Well hello there parents and family! I just had an amazing experience this weekend that I wanted to share, something that really showed that God has prepared me to be here and know the people I know.
So this week really wasn`t the best week as far as my mission has gone. We didn`t have the best numbers, and I just feel bad, like we could have done better. Really, it`s ok. We went out and tried, and the Lord will magnify our efforts, but our efforts can be better.
This week saw a lot of interesting experiences...first of all was the change I had with Elder Vance! He`s really cool. He went to BYU and was in the Men`s choir, he had all of their recordings since like 2002...it was awesome to hear it! He`s really a great missionary, only has about seven months. He`s really shy though...I had to talk a LOT to get into people`s houses! I think that was a great experience for me because I was able to see how much I`ve changed. I`m not scared at all to talk to anyone! More than that, I am actually pretty friendly with them too! Elder Turcious has definitely taught me that. I did learn a lot from Elder Vance about teaching, especially using parables. It was amazing the way he taught just so simply.
Also, if you can`t tell by the picture, it POURED RAIN. I loved it. :) Probably the only time it will happen during my mission.
The rest of the week just flew...Jair, Cindy, and Hna Sulma left for Lima on Wednesday, I was sad to see them go. I REALLY hope Jair is one of those in the `true growth` category that you were talking about dad. I hope that he holds on to the knowledge he has and continues to progress. I`ve got his email, and permission to write, so hopefully I can keep up with him a little bit.
Another really cool thing happened this week...Judy`s husband got a job! She went to church last sunday and he got a job! I have such a strong testimony of church attendance...seeing the blessings all around!
Ok, I honestly can`t think of anything other than what happened yesterday...it was just really intense and I can`t stop thinking about Sandra.
Sandra is the wife of Gustavo, who I`ve talked about before. He`s told us that she`s mentally crazy because of some vision she saw before.
Well...now I don`t believe him, but I think that is what she told him.
I need to just explain what happened...
So we set up this appointment with her on Saturday so we could just get to know her, hopefully use the atonement to help with her mental disability. When we came on Sunday, she received us well, and let us in. We just small talked for a while, about her kids and immediately family. Then the subject just changed a little bit to the outside world, and she talked about how she`s worried for her two little girls, growing up here. Completely normal mother kind of thing. I started to feel the spirit working within me though, telling me there was more behind that than what she was telling us.
After the opening prayer, as usual I began. I started explaining how yes we have a lot of challenges, but we can always choose the right. I talked about how there are a lot of scary people out there, but that if she did what was right, and her daughters too, they could live as an eternal family. Then I talked about the Atonement and how the Saviour understands us (your email, Jen, kinda kicked in right there, I remembered a little about what you had said)
Then I felt the spirit just speak directly to me, telling me to share Mosiah 4:9 with her, obviously one of my favorites! That`s when I got the most calm impression to share some experiences our family has had. I`ve begun to learn to not think, just to act when those kind of promptings come, so that`s what I did.
At this point I was fighting not to cry, but the spirit helped me to move on. I told her that the Atonement was real. Christ was here to help, and He had helped my family. We still face the effects, of course, but we have the hope of a future, and we`ve felt the power here in this life.
That`s when she just unloaded everything that had happened to her...she completely opened up to us. It really reminded me of times that my friends back in the states would just open up and tell me things that really they don`t tell to hardly anyone.
She told us of how she`s one of fourteen kids. Her mother just basically let them fend for themselves. She spoke of how she never had the chance to really tell her mother that she loved her, and she had a lot of regrets in the way she treated her. How she never listened, and never took council from her.
Then she talked of how she used to go clubbing, and everything associated with that. How she met this one guy...and he raped her. She met another guy, and he took advantage of her again. This happened three times before she went to college. Needless to say, she was deathly scared of men. She still doesn`t trust them. Her husband doesn`t know any of this because she can`t trust him. She said she lives in fear all the time, and she feels guilty for what has happened. She thinks it`s her fault that she was attacked in that way.
Now she`s scared for her girls, and what could possibly happen to them in the future.
Now...I was completely shocked by all of this of course. I could really see in her every movement the pain she had felt through all 40 years of her life. How she is still not mentally stable because she never was able to overcome it. She never knew to put her trust in Christ, and has never done that. I could almost feel the pain coming from her eyes as she looked to us, almost pleading for help.
Honestly...I didn`t know how to react. I felt so happy that she had confidence in us, in MEN, to tell us what happened. At the same time, I felt the weight of what had happened in her past, and knew that I have the responsibility as a missionary to lead her to do what is right, to get rid of this difficult burden.
All I could really do was bear my testimony. I talked about how yes, this still effects us. This still is something we have to deal with because it`s life. However, I talked about how the Atonement works. How He understands EXACTLY what she feels. She has a testimony of that, but I don`t think she`s known how to use that testimony. I told her that this is a process, but we were here as messengers from God to help her. That`s all we really could tell her at that time. I left 2 Nefi 9 for her to read.
I still feel just emotionally shocked by that experience...at the same time, hopeful. We`ve been through a lot. Each one of us has reacted differently to what happened. Each of us have had different feelings, and different ways of handling it. However, I know that I was sent here to find Sandra. I really really really hope that somehow my limited experience, and what I`ve seen our family do, will help her to turn her life around, to having true happiness. Jen, I don`t know how you knew to sent that email last week. It stuck with me, and I tried to teach the Atonement in a more applicable way this week, which prepared me for Sandra. Thank you.
I hope you all know that I love you. I`m so impressed with the way that we`re still all very close as a family and grow closer as trials fall upon us. I hope no one is upset that I`m sharing that...but after the lesson I thought, if God has put me in these situations, it was for a reason. I shouldn`t hold back a single experience that I have had, or that I have learned from. I`m going to take that approach from now on...of course limiting who I share what with, but I know that we are given experiences to help others.
Love you all! I look forward to every letter and package! Speaking of which...got the Valentine`s!!! That was an awesome package mom. :) Thank you so much!
Oh, and Happy Valentine`s Day!!!
Elder Dallon Schofield