Tuesday, February 16, 2016

el fin se acerca 2.15.16

Hola mi querida familia.  

escribo with my corazón so so full, this being my final email to you all in the country of Ecuador.  This week was truly amazing.  José was baptized and it was a beautiful service.  My companion and I sang soy un hijo de Dios.  José gave his testimony about how much he believed in these things and how grateful he is for Christ in his life.  On Sunday he was confirmed and we went over to visit him.  He had brought his aunt over so that she could listen to us as well.  She is having some difficulties right now in her life.  I felt so grateful because i could truly SEE the conversion process in him. He bore a stong testimony in which he said that he felt happiness and peace... and that happiness and peace is from the spirit.  I was reminded of when Lehi partook of the fruitin 1 nephi 8:12.

12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit. 

THAT is true conversion.  And i have felt that on my mission.   I had the opportunity to visit some old converts today in my first sector.  The familia Sabando and The familia Quishpe.  They are both doing so great.  As I sat there with them I think i was waiting for a special feeling of like "wow Hermana Neff, look at all you did for these people."  But it didnt come.  Instead i had such a peaceful feeling.  I felt 100% that these people are by no means MY fruit.  They are the fruit of The Lord Jesus Christ.  Of the work that He has done through me and countless other missionaries.  I have wished my whole mission to be remembered by others for what I have done.  But i am realizing that i truly havent done anything.  Christ has done it all.  And He has allowed me to be a part of it.  I cant believe that it has taken me so long to realize that missionary work is not about ME.  It is about THEM!!  It is about their salvation and their relationship with Christ and their eternal progression.  So it doesnt matter if they always remember the name "hermana Neff"  The name that i want to be forever engraven in their hearts and in their lives is JESUS CHRIST.  HE is the master.  It is to HIM that we should be grateful.  I am so infinitely grateful for Him.  

We were blessed this week to have Elder Holland come to our mission.  WOW.  I will tell you all about it when i get home.  Truly amazing.  The focus was mainly the Book of Mormon.  

I would just very simply like to express to you all the deep and sincere love i have for this country, and the people that reside here. The food, the culture, the excuses for not coming to church jaja (that i dont love too much).  I love it.  I feel like The Lord has to know me perfectly because He knew that He had to send me to this incredibly beautiful country.  I love it.  I love it.  I love it.  Words cannot adequately express the pain i feel to have to leave it all. 

Neither can words adequately express the gratitude i feel for my mission.  I wish that i could explain how full of love my heart is for Ecuador, the people, The Savior, The Holy Ghost, Our Father in Heaven, my mission, the book of mormon. I am infinitely grateful for the decision i have made.  Not one day have i felt that the mission has been a sacrifice. The blessings are eternal and far greater than anything i could have done with my life at home during this time.   

I love my Savior so dearly.  I love the gospel. I know that it is true.  My simply testimony is that Jesus is our Savior.  He has taught us His gospel through prophets of old and living prophets today.  This gospel, after being lost, was returned to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith.  The Book of Mormon is evidence of that great truth.  

I know that through Christ I can truly be perfect though I am so far from it.  In my mission The Lord has revealed to me MANY of my weaknesses, for which i am so grateful.  It has been a time that He has helped me to overcome these weaknesses throught the incredible lessons i have learned from others, from the scriptures, and on my knees.  I have spent many nights weaping for the difficulties and many nights weaping in gratitude for everything that i have experienced.  I am not quite ready for it to end. 

However, i am very very excited to see you all.  It is amazing how much my love for our family has grown in this time.  I am ready to do our Noche de hogar every monday night!!  Thank you all for your prayers and for your incredible support and love. I feel so blessed for all that you have done for me.  I have recieved countless emails that have been from guided family members and friends that have KNOWN how to follow the promptings of the spirit.  You are all so dear to me.  

I feel that this scripture has been kind of a theme for me in my mission, and really a theme for my life.   

  32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

 34 And now I bid unto all, farewell.

con todo mi amor, 
Hermana Neff 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Carnaval LOS CHILLOS: 2.8.16


So we have had a great week!  Jose our inv. from Quevedo is getting baptized this Friday.  It has been such a special experience to see his conversion process as he has listened to the gospel and decided to change his life.  

