Sunday, June 4, 2017

Finish with a Blaze

Hello and Goodbye!!!
So for those of you who are not aware, this will be my last email home. I will be arriving home on February 28th. 
I wish I could describe to you just how amazing, life-changing, hard, miraculous and wonderful the mission has been for me. I have grown in ways that I never thought possible and changed so much. I have come to love the Bolivian people with all my heart. I love sharing the gospel with people and seeing their hope increase. I have gained a great testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know He lives and loves us. I know that through Him we can repent and be forgiven of our sins. I know that through His sacrifice and resurrection we can have families that don't only last for this life but for eternity. 
     I remember beginning my mission. When I left my home to fly to the Mexico MTC I had no idea what lie ahead. I remember arriving to the Mexico airport and not understanding a word of what anyone said to me. Arriving at the MTC I was able to meet and shake the hand of an apostol, Elder D. Todd Chistofferson, and tell him what mission I would be going to. Wile I was in the CCM (MTC) I learned to much about trusting in the Spirit to know what to say to the investigators. I learned about the gospel and I learned how to love my companion. 
     On October 5, 2015 I left the CCM. I remember being full of excitement. I had no idea what Bolivia held in store. I was going to a country I didn't know to speak a language a barely knew to people I had never met and I couldn't have been more excited. On October 7 I met my companion, Hermana Fuenzalida from Chile. We went to Sucre together. We walked hills in the rain and in the sun, teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I remember meeting our investigator, Miguel, who had so many doubts about the gospel. I remember that I didn't understand all his questions, but I was able to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the happiness that it had brought to my life. I left Sucre before Miguel was baptized but now he is preparing to go on a mission. In Sucre I realized how great of a privledge I had to be a missionary. I wrote in my journal "Never forget yout unchanging companion, during your mission, His name is written on your tag. After the mission, His name is written on your heart." I came to know and love my Heavenly Father. I was able to speak to Him and He became my best friend. That time became a foundation for my mission. 
    I then went to Quillacollo with Hermana Padron. I missed Sucre and all the amazing friends I had made while there but Quillacollo gained a special place in my heart. I was able to help God's children start down the path that would lead them back to His prescence; the path starting with baptism. I met amazing people who had great desires to follow Christ. I will never forget the phone call we received at 6AM from our investigator, Edwin "Hermanas, I want to get baptized this Saturday."  I will never forget the huge smile on Edwin's face when he received the Priesthood a week after his baptism. I will never forget my other investigator, Bianca's, example of faith when she went to her baptismal interview and was later baptized, even though she was afraid she wasn't ready. I will never forget her smile as she came out of the water. I won't ever forget the tears I shed as some of our investigators chose to reject our message, even though they knew it was true. At this moment the scripture in Alma 26:27 took on new meaning " 27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success..."  My companion and I were able to continue on, trusting in God and we were able to see many miracles in Quillacollo.
     From Quillacollo I went to Alamos with Hermana King. The work was difficult and we were often rejected. I relied often on the scripture in Docrtina and Convenios 123:17 " 17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." Many people were opposed to and even hostile to the message of hope and peace we shared. I remember one instance when we knocked on a door. The man that opened the door invited us back. When we went he let us in and we sat down. Then this man began to attack the church. He attacked all that I believed and held sacred.. When it was my turn to speak I remember feeling a power swell within me as I said, "I know that God lives and loves us. I know that He restored His church to the earth through His prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know these things because I have asked God and He has told me that they are true." When we left that house I felt a new strength inside me. I felt a new desire to spread the truth to those who would listen. In Alamos, Hermana Gutierrez and I were able to help a lost sheep, Cleofe, return to the fold of God. We went to visit her today and she told us that she still goes to church and has the goal to go to the temple to be sealed with her husband. She brings to mind a scripture in DyC 18:15-16, "15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! 16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many soulsunto me!" I left Alamos thinking that I had not had any success there. Now I realize that we were able to find one of our Heavenly Father's lost sheep and help her to find the hope and happiness that lies in the gospel. :) 
     From Alamos I went to Tupiza. I came to love Tupiza with all my heart. My testimony grew, my love for others increased, I was able to form everlasting friendships. I will never forget the people I met and the feelings I felt while I was in Tupiza. I wish I had words to describe how amazing the members are. Each member faces great diffuculties yet they are all united by the faith they have in God. I learned so much about faith and miracles in Tupiza. I was able to see an area come to life. I was able to meet wonderful investigators. Though they weren't baptized when I was there, my joy was full when I heard that a family I had met and taught had been baptized a month after I left. :) In Tupiza I came to learn what it meant to have charity for others. I couldn't hold back the tears as I left that beautiful town; knowing that I was leaving behind people that I loved and cherished. I only had one convert in Tupiza; myself. I was converted in Tupiza and that is what makes it a very special place. 
     From Tupiza I came to Siglo XX where I have been able to help 4 people come to find the truth. Carla, Soledad, Saturnino and Antonio. 4 precious souls. Each investigator and convert I have had have left great impacts in my heart. I have found great joy in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have been able to laugh and cry, struggle and succeed, grow and learn and become a better person. I love a quote from E. Russel M. Nelson "For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is JOY." For me, Jesus Christ is JOY. Spreading the gospel brings me JOY. Being a representative of Jesus Christ brings me JOY. And being here in the mission and seeing others come to know Christ has brought me more JOY than I could have ever imagined. 
"30 And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
31 Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they aremany; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us. 35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, allwisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name." Alma 26:30-15

 1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
 2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
 3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;
 4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
 5 And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
 6 Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility,diligence.
 7 Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.     DyC 4

Yo se que Jesucristo vive. El es mi Salvador y Redentor. Se que El vino al mundo y dio su vida para que cada uno de nosotros podamos arrepentirnos y volver a su presencia. Amo el Evangelio de Jesucristo. Se que es solo por medio de El que podemos tener felicidad verdadera. Se que las familias pueden ser juntas para siempre si son sellados con el poder y autoridad de Dios en sus santos templos. Se que Jose Smith restauro la iglesia de Jesucristo. Se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero y trae paz a las personas. Se que Thomas S. Monson es el profeta hoy en dia. Se estas cosas por mi mismo y las dejo en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. 
¡Les quiero mucho!

Hasta pronto,
Hermana Eaves
Bolivia :)
  Tupiza-de graining maiz

 Familia Martinez-tupiza

 First day-Siglo XX

CCM Mexico con Hermana Standring