Author Archives: jillmeans

Week 66 – Every Change is a Miracle

We made some weird face masks out of Gelatine, it didn’t turn out so well

A little baby waterfall on the side of the road

This week has been good.

Even though I’m really happy, it’s not all perfect, and there are days when I feel discouraged. There are days that I question why this work is so hard and why people choose to reject or ignore Christ. It’s hard to see a lot of broken families and a lot of pregnant 13 year-olds and a lot of sadness due to drugs. But every single day I have the privilege of seeing the power of Christ in the lives of the people we meet and teach, and every single day I realize how perfect the Plan of our Heavenly Father is.

This week we really saw an amazing change in one of our investigators, Rosa. She is the 23 year-old daughter of Jose Almeida who was recently baptized, and he gave us her reference. The first time we visited her she said that she would listen but she would never come to church. After teaching the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, we have seen a complete change in her. She has come to church the last two weeks and knows that what we teach is true. She has received answers to her prayers, and she even invited her husband and her sister in law to church this week and they came. The husband came to church and he wants to listen to our message. They have decided that they want to get married, and Rosa is set on having an eternal family and going to the temple someday. We are so excited to have a lesson with her and her husband tomorrow, I love the lessons that we have with her because she is so anxious to learn more. When we taught the purpose of our life here on earth, her countenance completely changed and I could see the joy that she felt. My testimony of the Plan of Salvation increased in this moment and it was so special. She even participated in Relief Society and gave part of the class. I am trying to appreciate all of the changes that we are able to notice in our investigators every day. Because every change is a miracle. The gospel of Jesus Christ truly changes people!

Love you all!!

Hermana Means

Week 65 – BOM

What would my life be like without the Book of Mormon?

I`ve thought a lot about this question this week since Russel M. Nelson gave his talk in General Conference.
So here are my thoughts:
Without the Book of Mormon
I would not know or understand the nature of the Godhead.
I would not understand that my Heavenly Father is perfectly loving and perfectly just.
I would not understand the need for constant, ongoing revelation from God.
I would not know how to repent of my many sins and weaknesses.
I would not have hope to be able to overcome my weaknesses.
I would not know the purpose and necessity of the Fall of Adam.
I would not understand the Atonement ofJesus Christ.
I would not be able to see the dire need for missionary work.
I would not understand that “wickedness never was happiness.”
I would not feel as much love and gratitude for my Savior.
I would not know why God allows bad things to happen to good people.
And the list goes on and on.

I love the Book of Mormon and I love sharing it with people. I love being here in South America, because I can tell people “Hey, Christ came here! To this continent! He came to the Americas! How do you feel about that?”

It`s awesome.

In addition, I`ve thought a lot about what parts of the Book of Mormon are most valuable to me, and could be the most valuable to the people we teach and contact. I was praying one night, asking the Lord what He wants me to share with His children in coca about the Book of Mormon. And my mind kept coming back to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I`m determined to use the Book of mormon this week to teach our investigators and our contacts about the valuable insight that the Book of mormon has concerning the Atonement. I was studying about the Atonement in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and something that really struck me was that the Book of mormon really shows the enabling power of the Atonement. The Bible tells us many times that through the sacrifice of Christ we are cleansed, but only the Book of Mormon shows us that through the Atonement we can be not only cleansed, but sanctified to become more like Him. That is a message that every child of God must hear. That is truly a message of hope, that we can not only be clean, but that we can truly be changed.

I would love love love it if those that are reading this could send me a thought or two about what has impacted you the most from the Book of Mormon. A special verse, a piece of doctrine? A special experience? Anything would be awesome.
and if you haven`t read the book of Mormon, I really recommend it. It wil change your life. even if you`re not religious, even if you don`t believe in God, even if you`ve never gone to church. This book can bless your life immensely.

