I have been home for four months now. Crazy, I know. Where has the time gone? I am so grateful for my mom who was so diligent in keeping this blog while I was gone. Ive had to limit to opening it only on Sunday's because if not, my homework does not get done. It makes me cry, and laugh and makes me feel so grateful for the opportunity I had to serve such incredible people. Coming home has by far been the hardest part of this whole journey. I often tell people that the reason Heavenly Father sent me so far away, is so that I can't go back as easily, because we all know I would be there in a heartbeat. :) Bolivia still has my whole heart, and I think it always will. I love those people and that calling so much!
Even though, it can be hard coming home it has also been the greatest experience. I rely more on my mission and the things I learned so much more than I ever thought. My faith has grown as Ive moved away from home, started school and work. I am happy to be living and progressing personally. It is sometimes hard because even in this busy life, I don't feel the satisfaction like I did in the mission, and I don't think I ever will. But because of that, I have discovered the importance of personal scripture study, sincere prayer and serving others. Just as I was taught in the mission. No mission badge needed! Since I have been home I have seen countless blessings, they comfort me in knowing that I served my mission how the Lord wanted. I cannot express how grateful I am for those blessings and desire to be worthy of each one of them and the many that are still coming.
So, the journey continues. It may not contain vast quantities of rice and potatoes, homeless dogs, parasites, bagged liquids or hand washed laundry. But, I have a pretty good feeling it will continue to include lots of prayer, countless scripture verses, spiritual impressions, miracles, life changing experiences, trials, faith filled decisions, and those pretty great blessings that I talked about earlier. Life is good, it always has been. But, I am realizing that it is pretty great living it as a returned missionary. Blessed with the principles of Obedience, Faith and the power of the Holy Ghost. So, I say; Let the journey continue!
Saturday, June 4, 2016
I am sitting here at my kitchen table and I wanted to include you this morning in my personal study. Coming home, has been more eye-opening than I ever thought. I feel so blessed that the Lord called me to serve somewhere that separated me from the chaos of the world. A place where I didn't hear things on the news or read others on a social media website. I think returning back to such a world was what I was most worried about as I prepared to return home. And now being back I understand why. I can't help but see our society and think of the Book of Mormon. Oh, how I love that book! In the Book of Mormon we see a cycle of pride among the people. At one moment they are righteous and grateful to the blessings which the Lord bestows upon them, but they too quickly become consumed by those blessings and gratitude turns to selfishness. They turn to pride (which President Ezra Taft Benson states as the "universal sin"). Wickedness over runs the lands, and God who once was the center of their lives is put on the outskirts. Due to this, destruction unfolds and suffering occurs to the point that the people are brought to repentance and are forcibly humbled to God's power to deliver them out of their undesired state. Then it repeats, and repeats.
We read in the scriptures that God is the same yesterday, today and forever but, aren't we as well? Don't we see that same cycle of pride around us today? At least we were promised that we will never fall into another apostasy. :) Thank goodness for that!
I share this because I feel as though during the last 18 months of my life I have been humbled, my faith has grown, I am grateful. Whereas during those same 18 months the world has been shifting more deeply into the category of pride and wickedness, putting God on the outskirts. Its challenging to literally be flown and dropped amidst it. To remain reverent, to live amongst it when just previously I was living a life that brought pure joy, yes it may have been hard at times and exhausting but, it brought a glimpse of eternal happiness. I now understand how Nephi must have felt being amongst his brothers. Or Samuel the Lamanite standing on that wall. Or Moroni as he hid the golden plates, to protect them as those around him sought his life. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the gospel. I know that it is more important that we look at this pride cycle with a personal perspective, that we strive to remain righteous. A few months ago, during the elections in Bolivia I wrote this home to my family:
"Our Salvation is personal, it will not matter who is presiding over our country. More important is the type of government we have within our own homes, who we choose to preside over our families. The power of the priesthood will be stronger than any power any worldly government can hold. And unlike worldly government, the one within our homes won't crumble, won't fall into temptation. It will carry us through the most trying times, because we choose it through repentance, obedience and love."
I look forward to living this statement, to marrying a worthy Priesthood holder. We will serve the Lord however we can, we will love Him and put Him at the center of our lives. Not matter what we may face.
I have been home only a short time, I am adjusting slowly but, it is so much fun to be home with my family and to to share with them experiences that have changed my life forever. I am blessed!
Monday, May 2, 2016
"And they were instruments in God’s hands to bring to many the understanding of the truth, an understanding of their Redeemer. And how blessed they are!" Mosiah 27: 36-37
I am blessed!
