Tuesday, March 1, 2016

It's not our abilities, but our choices‏...

What a week. I forget how stressful it is teaching an area. I haven't had to teach an area since Hna. Dustin came to the mission. Entonces, hace un buen rato.. But it's been fun. Hna. Alduenda and I have already had our fair share of adventures here in Costanera. Including, but not limited to, the incident with Frank's wallet.
After leaving President Godoy's house yesterday evening, we were headed down España when we see in the street, a wallet. "Oh...crapp..." We pick it up and look for some form of identification. This kid has all KINDS of legal documentation in his wallet. But his ID said that he lives in Formosa, which makes walking up to his house and contacting it a bit difficult. We returned to Pres. Godoy's house to ask him to Facebook stalk this kid and tell him that we had his wallet.
Con Hermana Alduenda de México

The rest of the evening we awaited a call from Franco. (Don't say ANYTHING Beckstead) During a lesson with this guy Manuel we'd met earlier during the week, the call came. I rejected it and we continued our discussion about the Restoration of the Gospel. He rang again. I hit the "end" button again. The phone rang a third time. ¡Dejáme che! I put the phone on silent and we continued with the lesson. But my pocket was buzzing the rest of the time we were with Manuel. I could hardly focus. But we finished the lesson and Manuel accepted the baptismal invitation. So that was exciting.

We left Manuel's and went to the corner to call back. Being from Formosa, this kid had no idea where anything in Corrientes is. "We're by the bridge!" we tell him. "Oh cool. I'm close.".... He wasn't close. We waited for a good 20 minutes for him to find us at the Shell station. He was weird. "Thanks." he said. "Where are you from?"
"Uh... the United States."
"Wow. That's cool. What part?"
"Cool." he just kept staring at me....
We had to get home anyway. But the men in this country are just outta control. But at least he got his wallet back.

In other news, we had the great opportunity to participate in a area wide broadcast with Elder Bednar. He came to Buenos Aires and with the area presidency and they did this huge Q & A with the four Buenos Aires missions (800 missionaries) and broadcasted it to the whole South America South area. (6000 missionaries) It was incredible. Bednar is amazing. Something he said that I really liked is that as teachers, we can't play this game of "Guess what's in my head". We can't ask questions we already know the answers to. Our job as missionaries or as any kind of teacher, is to invite and inspire our students to act as agents "for themselves and not to be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:26)

One of our divine inheritances as children of God is our agency. We have the ability to act as our own agents. We are not objects, waiting for something to happen to us. We are living, thinking beings with the ability to act for ourselves. And as we exercise that agency with righteousness, we are blessed. As I've spent the last 16 months in Argentina, sharing with others the Gospel truths I know, I've come to recognize that our individual agency is essential to our individual conversion. How many times have I wished that I could just put my thoughts into the heads of the investigators? "Am I not explaining it clearly enough? Why aren't you reading the Book of Mormon??" But if we force our investigators to read the Book of Mormon and we believe its words, what makes the difference between us and he who wanted to take our agency away from day one? (Yeah... that was supposed to be a kind of Harry Potter reference.)

My true conversion didn't come until I chose to read the Book of Mormon for myself. It doesn't matter how logically we explain the succession of the Priesthood or the effects of the Fall of Adam and Eve, and it doesn't matter how much education an investigator has. What we possess, in terms of knowledge or means, really doesn't matter at all when it comes to conversion. What matters is what we choose to do. How we choose to exercise our agency. And if we decide to experiment with the word, we will receive that witness from the Holy Ghost. It all comes down to us. I have no influence over anyone I teach. I can only invite them to act and invite the Spirit to testify, and the rest is in the Lord's hands. And I know that He does the rest. Just look at Claudio. He didn't even finish high school. But he understands more about the Gospel than people who have a college degree. And what he understands is what's really important.

I'm so grateful I've had this opportunity to be converted to this great Gospel. I know the Lord lives and that He directs this work. I love you all so much.

Homemade Mexican-Argentine tacos.
The tortillas are homemade by Hermana Alduenda

Con amor,
Hermana Hein

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