December 5, 2016 {Week 77}: Siga Adelante

Well this is officially my last letter to home from the Bolivia Santa Cruz North mission.  I can’t believe el momento ya ha llegado.  Honestly, I still don’t feel like I’m going home.  The work keeps going with or without me and the agenda is filled with visits to go on all week and I feel like I will still be a part of all of them.

I have a couple of brief things I would like to mention now to finish up my sharing of the Gospel with y’all. I’m not particularly eloquent but I speak from my heart so bear with me please 🙂

Anyway, I think the phrase “siga adelante” is a pretty good description of my mission.  When I first heard that phrase en el CCM I didn’t understand a whole bunch what it meant…. follow forward? But I’ve learned that what it actually means is “aspire higher” or “keep going!”  Pdte Zambrano told me that for MNOTHS en entrevistas, that was ALWAYS my take away and I took it, but now very happily.  It didn’t make any sense to me, like I said that I wanted something of more worth from my mission presidente, something that actually, to me would make sense.  One time, in a totally inspired moment he asked me,  “Hna Butikofer, do I always tell you the same thing?” and I said out loud “No”, but in my head I frowned and said “Yes”.  Here in Trinidad tambien, Elder Quispe(my LZ en Riberalta for 8 months) has been my LD for the past 6 months, always,always alwaaaays tells me the same thing “Siga adelante Hermana Butikofer.”  But I just sort of shrugged it off as just another bleh statement.  But last transfer I was pryaing a lot about THIS transfer and about going home and getting a little stressed about it and a thought came into my head, a somewhat vague thought, but one that I needed to hear– “Just keep going.”  I realized that what Pdte had told me and what Elder Quispe still says, is actually what I needed to hear.  It WAS actually inspired words from Pdte, it IS what the Lord wants me to now.  To “just keep going”.  So that’s what I’m going to do and in all, that’s what I’ve done.  Even when it was insufferable hot or my companions were boobs or mean or nasty or when the work was slow and didn’t go anywhere, I just keep going, “seguí adelante sin saber de antemano lo que tendria que hacer”(1 nephi 3).  And it worked!  It’s what has gotten me through my mission and what will get me through the adjustment of going back home to my spoiled American life.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the many blessings I felt I have received from serving a mission, primarily starting with the promised ones in the welcome letter we receive and mentioning briefly my setting apart notes from when I was officially called to be a missionary, representative, and servant for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Dear Sister Erin Butikofer:

We welcome you to full-time missionary service to proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to help build His kingdom on earth. We trust that you will savor the honor and privilege of bringing souls to the Master by losing yourself in the work.
As you continue to read and study the scriptures, you will increase your personal knowledge and testimony of the Savior and His gospel. You will be motivated to be obedient and to work hard. You will learn to be led by the Spirit so that you can teach and testify with converting power. The Savior taught:
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God (D&C 18:10), and
Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together (John 4:35–36).
May you find everlasting joy in your service to your Father in Heaven, His Beloved Son, and the people to whom you minister.
Faithfully your Brethren,
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

One of the things in my setting apart said that I would need to fill my lamp with the oil of personal conversion–  as I have read and studied the scriptures diligently EVERYDAY for the past 18 months I have felt my little tree of faith planted in the soils of my heart change and grow.  I KNOW that the things I have been teaching and preaching for the past year and half are TRUE.  I can;t deny it and I hope that the actions of my life can seal that testimony with me when I die.

One of the things I was most praying about for before leaving was that I would be albe to share the spirit and help my friends and family back home when I left on the mission.  I prayed for that in every prayer for months and I have prayed for it many times every week throughout my mission.  In my setting apart the Lord promised me that “through my correspondence home you will be able to share your spirit with your friends and family.”  And I set out to see that promise through.  I have diligently prayed as I have prepared and written these short emails to y’all every week to know what to share and how to share it.  From the letters I have received from a few of you over the course of my mission I know that he Lord has answered my many pryers.  As such if any of y’all would like to request a free copy of the Book of Mormon or a visit from a pair of hardy elders or powerful sisters here’s a handy dandy web page to help yopu out. https://www.mormon.org/missionaries