This week was a great week. Paola was baptized! A month and a half ago I never would have imagined her being baptized. She has changed so much and I am so grateful that I could be a little part of her conversion and be here for her baptism, even if it was a little stressful because we flooded the church building filling up the font. Ha-ha. It’s just another great story to add to the list. I love her and I can’t wait to see what she does in life.
This week I just want to share my testimony.
I never thought my time as a missionary could have such an impact on me. The Lord has done something in me these last 18 months that I can’t explain. I have been converted. I have seen the Lord work wonders among His children here in Bolivia. This is God’s plan. There is nothing sweeter or more rewarding. Being a representative of Jesus Christ I have come to understand this plan. I have enjoyed every moment of my mission. The hard moments, the happy moments, the sad moments, but most of all I cherish the moments that pushed me to depend on the Lord because there was no other option. Those experiences have taught me humility and made me the missionary the Lord needs to carry out such a sacred work. God lives. Jesus Christ is our Savior; I have no doubt now because I have witnessed the Atonement in action. I am grateful for this time I have had to serve the Lord as a missionary. And I look forward to living everything I have learned throughout my life. These people are engraven upon my heart. They have blessed me more than I could have ever blessed them.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I also wanted to write a quick testimony in Spanish because it is the language I have spoken during my time here in Bolivia.
Quiero también escribir un poco en español porque es el idioma en cual he hablado toda mi misión. Yo sé que está es la iglesia de Jesucristo. Como misionera he podido compartir un mensaje de nuestro Padre Celestial a sus hijos acá en Bolivia. He visto milagros. Las personas acá tienen un don de sentir el espíritu. Amo cada uno de ellos con todo mi corazón. Espero que sientan el amor de su Padre Celestial y Salvador y que siempre estén a sostenerlos. Estoy agradecida por mi misión y todo que aprendí.
Well, there is still a week left and as I promised I must work until the very last moment. I love you and I hope you have a great week! I will see you Tuesday!
Love, Hermana Lomax
Monday, April 25, 2016
I feel as though the Lord is blessing me in these last weeks so that I may go home knowing that I have served Him well.
This week has been another great week, so full of emotions. At the beginning of this week I got a virus on one of my memory cards so I lost all those pictures. Thankfully, I had saved most of them to another memory card. Now I am just waiting for the man at the Internet Cafe to see if he can restore the ones that were not saved.
On Wednesday my money pouch got stolen from my bag and I had to tell the trufi (bus) driver that I didn’t have money to pay him. I felt so bad, but he was nice about it.
Thursday we had Zone Conference. I had to give my last testimony, it was really hard, but a spiritual experience. We learned so much at that conference.
The best part of my week was Saturday because we had a baptism. Mihjael got baptized! It was such a great day. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful the Spirit is as one of God's children enters the waters of baptism. Mihjael has changed so much. It was good to see his cousins who are members there to support him.
Sunday we had Ward Conference. All the stake leaders came and spoke. The theme was Love One Another. It was a great day.
We have seen so many miracles these last few weeks, I feel as though the Lord really is blessing me in these last weeks so that I may go home knowing that I have served Him well.
Well, I’m sorry I don’t have time to write much. There is much to do, and it’s not gonna get done if I’m sitting here at the computer. I love you all so much!
Love, Hermana Lomax
|My favorite! He had no idea why I wanted to take his picture. :)|
Monday, April 18, 2016
I never thought time could pass so quickly, I feel like I am not in control anymore. But, I know the Lord and His angels are. These last few weeks have been a testament to me that the Lord leads us to where we must be in the precise moments that we must be there. We are seeing miracles!
My companion got sick this week. Poor girl. She is such a dedicated missionary that she even threw up outside of an investigators home. Its such a bummer when things like this happen, especially when all you want is to be out teaching the gospel. Fortunately, we are blessed in this ward to have great members always willing to go out with us. On Wednesday, Hermana Fuenzalida stayed with our pensionista while I went out and worked with a cute girl in our ward that recently returned home from her mission in Peru. It was a great day. We met families, and taught spiritually uplifting lessons.
Thursday, Hermana Fuenzalida was feeling better so we went out and worked...hard. We are seeing a lot of progress in the people who we teach.
Friday, the stake had a primary activity, a Pioneer Festival. We took some kids we are teaching (Paola´s younger siblings). It was so cute to see all the little kids perform pioneer dances. You can only imagine how cute it was to see little Bolivian children try and dance like the pioneers. I know it must have been strange for them because their style of dance is VERY different.
