April 15, 2013 by sisterrachelknecht
Dearest family and friends,
First week in Lebanon, and first week as a trainer!
First of all, Lebanon is the cutest thing. So many cute houses, so much country, it’s pretty much what I thought Tennessee would look like.
And the ward! The ward was so amazing, and when we got to our apartment on Tuesday night, almost everything we needed was already there! Even though we’re part of the Spanish group, the rest of the ward has been so amazing in helping us get settled in.
So here’s the thing about being the first sister missionaries here in awhile: everyone in the ward is so excited that we’re here, I guess it’s been like 6 years or so since they’ve had sisters, and I don’t think they’ve ever had Spanish speaking sisters. Quite a few members have told us that we’re the answers to their prayers, that we’re what Lebanon needs right now.
And of course, the Lord calls two 19 and 20 year old sister missionaries, who have six weeks and five days of experience in the mission field, who know very little Spanish. He’s truly hastening His work. Knowing that the ward has been anticipating our arrival, and have placed so much trust in us, is honestly a little scary. I’ve tried to explain to Heavenly Father that I don’t know what I’m doing exactly, but He obviously has a plan for this area, and Hermana Ayre and I just happen to be the instruments He’s planning on using right now. I know with all my heart that He’ll qualify us for this work.
Elder Alarcon and his new trainee, Elder Rowley, are the other set of Spanish speaking missionaries in the Spanish group. Elder Alarcon has been here for his whole mission, and the English speaking Elders in the ward have been here for 6 or 7 months. Hermana Ayre and I are guessing we’ll be here until Christmas. Or at least until the Spanish branch is up and running.
That’s the plan at least for this area; grow the group into a branch. The group leader, Hermano Salazar, is honestly crazy. He’s just crazy about missionary work. And I mean crazy in the best way possible, like he’s the best member missionary I’ve ever met. Seriously, if everyone had the same level of motivation and dedication that he has, I think everyone would be a member of the church right now. Like the whole world. But people have their agency of course, I can’t forget that…
So I’ve talked him up enough, but he’s been so great in telling us about the area, giving us assignments, referrals, planning activities.
And Hermana Ayre, my new companera! She’s 20 and from Holladay, Utah. She’s hilarious, and we have so much fun together. Our motto thus far, be bold, no fear (or in other words, crazy white girls). We want the town to know who we are, and the message we bring. In an area where we don’t know anybody or the geography, we’ve truly had to be bold in just going and doing. Lots of contacting, lots of finding. We’re learning to trust in the Lord; having the faith to first open our mouths, and have faith that He will fill it with the words that we need to say. So far, with spiritual and Spanish preparation, it’s been working really well.
We’ve seen so many little miracles every day, (we consider everything a miracle, Heavenly Father is literally putting people in our path to talk to and share the restored Gospel with) but one that sticks out is Rosa. Elder Alarcon gave us the address of a woman we could try to contact, but rather than meet her, we were surprised to meet Rosa! Wrong address for that other woman, but Heavenly Father had other things in store, obviously. She let us in and we talked about Christ’s restored gospel, prophets, eternal families, and the Book of Mormon. Seriously, she was soaking it all in. The spirit was so strong when we were talking about the Book of Mormon, and she said “I have to read this”. The spirit truly helped us know what to say in Spanish; the gift of tongues is definitely given when we need it most.
Missions are hard! You all know that though. Sometimes I wonder, what in the world am I doing. But all I can do is just go and do, and rely on the Lord to guide us. By no means are we perfect; we’re probably not what the ward and Spanish group had been praying for and expecting. But I know that we were called here for a reason, in all of our weaknesses and short comings. I’m so excited to see what the Lord has in store for this area.
Thank you for your prayers, and forgive me for not writing back as often as I should. I’ll do my best, and know that I appreciate your support and prayers more than you know!
Love love love love you all,
Hermana Rachel Knecht