January 16, 2014 by sisterrachelknecht
Dear family and friends,
This week, my companion and I will hit our one year mark. ONE YEAR. 12 MONTHS. A LOT OF WEEKS. I love milestones, I love parties, I love my mission. It’s a perfect combination. I love the feeling of the double months. Like, last January, I was in the MTC, or last March, I was in Hermitage in the Buena Vista branch. It’s so fun to look through my pictures to compare.
We don’t know what we’re going to do to celebrate, but I’ve already made a Happy One Year banner. Don’t tell Hermana Rich, it’s a surprise.
Last Monday, it was really really cold. Like 6 degrees. It rarely happens and the humidity made it bone-chilling. I can’t tell if it’s humid here anymore, but my skin and hair have been a lot better here than in Utah, that’s for sure. My skin and hair are perfect in California, of course 😉 Anyways, we had a lesson with a referral from one of the members in Lebanon, Hermana Carillo (whom I adore, she always calls me “princesa”). We went over to Virginia’s house, where I actually realized that I had met her at a birthday party in Lebanon a few months earlier. We sat down, and she made us peppermint herbal tea. She told us about her husband’s death just two years earlier. He was in remission from cancer (not sure what kind), when he suddenly became really sick and passed away. He left Virginia with their three children, ages 9, 6 and 3. She is such a strong woman, but of course, it still weighs on her so heavily. She told us about a few dreams she and her brother in law had about him, which were amazingly doctrinally correct about the spirit world. I don’t know why that surprised me so much, because I know that Heavenly Father communicates to us through dreams sometimes. To make one of the dreams short, Virginia’s husband was dressed in all white. He looked like himself, but didn’t have a physical body. He said he was working so hard, that he was even busier there than on earth, but he was so happy. He said he lived in a mansion, with other people, and when they asked him if he had seen God and Jesus Christ, he said yes, but that they lived in the most beautiful and grandest mansion of all, and that he wasn’t prepared to live there with them yet. I felt the Spirit so strong, testify that these things were true!
We tried to set a return appointment with her, had ride down there (she lives like 45 minutes away), but our ride fell through, so we asked the Spanish speaking Elders that live closer to her to visit her the next day. They did, and said it went really well. We’re not sure how often we’ll be able to see her, so that makes us sad, but we’re grateful that the Elders can see her more regularly.
On Wednesday, we had a zone meeting. I gave a training on testimony. I think it went really well, although I was really nervous at first. I know that the Spirit helped me to get across what needed to be. It made me look at what my testimony really consists of, how I got it, and how powerful it can be in helping others gain a testimony and have spiritual experiences.
We had a lesson with Carlos and his son, Carlos, and his roommate Julio. While teaching the Plan of Salvation, we realized that one of their biggest concerns, was that they didn’t fully understand what the Book of Mormon was. Julio had a lot of mixed up ideas, but Carlos was genuinely confused. So we read parts of the introduction. The Spirit was there as we read Moroni’s promise. I had remembered a quote from Elder Oaks talk, “Testimony” that I had studied for my training that said that we should use our testimonies to clear up misconceptions. So, that’s what I did. I remember saying, “This is a promise from God. Do you really want to know? Our purpose as missionaries is to invite you and help you learn, but we won’t appear before God for you at the last day. I know for myself that things are true, and I know that they will bless your life. But I can’t know for you. We each have to be accountable before God”. At the time, I felt so strong, and I felt like it was the right thing. Carlos seemed to get it.
I’m having a hard time remembering what happened the rest of the week. We had the opportunity to talk to a lot of new people, so that was refreshing.
One thing that I’ve learned this week is that this is my life. I didn’t hold my life on pause for 18 months. My life continues to go forward from this point on, and I am grateful for that. If I choose to take advantage of it, the Atonement will clean my past, and give me hope for the future. And strength today. It’s all-encompassing.
Love love love to you all!
Hermana Rachel Knecht