I am so sorry for the lack of emails lately. Monday's are busy, busy busy days and it is a struggle to fit everything in.
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. There is nothing harder in the world but nothing better. I get to testify of Jesus the Christ every single day and there is nothing that brings more joy than standing up for Him. I love teaching people about His church - the exact same church that He established when He walked on the earth. I love surprising people when I speak Spanish with them - they can never quite believe that two gringas are in front of them speaking some fairly decent Spanish! I have even started to like parallel parking - something my dad probably thought I would never do willingly! I love California and I love that I still have 11 months to preach this marvelous gospel of change and repentance.
Right now we are teaching several incredible people. Andrea is 16, her mother is a member of the church but Andrea was never baptized. She is amazing. She has come to church several times and fits right in! It has been really cool to listen to all she has learned from us and to watch her change as she strives to come closer to God. Alfredo is probably in his 60s and is the coolest person ever! He used to have a lot of problems with drinking, but he quit it all and I LOVE when we visit him because he just talks about all the changes he has seen in his life since he started learning from us. He says he feels happier and has more desires to do good and to be up and about instead of just sitting around. Victoria is also in her 60s and has great desires to help her family come to Christ. Her two sons have met with us a few times and her grandsons have come to church 3 times! They each have told us that they have felt changed as they come to Christ.
I have learned, through each of these people and the many others I have taught, that a true faith in Christ stems from a desire to learn of Him, and the courage to follow Him. True faith centered in Christ leads us to act, and to change through repentance. As we repent, we are able to leave in our past bad habits and guilt, and past mistakes can be washed away through baptism by immersion, by someone who holds the proper authority. We remain close to God after baptism by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and by keeping God's commandments so that He can continue to bless us. As we endure to the end and faithfully follow Him, we become changed through the power of the Atonement of Christ. I have felt that power in my life as I have followed that process. I have a long way to go, but what a blessing it is to know that He walks right beside me, guiding my every step. I count myself even more lucky that I get to see that process of change happening in the lives of people here in California, people I have come to know and love.
Thanks to each of you for your support! It means the world. I don't have tons of time to reply to individual people today but please know that I am grateful for you and your thoughtful emails.
Hermana Sarah Hirschi