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.
Monday, February 22, 2016
This week was an interesting one. Tuesday we had intercambios (exchanges) with some sisters in our zone. They are always fun and I come away learning so much from the them. On Thursday we taught one of our sweet investigators how to make spaghetti. We finally had our turn to cook food and serve it to others. Lets just say I put the least amount of food on my plate. :) Also, President gave me permission to go back t0 Huayani on Thursday night to have a Family Home Evening with the Caceres Family. They have been through some rough patches in the last year since their baptisms. Unfortunately, Zail went back to Peru and they are in the process of getting divorced and Cintia’s dad suddenly passed away a few weeks ago. The Elders serving there (they closed the area to Sister’s) told me the family has been off and on in attending church, so I asked President for a favor, I wanted to go visit them. The Family Home Evening went well. They are keeping on; you can tell this has all been very hard on Cintia. We once again discussed the Plan of Salvation. I gave her a picture we took a year ago when we first taught her about the plan. It was a picture of a display on a white board. For this lesson I printed pictures of her family, pictures of her with her parents. I still had those pictures from her baptism video we made a year ago. For some reason back then I thought it would be useful to keep them. There were a lot of tears shed and the Spirit was strong. They are so blessed to know of the plan. We shared how blessed her dad is also to have someone here who can do his work for him. We finished FHE by talking about how important it is to stay firm and continue on the straight and narrow path so that we can reach our goal of having an Eternal Family. It was so good to spend a little time with them and to see their progression in the gospel. We are planning a Family Home Evening with them in the Mission Home in the next couple of weeks and Mariana is just so excited to have Hermana Hansen’s brownies again. Ha-ha.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were a little rough here in Bolivia. It’s election time and the country is experiencing significant civil unrest. It’s been quite the news. The election is to determine whether or not to allow the current president another term in office. He has already served for two terms. Most Bolivians are highly opinionated regarding the issue, which can be a little dangerous for us as missionaries. The Area Presidency informed us that we were only allowed to attend the scheduled lessons planned for Friday and Saturday; otherwise we needed to remain home. Sunday, which was voting day we were not allowed to leave our homes at all. Let me just tell you, missionaries are not meant to be kept home, we start going crazy! We have all been praying that things will settle down this week. I believe they find out the results tonight but we aren’t sure. We all feel like we’re living in Book of Mormon times. :) It’s been quite interesting.
Well, I hope you have a great week! Talk to you next week! Love you!
Monday, February 15, 2016
You may ask yourself what missionaries do during Carnivals in Bolivia when they are on lockdown. Well, this is what we did: Tuesday we were not allowed to leave to proselyte, so we studied, wrote in our journals and then we went outside with the family we live with and had a little water fight. The Elders called us to see about borrowing one of our movies, so we planned a surprise attack on them. We had a huge water balloon fight! We got them so good and they didn’t expect a thing. The kids loved it and had the best time! Then we had a late night (9:00) with some other sisters in our zone. We made s’mores and watched a church movie. We spent the rest of the week getting soaked, but it’s actually quite refreshing since it’s been so hot.
