ida were two of my investigators in Rochelle. They were originally found by a set of Elders (one of which was able to attend their baptism) and then rediscovered unwittingly by Hermana LaBonte and I. The very first time we knocked on their door, Jose wanted to let us in, but he was already familiar with missionary rules--his wife was asleep and he knew we couldn't come in. He told us that she wanted to talk with us so we should come back the next week. Since then, these two have had a very special place in my heart. They've been through so much in their lives, and have been so kind in letting us into their hearts. They're like my Rochelle grandparents and I am so grateful to have met them. Jose's humor never failed to help lift my spirit and it was such a privilege to see how the restored gospel of Jesus Christ changed him as he let it into his life. He has taught me to have a softened heart in a way I didn't realize I needed to change.

Ida: she is such a fighter, and quite stubborn when she knows she's right. She was willing to do everything it took to get baptized because she knew with all her heart that it was right. She has been hurt in many deep, painful ways and yet she has always come out on top, even when it took some time. She loves to study the gospel and already knows her way around the Gospel Library app like she was born in the 2000s. She is committed to living the gospel and keeping the covenants that she has made, and she wants so badly to do what is right so that she can be with her family forever. She has taught me to never give up, because if there's a will, there's a way.

I am so blessed to be a missionary at the times and in the places I've been. When I left, just 17 months ago, I never could have guess what joy this work of salvation would bring me. I know that this is the Lord's work. He Himself says that His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). That is OUR immortality and OUR eternal life. The entire purpose of God's plan of salvation is the happiness of His children--our happiness! And what a joy it is to be a part of the fulfillment of that plan in the lives of my brothers and sisters. I know that I am weak and imperfect, but I know that I have been an instrument in the hands of God, to bring about much righteousness--both in my own life and in the lives of others. It is by the grace and power of my Redeemer that I have been able to withstand slammed doors, raised voices, and contentious conversations. It is through the love of my Savior that I have been able to care for those I've taught, desire the salvation of random people I meet, and know what to say to those who stand in need. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world--the Savior and Redeemer of every member of the family of Adam, even from the beginning to this present time. All people are within the reach of his saving and redeeming power. He truly does know how to succor us, because He knows exactly how we feel in every single moment of our mortal existence (Alma 7:11-12). I know that He lives and that He has not ceased to do miracles. Jesus Christ restored His Church, the exact same Church that He established during His mortal ministry, through the Prophet Joseph Smith. That farm boy from New York could do nothing of himself, and he knew it. The Lord worked through Him, just as He has worked through prophets of old, such as Adam, Abraham, and Moses. 

The power of God has been restored, and its blessings are available to all those who seek them. It is through the power and authority of God that we may be forgiven of our sins, because only God is able to forgive sins. No man on earth has that authority. And I know that no man authorized to act in the Lord's name would ever even imply that he has that power. But there are men on earth who are given power to act in God's name for the benefit of His children (Mosiah 8:18). He called them to that position, just as He called His Apostles of old (John 15:16). I know that Joseph Smith truly was ordained to be the head of this last dispensation, and Thomas S. Monson is the prophet of God on the earth today. Christ is at the head of His Church, and He directs it through His prophet and apostles. The proof of all this is the Book of Mormon. I know without a doubt that it is the word of God. It is additional scripture, just as the Bible is scripture, is the word of God. Prophets of old testified that we would have two books of scripture to confound false doctrines, lay down contentions, and establish peace among the children of men (2 Nephi 3:12; Ezekial 37:15-17). I know that any child of God may come to know that all these things--and many more--are true if they will but ask God in the name of Christ with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in Jesus Christ. I know it's worked for me time and time again, and it will work for you. Because God loves you. If I know one thing, it's that God loves His children and He will not leave us comfortless (John 14:18). If you do not feel that love, I invite you to kneel down in humility and sincerely ask God if He is there. Ask Him if He knows that you exist. Ask Him if He loves you. I promise that if you will do those thing, by the power of the Holy Ghost you will receive an answer from on high that will be unmistakable. It may not come all at once, but it will come. Answers always come when we sincerely ask for them, but they come in the Lord's timing. Of this I testify, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. Not sure if I sent this home or not, so if I did, feel free to exclude this photo. But this was when we got to eat out with two of the best people ever, the Hartungs (he's a recent convert, and unfortunately they're moving to Arizona...) They took us to a Thai restaurant, and I'm just going to say now: when we come back to Sycamore-Dekalb to visit, we're going to this place. SO GOOD. [Also, I honestly have no idea if the weird lines behind my head are my hair or something on the wall, but it sure makes me look like I'm about to be electrocuted or something...]

 2. Us with Saul, Francisca and Diego in their white jumpsuits. Don't they look so happy?! Boy I love them. They already told us that they want us to be there when they go to the temple. I am so sad I'll be back in Utah when Diego is baptized....(March 19th I think....)

3. Didn't have to use giant pots this time, so we decided we needed a picture of the font working (however, I'll have everyone know, that it was NOT warm. I thought Ida was going to have a seizure when she came up out of the water...) [not that it was super duper cold or anything, just she has a condition that if she gets cold, her body cramps up. And I think I know pretty well how just lukewarm temperature feels when you get your whole body wet--especially while wearing clothes, people...]
4. However, of course there had to be some sort of hiccup: the light in the women's bathroom that leads into the font wasn't working. Good thing these Hermanas are resourceful--grabbed the lamp from the foyer of the chapel and it worked like a charm (mostly).
5. Jose & Ida's baptism: except I wasn't able to get a photo yet so.....until next week.

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