Thursday, July 17, 2014

Called as Zone Leaders and she shares her love for her district. Describes living in Mexico City with armed guards and gunshots. Remarkably the CCM is a heaven on earth! ~ Mission Week 3

It has been quite the week this week. First of all, Hermana Steele and I have been called as Hermana Zone Leaders. Crazy stuff. We will start next week when the other zone leaders leave. My Spanish is terrible and I have no idea how I can help my zone with the aspect of the language. However, Hermana Steele and I have such a strong companionship and I know we can help out our zone. The District we are in is amazing, but the other districts in our zones have been having some problems. We have been asked to really be blunt, and I have no problem with that :) I hope that we can help the other districts to be more Christ like towards each other. We were called for a reason, and Hermana Steele and I are determined to help the districts make the changes that are necessary. We want everyone to have a good experience at the CCM.

That being said, my own district is amazing! Seriously, I thank my lucky stars everyday for all of them. We get along so well. They are literally my family. We love spending time together.  Even during our gym hour, we all play volleyball together. You all know how much I hate sports, but I love playing with my district! It’s not competitive at all and we have a grand ole´ time! They make me laugh so hard I cry. I've needed some laughter in my life, and my district brings the light in my life that I need. I have never felt such a love or closeness to a group of people in my life. One thing we all love doing is talking in Spanglish or speaking in Spanish with a super obnoxious Gringo accent. It drives our teachers crazy, but they can’t help but laugh with us and have a good time. It makes class more enjoyable and we have a great time. 

Next, I want to talk a little bit about what the CCM is like. It is a literal cielo, or heaven here. It’s crazy though, it reminds me of a prison. There is barbed wire around all of the walls in the entire CCM. The wire is there for good reasons though. I typically hear 3 to four gun shots a day. It’s amazing how blessed and safe we are here. Mexico City itself is so impoverished and scary and we are so fortunate to live in such a nice place with free food and all of our needs being met. It’s been quite the humbling experience and I've truly realized how great we have it in America. 

On another note about the CCM, I am somewhat of a celebrity here. All of the Latino Hermanos and Hermanas think my hair is the coolest thing they've ever seen. I guess they don't come by blond, curly haired girls very often! Whenever I go places, they'll just stare and point at me in amazement. They even will ask to get pictures with me! When a huge group of them were leaving to go to the airport, they all swarmed around me and all asked if they could get pictures with me. They all tell me that my hair is ¨muy bonita¨ and want to touch it. It’s been quite the experience! Haha.

Now I want to talk about some spiritual highlights of the week. First, I want all of you and the Jensen’s to know that you are always in my prayers. During personal study this week, I have been searching for scriptures of comfort with all that has happened lately. There are several I want to share with you all. The first is Jacob 3:1. It talks about how God will always console you in your afflictions, will plead your cause, and is a just God. What a comfort that scripture is. God knows the intents of our hearts and through the atonement of Christ, he will plead our cause. I know that Reagan is in the loving arms of our brother Jesus Christ and that all is well. What an incredible gift it is for us to know of the plan of Salvation, repentance, and the atonement. It blows my mind and breaks my heart that some people don't have that knowledge. I am so grateful that I am on a mission. My entire purpose is to bring people this knowledge, that the plan of happiness is real and that through the atonement we can be with loved ones again and see them again. I think we all, including me, take this for granted and sometimes don't realize how amazing it is that we know this. I can’t wait to share this knowledge and bring hope into families lives who think that this life is the end. This is not the end, and we should never forget how precious this knowledge is.

There is one more scripture I want to share that has given me a lot of comfort. I was talking to my branch president about the things going on at home, and he shared D and C 31:1 through 4. Joseph Smith received revelation for Thomas Marsh, who is called as a missionary. It talks about how he and his family who have many afflictions, will be blessed because of his missionary service, to lift up his heart and rejoice, and that his tongue will be loosed and he will declare glad tidings of great joy to this generation and that he will testify of Joseph Smith. This scripture made me so emotional. I couldn't believe how applicable this was to me. I know that all of you will be blessed while I am gone; I have a great work and calling to do here. My branch President also told me that because I am a representative of Jesus Christ, that all of my family and friends, all of you, will feel Gods love for you through me. This is by no power of my own, but by the spirit and authority I have been given by God. I want you all to know how special you are to God. If there is anything I could for you all right now, it would be for all of you to feel Gods infinite love for you. It makes me emotional even just writing this. The amount of love he has for you is so great and infinite. You are never forgotten. I testify to all of you that you can feel his love, comfort, and peace through this beautiful gospel. I hope this if you cant personally feel it for yourself that you can somehow feel it through me and the spirit and authority I have been given by God. I feel his love for all of you, and it is so overwhelming and powerful. Never forget that you are loved and that God and Christ are waiting with open arms for you if you let them help you.

One last spiritual experience I want to share. My testimony of Joseph Smith has dramatically grown here. I have memorized the first vision in Spanish and was able to give it in my lesson with Miguel, my fake investigator. The spirit was so incredible. I was surprised by how emotional I was. I was so overcome by the Spirit. An instant feeling of peace and conviction came over me as I told Miguel it. It was all I could do to not start bawling. I received an overwhelming witness that what I was saying was without a shadow of a doubt true. I could not deny it, and I knew Miguel knew I couldn't deny it. What I was saying was true doctrine. I've always had a testimony of Joseph Smith, but my knowledge and testimony of the first vision dramatically grew. I was able to look Miguel straight in the eyes and confidently testify of the truthfulness of the first vision. I was God´s, Christ’s mouthpiece.  It was such an incredible feeling. Teaching by the spirit has brought such astounding experiences into my life. I feel feelings I have never quite felt before. The conviction, authority, and peace I feel have all been amplified since I have been set apart as a missionary. I know my calling has made me more susceptible to the spirit and the spirit and God give me the ability to do things I never thought I had the capacity to do. I am so weak and insignificant; however, God makes up the rest. 

Lastly, I love all of you. Thank you for your support, you are all incredible. You can do this. Life is hard, but the Gospel is good. 

Hasta proxima semana. 

Hermana Failner

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