Oddly enough, the Latin people say that all the time. Even though we aren’t speaking Italian. It’s fun.
Things are really moving along here in Killian West with Sister Calvo and I. We have really hit a stride and are teaching pretty well together! She really is becoming one of my best friends. The Lord really knew what he was doing when he put us together (even if at first I was a little apprehensive). I just love her so much! She is such a good example to me of exact obedience. She influences me so much each day and is really setting me up to have a successful rest of my mission by instilling within me good habits while still having a lot of fun with it. Spending all of your time in the work of the Lord really is the surest way to find pure, lasting happiness! It may be the hardest, most exhausting work I’ve ever done or possibly will do, but I adore it. Each day is a new lesson and progression.
I have been reading the first several chapters in second Nephi this week and have learned a lot about the Atonement. In chapter nine verses 6-7 it talks about the need for an ‘infinite atonement’. I have always heard this phrase and have thought, “That’s a nice image, but there really must be a limit to it because Christ suffered for everyone’s pains and sins.” It wasn’t until reading it this time that I understood how it was infinite (this may seem like an obvious thing, but it truly was a bit of a revelation for me): While Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves, and may even know every single choice that we will make in this life, he cannot judge us without giving us the opportunity to choose for ourselves. He may know the result, but he has to let us choose incorrectly sometimes to allow us to learn and understand the path we want to be on. Sometimes we have to hurt before we truly have that desire for healing and joy. The Savior’s Atonement is infinite not because he knew exactly what choices we would make and predetermined our judgement, but because he felt every pain possible. That was indeed a powerful thing for me to realize. He felt any awful thing that could ever be felt on this earth in order to pay the price and it is because of that it is infinite. Because it will pay over and over again for our transgressions until we figure things out or we die. Wow. It really is a humbling thing to realize that the Lord suffered so much to provide us with happiness and a freedom from guilt and pain, yet so many people continue to suffer in this life because they don’t know where to find the truth.
Sister Calvo and I had and AMAZING lesson with Christina this week! After listening to all of her problems and her concerns, we simply taught doctrine rather than tried to teach to her individual concerns and focused ourselves on the commandments and blessings received from keeping them. This has been something we have really been trying to focus on lately because of a lesson we had with Sandra that could have been described as a fiasco. I have now learned the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘concerns’, and can simply define the latter as ‘fears’. In a comp. study with our DL, Elder Williamson (his favorite interjections include, “a-MAZING!” “BEAU-tiful!” and “NIIIIIce!” – he worked at Disneyland), he compared the teaching styles of two of his favorite villians: Captain Hook (in Spanish, el capitan Garfio – so much cooler) and Ursula. Ursula gives one option to Ariel to satisfy her desires – give up your voice. Ariel begins to express her concerns with “…but how will I…?”, which we could fill in with a variety of things: talk to my father, tell Eric that I love him, order pizza, etc. Instead of giving her individual solutions to solving every. little. problem., Ursula simply overrides her with doctrine, corrupt as it may be (you’ve got your pretty face and never underestimate the power of body language – haha, awk)! And guess what, it works! She gets her voice and therefore converts her! Yet with Capt. Garfio trying to convince the Lost Boys to become pirates, he simply sings a song about how awesome and fun the life of a pirate is! And finishes with an ultimatum of “You can either sign-up or walk the plank”. With one tiny protest from Wendy, all of them are back to wanting to be Lost Boys again. Teaching to individual concerns like, “But I don’t know anyone at that church” or “But I really love drinking coffee every morning” really doesn’t work, because there will always be one more thing that will come up. Yet if we stick to pure doctrine, people will be able to get a testimony for themselves and conquer their fears through the help of the Lord as well as become personally converted. I don’t know how Elder Williamson comes up with this stuff, especially because he hasn’t seen any Disney movies for almost a year and a half, but it really was an effective analogy. He has a little too much Disney knowledge if you ask me, but he really is an amazing and inspiring District Leader.
Anyway, with Cristina, as Sis. Calvo was testifying of this – blessings received from commandment-keeping – I felt the Spirit burning in my face (that’s where I feel it when I need to say something – weird, I know), and just invited her to keep the commandments of God by being baptized on the 28th of this month! And she said yes! She even asked us at what time so that she could right it down and stick to it! Exact obedience really does wrought miracles.
As I am losing myself in the service of the people here, I really am learning more about myself than I realized possible in such a short amount of time. I am so thankful for the opportunity and responsibility to say and do the very things that Christ would say and do if he himself were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me – how great is my calling!
The subject line literally translates to “the crazy man of the coconut tree” – we often call our lovely ZLs this (in a very loving manner, of course) because they call us all the time and leave us crazy Spanish rap voicemails. I invite you to include it in your everyday speech. I also learned that “platanaso” is not simply restricted to bananas! You can use just about any fruit you would like to hit someone with! In Cuba the most popular is “pinaso” – pineapple – but one could also use naranjaso (orange) or manzanaso (apple) too! Great fun.
SO MUCH LOVE YOUR WAY!