Our District leader challenged us to use the Book of Mormon more in our contacts this week, and since our district meeting we have used the book of Mormon in every single contact we`ve had. It has helped us a ton to recognize who is really prepared to listen to the message of the restoration. We also have been trying to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon in every contact. Tad R. Callister described the words of the Book of Mormon as “messages with a heartbeat.” So we decided to use more often the actual words written in the Book of Mormon instead of just our words, and the results were amazing. More people were interested in our message, more people wanted to read the book, more people opened up to us about their difficulties and fears. A taxi driver in Quito told us that his son had cerebral palsy and that he felt that nobody could understand him or his situation. We read in that very moment Alma 7: 11-12 and testified that Christ understands him perfectly. It was a really spiritual moment. And we`ve had many others like it.

I love the people here, they are so loving and kind. They are humble and open. the food is awesome. I`m happy to be here! It`s crazy how fast time is flying by!!

I love you all thank you for your letters and encouragement!!!

Hermana Means

PS. Sorry I`ve been bad about writing about the culture and everything, but everything is just so normal to me now I don`t know what to write about haha. Also sorry if my English is bad, I can`t speak. I tried to help my companion learn a song in english and I kept pronouncing the words wrong. woops.

Week 64 – Word of God

Love you all, life is so good and I am so happy.

We had an amazing lesson with our investigator Jerson. He is progressing so well, he loves the Book of Mormon. He told us that a few nights ago he was reading the Book of Mormon and felt an intense desire to repent. He said that he knelt down to ask for forgiveness and know that the Book was true, and he felt something indescribable in his heart. He is so excited to be baptized. Yesterday we shared the Plan of Salvation. Because we prepared very well for this lesson, the spirit was so strong and the whole family felt that they had a bigger purpose here on Earth. They even talked about the Conference talks and said that they realized how the trials and difficulties we have are all a part of the great Plan of Redemption. At the end of the lesson we read Alma 7:14 and invited them to be baptized and especially Hermana Graciela to be baptized with her son Jerson. Graciela has gone to church for many months but has been very difficult in accepting the gospel and baptism. This night she accepted to be baptized with her son, and she was so happy. It was like she finally realized the importance of baptism in the context of the plan of Salvation, and was excited to accept. I am excited to see this family become whole in the gospel of Christ.

Another experience we had was with a great family, the Duarte family. They are not married, but are thinking about marriage. They are reading, attending church, and praying. They were even watching the priesthood session of conference in their home when we stopped by Saturday night. They are progressing so well in the gospel and I know that they will be a great help to the branch. But they feel like they still haven`t received a clear answer that this is the true church of God, although they are willing to keep looking for answers with faith. We had planned to teach the Word of wisdom, but after listening to conference we felt a strong impression to teach about the Book of Mormon. I understood exactly what the scripture means when it promises us that we will be given in the precise moment what we should say. Even though we had “treasured up the word” and planned a completely different topic, I felt that in this moment the Lord gave us the words that we needed to focus on the Book of Mormon and show them the importance of this keystone. After using many inspired questions, the husband of the family had told us that he hadn’t prayed specifically about the Book of Mormon because he was afraid of the answer he would receive, and is afraid of having to change many things in his life. But by the end of the lesson he was committed to praying with a sincere heart, with real intent, and with faith in Christ.

I just have so much love for the book of mormon, we were reading the Book of mormon with an investigator family that is progressing so well. We decided to read different prophesies of Christ with them from Nephi, Alma, and Ammon. it was a great build up because then we read in 3 Nephi 11 when Christ came to the Americas, when all of the prophecies were fulfilled and the people of the Americas received a true witness of Christ. as we read the words of Christ as he presented himself to those who had waited so long for this moment. I was filled with an amazing feeling of joy in my heart, a witness from the Holy ghost that christ came to the Americas, that this is His account and His true church. And i just felt so so so grateful to share this knowledge with the people of south America, the posterity of those who knew him personally and walked with him in these moments of the book of Mormon. I am so grateful. I loved the talk from Russell M Nelson about the book of Mormon. it was similar to my experience and I loved it!

I feel like the Word of God is growing in me every day, and I loved the Conference talks. They give me so much strength and i am grateful for prophets and apostles in this dispensation of the fulness of times. What more could we ask for, right? I am grateful for the words of eternal life that Christ so freely gives us.

Thank you for everything!!!

Hermana Means

Week 63 – Everything is good

Everything is good. I ate the best Patacones (fried plantains) that I’ve had yet, I saw a monkey today, and my companion is consecrated to the work. I’m loving it.

