Monday, January 26, 2015

Going to the Chapel!!

Wow, such a big, long week, but an amazing week!!

This week we worked so hard - with all our heart, might, mind, and strength!!  This morning when we woke up we just cancelled our pday plans and decided to write letters, run, nap, and read general conference talks... we are just way too wiped out to do anything else!  It's a crazy cylce, the missionary life, but, I wouldn't have it any other way! :) 

So, just to give you some context, I dont know if I've ever shared it before, but our area (de Hermana V and I) used to be covered by 2 companionships.  So, it's a pretty big area.  We cover two areas and there are 4 more areas covered by two pairs of Elders.  Well.... long story short, one of the pairs of Elders is gone now, so, Hermana Valenzuela y Yo have 4 areas - just to ourselves!!  O sea, it's a good thing we have good shoes because we are walking a LOTTTTT!!  :)

This week we chose to work so hard to help every single person come back to church.  Whether they were recent converts, menos activos, investigators o lo que sea... we really tried to find out how we could help them poder ir  a la iglesia and understand the WHY behind it.  :)  Because like Christ said, man wasn't made for the sabbath, the sabbath was made for man!!  :)  We need that day of rest and the opportunity to worship and be uplifted (But thats a whole other email!!  Haha!!)  Our efforts really paid off and made this Sunday so sweet because we had 141 people in attendance!  The chapel was packed!!!! :)  And the thing that made it the sweetest, was seeing everyone AFTER church!!

Seeing everyone AFTER they had partaken of the sacrament, AFTER they had listened to the lessons and talks that were prepared, AFTER they had gotten to partake of that special Spirit found in The Lords dedicated house of worship!! :)  Everyone was SO HAPPY!!  It was a happiness you can't describe with words - but rather, you must feel!  It's so genuine, it's so real - you can almost touch it!  It's really amazing how church can really recharge our batteries!  It's like starting new every week, it is the place to recieve the answers to the questions of your heart... it is everything!

Epecially the sacrament!!  This is the amazing gift, the time that we have to participate fully in the atonement of Christ.  If for no other reason, this is reason enough to go to church each week!!  I could go on and on about it, but there's someone who says it better than I do!   And that is Cheryl A Esplin and her talk on the Sacrament.   You can click on the link and read it for yourself!!

I am so grateful for church, and I am so grateful for the sacrament.  I'm grateful for the time it gives me to reflect, repent, and start the week new!  :)  To feel of the atoning power of Jesus Christ. 

Repentance isn't a punishement... rather, one of the biggest gifts we have been given. Repentance means turning away from the mistakes or poor choices you're making and turning back to the path that leads to Eternal Life! :)  It's changing your view, and aligning your will with that of Heavenly Father and continuing with Him as your guide!  Keeping your eligibility to have the Holy Ghost as your constant companion to testify the truthfulness of all things and provide you with the inspiration to continue doing the things The Lord would have us do!  And we get to do that every time we take the sacrament!!

I love this gospel!  I love my Heavenly Father!  I love Jesus Christ!  I know they live, I know it with every fiber of my being! :)

Have a lovely week everyone!! :)
Hermana Lauren Nicole Fardos

PS. KAYLAN YOU'RE ENGAGED!!!  Okay, Yup, I like him!!  Paul is a keeper!!  And you two are so cute together!!  I approve (because I know you've been waiting for my approval! ;) Haha!!).  Just promise me this engagement will be a year long so I can be there with you at the Temple!! ;) Les digo no mas!  I'm so happy for you guyssss!!!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Me and Hermana V

I'm still here in Mariano with Hermana Valenzuela and we couldn't be happier!! :D 