Or you can just ask me, but here pretty quickly I will be losing my preaching authority so. :

(RANDOM SIDE STORY! Hna Debbie, our Jewish investigator thinks I should become a preacher bajaja. She wants me to become a leader in the church or something. She says that I have the gift of the convincing power as described in the scriptures.  She says that if I had a church in the states that many people would go and listen to me.  Can’t decide if that’s a pleasant compliment or just kind of a weird one, but I am always very flattered when she mentions it jajaja )

My setting apart also mentioned that I would need to open my heart up to the people that I teach.  As many of you know, I was not a particularly open person with my feelings of love of charity or even just plain old kindness.  But I have experienced the joy one can receive by inviting others to come unto Christ and seeing them make the changes neccesary to do so.  I have learned to truly love mis familias bolivianas and the many members and investigators and menos activos that I have come in contact with.  De hecho I’ve never been so happy in my life!  I’m not grumpy anyore, practically EVER and I wake up every morning looking forward to the work I get to do.  And honestly, I have yet to encounter someone on the mssion(other than disobedient companions) that I have not gotten along with.  I’ve loved getting to become a memebr of the family in many households and I hope I can rememebr and cherish all of the sweet moments I have passed with them here en Bolivia.

I have learned to follow the Spirit to avoid danger and to use the scriptures effectively to help other people gain faith in Christ.  I love my Saviour, I know that because of His Atonement that repentance can actually change us.  I have been changed because of applying the Lord sufferings in my life, I know that if we ALWAYS OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS we can retain a remission of our sins and that we can live one day again in the presence of our Heavenyl Father.

I would simply like to finish with my testimony ademas than what y’all have recieved from me ALLLLLL these past 18 months.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of Christ.  There is no one other that will allow us to open the gate to heaven when all is said and done.  No other church can claim such a thing because it simply can’t.  No other church on earth has the authority to give us the ordinances needed to enter into the presence of God.
I’ve learend that simply being a “good pèrson” is not NEARLY enough.  No one who simply “believes in Christ” will be saved in the last day.  We must, must, MUST show our faith through actions.  I wish I knew how to stress that more, but only by reading the scriptures with real intent are we truly capable of understanding that.  I know that through obedience to the commandments of God we can be saved, I hope that now that I have this chance to literally start fresh from ground zero(I literally have like nooooooooo responsibilities other than to go to school and new prospects in other things right now, so I’m pretty excited about it).  And start my life from scratch building from the ground up in Christ.  I know that that will be the best way to retain a remission of my sins and remember all that the Lord has done for me and all that I will never be able to give back to Him.
I love our Heavenly Father and my Saviour.  I cannot really express that love, but I know He can read the intentions of my heart and I hope that my actions can express that love for Them.

I know that Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.  I was thinking about that this morning and WHY I feel that way, man I simply can’t explain more than I’ve prayed and I’ve felt it and I FEEL it.  The Book of Mormon is true, and it has helped me understand the atonement, understand who Christ is, and learn more of the will of God concerning His children.  I exhort each of you to get a copy to read it, to ponder its message in your heart and then later to ask of God in the name of Christ if it is not true.  I know that if you do so with real intent and faith in Christ that you will gain a testimony of said Book.  However, as stated in my medetizar de este semana, everyone is invited but no one is compelled.  If you so chose not to accept the reality of such a confirmation that choice will be restored unto you in the great and last day.  Just rememebr that.
I say these things with much sincerity and with much conviction and love for each of you and the Saviour,

In the holy name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Hna E Butikofer
Hymn of the week– Help Me Teach with Inspiration

Lyrics

  1. 1. Help me teach with inspiration;
    Grant this blessing, Lord, I pray.
    Help me lift a soul’s ambition
    To a higher, nobler way.
  2. 2. Help me reach a friend in darkness;
    Help me guide him thru the night.
    Help me show thy path to glory
    By the Spirit’s holy light.

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One thought on “December 5, 2016 {Week 77}: Siga Adelante

  1. Ud es una Guerrera y campeona hija de Dios…Felicitaciones por su Misión hermosa!!…La recordamos siempre y la amamos!!…Exitos en su vida!!…Pdte y Hna Zambrano!

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