Jose and Kerly were baptized this week, and it was amazing to see their faithfulness and the change that has happened in their lives. Even though we only had the privilege of teaching them for two weeks before their baptism, we were able to witness sincere repentance and humility in them, and that their understanding of the doctrine of Christ was able to grow. The mother continues to be a little hard of heart, but we are hoping with time, and with the support of the members, that she will open up. Their other son, Jerson, has come to church these last two weeks that we´ve been teaching him, and he accepted a baptismal date a lot more firmly the last time we visited him.

This week we had lots of people at church, 14 attended church this week, and a good amount are living within the law of chastity as far as their living situations so we were really happy. One of those that attended is 20 year old Anthony, we found him this week and only had time to teach a 10 minute version of How to begin Teaching and the Restoration. But remarkably he came to the baptismal service on Saturday and to church on Sunday and really wants to learn more. His friend from high school is one young men that is currently serving a mission from the branch, and so he already knows a family in the branch. On Sunday we visited him, and he committed to reading the Book of mormon and praying to know the truth. I really feel that he could progress and be baptized very quickly, he has such a sincere desire.

This week in my studies I focused a lot on Faith, and realized that we need to really invite the people we teach to exercise their faith. I think as missionaries sometimes we focus too much on that we need to teach them everything and that they need to know everything to accept the gospel. But I`m starting to realize that our function is not to give them everything and make the path easy for them. Our function is to invite them to do the difficult and exercise their faith. so many investigators want to receive an answer or see blessings without doing anything, without “experimenting on the word.” But as missionaries we must make the same invitation that Christ made to his Apostles to leave everything behind and follow Him. Yesterday we had an amazing lesson with a couple who are reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and attending church. They are very intelligent, hard working people, but they are not married. As we taught them the Gospel of jesus Christ I basically told them “Hey look, I know what we are asking you to do is not easy. We are asking you to get married, stop drinking, attend a church every Sunday for the rest of your life, be baptized, read a book you’ve never heard of every day, etc. We are asking you to give up everything and change your life completely, we understand. But it’s not because we are asking you, it’s because the Lord is asking you and he has much bigger plans for you and your family. He asks for all of you so that he can give you something much bigger in return. We don’t want you to be converted to the church, we want you to be converted to the Lord, to put your life in His hands and trust in Him.” I’ve realized that as representatives of Christ, we cannot invite people to do anything less than “take up His cross and follow Him.” It’s the hardest message in the world, but the most rewarding and satisfying message that anyone could ever offer. I want those we teach to put their faith in Christ without seeing what lies ahead of them.

I loved Hebrews 11 and Ether 12 in my studies.
Enjoy General Conference!!!

Hermana Means

Week 62 – (Week 2 in the Promised Land)

(Sydney didn’t take this photo, but this is the area that she is serving)

Things are going well here in Coca. We’re getting used to the heat, but it’s really not too bad, we’ll have a nice farmer’s tan after this sector. The branch continues to support our efforts, they are doing their best. It’s hard to see that there are only about a dozen strong members and only about 5 are really holding everything together, but their efforts really inspire me to do more and be better. This week we had activities with the young women and all of the youth and it went well. These young women especially need good role models here. the majority of the women here in Coca are mistreated or have 6 kids with 6 different men, broken homes and broken families. It’s easy to see why the gospel and the commandments are so essential in the home. It has given me an even greater motivation to share this message with as many individuals and families possible.

This week we had some amazing experiences. We found some people with great potential. we sat down and talked with a woman who has been having great troubles in her family and in her relationship, and we immediately began to testify that the restored gospel really does bring peace and happiness. Immediately after my companion offered the first prayer, the woman looked at us, with tears in her eyes, and said “I want to go to your church, I want to know God” it was very special and she accepted a Book of Mormon and said that she would read it to find the peace that she desperately needs in her life.

I think crying is a normal thing here in coca, because the other day we had another lesson with a woman who has great interest in the gospel, and we shared the restoration with her. As we shared the first Vision of Joseph Smith she started crying. I thought that things like that only happened in movies like “The Best Two Years” haha. But seriously she started crying and told us that as she listened to the experience, she felt an overwhelming need to strengthen her relationship with God and listen to our message in its entirety. So that was a really cool experience.

