This passed week was FANTASTIC! I hit my 10 month mark off by listening to General Conference. What a great privilege we had to listen to our leaders! I was spiritually uplifted and many prayers were answered. I especially loved President Monson´s STRONG, but short testimony of the Book of Mormon. If you didn´t get the chance to listen to all of the sessions, go listen to them!
It was a rough week last week. I just did not feel right here in Esperanza, but after an interview with President Castillo and an intercambio (exchanges) with Hermana Eastwood -see pics below - I was lifted up to new heights. President told me that when the hard times come I need to just keep pushing forward and work harder. He also told me that I need to help my comp learn to work diligently. Then Hermana Eastwood told me a couple of things that I would like to share with you all. She told me that I will make a difference in the lives of the people around me just with who I am. Then she shared a quote with me, ¨Turn to your Savior and lay all of your burdens at His feet. Then go, BOLDLY, bravely, and sweetly with spiritual gifts that only you, Sister Maikoski have... and tell others the source of your peace.¨ She told me that I was bold, brave, and sweet and that I will be able to help others with those spiritual gifts. It was really amazing to see just how much my Father in Heaven loves me that He gave me that boost through those around me.
Anyway, Esperanza really is a special area. There are dragonflies EVERYWHERE - those who know me will know why I love that. The missionaries that have been here have been here for a while and have negative attitudes about everything in regards to the ward and the members. As I followed the counsel of my leaders and read a specific talk: "La Hermana Susan Fulcher", I have found the way to overcome that. With the ray of Sunshine that I am, I can be positive. There is a quote that says, ¨whoever is happy will make others happy too.¨ That is very true. How can we be happy? By serving others. I decided to write notes to the members for all that they have done for me since I have been here. Also I have made them brownies and banana bread. I have seen a HUGE change in the members. They are happier and willing to work more with us. Also we have to do a lot of finding the ¨lost sheep¨. There are a lot of members that were baptized that are already inactive. We are going to go strengthen them and ask them for referrals. I find that is a better way to find new people than knocking on doors. I am just so amazed at this work and know that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. He wants all of us to return to His presence. It is our responsibility to help others and be a light to those around us.
I want to share a scripture that is in Doctrine and Covenants 123 verse 17. It says, ¨ Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.¨ If we have a positive attitude about everything and realize that we can´t change some things, we will be able to see the arm of our God extended toward us. There are tender mercies every day. We just need to search for them and recognize the will of the Father.
I love this work and I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be a missionary during this time. I know that the things that I learn as a missionary can be applied to all of us.
I love you all and have a great week,