June 08, 2015

hey hey hey

We are at the first of the month again, so that means consejo (counsel/training?). And that means not much time to write. Thanks for all the letters, I`ll try to respond to y'all next week. 
This week we met a 14 year old named Maria. She has had a rough past. And when I say rough I'm not talking about "Mean Girls" bullying status, I'm talking about full on Les Mis tragedy. In the past year of her life she has kind of passed through a living hell. I admire her courage and her hope for the future. She wants to learn about Christ, and she came to church on Sunday. She could feel the love of the members and the peaceful spirit there, and she told us that she would like to be invited to every single activity that there is. We are going to keep visiting her :)
I'm so glad for the opportunity we have every month to fast as a church! I feel that God blesses me so much when I fast with a strong purpose and a willing heart. He can soften hearts, answer prayers, and bless us even more.

I love this scripture talking about the second coming!

"The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." (Joel 3:16)

God is mighty! He is the source of all hope and strength.
I love you all! Have a great week.

Hermana Simmons

P.S.  Yeah, the longer I`m out here, the more grateful I am for the family that God gave me... The family is so important and central to individual and societal well-being.
This Sunday I was sitting in the Fast and Testimony meeting. One of the young women got up and began to bear her testimony. I recognized her and know that she has been passing through some really tough times lately. I was super glad that she was bearing her testimony because I thought "This is great, this will help our investigator who arrived at church today. She is passing through similar trials."

Then I looked behind the girl bearing her testimony and saw the bishop. Last year he and his wife lost their two year old son to cancer and also the bishop`s father died pretty soon after. It came to me that this testimony could probably help him too. I also remembered two people that had also passed to the front to share their testimonies. An older lady with lots of health problems, and a man who was shot in the spine while working as security (he now has to fix shoes for a living and can't walk- he has a wheelchair).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is so full of brokenness. Broken people, broken families, people from a broken past. Some people have their problems more apparent than others, but everyone has in some way or another been deeply hurt by injustices in life. The people at church are not there because they think they are perfect. They keep going to church because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only thing that keeps them going at all. In the Church of Jesus Christ we have all found healing. Christ completes and mends us.

Sometimes we think that the only people who need help are the ones we can see need help. But we all depend on Christ. We are all completely helpless and broken without the healing grace of Jesus Christ.

It`s easy to compare our sufferings or weaknesses with others, but in the end it does no good. We all need the strengthening that can come from a testimony, from a helping hand. The atonement is not just reserved for some; it is given to all.

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