Sunday, August 24, 2014

WEEK 52: Jun Berces

HELLO HELLO HELLO!!! Kumusta kayo??? It's been an interesting week.

First off, I would just like to dedicate this email to a man that became very special to me in my last area. This man's name is Jun Berces, in his 40's or 50's. This man, when we found him, had been inactive for over 20 years. His brother was active, but he had been offended and didn't want to come to church. The first time I visited with him, he just looked so sad. They asked us to start teaching him so he could come back to church. I remember the first time we taught him, he barely said two words. We taught the power of the Atonement and in that moment as we taught him, I really felt love that our Savior has for HIM. I had really never felt that before so strongly. I felt the Savior just wanting him, Brother Berces, to come back to the fold and I really saw his potential as a son of God. At the end of our lesson, we invited him to church. As we have worked with many less actives here, I have seen how long it takes some to come back to church. So, I knew we of course would invite him, but wasn't sure what he would do. But to my surprise, he came to church that Sunday. And the next. And the next. And before I knew it, he was incredibly active. As we passed by his house almost every day, we would stop by and sometimes catch him reading his scriptures or praying. This was a man that before, we had never even met him because he was always hiding in his room. He didn't open his scriptures for years. Weeks passed and he kept coming to church, often times if we had a sister, he would work with us and even give us referrals when he found families interested in the gospel. We would go share with him, and he would share with us all the people he had shared the gospel with and would share his strong testimony with us. He was an example to me of the power of the gospel in a person that really LIVES it. A few weeks passed with him being active and he received the calling of the building manager. Now, some people might not take this as a serious calling, but this man took his calling how he should, as it came right from our Heavenly Father. He was at that church more than the Branch President was. He was there every week cleaning, even if it was just him. Weeks passed by when just recently, a few weeks before a left, he was called as Executive Secretary for the Branch. As he was sustained in sacrament meeting, I shed tears as I had really witnessed his growth and change right before my 20 year old eyes. I transferred, remembering all the things I had learned from him and from his example to me. 

This morning I logged on my email and found out that this great man had suffered from a heart attack and passed away. He passed away last Monday, just after he worked the whole day to earn money just so he could have enough to get to Manila to go through the temple because he was so excited. This man will forever be a part of me and my mission, and I am grateful for the time I had to get to know him. I am grateful for the example he set for me in showing the real power of the gospel in a person's life. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for him, and how grateful I am that he was able to come back to church before he passed. I know that our Heavenly Father has a plan for all things that happen.

Here is a picture that we took the day before I left. If you could really see the difference in him from the first time we met with him until this picture...oh man. He was a great man.
A man once asked Jesus Christ, he said:
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied,
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:36-40

This week through my studies I focused on LOVE. Love for my Heavenly Father and all He does for me. Love for my Savior, because He first loved me enough to die for me. Love for those that I have the opportunity to teach here and to learn from. Love for my companion and an increasing love for this work. 

I also studied again about obedience. I studied the importance of being obedient....not just because we feel like we have to...but because we have sincere love for our Heavenly Father and all He does for us each day. Seriously, every day I'm overwhelmed with His love. If we don't feel His love everyday I really think we are doing something wrong. It's just there, no matter what. It's there whether we are sad, whether we are happy, it's there. He knows we are perfect yet He loves us PERFECTLY. He knows we are incomplete but yet HE LOVES US COMPLETELY. Let us all take just a few minutes every day to recognize His love for each of us. 

I know that no matter what we may be facing in life, our Heavenly Father is there for us. He knows all and He has a plan for us. I know that His plan is greater than anything we can imagine. 

I am grateful for just that. That my Heavenly Father knows what's better for me ALWAYS. As I hit my one year mark this week...I've been really thinking about my life and how I got where I am. A few years ago, I would have never imagined myself here. I would have probably imagined myself married by now and in school. But I am grateful to my Heavenly Father, that even as stubborn as I am, He led me here. I know I am here for a reason and I am learning that reason more and more each day.

This week my companion and I both got really there wasn't much work, but of course there was still a lot learned. Words can't describe the great feeling it is to be a missionary. I LOVE IT.

I am grateful to you all in my life and your support.

Mahal ko kayo,
Sister Reategui

some pictures...
 me in another rice field....

this cute girl is a future missionary! she helped us teach a lesson yesterday :)

#outfitoftheday = blue!

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