Another experience that has to do with crying. So the ward mission leader called us right before sacrament meeting to tell us that we had to give talks in church. we had about ten minutes to prepare. I felt like I was back in high school, living the nightmare of procrastination all over again. but yeah I chose to give my talk on the Plan of Salvation and ho marvelous it is to know who we are and why we are here and where we are going. Well later that day we met with an investigator family that attended church and the mom told us that her 10 year old son cried during my talk because I talked about death and he’s afraid of dying. So the mom asked us if we could explain the Plan of salvation to her son and help him to understand. The faith of this mom really struck me, because she knows with all of her heart that the Plan of Salvation is real and that it can calm the fears of her son. It was awesome to be able to answer the question of this young boy and see that the message of the Plan of redemption is something familiar for us all, because it really is the story of our existence.

Familia Almeida are doing great, their baptism is scheduled for this Saturday. They both have strong testimonies, and even though Hermano Jose doesn’t understand everything he reads or everything that is said in church, he has great faith that leads him to follow Christ and keep the commandments. Kerly understands everything and is a great help to the young women organization, she is always actively involved and participating. She loves reading the Book of Mormon. The members have been a huge help, a strong family invited them over yesterday to show them how to have family night and hermanarles.

Lester Lapo Moreno is a young man that we met last week when he attended church, and yesterday was our first lesson with him, even though he’s attended seminary for a year and church almost every Sunday for 10 months, the missionaries only recently started to visit him. We had planned to share the Restoration with him, but he already knew every detail of the Restoration and basically taught it to us, he even shared his testimony that he knows that this church is true because he received an answer to his many prayers and has felt the truth through the Holy Ghost. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and knows it`s true, he knows all of the commandments, and he asked us when he can be baptized. He’s really prepared, and we want to continue teaching him and choose an inspired date for his baptism. He has a great relationship with the Relief Society President, who teaches the seminary class, and knows and is friends with all of the other youth. and he loves the gospel!

Love this work, love the mission, everything is great. Thank you for your prayers!!!

Love, Hermana Means

Week 61 – Coca!


Wow Coca is a land of mircales people!!! I love it. Ok yeah it’s hot and yeah there are bugs, but it’s not too bad. Literally you take three steps from your house and your in the middle of the jungle. It’s crazy. but the other side is a cute little town haha. It’s not like hottttt but it’s humid and so we are constantly sweating. I love it here.

The branch is tiny, but there are three missionary companionships. We are going to work hard to turn this branch into a ward. We have our meetings in a remodeled home. It´s crazy hot but the members are so great and the branch President is awesome. They are excited to have sisters for the first time in 6 years.

So we’ve only had a few days to work here (2) but we’ve already seen many miracles. We contacted a lady, Rosa, in the street on Saturday, and invited her to a baptism in the capilla. She came to the baptism, loved it, and wanted to learn more. On Sunday we taught her and her 19 year old daughter, and it was such a great lesson. They were especially interested in the Book of Mormon, and we were able to share scriptures with them that really touched their hearts.

The Almeida Family is so great. The father and one of the daughters have the most interest and desire to be baptized, and they both have a baptismal date for the 23. We read a chapter with them in the Book of Mormon about the doctrione of Christ and it really helped them to understand better the purpose of baptism in the plan that God has for us. The chapter had such an impact on the 18 year old son that he came to church for the first time on Sunday.

Another family came to church and asked us to visit them. The elders had been visiting them but stopped because they had no desire to get married. The “husband” is a member, less active, and his wife and daughters aren´t members. We taught them about the importance of commandments in the plan that the Lord has for his children, and how when we start living the commandments, “the plan of redemption immediately begins to work in our lives” The members that came with us testified of the blessings of an eternal family and their own experience of being baptized and then sealed in the temple. After reading in the Book of Mormon and listening to the testimony of the members, the family accepted a wedding date for the 6 of October. It was very special and we are so excited to see so many blessings in Coca.

