Wednesday, March 30, 2016

There Are People Lost at Sea…Will You Turn On Your Light to Lead Them Home? - February 22, 2016

We don't have an oven so I have invented pancookies. They are cookies baked on a stove that look like pan cakes but taste like heaven :)

So turns out that dog whistles just make dogs more angry. Ecuador has the whole pet thing a little backwards then from the States. Chickens and roosters live in the people’s homes, they take their cows on walks, and the wild animals here are dogs.

Have you ever looked into someone's eyes and felt like they could see the very depths of your soul? That's what shaking hands with Elder Holland was like. He told us he wanted to interview us by looking into our eyes. It was only about 3 seconds long but it was long enough for me to think "I am staring into the eyes of someone who has seen Jesus Christ." I got to hear him speak twice. Once in Otavalo with 3,000 other people, and again with all the missionaries in my mission. 

The only way we had permission to hear Elder Holland speak to the people of Otavalo was if we brought an investigator. I prayed all day and kept visualizing us hearing him speak that night. We made plans to meet one of our investigators in Otavalo because he was working over there until 6 which was right before Elder Holland would be speaking. We got to Otavalo when we received a phone call that he wouldn't be able to make it. I was crushed because I knew if we didn't have an investigator we didn't have permission to stay and listen. My comp and I started praying that we would change his mind and come back, but it was then it was definite that he wouldn't be coming. I am not joking tears started to form in my eyes. It's like someone putting a giant peperoni pizza freshly out of the oven right in front of your face and right as you are about to take a bite they say sorry wrong order this isn't for you. We were just about to leave when our ward mission leader informed us that his nephew one of our investigators was there which meant WE COULD STAY!!!! Turns out the delicious peperoni pizza was for me (I am sorry I really shouldn't write emails while I am hungry I always end up relating things to food).
Elder Holland talked about their being a power to our words. That there are people lost at sea and when they can see the light house they know God exists but they don't know how to dock their boat to reach the light house. We are the light that leads people back home. "A man or a woman who work by faith work by words."
When he talked to our mission he got close up and personal. He was walking between isles he even chocked and elder like I am not joking it was hilarious. He was talking about how frustrating it is to him to hear return missionaries say "The mission isn't real life, this is real life." Then he said "I could just choke them!" Then he started (nicely) choking an elder. Hahaha it was awesome!
I guess what I got from all this is that only the Gospel will save the world. Our hearts are constantly breaking in several different directions. We leave parts and pieces of our heart with certain people and places. Suddenly items of possession develop meaning through experiences and memories. We are all fighting quiet battles in the chambers of our hearts and outskirts of our minds. We are pushing and pulling and laughing and crying. We are on this merry go round that goes around and around picking up new passengers each time and leaving old ones behind. So in the midst of all the heart break remember that there is really only one way to mend a heart. There is only one person who knows what you are going through because he went through it even before you did. Christ is the reason to keep going. Our words have the power to bring light into darkness all we have to do is OPEN OUR MOUTHS! There are people drifting at sea and you have the flash light to lead them home, but will you turn it on?
"We don't believe in cheap grace. We don't just say I love Jesus and we are saved. It's not that easy. We have no records of Jesus laughing although I do believe he was happy. Do not expect other than hard if you say you are a disciple of Christ. A disciple does as Christ did. If we cry a little then we have good company because Jesus cried a lot. Don't wait a minute wondering why this is hard? This is a FIGHT! The war in heaven isn't over. There was a fall and there is a devil. Talk to everyone, be true forever, fight a good fight, and have the spirit to be with you. I can demand one convert from you. At least you can be a convert forever." - Elder Holland speaking to the missionaries.
This gospel means everything to me. "We are after the salvation of human souls!" We worry about losing friendships but do we care more about temporal relationships with others or eternal? This is your friends, family, and neighbors salvation! We are a part of something greater than all of us. I love this work.
Please remember that you are never alone!!
Con amor, Hermana Israelsen

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