This week I was able to apply something my mom shared with me a few weeks ago when she wrote me about her week. As she wrote on a Sunday evening she shared that that day family had come down to support my brother receiving the Priesthood and then came to dinner at our house afterwards. She spent all day Saturday making preparations for a special day and late that night still had to prepare a lesson for Young Women’s. She wrote; "As I was preparing my lesson late that night, I had the thought that it wasn’t right that I was giving so little time to my calling and said a prayer before going to sleep that I would be blessed with the spirit as I taught. It was a really important lesson and I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t going to be better prepared. But, Sunday came and my lesson could not have gone better. This was a great reminder to me that Heavenly Father is aware of our circumstances. He knew that my intentions were good as I was trying to provide a special day for family and keep up with all the demands. I’m grateful that he hears and answers prayers and understands that if we give all we can and still feel like we’re lacking, He will make up the difference. I just thought you would enjoy that story, because I’m sure you see it happen all the time." Her words must have been inspired because it was something that I needed this week and I found myself reflecting a lot on that email. As a Sister Training Leader we have to assist in Leadership Councils every month. It’s a council where all the leaders of the mission - President, Assistants, Secretaries, Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders attend in order to receive council that President feels our mission needs. We then take the things we learn and have Zone meetings to teach all the missionaries in the mission. It was scheduled for Thursday. On Wednesday, we had a full day of appointments since we knew we would not be working most of the day Thursday. At about 5:30 on Wednesday evening we received a call from the Assistants. They informed us that the leaders coming from Potosi were not going to be able to make it for the council due to the blockades. The Sister Training Leaders in Potosi had been asked weeks prior to give a 30-minute class on Enduring to the End. But, since they were not able to come they would have no one to teach the class. That’s when they asked if we could prepare something quickly and give the 30-minute class. I looked at my companion and smiled an unsure smile, said yes and hung up. Lets just say we freaked out for just a second and began to think of how we could teach the lesson. We still had quite a few lessons scheduled for the evening and decided we needed to keep them. By the time we finished our visits at about 7:30 we went to the Internet Cafe to print out a few quotes and find a video. By the time we got home we were tired but began to plan, that’s when we received another phone call from our Zone Leaders, the time for the council had changed. We normally have it at 12:00, but since Potosi wasn’t joining us, there was no need to wait for their flight. They changed it to 8:00 in the morning. Our hearts started to pound again because that meant we wouldn’t have time in the morning to buy the last minute things we needed or do some last minute preparations. We planned as well as we could and then as I was preparing for bed those same thoughts that my mom shared with me entered into my mind. I wish I could have had more time to prepare, this was something SO important, but we also knew we had to make our visits that night. They are the reason we are here. I knelt at my bedside and offered a prayer much like my mom's "that we would be blessed with the Spirit as we taught". Then we offered a similar prayer as a companionship. The alarm went off at 5:30 that morning; we arose, got ready, gathered our things, prayed and left to find those last minute things we needed. We got to the church building a little early, prepared for our class and we began. We had butterflies in our stomachs, hoping that our class would touch the hearts of those in the room and that we would reach the time limit. As the meeting began suddenly the lights went out. There was no power, which meant we wouldn’t be able to show the video about how the Sabbath is a delight. We were disappointed because it was going to be such a powerful part of our class. Hna. Hansen taught about Faith, President about Repentance, the Assistants about Baptism, two Zone Leaders about The Gift of the Holy Ghost and now it was our turn to teach about Enduring to the End. Right then the lights came back on. There was power! I said one last prayer in my heart and we began to teach. And as my mom put it "It could not have gone better". The spirit was strong, it flowed, we were able to show the video, and it was exactly 30 minutes. Our prayers were answered. President gave us a very nice compliment after the meeting. It is SO true what my mom said. The Lord blesses us in our circumstances if we are engaged in a good cause. He truly does make up the difference and goes beyond the powers of this world to do so. After we left we prayed a prayer of great gratitude to our Heavenly Father.
This was not the end of learning this lesson. On Sunday we woke, prepared our papers, and attended Ward Council before church started. After Ward Council we were walking to the chapel where the meeting would start in just 5 minutes. One of the bishopric members stopped us and told us the couple assigned to talk had just called bishop and said they weren’t going to make it. Then he asked if we could each give a 10-minute talk in Sacrament meeting. We smiled and said yes. The feeling of butterflies in our stomach returned, but at this point we were all too comfortable with it. I began to flip through my scriptures because they were all I had with me. I knew it was important to pay attention to the sacrament, so I put my scriptures down and during that time I reflected on my Savior, as we should. After the sacrament was complete, it was my turn to speak. I prayed again in my heart that I would be blessed with the Spirit to touch the hearts of the congregation. And once again it could not have gone better and the Spirit was strong. I think it was one of the best sacrament meeting talks I’ve given.
