Wednesday, August 9, 2017

He Paid The Price

Hello Family & Friends!

One day this past week my companion and I left our house, and as we were walking we saw the ugliest cat (I hate cats). But this animal looked like a zombie; it was soaking wet and scary skinny. It looked like it had been flattened by a car … that skinny. It looked like death, and out of nowhere I just started feeling so sad for this ugly cat, and started basically crying, haha. We were late for our appointment, but I just couldn’t leave it there dying of hunger. My companion wanted to kill me for being dramatic, but we ran back and got some rice and beans and we were trying to feed it. I was still crying, causing a scene, and in moments there was a small crowd around us. We saw one of our investigators (Jose) too, as he passed by curious to know why this dramatic American was crying over a street cat. Long story short, a young guy was walking past us with a cart and I asked if he had water to give, and then the cat started having seizures and looked possessed by Satan, and we decided to just let it be, haha. We walked away and, within 20 steps, I felt prompted to turn around and ask the cart guy his name. We started a conversation and found out that he became inactive from the church a year ago, and before he went inactive was thinking about serving a mission. Later that night we were talking to Jose and he said that he knew that our messages were true from the start, but that today he received his answer. He said that he said a prayer in the morning that if he saw us sisters in the street that he would be baptized. If we wouldn’t have stopped for the ugly cat we would’ve missed seeing Jose in the street! That dumb cat brought so many miracles into our day. I am almost convinced that the cat wasn’t even real because when we returned to our house, its body wasn’t even there, haha. It was some type of angel for sure, haha. But really, I love seeing how miracles come to pass in the mission.

My favorite lesson of all time was this week with Irmao Batista and Irmao Gerry. Irmao Batista is a member of 20 years, but goes in and out of being active, due to his addiction to alcohol. But he has a degree in Theology, so he reads the scriptures from cover to cover. We try to teach him, but he just knows way more than we do, and he usually does the teaching. We thought of a different way to teach him. We bought some candy and my companion offered each person one piece, and for every piece she gave, I had to do 2 push-ups. At first it was funny and they were laughing, as the first couple were easy, but then as I started to struggle they told me to stop. My companion started to offer them candy and they said, “no, we don’t want more … we don’t want her to suffer anymore”. My companion held on to the piece, but then ordered me to do 2 more push-ups. They started yelling "why does she have to do 2 more, I didn’t want the candy anymore”? I started to really struggle, and my arms were shaky and weak. Irmao Batista started yelling "stop this, stop this right now, enough, enough!" Irmao Batista just started sobbing, because he calls me his daughter and "my missionary", and was just dying watching me suffer for him. I continued until I literally couldn’t do anymore. When I stood up, Irmao Batista tried to offer me the candy that he had earned, and I looked at him and said "no, you keep them, I already paid for those". It finally clicked, and he burst into tears and kept saying over and over, "now I understand, I understand, you are representing the Savior."

It was the most spiritual lesson I have ever had in my life. We testified of the Savior’s Atonement and that, whether or not we decide to use the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in our lives, He already paid the price. It is our responsibility to use the gift He gave us. We had a lesson with a woman who said that Jesus Christ was "everything" to her, but when I asked her what she is doing to show that in her life she said "nothing". The life of Jesus isn’t just a beautiful story to tell, but it is a living example of our potential to change and follow His footsteps and be His hands.

I love my Savior. I strive to be like Him, but fall short way too often and in way too many ways. I pray every day to more fully understand and comprehend the Atonement of Jesus Christ in my life. As I learn more about the Atonement, I am able to see my weaknesses, and the way that He is able to turn my weaknesses into strengths and also see that potential in others.

Sunday, as I bore my testimony about this experience, I looked at Irmao Batista and at Jose, who was wearing a baseball hat and swim trunks to church, and I was just overcome with love and a desire to really come to know my Savior. I feel more than honored to be able to say that I am a representative of Jesus Christ, and I am still trying to live up to that title every day.

Love you,

Sister Vance

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