December 17, 2014 Week #22 All I Want For Christmas…

Is YOU!!!!!! (Queue background singers) You baby!

Sorry, that song was playing in the grocery store. It’s my favorite.

I found my twin!

I found my twin!

Well.  This was the best week of my entire mission. The Lord is real. The Lord is near! He is right there with us every step of the way! He loves us so much. I know it. I feel it. His hand was blatantly made manifest to us over and over again this week and our hearts are so full.  I found myself asking, “Lord, how is it done?”

With every passing day I feel that I am digging deeper and deeper into the gold mine of the great mysteries of our Lord–His love and His radical mercy.  And the deeper I go, the more I find that this mine of mystery and love is endless. Eternal. Without end. Alpha and Omega.  I am beginning to understand that I may not ever understand. I feel strangely calm about all of this. Instead of trying harder and harder to “get it,” I have set up camp comfortably in the realm of “stand[ing] all amazed.”  I plan on staying here for a long time.

12:17:14-3

New missionary transportation.

Well, I guess I better jump into the long list of miracles and tender mercies we saw this week–buckle up!

On Tuesday last week we received a text from Derlin informing us that she would not be able to be baptized. I didn’t tell you because I….just didn’t. It was almost like a personal wall I had to climb to just swallow that text message and jump into the great uncertainty of whether or not things would work out.  On Wednesday and Thursday, Hermana Alexander and I were wrestling with the decision to call the bishop and get word out to ward members to not come on Saturday. We thought long and hard. And we came to the conclusion that we should just plan on it. Just plan on it and exercise our faith. Faith is everything.

Thursday night came around and the phone beeped–Derlin informing us that something had happened and that she would be there. She just kept saying over and over how she knew it was right and was just going to do it. Things had “somehow” worked out. Oh what joy filled my SOUL!! Jumping up and down and laughing and even crying. Just so grateful and so very aware of how much the Lord loves each of us and answers our prayers.

Saturday was incredible. The program was scheduled to start at 4:00 pm sharp. As expected, Delrin and Ilka came promptly at 4:07.  I was only freaking out a little bit (ha). We snapped a few pictures and then went into the Primary Room with the waiting members and investigators. It was incredible. Derlin was shaking like a leaf, bless her heart. Not many people here know how to swim, and baptism is rather scary for a lot of people-solely because they will need to be going under that water. I thought of how much courage they have, how much trust they have in us and in our Lord to follow him into those waters (which were slightly green at our sweet chapel). How much they depend on Him and depend on us to show them the way. As members, we have such a tremendous responsibility to support and help and love and lead!

The prayer was said and Derlin went under. Talk about enduring to the end–third time is a charm!  Glowing and happy and still shaking, we sat down again and listened to the welcome from the bishop. To be honest, though, I don’t remember what he said.  I was so lost in that mine of our Lord’s mercies and love. I felt, truly, that scripture be fulfilled in D&C 18–how great was my joy. I felt like for the first time in my life, my joy was “complete.”

image2

I believe in miracles.

12:17:14-12

Joy status: complete

Sunday was the best ever. EVER. We had the most people there than we have had for months! Our little ward is coming back to life, it seems. Something happened a few years ago that caused many–many–people to fall away. I feel like we are finally seeing old friends come back–come home.  Once again–my joy is full. We had Angelica and her family come; Shelly; Isis Martinez and her investigating children; sweet Yolanda and Aida came; our investigator Guille came with her little ones with the Villanueva family; and Derlin was confirmed.

Man.

The Lord is so good! He is only good. Once again, during the confirmation, I was lost–I guess it didn’t help that there was no microphone so really no one could hear. But I was just lost in the mercies of our Lord! How great is His plan and how dearly He wants each of us to follow Him!  I could feel that so strongly as I sat there and tried to listen. It was so clear to me–this is it. This IS real life, or as close to it as we are ever going to get while on this earth. This is joy. And this is the plan for our eternity.

Watch out, Jeter. A storm's comin' your way.

Watch out, Jeter. A storm’s comin’ your way.

In “other news” everything is wonderful. We are meeting with Guille and she is progressing toward baptism.  She is probably the most humble, sweet woman ever. I love her so much. She has had a hard life that has left her with so many questions. We feel so privileged to be able to work with her and provide some eternal truths.  A few of the less active members we are working with are coming back to church–with a vengeance! They are commenting in class and sharing experiences and owning everything and with a head held high moving forward to where they need to be. It is so beautiful to me.

In other “other news,” I love the Book of Mormon. I love it. So much. I just want to swim in it. It is the best and will always give comfort and hope and answers. We just need to have the faith–the trust–that it will. I know it will! It is the keystone of our religion and the keystone of my testimony. It is how I know that Jesus is the Christ.

This work is hard and I sometimes feel like I am on a roller coaster. Getting super excited and let down and then hoping and praying and built up and seeing miracles and then…who knows what. But, you know what? I am so grateful and I feel so honored that the Lord is willing to work with me–incredibly imperfect me–in this, His great work. “To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  How great is our call! How great is His trust in each of us to help them on their way home.

I love you! Oh so much. You are my sunshine!

Hermana Boud

12:17:14-11

Las hermanas de casita #42–¡reunidas!

Long live the Holtoms!

Long live the Holtoms!

Oh! Oh my goodness. I totally forgot. I can’t believe that this was in the same week! On Friday we had our Christmas devotional as a mission. It was absolutely spectacular! The music was outrageously wonderful and powerful. I felt like I was sitting on the front row and listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!

Hermana Morgan read us a story called The Christmas Miracle–I think that is what it is called. It was about a woodcarver and a widow and a son. I loved it so much. It was so powerfully real. The message of it. The transformation that took place in the characters.  The little baby Jesus behind it all. I loved it. I don’t want to spoil it, but I give it some serious thumbs up for those who want to seek it out and read it!

President Morgan talked to us about the Christmas of 1914 that took place in the trenches of WWI. It was powerfully delivered and with the help us some pictures as he spoke, powerfully illustrated. I love that on that day the troubles of war were forgotten–at least for a moment. The sorrows and pains, the fears dissolved and the humanity returned.

This is Christmas. This is Christ. He is the Prince of Peace. I am grateful that He brings that to us, to the world, especially as the world sometimes seems to grow dimmer and dimmer in “the light of His love.”  Christmas on that year in WWI is remembered with a ceasefire, with a game of soccer, with exchanges of jams and jellies and talk of home and loved ones. I want Christmas to be like that every year–an end to our fighting and struggling,  and hope returning in each of our lives.

That is one of my favorite parts about missionary work–we spread hope.  Whether they are baptized or not, whether they show up to church or not, whether they follow through with our invitations and their commitments, they have a little more hope. They at least know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel–that there is a Prince of Peace waiting to receive them. I love seeing the light that immediately comes into people’s eyes and hearts when they realize that they have a Savior. It is so beautiful.

Ok, sorry I forgot to write about that earlier, ah!

Love you!

Hermana Boud

12:17:14-9

Decking the halls…

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