I ate these giant worms that they have here. I didn’t really like it, but the whole district ate one. haha and for P-day we went to the side of a river and played football in the jungle. It’s weird being with only elders in the district, but it’s all good.

Love you all, thanks for the letters, you’re all so awesome!!

Hermana Means

First sister to serve in the Amazon Jungle

Well like the title says, we have transfers, and I’m going to the Oriente! I’m going to the city of Rio Coca, the closest city to the Amazon. Until now, only Elders have gone to the Oriente, but after talking with the members and missionaries, President decided that it´s safe enough to send sisters. 4 sisters are going to the orient, two in Rio Coca and 2 in Lago Agria. I’ll be pretty isolated out there, but I’m pretty excited. I’ve heard crazy things from the elders since I’ve been assigned to go there. Every single person on the planet has told me how hot it is there. I mean it’s rainforest, so it’s hot and humid all the time, and they say you sweat buckets every day. Also a lot of elders have told me that they were fed monkey, and giant worms that they call Mayones. And a whole lot of other weird food. My food adventures have not ended haha.

Mom, don’t be too scared, it’s all good haha.

So we have the leadership council meeting on Thursday, so I’m going to stay in Quito until then and travel on Friday, because it’s like an 8 hour bus ride. My new companion will be Hermana Chavez! She’s from Peru, and seems really cool. She has only a change and a half less time in the mission than me. So that’s my crazy news for the week, I{ll be sending lots of pictures for sure!

We had a great week in Carabuela. We had a Sister´s conference this week, all about faith, it was awesome. Since the conference, I’ve thought a lot about what President Murphy said about doing our part and then trusting in the Lord. It reminded me a lot of something Elder Bednar said in the worldwide training broadcast in January. He talked about how the scriptures say that we can work miracles and baptize thousands, if the Lord gives it to us. He talked about how success in the mission field is given, if it is the will of God. What I especially loved is when he said that a missionary becomes truly consecrated when they just do the right thing, in the right time, in the right place, because it is the right thing to do, even when the fruits of our efforts are not initially evident, even when the Lord doesn’t “give” us the success that we want in the moment that we want it. So I’ve been thinking a lot about that, just doing the right thing. Missionary work is actually really simple when we have the Spirit and we just try to do the right thing. This has helped me to contact more people, to study better, to be more obedient, and to love people more.

An experience that we had this week taught me even more about just doing our best and then letting God work His miracles. On Friday, we arrived at the house of a man that we had contacted a few days earlier. I was really excited to teach him because we had been praying to find new investigators but we were having difficulties. We start the lesson and everything, when suddenly a few of his friends showed up to cook a dinner for a party that they were going to host, and it all just went downhill from there and we weren´t able to teach him, and he told us to come back next week. As we left the appointment, I complained to my companion “Why is there always so much opposition when all we want to do is teach a 20 minute lesson to someone about the true and living church of God?” As we were leaving and walking down the road, a young man crossed our path and we started to contact him. He told us we could come to his house and teach him right then, so we followed him to his house, and taught him about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. He had so many questions and such a sincere desire to learn more, to read the book of Mormon, to be baptized, and to attend church. As we left the appointment, my companion told me “and that’s why there is opposition in all things.” I realized that I had been so worried about doing what I wanted to do, and teaching who I wanted to teach, and saying what I wanted to say, that I didn’t recognize that the Spirit was guiding us and giving us opportunities to teach the people that the Lord wants us to teach, in the perfect moment. Two days later the young man attended church with us on Sunday, and liked it a lot. I’ve realized that we just have to try our best, and the Lord will guide us to those who are ready and willing to accept the Gospel of Christ.

Just finished Helaman in the Book of Mormon. The faith of Nephi is so inspiring, because he had so much faith, and his motives were so pure that he could ask anything and it was given to him. Imagine that!! I want to be like that!! Be an instrument of faith in the Lord´s hands.

Love you all,
Hermana Means

Week 59 – Struggle & Comfort

So things are awesome, we’re seeing more and more miracles everyday. Keeping up with a positive attitude even when things are difficult.

