Wednesday, January 1, 2014

As ternas misericordias do Senhor

Tender mercies are real and I love them once again!

So really cool spiritual experience that actually just happened today-- Vanessa, a less-active member whose boyfriend is an investigator, had scheduled with us a lesson that we would not be able to make it to, so today we wanted to stop by really quick and reschedule with her because her phone isn't working. Anyway, she invited us in and we talked about her situation. She really opened up to us and told us all of the things going on in her life that were stopping her from living the gospel. I felt so much compassion for her as she cried and told us her righteous desires. I know that her situation is unfair, but I bore testimony that through the Atonement that her unfairness is swallowed up. We talked about Jesus Christ and prayed with her. She told us that every time we come over it is when she is ready to give up; that at her lowest moments, either we or some other friend comes by and visits her. I know that tender mercies are real. Heavenly Father has shown me over and over and over again that he is listening and that he sends his servants to answer our prayers. I know that my companion was prompted to go visit Vanessa at that specific time when we could have been emailing on our p-day. Instead Heavenly Father needed us to visit one of his precious children and be there for her. I know that each of us can be those tender mercies in people's lives if we but listen to the Spirit and just do it, no questions asked.
Also this week was Christmas! So awesome. Got to see the family via skype! Way fun. We spent a lot of Christmas day teaching families which was awesome. We also got to be Santa's elves and give away tons of goodies and things to people who would not really have a Christmas this year. One situation in particular made me so happy-- So this week we have been meeting with Levinia a lot. Like I think we had 4 lessons with her this week, which is really rare for us. We saw her on Monday when she was ready to give up. Then we came back on Tuesday (Christmas Eve) and watched the Testaments with her and then that night her family came to a member's home for a live nativity. They read Luke 2 and all the kids of both families got to dress up and participate. Then they ate cookies and played with balloons. It made my Christmas so special to see families fellowshipping and other being welcomed into the gospel. Anyway, Levinia's family is like my own and I just love them so much, so we really wanted to do something special for Levinia. On Christmas Eve she had been to Walmart to get last minute gifts for her 4 kids even though she couldn't really afford it. Sister Askren and I put together a box of some of our Christmas presents and other things that we had/bought and labeled it with her name on it. We left it at her door and when we came on Thursday, the day after Christmas, she asked us if we had given it to her. We denied it :P but it was sad because we were the only people that she could think of that would do something like that for her. She was so happy to get something of her own though. She let the kids wear some of the scarves we gave her and eat some of the candy, but Levinia knew that it was hers. It made me so happy to give that gift. I know that its not about buying gifts and giving them, but there was a special spirit that we felt by giving her our best and seeing her happy and feel loved. I know that Heavenly Father has given and yet to give us so many gifts. I know that Jesus Christ and his atonement was the ultimate gift. I felt like I really understand that this Christmas. I understood what it was like to see families being strengthened by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the gospel is the only thing that has the power to bring lasting peace to people's lives. I have seen that peace change homes, especially Levinia's. I know that He sees our divine potential; He sees all of us in the temple, together as families. I know that those promised blessings are available to each of us and it is amazing to be able to help others to believe in themselves in that way. I have never been happier. and the gospel has never meant so much to me.
Also page 220 of PMG is epic. It talks about Ward Mission Plans but it says that individuals and families also benefit from making their own plans. We have been inviting some members to do that and they it is so cool. One family, the Duces, made a plan that specifically mentioned people that they knew and how they would help them this year to come join with us or come back into the fold. They made a Family Mission Plan for FHE and they are so excited about their missionary work as a family. I know that that spirit of missionary work is infectious. So my invitation is for you to read pg 220 in PMG and ponder and pray about it. Work with your family or by yourself to make a mission plan. Heavenly Father makes plans (Plan of Salvation) and organizes his work, and so can we! It is an exciting time to be participating in this work!
Also thing that I have been thing about a lot recently is Zion. John Bytheway gave a talk about Zion and said that he learned a lesson from a young woman that Zion means that we are all supposed to be friends. That statement has stuck with me as I have entered the homes of less-active members and sat in church watching members sit by themselves. I know that Zion means that we are supposed to be friends with everyone and take the time to talk with them at every opportunity. I realized that church is the perfect opportunity to visit with everyone that I can. I can help them to feel the Spirit by just talking to them before and after meetings. I have been so happy at church when I serve the members and talk to them instead solely going to church to learn. I know that making friends takes time and effort but it is so worth it. Friendshipping is the number one way that missionary work and perfecting the saints happens. I know that being a good friend and constantly making friends is Christlike. He was friends with everyone himself-- sinners, publicans, scribes, Samaritans, etc. He talked with everyone and constantly spent time with people. I have learned that this life really is about people and doing everything we can to be a good friend.
Anyways, lots of good experiences this week. I am so happy to be able to have these experiences. They are so life changing. Thanks to everyone for writing me! Sorry that I like never really respond but I just have like no time to email so if you give me your address then I will most likely write you a response :) Thanks! You all are awesome. Keep being good missionaries and friends!
Sister Bledsoe
400 W Apache
Farmington, NM 87401
super blurry. I think Sister Askren has a better picture that I will try to get but Sister Askren and I on Christmas at a member's house who had a HUGE  tree that they chopped themselves. It was like a Christmas vacation tree :):):)

candid shot of Sister Askren and I in a lesson haha. the member was testing my camera because she found out that it barks when I take a picture and wanted to see for herself ;P

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