This week I had only 2 of many experiences during my mission where the Lord has carried me above my own abilities when I have felt unprepared. As my mom wrote, “He is aware of our circumstances”, He does bless us when we are engaged in His work. So, my mom was right, I am seeing this happen all the time! And it is truly marvelous!
I hope you all have a great week! Look for the Lord's hand in your life and you will be marveled as well. I love you all so much!
Love, Hermana Lomax
Monday, February 8, 2016
We had transfers yesterday….and neither Hermana Cruz or I are going anywhere. We are really happy to be staying together. Transfers these days just go by so fast. It doesn’t feel like we have been together 8 weeks. This week was quite interesting; I will try my best to put it all together. I’ve always said there’s never a dull moment in the mission.
Thursday Hermana Wing came in from Sucre as she was preparing to go home. (I am SO glad I’m not in her place right now, but it just made me realize how close that day is coming for me. :/) She stayed with us, since Siglo XX was once her area. We had so much fun together! We were companions when she had 9 month in the mission and I had 7. Crazy! She was very lucky to get into Cochabamba from Sucre because there are strikes happening here in Bolivia for elections and none of the busses are running. Luckily, she was able to get on an airplane. However, there was a sister in Potosi, also going home who couldn’t get here because there isn’t an airport in Potosi. Poor girl. :(
On Friday all the missionaries returning home had a training in the city. We woke up early and finished packing Hermana Wing’s things. When we tried to call for a taxi we learned that the strikes had come into the city. Apparently, all the entrances into the city were blocked. We had no idea what to do. Everyone told us to take a taxi to the blockades, cross the street, and then take another taxi to the Stake Center. But, when we arrived at the blockades and got out we realized it wasn’t going to be that easy. There was a guy there with a wheelbarrow and he told us we could use it for Wing’s suitcases and walk. We called the assistants and started walking. It was quite the adventure and of course it was pouring rain. We ended up walking all the way to the Stake Center, through a whole lot of striking. We walked for an hour and a half and just couldn’t help but laugh all along the way. Now we know Cochabamba really well. We said our goodbyes and dropped Wing off at the Stake Center, and then we had to figure out how to get back to our area. By now the streets were getting dangerous and the people were becoming aggressive. So, we were stuck in the city all day. Luckily, we were able to find our way to my old area in Villa Moscu. I was able to go and visit a few people. We ate lunch with the Assistants at a sweet couples house that I came to know really well while I served there. It was fun, but we were so tired and just wanted to get back to our area and work. Finally, at 6:30 pm the strikes ended and all the roads were opened up. We made it back just in time for a Family Home Evening with a family in our ward.
So, the sister from Potosi finally got here this morning. They had to walk a few hours on back trails to get to Sucre so that she could fly here. It’s been so crazy with these elections.
I cannot believe Hermana Wing is home. The time has gone by so fast. She is a great missionary, she worked hard and I am so grateful we got the chance to be companions. We are already planning our get together and her birthday since I made her spend hers in the hospital last year.:)
Today and tomorrow is Carnivals. Which means we will be spending the day tomorrow in our house. The Balderrama family, who we live with, was waiting for us to get home from grocery shopping this morning and attacked us with water balloons. We are both soaked. Ha-ha. They are so cute. So we are now going home to get them back. Everyone is in the streets throwing water balloons and shooting water guns. Like I wrote last year, it’s a water war outside.
I am excited for this transfer. Hermana Chicaiza called me last night and she is coming to an area close to our zone, so I’m going to be her Capacitadora. I am excited to work with her again. I already know it’s going to fly by, but we are excited to make the best of every moment!
I love you all so much. I hope you have a great week!!!!
Love, Hermana Lomax
|Goodbye Hermana Wing!|
|Zone Conference with Hermana King and Hermana Cruz.|