Monday, May 8, 2017

More pictures!


Probably my longest email... But it's the Adriana Miracle Story

I feel like this far on my mission, I have found  one of the reasons as to why I had to come serve in Charlotte, and had to come out at the time I did. I was waiting for Adriana. 

On December 30, 2016, 3 days prior to meeting/teaching her for the first time, I was studying when I came across Alma 7:17. This scripture talks about putting fear behind and simply entering into a covenant with God and being baptized. I felt very strongly about putting a mark on that scripture and on the side I wrote "to be used when someone is nervous about entering into baptism." I remember telling my companion about this scripture and how wonderful it was and how much of an impression I had to just keep that scripture aside. 

The days went on and my companion and I made an appointment to meet with Adriana. We went over the lesson in the car before we got out and I remember feeling hesitant and nervous. We prayed in the car before going into the lesson and I just felt an overwhelming feeling of confidence.

While in the lesson we discussed  baptism and she told us she was hesitant about it since she felt like she didnt know enough. My comp looked at me and told me I should share the scripture I had read days prior. I couldn't belive it. I gladly pulled out the scripture and told her of the experience I had with the scirpture. I felt the spirit so strong and I said what came to mind, "I feel like one of the reasons why I came to this area was to come teach you. You may not know why you came to North Carolina, but I feel like I came here to teach you. I felt the spirit testify to ME that it was true. We read the scripture and she accepted her baptismal date of January 28th.

Adriana gave up smoking in preparation for her baptism. On January 26, 2017, 2 days prior to her baptism, while we conducted her practice interview , we felt inspired to ask her if she had kept the work of wisdom. In order to be baptized, one has to live all commandments for at least 2 weeks. As we interviewed we felt inspired to ask if she had done anything into the last 2 weeks that is  not in accordance with the commandments. She looked down and said she hadn't . she had smoked a cigarette 2 days ago. Our hearts broke but we assured her that all would work out. We just needed to talk to our leaders to know what to do.

We went from our District Leader to Zone leader to President and the final word was that she needed to wait. With heavy and nervous hearts, we called her and told her what had been decided. Adriana was beyond hurt. We could hear her over the phone speaking through tears. We explained that our mission president felt that it was necessary for her to be baptized having lived all commandments. We assured her that she can still be baptized, she simply had to wait..She said she would have to think about it. We hung up the phone with nervousness and tears. What is going to happen?

We went to visit Adriana the next day and within walking into the apartment, you could feel in the air a change. As we sat across Adriana, I could see the light in her eyes gone. Her glow, her happiness and her attitude was different. As we discussed what happened and why, she shook her head saying, " Jesus Christ has already forgiven me. He knows that it was a moment of weakness and he still loves me. He wants me baptized and *that man* judged me. Who does he think he is? God? to judge who is ready for baptism and who isnt? I feel crucified." It was the saddest thing for me witness. I saw at first instant the power that pride has in the hearts of people. I saw how pride is really what the scriptures talk about as the "destruction of man" since it 100% blocks the spirit. There was nothing we could say that would make it to her. She was closed off entirely. My heart broke.

For 3 months, Adriana continued coming to church but she didn't want people to ask her about baptism or get her to commit again. She said, "when these nasty feelings go away, I will consider baptism again."

I didn't realize that for 3 months I too had a heart of pride. I didn't realize how hurt i was with Adriana. I felt as if part of what happned with Adriana was my fault. I felt hurt at the way she was so prideful. I felt frustrated with her and tired. There were days where I would hear her name and simply get irritated. This continued up to getting Sister Fragoso. 

On April 16th 2017, while driving in the car, Sister Fragoso brought up Adriana and I rolled my eyes. She looked over at me and said, "Sister Garcia, I'm going to tell you something and you might  not like it. Have you considered the thought that Adrianas heart may not be soft yet because yours isn't? Maybe angles can't help her because you're not allowing them to."

I thought long and hard about that and I felt the spirit chastise and confirm its truth. That night in prayer I cried in supplication and repentance in realization that she may have been impeded by me. I cried and prayed for forgiveness in my pride. I prayed for charity and love towards her. 

2 days later, during a ward activity  Adriana came up to us and said the following, "Girls, last night I had a face to face with God. I told him I was hurt but that I needed Him again in my life. gilrs, last night I prayed in a way I hadn't in a long time. Tell me what's left for me to be baptized."

Well, there isn't much to be said about that story. Adriana was baptized on May 7th. After Meeting with Bishop on April 23rd, she said she wanted to be baptized the first saturday in may. Her long awaited baptism brought with her the baptism of her best friend and roommate , Deisnid. 

When Adriana came up out of the water, I felt a physical spiritual presence. I felt the spirit in a way I hadn't before. Seeing them go underwater and rise again, I knew that what had just occurred was more than what met the eye. I saw a glimpse of heavenly beauty and glory. The room was bright and shining with cleanliness glowing with light.

I know that repentance is real and more than just change. It influences others and allows for angels to help others. Adriana taught me about the heart and she taught me about repentance in a way I hadn't ever experience. Charity really does quality one for this work. 

Sister Esther Garcia
North Carolina Charlotte Mission

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Faith, Hope, and Charity

I felt a few weeks ago like I had no faith and then I feel like I have a hold on things when poof it's another thing to work on. As a missionary I think missions are hard because you realize how sacred this is and how important  this is. I would be awful if, because of me, someone wasn't progressing. As we talked (Sister Garcia and Sister Fragoso) I had D&C chapter 4 come to mind. This work really does require faith and hope and charity. I realized that it's just part of missionary work and that sooner or later I was going to have to learn this. I realized how charity goes far more than just loving someone. It was because I loved Adriana so much that I realized I was so hurt, so frustrated with her. I realized because I love her I was allowing myself act this way. And then i realized that Jesus Christ himself isn't mad at her choices. he loves her regardless and is just concerned if she is repenting which she is. 

I know that we can do all things through Christ, Philippians 4:13 because he strengthen me. This morning as I began my personal study I prayed that I could be directed to know what to do know that I could know what I need to change, what do I need to do now? I was directed to Alma 31:31. I invite you look at it! and finish to the end of the chapter. I think it's only like 5 more verses. I just knew that all those missionaries in the scriptures also went through the same thing I go through. Thank goodness I'm not the first and thank goodness I studied faith for 2 weeks since patience is part faith. And that's what Alma does at the very end, because he prayed in faith. 

I am so grateful for the things I am learning. Funny thing is I don't realize how much I am until I write to you all or when I write in my journal. I love you all so much and I just want to let you know that I now it's through Jesus Christ that we can better. I can have better faith and more patience though him and I now God will allow me to grow and give me opportunity to do so. 

P.S we get to meet and shake Elder Cooks hand this Saturday! He's coming to the mission :) 

-Patricio got baptized! his entire family except his dad is a member . he is 8 but his family hadn't been living the gospel for much of his life and so we were asked to teach him and special prep him for his baptism and so we did and now he got baptized on saturday! so much and little. we love Patricio 

-And a Charlotte sign...haha