So a lot of good food this week (finally) Our investigators invited us to eat lunch with them and we helped them grill chicken and corn on the cob with salad and lemonade. They are so great. Today we went to Sister Marlow’s house. She’s from Texas but lives in Otavalo and she made us American food, she’s the best. We played volleyball at her house and she told us all kinds of stories about her conversion.

I was feeling pretty discouraged this week, thinking about all of the people that we have been teaching that haven’t been baptized. I feel like in these last few changes I have been trying so hard to be a good missionary. I’ve been trying to be more obedient, my studies have been much more significant, I feel like my teaching has improved and I’m focused even more on the doctrine of Christ and the Book of Mormon. Yet out of all of the hundreds of people that we have talked with or taught, only three have been baptized. Anyways I let all of these negative thoughts interfere with my week and it was pretty rough. But I was also praying and praying for comfort and for more faith, but didn’t really feel anything. I thought about all of the times that the Lord has comforted his servants in the Book of Mormon, such as Alma, Nephi, and Samuel, but I felt like I wasn’t getting any of those feelings of comfort or encouragement. However, in church yesterday I received wonderful impression from the Lord that increased my faith and reminded me that all is well. There is a part in the book “Our Search for Happiness” by M. Russell Ballard that I love. While talking about Joseph Smith’s desire to receive more revelation from God and know that he had been forgiven of his sins and the subsequent appearance of the Angel Moroni, Elder Ballard said the following “And instead of simply telling him that all was well and that God still loved him, Moroni came to put Joseph to work.”

And I feel like the Lord did the same with me. In addition to comforting me, the Lord gave me a great desire to work even harder and repent for my lack of faith.

I have realized throughout my mission that lots of times I’m praying for answers, and the answers don’t come until I’m in church on Sunday. Even though I don’t understand what the teachers are saying, because everything is in Quichua, I always leave with more answers and more revelation from God. The church really is a sacred place, and if we let it be, an opportunity to learn so much more.

We actually saw many great things happening this week. Zulema has really been a gift from the Lord. We have only had the chance to meet with her three times, but she told us that she has prayed, read in the Book of Mormon, and knows that this church is true. We talked with her about the requirements for baptism, and together decided that the 30th of September would allow her time to learn and attend church. She is so humble and amazing. Conversion is a miracle!!

Love you all,
Hermana Means

Week 58 – Book of Mormon

We’ve literally seen so many miracles this week that I don’t even know where to start. Lately we’ve been praying to find people who are truly repentant and willing to change. We’ve had many people who have been attending to church, but many still haven’t had a true desire to repent and to change. But this week I was determined to be guided by the Spirit to those who are being prepared by the Lord, and help those that we have already been teaching to change their lives and feel the need to repent.

I want to share a few of the experiences that we’ve had this week. We had found and taught a young family two weeks ago that were really receptive, and we decided to focus a lot on the Book of Mormon in the first lesson. The wife of the family had a strong desire to learn about baptism because she has never been baptized. So we gave her 2 Nephi 31 to read over the weekend. This past week we visited her, and she told us that she had read the chapter, had been praying, and even though she didn’t understand everything she read, she said she felt something very special. She had lots more questions about baptism and the Book of Mormon, and the lesson was very spiritual. She says that she wants to be baptized once she learns more, and we are going to put a baptismal date the next time we see her.

One of my favorite things in the mission is listening to investigators pray with real intent and sincerity. This week we had a very spiritual lesson with Hermana Arboleda about how to recognize the Holy Ghost. We used a lot of the scriptures that President sent us about recognizing the Spirit, and at the end of the lesson, we knelt down to pray with the whole family. Hermana Piedad prayed with such sincerity, asking for an answer, and even asking the Lord on what day she should get baptized. At the end of the prayer, the whole family got up, but Hermana Piedad stayed kneeling, with her eyes closed, listening for an answer for almost a minute. She said that she didn`t feel an answer in this moment, but said that she would continue praying like that until she receives an answer. This week her whole family attended church for the first time, and at the end of the meeting she said she felt something very special. We found another man this week, who said that he has been looking for how to get closer to God his whole life, but has never been able to know how, or what church to go to. He expressed his desires to change and be better, and to really live a Christlike life. His prayer at the end of the lesson was so sincere and we could hear how much he wants to change and be closer to God.