So, I don't remember what I have actually shared with you about the people here in Mariano... But, today my thoughts and heart are focused on one person in particular, Mirtha!  She is one of our investigators...  She is 29 and lives by herself.  She took the missionary lessons a long time ago because the guy she was dating was LDS, but soon after they broke up, she broke up with the missionaries too (saying that she only took the lessons because of her boyfriend and had no desire to continue without him).  After time had passed, about 6 months... she called US and told us that she wanted us to come back - and that this time she wanted to know for herself!! :)  She was the first lesson that I had when I came here to Mariano (I may have told you about the time we 'heart attacked' her door for her birthday)!!  Anyway, she has progressed soooo much in this short time!! :)  She is so beautiful and lovely in every way!  She has had all the lessons, she has a testimony that is SO strong, and she is SO ready to take this next step and be baptized... the only reason she hasn't yet is because she wants to take a trip to her parents house so she can share with them her decision and invite them to be there on her special day!!  She also hopes to slowly, but surely invite them to feel The Spirit and the happiness that comes from the gospel!  So hopefully it won't be long before I have more news to share about the lovely Mirtha!! :)

One more thing about a conversation we had with Mirtha the other day...  She said something I loved so much! :)  We were all talking about the commandments... what they are, why we have them, and how it benefits us to keep them.  We were trying to help her understand the blessings that come from personally living the commandments.  And instead of us helping her understand, she gave us a teaching moment :)  She said "I know that I need to keep all of these commandments, I know it because I know that my Heavenly Father has given them to me to keep me on His path and to keep me happy.  I know they aren't to punish me, rather to bless me and help me get closer and closer to Him and His plan"....  She's brilliant...  it's SO simple, but SO true! :)  

Now, since that lesson, I haven't been able to get commandments out of my head.  I love the commandments!!  :) Haha!!  They are such a blessing, and they are NOT restrictions.... the truth is, they are just the opposite. They help free us from worldly ties and vices that would take away our freedom and our agency.  They come from a Heavenly Father who loves us!  The Lord has marked the path and showed it to us and He wants us to stay on that path... because if we stay on it we will find the sweetest joy, the most genuine happiness, and the most rewarding prize....  Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father and our families!! :)  He wants us to be on that path because He wants to pour out His blessings upon us and He can without reproach if we will only be obedient and keep his commandments!  :)  Really, that is all that Heavenly Father asks of us.... "Keep my commandments"

I love the commandments AND I love you guys!! :) 
Keep on praying and pressing forward!   You guys are the best! :)
Hermana Lauren Fardos

PS. This week we had a really fun service project helping a MiaMaid with her personal progress!! :) We got to paint the Eiffel Tower! So fun!! :)  XOXOX

Monday, January 12, 2015

Changes Are Coming!!

Hola Family!

Well, just like that, my first cambio in Mariano is over!  Tomorrow I will find out if there are changes or if Hermana Valenzuela and I have another cambio together!  We are really hopeful that we will stay together a while longer, but we will see!  She's already got 7 months here... sooo yeah, I'm not sure the odds are in our favor... Haha!  It's the Lords work and the Lords timing, so, we will go where and when He wants us to!

But wow, this week has been another great one!  I'm pretty sure I start every email with "what a great week" or something along those lines...  I am just continually amazed with the way Lord is such a personal and active participant in our lives! :)

We have a new progressing investigator named Luis, who is the most humble, sweet and lovely guy ever!  He is 19, and his girlfriend, Jessica, also 19, is SO strong in the Gospel.... and she knows SO much!  One day we were visiting her, and Luis and her grandmother were there.  We started talking with them and just really got to know them.  When we left their house... Hermana Valenzuela and I both had goosebumps - we felt so strongly that this guy was one that The Lord had prepared to receive His message! :)  We came back within the next few days to begin teaching him because he had expressed some interest and WOW!, it was such a powerful lesson!  We left that lesson on 'Cloud 9' The Spirit was so strong...  We knew that it wasn't us, it was The Spirit had been doing the teaching.  And that's so awesome!!  And the next day he was at church.  Something we really emphasized with him and something that has really been hititng me lately is just how much our Heavenly Father loves us... and continues to love us.  He will never stop! 