On Sunday, we woke early and went to Ward council. While in Ward council the bishop asked if we could speak in Sacrament meeting. It’s normal, and now not so stressful. We also taught the lesson in Relief Society, but we knew about that one and were able to plan a little bit. And to make it even better we had 7 investigators at church, the most in all my time in this area. Like I said, we are seeing miracles! Later that night the young women had their New Beginnings and we were able to take Paola. It was so cute. We fought hard to take a picture with her. Oh that girl….good thing I love her to pieces.
It has been a great week and we topped if off today. For P-day we woke up early and drove 4 hours to the jungle. I have been dying my whole mission to go to Incachaka. It is so pretty. I’ve never seen so much green in my life. It was muddy and wet. There were vines and weird birds and insects everywhere. We didn’t find any monkeys, unfortunately. God has incredible creations on this earth and I feel so blessed to take them in. We are tired, but SO excited for this week. To give everything we have and serve the Lord with all our hearts. We are looking forward to more miracles!
I hope you all have a great week, I love you and I pray for you always!
Love, Hermana Lomax
Monday, April 11, 2016
"The great thing about the gospel is that we get credit for trying even if we don’t always succeed."
This has been a great week. We have been working hard. I feel really blessed because I was able to see Hermana Males! On Tuesday we went all the way across Cochabamba to teach in a Zone meeting. It happened to be Hermana Males’ Zone and she had no idea we were coming. It was a fun surprise and her face was priceless. It was so good to see her after 4 months. Then on Saturday we had exchanges with her and her companion. Hermana Males came here to my area with me. It was so fun. She is becoming an incredible missionary. She talks to everyone, she is obedient, and she knows how to teach with the spirit. I don’t know how I was so blessed to train her.
So, while we were on our exchanges we were teaching an older lady, named Maria, outside of her tienda. While we were teaching, another lady came up to us dressed in a skirt and a sun hat. Who else dresses like we do besides.... a Jehovah’s Witness. What a great surprise. She sat down right between Hermana Males and I. She told us that she has also been teaching Maria. We welcomed her right in and we continued to teach. At first I was a little nervous, but then I thought to myself, “why?”. I am a called and chosen missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought of the story in the Book of Mormon when Alma, his sons and the brothers of Mosiah went to the land of the Zoramites. When they arrived they found the people had misunderstood the teachings of the Lord. They were worshipping in a way so different from how the Lord had commanded. Alma and those with him took on the daunting task of correcting them in their wickedness and changing their hearts. They taught humility and reminded them of the true meaning of the scriptures. These missionaries were firm and filled with the spirit. In that moment I knew their experiences had become my own and it was my turn to teach as they did. I began to ask this lady about herself and her life, just like I have done with everyone I’ve met for the past 17 months. She began to ask me about my life and I began to share. As we continued she started arguing gospel principles. She started asking questions such as, “Where in the Bible does it say…..?” Those questions could have gone on for hours. Instead Hermana Males and me directed our attention to the hermana whom we had come to visit. She looked at us and told us that she is confused about which church is true, because there are so many, and they all seem to teach different principles. And at that moment it was very evident how true her statement was. We felt impressed to speak of prayer. We asked the Jehovah’s Witness if she would open her Bible and read Santiago 1:5 (I don’t remember his name in English at this moment). She read it aloud and for a moment even began teaching with us the importance of prayer. I was a little caught off guard. We shared our testimonies that prayer is the answer. God is our loving father; He will answer us if we seek him. We are not here to talk badly of other churches, to persuade unjustly. We are simply here as representatives of Jesus Christ to help people use their agency the way the Lord intended and to act for themselves in receiving answers. None of us can endure on borrowed light, we must have our own. That Jehovah’s Witness may have wondered how we as "Mormon Missionaries" have such great success. I hope she received an answer that afternoon. There was nothing for her to argue, it is basic truth that we all need no matter to what church we belong. We ended with a prayer and left, but only to the next house where we had another lesson. :)
I don’t know if I handled that situation the way the Lord would have if he were here, I hope so. It’s always a thought that runs through my mind at the end of everyday. But, I have received so much comfort in the words spoken by Elder Holland, when he said, "The great thing about the gospel is that we get credit for trying even if we don’t always succeed." I am trying to serve as the Lord would have me do. I still have much to learn. I have often felt the burden that there is so little time to learn so much, what a heavy feeling that is. But, I feel as though Elder Holland was speaking to me. He gave me the comfort in knowing that the Lord will do wonders with me whether here in Bolivia or at home.
I love you, I pray for you and I hope the very best for each of you.
Love, Hermana Lomax
|My daughter in the mission, Hermana Males.|
|Peanut Butter & Oreos!|
|I was finally able to get Paola to take a picture with me. :)|