We also found a man who has been trying to fight his drinking addiction for 7 years, and said that he has been looking for a church to attend, because he knows that at this point, God is the only one who will be able to help hm stop drinking for good. We talked about the Atonement and repentance, and he said that this week he will come to church, and that he will start praying every day. Another man we found Saturday night said that the day before his wife and him officially separated, and that he has been praying and praying for a sign that God is listening to his prayers. We taught him about the Restoration, and about the power of the Book of mormon, and he told us there an answer to his prayer. The nest morning he showed up at church and stayed all three hours, and is anxious to learn more. He cried in the sacrament meeting when the Bishop talked about the importance of family, and I think he felt the Spirit very strongly. We found another man last night, who looked a little sketchy, with a huge beard and sunglasses, and smelled like beer, but I felt a huge impression to talk to him. We start talking, and he told us that he never talks about religion with people because he doesn’t believe in God, but he felt like he should listen to us. We start talking and literally every one of his question could be answered with the Book of Mormon, so we just start teaching out of the Book of Mormon like crazy. He started to confide in us that he had decided just a few days ago that he was going to commit suicide because he didn’t have a purpose in his life. But has he listened to us, and especially as he listened to the testimony of my companion and I about the Book of Mormon, he said that he felt a desire to read the Book of Mormon and try to find his purpose in the book, and pray to God for the first time in many years. It was so amazing and so spiritual. We have had so many experiences this week with finding people who are truly repentant and looking for answers! It has been such a blessing!

I love you all and thank you for your many letters, I read them all!!!
Hermana Means

Week 57 – Happy & Humble

So, I’m a little jealous of the food pics that Ali sends. I eat rice and potatoes every day. With tuna or sardines if I’m lucky. Or cuy (guinea pig). I’m starting to like guinea pig more, even though every time I eat it I think of the scene in Shrek where they are eating grilled rats. It looks about the same. The other day I ate a soup with cow feet. It’s like an oily soup with the foot of a cow in it. The foot has no meat, just ligaments and cartilage and fat. But I am so grateful that the people of Carabuela are willing to share with us, they are so kind and a very happy, humble people.

We had a good experience with Piedad. We shared two scriptures with her to help her recognize the Spirit. I shared one in Mosiah 5, where it talks about how the King Benjamin’s people changed in a way that they had no more desires to do evil. And my companion shared a scripture in Alma 32 about the seed growing. These two scriptures, along with the testimony of the Bishop, helped her to realize that the Spirit works little by little to change our hearts, and the desires of our souls. We helped her to recognize the changes that she’s experienced, and that the seed is indeed a good seed. Even though she is not ready for baptism, (she isn’t willing to accept tithing and keeping the Sabbath day Holy yet) she is changing and willing to continue until she feels that she has a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

So I was a little disappointed this week, because a lot of the baptismal dates that we had fell or got changed. We used a plan with these people, talked about the requirements, and have been teaching the lessons. But I’ve definitely realized that after all is said and done, if someone doesn’t have faith in Christ or a repentant heart, they aren’t ready for baptism. We have lots of investigators that are attending church, that have the lessons, and a desire to be baptized, but still haven’t shown that they have faith in Christ or want to repent. Or they are showing it, but very very slowly. We are patiently working with these individuals and families, and I’m trying to remind myself that it doesn’t matter if I’m there for their baptism or not, what matters is that I put forth my best effort in the part that I will play in their conversion.

I feel like even though the progress of the people in this sector is very slow, we are seeing miracles every day. The message of the Restoration really answers people’s prayers, and every time I teach people this message, my heart swells with gratitude. I have felt an even deeper appreciation for the plan of Salvation as I’ve been studying this week. We also had an activity as a district and contacted people in the mercado de Imbaya. Every single question that was asked focused on the Plan of Salvation, and I realized how much I take these eternal truths for granted. The answers in the Book of Mormon have been so normal to me all my life, yet they had a profound impact on every single person we talked to. I am so grateful for the letters everyone sends about their missionary experiences, it motivates me so much!!

Keep being awesome!! Love, Hermana Means