Wow, time is just flying!
This week has been really incredible, and I feel closer to my Heavenly Father now more than I ever have before. He has blessed, and continues to bless me every single minute of every day! It's amazing to me the love He has for all of His children, and I am amazed whenever I feel of His love working through me for the benefit of other people.
I've learned so much in just this week out in the field for the first time. Already, there have been extreme moments of joy and extreme sorrow as well. I just want everyone to know that I have a testimony of this work, of the wonderful plan of Heavenly Father for all of His children, and He truly wants to reach out and bless every single one of us! I have felt that so strongly this week. I hope you are all looking for and recognizing those tender mercies from our Lord in your own lives, they are always there.
So my companion is awesome. She is so patient with me as I learn the language and she also encourages me to participate as much as possible. In the MTC, I learned a ton of Gospel lingo in Spanish, not realizing that hardly anyone here continuously talks about the Gospel in their everyday conversations. I really struggle and fall behind in the common conversations because I haven't studied anything but the Gospel in Spanish, so I'm still learning.
We have our own apartment in Rio Rico, and are serving with two different wards; a Spanish ward and an English ward. I've heard that this is a pretty difficult area to learn Spanish in because almost everyone here is bilingual, and about half of our lessons are taught in English. It's so much easier to talk to all who can in English, and I sometimes forget that I need to be speaking Spanish as much as I can. But I study and work so hard, and pray for Heavenly Father to help me because of my efforts.
This week I had so many meaningful and touching experiences, but there is just one in particular that I would like to share. On Thursday afternoon, my companion and I had two of our appointments cancel. On the night before, we had planned to do some color-shirt contacting as plan B if anything fell through, which means that we pick a color and we have to talk to everyone who is wearing that color of shirt that we see. We picked red. So when we went out on Thursday to search for people, it seemed as if everyone decided to wear red that day! We talked to, it seemed, a dozen people with not much success. It was a little discouraging. As we were driving to our next appointment, we saw a lady walking in the street, wearing red, with her son. My companion asked me whether or not we should stop, since we didn't want to be late for our next appointment. I felt good about this particular lady though, so I encouraged her to pull over.
As we talked with her-her name is Yvonne-, she was surprisingly interested in our message. When we told her that we would like to stop by her house to teach her more, she told us that she wanted us over ASAP. We were so excited, so we went over the next day.
Turns out, she has had a pretty rough past. The father of her son, who was her high school sweetheart, passed away suddenly while he was in prison-for possession of drugs, I think. After his death, she went into a severe depression, got into drugs, and left her son for like 6 months. When she realized the dark pit that she was in, she started to want to change her life for the better and make the best out of her circumstances. She began to pray, and trust in God. She prayed for help and strength to care for her son, Jacob. And she gained a testimony of God's timing, and she truly believes that everything happens for a reason. That morning, she had gotten up, prayed for a sign from God what direction she should take in her life, and for some reason, she didn't know why, felt like she and her son should go on a walk. That's when we showed up.
I am continually amazed at the mercy of God! How merciful He is to her, after all of her mistakes, to guide her and set her on the path to bring her back to Him! How merciful He is to me to allow me to witness such a miracle and take my role in answering her prayer. She has definitely been prepared, and I have no doubt in my mind that she had to experience all of that sorrow so that the Lord can bless her with even greater joy when she overcomes! And to think, we almost didn't stop because we were a little discouraged.
In addition to that, I get to look forward to a baptism in a couple weeks, and a sealing session in a couple months. :) What a privilege!
I love you all and hope you are doing well. I pray every day that all my friends and family back home will use every day the most wonderful and precious gift that the Lord has given us, the Atonement. It is real, and it brings so much joy! Please remember the One who has given us everything.
With all my love, Hermana Townley
Sister Stacie Morgan Townley