May 11, 2015
Hey sweet fam!!!
Long time no talk! But quickly, I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk with me! It was so fun to see you all and thank you for your patience...who knew it was so important to hear during a Google hangout call? I love you all so much and thank you for all your tips for my mission!!!
So it`s so crazy! I just talked to you guys yesterday, but I still have so much to tell you about this past week! It was a week full of adventures and miracles!
First off, I´m just going to explain something cool about Artigas. There are a bunch of cool rocks here. Artigas is famous for its crystals, and you can find these crystals in any souvenir shop here. But what is even cooler is that at times, you can find these crystals in the streets! On Thursday, Hermana Ramirez and I were walking down a street we don´t walk down very much and something sparkly caught my eye! It was a little crystal! I picked it up and we kept walking. And before too long, we found another crystal! We kept looking and we ended up finding tons of crystals! They´re pretty small, but we were so excited to find treasure!
Second off, we had some awesome experiences with listening to the Spirit! On Thursday morning, Hermana Ramirez and I were walking and talking. We´re usually the ones who say "hi" to people first, but on Thursday, we saw a lady sitting and drinking her mate and she said "hi" to us first! We said "hi" back and then just kept on walking. But about ten steps later, I felt we needed to go back and talk with her. So we turned around and talked to her! She let us into her house and explained her situation a bit! It turns out she listened to the missionaries years ago and her daughter (who now lives in Montevideo) got baptized. She explained that she has a lot of faith in God, but feels a bit guilty for some of the mistakes she´s made in the past. We did a quick review of the restoration, and then Hermana Ramirez pulled out her scriptures and began sharing the story of Enos with her. It was incredible to let her know that even though we are so imperfect, if we have faith in Jesus Christ, we can be COMPLETELY FORGIVEN! We are hoping to visit this sweet lady, Griselda, more! And it was so cool because as we were walking away from her house, Hermana Ramirez told me that morning, she prayed to be able to study something to help someone! And what did she end up studying that morning? ENOS and forgiveness!!!
Another quick experience is that on Saturday night, we finished up our visits a little early. We still had fifteen minutes or so to work, so we decided to try and visit a less active member, Johnny. His house was pretty far, so we didn´t really know why we wanted to visit Johnny, but we kept walking in the direction of his house anyway! As we were walking (and it was pretty dark so we were being careful), someone called out, "Ramirez!" It kind of freaked us out a little bit, so we just kept on walking. About a minute later, one of our investigators, Anestacio pulled up by us in his car. He had seen us walking and called out our names, but we didn´t realize it was him. So he hopped into his car to come talk to us! It was such a miracle because we hadn´t been able to see him during the week. We quickly got to ask him how he was doing, invite him to church the next day, and give him a reading assignment in the Book of Mormon. We were walking towards Johnny´s house so we could talk to Anestacio!
Okay and we are so excited for tonight because we´re going to have a Noche de Hogar in our bishop´s house! Hermana Ramirez and I whipped up a little something and we are going to share how the gospel of Jesus Christ is like baking a cake! Here´s how it will go...
First off, if you want to bake a cake, you need ingredients! You need flour, sugar, oil, eggs, etc. The gospel of Jesus Christ also has "ingredients"...our faith, our willingness to repent, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring till the end!
Whenever someone bakes a cake, they always need flour! Flour is super basic, no? And without flour, a cake just ends up being a big globbery mess. Just like a cake needs flour, we need something basic in our lives, something to help us out so our lives won´t be a big globbery mess. And what is this thing? OUR FAITH! Our faith helps us know that even though we can´t see Jesus Christ, He lives! Through our faith, we know He is our Savior and that through our actions, we can become more like Him!
But even though we try to become like Him, we always end up making mistakes, no? We´re humans and we do stupid things sometimes. And how do we feel after we sin or make these mistakes? AWFUL. We feel sad or hopeless or BITTER. And you know what? Sometimes in cakes, people use that awful, bitter baking cocoa and the batter leaves a bad taste in our mouth. But guess what! There is hope! We can always add sugar to make the batter SWEET again. And we can always use the gift of repentance to turn the saddest, darkest, and guiltiest moments of our lives into something sweet.
So now in our cake we´ve got flour and sugar. We´re doing good so far, but the sad thing is our flour and sugar are a bit separated because they´re both solids. So what do we need to help our flour and sugar out? Something LIQUID. Something like oil! This oil is going to help the flour and sugar become one, it´s going to seal the deal and help the cake batter be a bit SMOOTHER. Just as we need oil, we need to be baptized after we have chosen to exercise our faith and repent! It is the way we follow Jesus Christ, it is the way we show Him we are willing to take His name upon us. Choosing to be baptized helps us take a grand step towards eternal life, and it makes our life go SMOOTHER.
And it is so great because after we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! Before our baptisms, we can receive little inspirations from the Holy Ghost, but after our baptisms (and as long as we always try to do our best to follow Jesus Christ), the Holy Ghost can remain with us ALWAYS. When we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is like we are breaking a barrier to receive personal revelation. It is like we are cracking eggs! You can´t put the eggs in the cake batter without cracking the shell, no?
Okay so now we´ve got our batter all good to go! We´ve done great work and we´ve got all the ingredients together. But we´re lacking something...the cake isn´t baked yet. We need to stick it in the oven and let it bake until the END of the time frame it says on the recipe. When we´ve got our faith, when we repent, when we´ve decided to be baptized, and when we´ve received the Holy Ghost, we´re not done. We need to endure until the END. We need to ALWAYS strive to be a little bit better, a little bit more like Jesus Christ. And until what point in our lives? Until THE END!
So now our cake is done! But sometimes we bake cakes and they turn out awful! Sometimes we accidentally put in a little bit too much sugar. Or sometimes we take out the cake before it´s completely ready. Or at times, we put in a little bit too much oil and the batter is super runny. And it turns out awful! But do you know what´s great? Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it doesn´t matter how many horrible cakes we´ve baked in the past. We can always experiment and practice and try to bake a cake that tastes a little bit better in the future. And do you know what´s even cooler? Every time we bake a new cake, we don´t need to go to the grocery store. Because Someone has already PAID THE PRICE.
Okay sorry for this long rant, but I love cakes and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ! You can bet I´ve baked a whole lot of bad cakes during my life, but I know with all of my heart that only the future awaits. I know it doesn´t matter if we´ve made the horriblest of cakes, because through the atonement of Christ, we can START OVER ALWAYS. As we do our best to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, we become a little bit better at baking, a little bit better at following the Master Baker.
I know the message I´m sharing every day is the truth! I know Jesus Christ lives and He loves you all so much. Never forget it and never forget I love you too! Hasta proxima semana!
p.s. Oh and these are the scriptures we´re going to use:
definition of repentance in the Bible Dictionary
2 Nephi 9:23
2 Nephi 32:5Moroni 8:25-26