There are so many people that we are teaching that i love so much!  We have a little family a mom with her two daughters that will most likely be getting baptized the week after i leave which is so exciting and happy for them!! We have had some really special spiritual experiences with them.... especially with the Book of Mormon.  

With another inv. (Rosa)  she prayed to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet at the end of the lesson and the spirit was THICK. After we asked her how she felt and she said "The same as i always do when i pray.... peace."  I felt the spirit guide me in that moment and i said "if it werent true do you think God would allow you to feel peace about it?"  So grateful for the spirit!  We left her pondering many things and we are hoping that she will progress!  Her challenge is her family... they are catholic and she is worried what they will think of her if she changed religions  .  

Right now it is carnaval and it is CRAZY.  
We learned this week that carnaval is basically a "eat drink and be merry" type of thing.  We saw that this week when we passed by some old inv. that we really really love and they were all drunk in front of their 4 little kids.  Sometimes i literally feel anguish for these people and understand a little of what the prophets felt when the people always rejected the gospel and chose not to repent.  I feel anguish!  But i am filled with joy to know that repentance is for everyone and that we have accepted the gospel and we live it!  

On Saturday this week Elder Holland is coming to our mission and our zone will be singing for it.... AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We are all SO excited.  I am sure you will be hearing all about it next week.  

I am so grateful for the gospel.  My mission has helped me to appreciate the special truths so so much.  I love it.  

Hermana Neff 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

LOS CHILLOS: Accepting the will of the Lord 2.1.16

Hola mi queridísima familia. 
 I am doing ok!  We saw miracles this week!   

So we have an investigator names José he is from Quevedo.  We started out teaching his prima.  She told us that her husband is a less active and that she wasnt baptized.  We found out a couple days ago that she lied to us and that she is baptized!  We have had some difficult and very direct lessons with her.  It is so hard to call people to repentance when they dont have any desires to act! It really just makes me feel sad for them!  Anyways so José is her cousin and the first lesson he was not even interested in listening to us.... but we arent quite sure what happened but all the sudden he started reading the Book of Mormon and he has come to church twice now.  He keeps talking about how he just felt like now is the time for him to make the decision to change his life!   

We are also teaching another investigator named Rosa.  She commited to coming to church and she accepted a baptismal date... but when we passed by on Sunday there were people that were coming unexpectedly to visit her.  I promise that happens so frequently here!  Opposition is a real thing!  I have learned as a missionary to just always expect and prepare for the opposition.  So anyways we passed by and we were literally just trying so so hard to get her to come to church.  Normally i would feel weird about "obligating" or "begging" someone to go to church... but Hermana McGill and I felt the spirit telling us to keep trying.  She ended up coming to church and she LOVED it!!!  And her visits didnt even get there until she got home.  Miracles indeed.  The Lord blesses those that are sincere in their intent and desires.  

This week i am ponderizing Alma 29:3.  I have been thinking a lot about Alma and his desires.  They were righteous.  All he wanted was to be able to declare the gospel to every soul.  That is how i have felt lately.  So many feelings of not wanting this precious time to end.  Feelings of inadequacy,  Wishing i could have accomplished more things. Verse three has given me MUCH comfort and peace as i have pondered these things.  I, you, all of us!  We MUST be content with the things that the Lord has allowed us to experience, do, and learn.  I am learning more and more that our expectations about life, the mission, marriage, callings, school.... are normally so different than the expectations that The Lord has for us. But we must be humble and accept His will... and what HE has "allotted unto us"  

1 O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!

 2 Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.

 3 But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish; for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me.

Anyways i love you all so much.  I love the sweet blessing that it is to teach the truths of the gospel everyday with the power and authority given from God.  I love the gospel!  

Con mucho amor, 

hermana neff 

 empanadas de verde.  They are my favorite! 

i have to wear this scarf on my head in the mornings beacuse it gets so cold in our house
this is ceviche with fish. I LOVE IT
beautiful sunset