This week has been pretty intense and inspiring at the same time! But we have had some truly incredible and humbling experiences. I love this work and the people I have and will meet!
On Tuesday we went to the hospital with the Elders in our ward to visit a non member Stephanie and her 11 month old daughter Liabelle who is in intensive care because she is in a coma and experiencing seizures every 3-5 minutes. Stephanie greeted us with a huge smile and hugs despite her situation. The Elders gave a blessing to Liabelle and hearing the beautiful blessing and seeing that tiny frame undergoing so much was hard for anyone in the room to keep a dry eye. We then gave Stephanie a message about hope and faith. She is possibly the strongest person I have ever met. She told us that her personal faith had wavered the day before and she had been a little upset with God but that that night she had asked Heavenly Father for forgiveness. She is so positive and trusting in God at this time even though things are not getting better. I know that I personally as well as everyone who has encountered Stephanie and Liabelle have been strengthened and uplifted simply by being in the same room as these two amazing daughters of God.
We started teaching a lady named Haydee this week who has stage 4 cancer. The elders and us went and we had a mini church/sacrament meeting with her and her 15 year old daughter Ashley all in Spanish of course. We had an opening song and prayer, they took the sacrament, and then we had a mini testimony meeting the 6 of us. The four missionaries bore their testimonies and then Haydee bore hers.. She talked about her situation and how it was really scary for her and the biggest thing that stood out to me that she said was "No quiero morir." Or I don't want to die. This hit me and everyone pretty hard and there were quite a few tears shed. But she said that she wants to be baptized. That she knows if she is baptized, even if she does pass away she will be able to live with her Father in Heaven and her family forever. She is truly an amazing lady.
Friday we had a double baptism for our investigator Cristian, Lalo's brother, and the other Hermana's investigator Eriverto. Things were kind of hectic because we didn't get the programs until the last moment and they had the wrong information, our Mission Leader was 30 minutes late and we had already started, we didn't have a pianist or hymn books in Spanish, Lalo is a brand new member of one month and so he didn't have the words memorized for the prayer, we didn't have a video presentation set up like usual, and to top it off our Mission President showed up to watch the missionaries running around trying to fix everything haha. We got some ice cream after that. But, the important thing is that the spirit was there and two amazing people were able to enter into a promise with our Father in Heaven to serve Him and be an example of Jesus Christ. They were so happy after and it was such a great feeling to have helped them get there.
We went to a baptism of one of Sister Reyes' investigators and when we got there only some members were in the room. They told us they thought they were in the gym. When we walked in there was quite a scene to behold. The lady, Rafaela, getting baptized was in her white dress sobbing on the ground over her special needs son Sammy who was lying there screaming in pain. He had apparently fallen off the stage and couldn't move and was very scared. The ambulance came and they put Sammy on the stretcher to take him to the hospital but Rafaela stopped and told us she still wanted to get baptized first. We tried to convince her to go but she told us she knew what she needed to do and that she needed to have faith. She sent her daughter to the hospital with Sammy and we had an opening prayer, the baptism, and a closing prayer. The faith of this mother was absolutely incredible to me. The situation seemed so overwhelming but in Rafaela's mind there was still a promise with God to be made and she knew blessings would come if she put Him first. We found out later Sammy had broken his femur and had surgery and is now doing much better. I really love and admire these people!
Later in the week Hermana Reyes and I went back to see Stephanie and Liabelle and she is doing a little better and Stephanie was as positive as ever! On our way out we saw a big group of people outside of the room of a middle aged man. We talked to a couple of them with some words of comfort and they said he was going to pass on. As we were leaving we made a silly wrong turn down the hall and immediately realizing our mistake turned around and stopped. In front of us on the other side of the intersecting hall was a woman crying. The spirit hit us, hard, and there was no doubt in our minds what we needed to do. We went over and simply told her that her Heavenly Father loves her and is mindful of her and that she is not alone and then she started crying harder and we hugged her for a long time. It was as if her spirit was crying out as well, it was one of the strongest spiritual experiences I have ever had. After, we talked about all of the things that lead up to us seeing her: meeting Stephanie and Liabelle, the woman's loved one being put on the Pediatrics floor of the hospital same wing as Liabelle when he's an older man, us going at that exact moment to see them, us making a wrong turn even though we knew exactly where we were going. Everything aligned perfectly for us to see and comfort that woman. The Lord and Spirit work in miraculous ways and He is always lovingly mindful of us and our needs.
I know Heavenly Father loves each of us so dearly! It helps me remember his love for me when I can feel his all encompassing love for those around me. I am so blessed to be here teaching and serving these people here in California, specifically in the Spanish language.
Thank you everyone for your prayers and support! I can feel them and I am so very grateful! I hope everyone has a great week!