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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Changed Missionary

This week was revolutionary, my friends. So, so, so, so good. I'll save the explanation for the title for the end.

Some highlights?

-#1 Kelum and Lilly. Oh my. What incredible individuals. They both have such a glow. Sweet Kelum loves to tell us everytime we visit how many more people he told about the gospel. He's our little missionary and we absolutely adore him:) and our beloved Lilly. We saw her last night and she recounted to us beautifully how after being baptized and confirmed her ability to say "no" to things has been strengthened. Her membership in the church reinforces her. She shared with us how as a brand new member there are somethings she's still trying to get used to, but she said that as she prays she says, "Signore, obbediro." Which means, "Lord, I will obey." Her faith is exemplary and that dear woman has taught me so much and I'm eternally grateful for her.

-#2 WELCOME, PRESIDENT & SISTER DIBB! We finally got to meet our new mission president at zone conference. How long awaited was his arrival! He's so kind and SO knowledgeable about the gospel. That man has so much to teach me! His sweet wife is an angel. I feel so fortunate to have these two individuals! The Spirit bore witness to me of the divinity of his call and I sustain this man preordained to be my mission president for the majority of my mission. I look forward to the year I'll have with him!

-#3 We made muddy buddies for our English class and you would've thought those Italians were eating manna. They loved it! It was so so fun going over the recipe and having each of them shake their own ziploc bag! Grazie, military base-- we have these good things! We also made it for district meeting.

-#4 We have had such incredible FHE's lately. They've been so fun, we play Catch Phrase and needless to say, I'm not too shabby:) We're always well fed, thanks to Sister Arbogast, and the Spirit is in GREAT abundance. Last week we testified of prayer and that sacred, tender relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father. One of the soldiers, out of the blue, and quite surprisingly, said, "I'm sorry, but I feel like I really need to bear my testimony." It was powerful. We meet with about 4 or 5 soldiers each week, and it was one of the most profound blessings I've had here. This week we testified about becoming as a little child. I talked about my sweet Kyler and how that little boy has stolen my heart and taught me more than anyone I can think of. The Lord has been teaching me about the importance of patterning ourselves after these Celestial, pure-hearted, little ones. To be meek, humble, forgiving and optimistic.

AND NOW. For the explanation of my headline:
This week I've witnessed a miracle. Elder Oaks has said that the greatest miracle that can occur is a change of heart. And for me, such was the case. I don't know how it happened, other than through the grace and Atonement of Jesus Christ, but my attitude about my mission changed DRASTICALLY this week. I always appreciated it. I always knew it was so good, and I was doing what was was right. My heart was divided with lots of things. But now, I can confidently and gratefully say that my mission claims my heart and only that. Nothing or no one has my heart and desires. Yes, I love and miss my family and friends unbelievably so, yet my desire is to be here. To give all of myself. To exhaust myself. And continue to strive to consecrate my thoughts, actions, words, and desires to this sacred work I'm so privileged to be a part of. This opportunity is so precious to my heart, and I want to do all I can to do it justice. I've become a PRESENT missionary. Whose mind is here now. I'm certainly not perfect and am constantly praying for the Lord to take me by the hand and forgive me, but I've never felt so much missionary fire.

The Holy Ghost taught me something so profound this week:
"I am a Child of God, and He has sent me here." He really has sent me here to this mission, at this time, to this very area, and with my beautiful blessing of a companion. I'm on His errand and solely going where He wants me to.

"Has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear." I thought I loved my parents before my mission, but mercy, how I love them now! I appreciate them more and more, and have even a stronger desire to be the type of parent that they are to me.

"Lead me, guide me, walk beside me. Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do, to live with Him someday." I've never realized how much I rely on the Lord for absolutely everything. I feel like a toddler, stumbling along, and nothing is more comforting than that helpful hand of a Parent to guide me. He directs my every move, and oh, how I have need of Him. 

Fam and friends, folks and homies:)
My heart is so full. I finished the Book of Mormon last night. I started it my first day here in Vicenza and I took Elder Bednar's challenge to read it with a specific topic in mind. I choose grace. I wanted to learn more about this "enabling power of the Atonement." Now, I don't know everything there is to know. But this I do know: that we worship a Savior so full of grace. He is a Redeemer of Mercy. His is a love of perfection. Through His grace, we literally can do all things. I have had to lean on that grace to empower me to keep going, to push forward. Only through His Atonement can we become the parents, missionaries, friends, students and children of Him that we're divinely created to become. I have gained such a testimony of the beloved grace of our Savior. It is a topic that has occupied my study and thoughts for quite some time now, and I'm so grateful.

May the Lord bless and carry each of you.
Con tutto del mio amore,
Sorella Baer

p.s. I love you.

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