Monday, September 16, 2013

The Character of Christ

This week was my first week into the next transfer and I'm staying here!  Sister Crane is staying with me also to complete my training.  We are really happy to be here another transfer and I'm super grateful to be with Sister Crane.  The work is so much more fun when you have an awesome comp.  Last week I had my first exchange here with a Brazilian companionship and I was really surprised at how well I could understand and communicate with her.  Learning a language is such a rollercoaster experience.  One minute your words are flowing and everyone can understand you and the next minute people think you are a complete idiot.  I take a lot of faith in knowing that the Lord will give me the words when I need them.  My favorite people to talk to are the kids.  They can always understand us and they are so sweet and innocent.  There are some gorgeous little Amazonian children here.  The little girls have sooo much hair and they are so dang cute!
Our focus this week has been finding families.  We do not go home at night until we have at least found one family.  Some nights, it is a real test of faith.  For 2 days last week we were in a trio with Sister Nunes because her companion went home.  One night we went out tracting and it felt like everyone was telling us no.  That doesn't usually happen to us, but continued working until we finally found a family.  I've been trying to be the best missionary I can because I really want to see some miracles in this area.

One family we met this week lives in a city just north of us.  It's about an hour walk there so we only go once or twice a week.  When I first arrived in Boa Vista, we ate lunch at their restaurant and the women said that she had met sister missionaries before.  We had been meaning to go back for a while, but never did until this week.  It's hard to catch them at a good time because they are usually busy working the restaurant.  Luckily, we caught them as they were taking a break to eat and they told us to tell them a little more about our church.  Sister Crane and I jumped right in to teaching the Restoration.  When it was my turn to talk about Joseph Smith I could feel the Spirit really strongly and I could tell that they could too.  I pointed out the Spirit in the middle of the lesson and they were really impressed and invited us into their home to teach more.  At the end of the lesson, we invited them to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it was true.  The 19 year old daughter told us that she already knew that it was true because she read some before.  She said one day she was researching prophets and needed more study material.  She said, "Yeah, so I used some stuff I read from the Book of Mormon to finish my research and I shared what I learned at church".  They said they would be baptized if God told them it was true.  They came to church yesterday and I think they had a good experience.  It will be a change for them.  They are really dedicated to their current church and they keep trying to get us to come to their church.  It's so uncomfortable saying no to people.  It's hard for many of them to understand our purpose I think.  

A lot of people here think we just go around "spreading the good word of God" and what they don't realize is that we offer so much more than that.  We are bearers of good news!  The gospel has been restored and because of that families can be together forever.  I love my job!  I is really hard and sometimes discouraging, but it is the most rewarding feeling when I can help others recognize that our message is true.

Another thing I love love love about the mission is the constant need for self-improvement.  I never feel stagnant because there is always something I can be working on.  One thing I've been reflecting a lot on lately is the Character of Christ.  As I've been studying the New Testament along with the Book of Mormon, I've come to understand the Savior's love and example even more.  I love how Elder Bednar defines the character of Christ:

"Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering; in the ability to detect the hunger of others when we are hungry; and in the power to reach out and extend compassion for the spiritual agony of others when we are in the midst of our own spiritual distress. Thus, character is demonstrated by looking and reaching outward when the natural and instinctive response is to be self-absorbed and turn inward. If such a capacity is indeed the ultimate criterion of moral character, then the Savior of the world is the perfect example of such a consistent and charitable character."

I'll be the first to admit that I am far from attaining this perfect Christ-like love.  There have been several times in my life where things haven't gone the way I've liked and I've focused completely inward on my own suffering.  Even now on my mission, I pray everyday that I can recognize my prideful thoughts and eliminate them from my mind.  Often we sin in ignorance.  We justify our suffering and our anger to satisfy the natural man.  But this is not what Christ would do.  Even in His finally moments of suffering on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, He asked Heavenly Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do".

I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice that allows me to improve everyday.  I'm humbled to know that He loved me enough, an imperfect person, to pay the price for my sins so that one day I might be like Him.

 48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:48)

I love you all!  Have a good week and read the entire talk "The Character of Christ".  Here is the link: 

Sister Jensen

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