This week was by far the most roller-coaster week of my entire mission. We have an Addiction Recovery Meeting that meets in our chapel and since the wife of the senior couple that runs it has been in Arizona, the Stake President asked us to attend until she returned. It has become one of the biggest blessings of this area. I love listening to people who are genuinely seeking to change their lives. It is humbling to watch them come week after week and acknowledge that they are not perfect but that they have hope in someday becoming so. I wrote down a scripture during the meeting that really stuck out to me:
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." -1 John 1:8
That kind of became the theme of the week.
Several different events the past couple of months piled up on Tuesday night to contribute to me sleeping about thirty minutes. I literally felt attacked. Every bad thing I've ever done in my life, every sin, every mistake, every bad moment was so clear in my head and I couldn't escape it. I spent the whole night questioning how I was even going to get up in the morning and act like everything was okay. The only thought going through my head as I watched these scenes replayed in my head over and over again was "It doesn't matter how hard I try. I can't change. I will never be enough." I couldn't fathom even the thought that I would ever feel good about myself again.
Well, obviously, all the thoughts of the paragraph above were stupid. But they were real and they were hard. Our run on Wednesday morning didn't clear my head like it normally does, and I knew I had to do something to fix myself before I could ever hope to talk to people that day. I came in from our run and prayed. I begged God to let me know what He needed from me and how I could ever become the person he needs me to be. Then I started reading the scriptures and I was struck all over again by the truthfulness of the statement "God Listens." He does. He cares. Alma 40. Alma 15. Every verse stuck out to me like God was saying "Sister Scadden, you are fine." I especially liked Alma 15:15 because it was one of the last things I read and it stuck me really hard that if I do not allow others and myself to repent, I am giving in to the devil. THEN I read Elder Holland's talk "If My Friends Will Help Me". And sobbed. Missions man. They make you so crazy crying is like a normal thing. Ugh.
Anyway, I read that talk and loved his discussion on Peter. If you read the scriptures, Peter was extremely faithful to Christ. But he was also pretty dense in the head. He just didn't get it. He was stubborn and looked beyond the mark quite a bit. And then after all of that he denied Christ three times. And then he wept. Looking at that picture of Peter, I don't think any of us would choose him as the leader of the church. And yet Christ did. He continued to work with him and humble him and shaped Peter into the man he needed to be. That impacted me a lot and gave me a lot of comfort. God will continue to shape me into the woman that I need to be. He won't give up on me if I don't give up on myself.
On Wednesday and Thursday we kept working and kept going. On Friday we went to a ward activity and it was awesome! A lot of members brought their friends and we were able to talk to them and have fun and see ward relationships improving.
Then Saturday began and life got crazy. We were eating lunch/dinner around 3:30 at Mia's house, who is a member and also a newly-called ward missionary (yes!). We got a call from Hermano Cruz telling us that someone named Lupe Nunez wanted us to visit her. I thought it was super cool to be getting a call from a member because we've been really pushing to have less active work done and I was under the impression that is was one of the less actives being open to seeing the missionaries. Well, we got in our car and opened up to our ward list and there was no "Lupe Nunez". So we called the number Hermano Cruz had given to us for her and an older lady answered the phone. She was so excited and told us she really wanted a Book of Mormon because she had lost hers. We still thought she was a less active and set up an appointment with her for Saturday night. The elders had a bike situation so we helped them with that and then stopped by a birthday party at another recently rescued family's house for about 15 minutes. As we were leaving to go knock, Hermano Cruz stopped us and asked about Lupe. He told us she wasn't a member. Thinking ahead, we secured a ride for her to church with the Cruz family and asked Mia if she would come with us to visit Lupe before she went with the elders to their appointment at 8.
Then we left, knocked, and ran into a family we had talked to before and had a super cool moment with them.
We were driving back to the party to pick up Mia when she called us to tell us that the Elder's couldn't make their 7:00 appointment since they were on foot. So we took Mia with us and visited Lupe. Here is Sis. Soza's discription of Lupe: (My comments look like this.)
But this Saturday, we met Lupe. She is incredible! 11 years ago, two missionaries gave a book of mormon, to her... she love it.
But she come back to costa rica because her husband died. They murdered him. So... in this moment, she promised never to go back to costa rica.
But after 13 years, she found the church again!!! (She left a note in the church doors that she wanted to meet with us.) When we met her, she cried and when she saw the book of mormon she crying more... in this momento, i know that the heavanly father he does everything in his time. She came to the church yestarday, and today we have a noche de hogar with members... I will always keep in my heart the moment that she said: " This is what i was looking for"
i hope that you understand me...
After Lupe, we taught the Elder's incredible investigator and then rushed back to Lupe's neighborhood to drop off another Book of Mormon with Jazmin. They had already read all of the introduction and the chapter we left them!
Lupe came to church yesterday and cried multiple times because of the spirit she was able to remember and feel. Jazmin is extremely excited to come to church next week AND another member brought her friend to church who also really wants to learn more.
The moral of the story is that the war between good and evil is real and that it doesn't matter how far down we sink, Christ always has a hand stretched out for us to grab and hold on to. There is comfort and security in knowing the Plan of Salvation. And missionary work is all about staying humble.
I love all of you TONSSSSSSS!!!! I miss you lots. I hope all of you are enjoying hoodie season cause I sure am.
-Sister Bren Scadden
Oh yeah! And yesterday I had to give a full on talk in Spanish. So, in my normal fashion, I didn't make time for it until Sunday morning. Ahhhhh. It was super funny because when I forgot one word the whole congregation shouted it at me. haha. Other than that, I think it went pretty well!