Bring your buckets by the dozens, bring your nieces and your cousins...
This week we went to hospital 4 days consecutively. The mother of our member (Silvia Rosero, from Ecuador) just barely came to the States from Ecuador, and as she was coming over, the plane ride caused her to have several serious health conditions (on top of the fact that she already was a little sick, AND is 84-years-old). Poor Silvia. We went to the hospital every day from Tuesday to Friday, starting off visiting her in general medical on day one. We gave her a blessing of healing, promising her that she would feel better the next day. Silvia texted us the next day saying her condition had worsened and she was moved to the ICU (BY THE WAY, all 4 days I was having these insanely vivid flashbacks of feeling like I lived in the hospital when Mom was in UVRMC. It was strange yet comforting being there). So we went up to visit her and she said she felt better, but there were more problems and more tests to be done to determine what her condition was. We just stayed and talked with her, (let HER talk to us) until she fell asleep. Elder Wood and I both felt that we should be there mostly just to be a support for Silvia. We continued to visit them until the weekend when Carmen (mother) started doing a better and remembering more things. I learned a couple of things from these experiences:
1. The priesthood is real and it has the power to bring people to investigate the true gospel and eventually join it. We are praying for Carmen, who's heart was really hard before we gave her the first blessing.
2. The spirit in the ICU is incredibly intense. There are lots of tears and pain, which makes it an emotional place, but I think it's because so many of those people are being kept alive with machines and medicine. The veil feels thin, as if God is just waiting for some of those people to come back to Him.
Other than our hospital experiences, the week was slower, but still a good one. I spent some considerable time pondering repentance and the importance of it in our mundane lives. I've been really trying to internalize it, understand it, and use it every single day to feel purer and cleaner before Heavenly Father. I've noticed that I have had several spiritual experiences where I really LOOK FORWARD to my nightly prayers, that personal time I get to spend with Him, where I can throw down my fears and sins on the table, where we can "reason together". Through personal purification, I think I've become a more sober-minded person, but still completely me, still loud and obnoxious and always making jokes. It's strange. I feel like my Father (though I don't have piercing blue eyes) in the sense that I've realized the seriousness power of our message. It's not something to joke about. "Missionary work is hard because S A L V A T I O N I S N O T C H E A P . "
May God bless every one of you in your endeavors to serve Him.