He loved us so much that he sent us Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son - to die for us!!  That we might have Eternal Life!  He showed us the path and He marked the way to return to our Heavenly Father.  He called prophets in the times of old to guide His people in the ways of righteousness, so that they might recieve the fullness of his blessings... AND He continues to love us and guide us even today, by continuing to call living prophets - and the blessings and evidence of His love goes on and on!!  But more than anything, He loves YOU! Each and every one of you - INDIVIDUALLY and personally!! :)  And He wants YOU to know for yourself and to recieve your OWN witness that all this is true!  That all that he does for us, he would do just FOR YOU!  The most omnipotent, all powerfull, all knowing, creator.... wants someone as insignificant as me to come to Him in prayer and communicate with him directly!  He has promised us that his arms are extended out to us in every moment, and all we need to do is embrace Him... it all depends on is us!  :)  If we choose to ask! He is ready to give us a personal witness and answer the questions of your heart. 

Come to Him, get to know Him personally!  And if you strive to know Him, you WILL come to know Him!! :)  He loves YOU! 

I love you all!  Take advantage of the gift of prayer, it really is a huge blessing and wonderful tool !!

Until next week!

Hermana Fardos

Hola Argentina!!


MISSION RULES ARE CHANGING!  We used to have to make and report goals and actuals each week... we had a list of about 15 key indicators that we would call in to our leaders, to track the progress in our areas.  But NOT ANYMORE, all of that is GONE!  Now all we report is the church attendance and confirmaciones. Why are we doing that you might ask? Because everything is changing... We are a MINISTERING mission! :) We are here to focus on helping people on their journey to obtain REAL conversion :) We are not baptizing to baptize, that is not the purpose of work.  We are here because we have a message, a life-changing message for EVERYONE!! :)  If they will but take the time to hear it and let it enter their hearts and ask their Father in Heaven, they will come to know it for themselves.  And we are here to help them – it’s the BEST! 

Hermana Valenzuela and I have been over the roof SO happy with this cambio (change)!  It makes it so that your focus is really on the people.  When we look at the example of Christ, we can clearly see that he was a ministering man.  He was a miracle worker, he helped people in a SPECIAL and PERSONAL way.  He taught according to the needs of people he was teaching.  He took time to personally minister unto the people that surrounded him. And since Jesus Christ was OUR example, it makes sense that we should try to be more like Him! :) "Come Follow ME" the Savior said.  And so that is what we are trying to do here!  To think about everyone personally, listen to the people, listen to The Spirit, and follow those promptings.  The Spirit is the true teacher, for it is The Spirit that converts man to the doctrine :)  It is The Spirit that testifies of The Father and of The Son - and we, as missionaries, are just the physical instruments used to let the Spirit teach :)  We have found that, with this mindset, we have had SO much more "success".  Success being, the joy we feel upon seeing other people receive the Gospel message, embark upon their own conversion and receive a personal witness of the Restored Gospel!! :)  Gifts for investigators and missionaries from a loving Father in Heaven! :) WOW, I just LOVE missionary work!!!

Having a personal testimony really is it :) It is the key. We NEED to have our own personal testimony! :) And when we have that, we will never have reason to fear man :)  And we will be able to have our tongues loosed in the very moment, and the words put in our mouth in the precise moment we need it!  :) You guys HAVE TO READ ONE OF MY FAVORITE TALKS :) Se estas cosas por mi mismo by Craig C Christensen... Basically, it tells you everything perfectly (that I would have to spend the rest of my life trying to say)! Haha  I LOVE THIS THEME of PERSONAL TESTIMONIES!  That’s something we are really trying to work on, helping every person have their OWN testimony :)  I have such a testimony of the importance of a personal testimony!!  Ha! :)

On a fun note, we went to the border today!  Hermana V and I took a bus straight over to the bridge that goes over the river separating Argentina and Paraguay!  It was so very cool (and maybe a little sketchy)! Haha!  But SO FUN!! - We were literally in two places at once!! :)  Don’t worry - we never left the country.  We just stood in the middle, overlooking the river, next to a sign that said Paraguay on one side and Argentina on the other.  I loved it!!  :) We are still so excited about it!

Love you all, keep on building up those personal testimonies. They are your best friend :) I Promise you that!! :)

Hermana Fardos