Arizona, Week 20 – Final week in the mission, last full day before I go home…

(Mesa area with Sister Shannon Homer)

It’s my last day!!!!! I’m getting dropped off at the mission home at 4:30pm today and the President and his wife have a special dinner and testimony meeting planned. Tomorrow we wake up early for some breakfast and I’m on the plane back home! Wow. I can’t believe it. I’m so excited to see my family and loved ones again. It’s been so long and I love and miss them all so much!

It was a beautiful last week and we worked HARD! We are cleaning up the ward list and went by every single name on there. The ward clerk gave us his password so we have been logging in and fixing a bunch of wrong information and changed addresses and phone numbers. I just know this will make a big difference because it would be impossible for future missionaries to take care of these people if they can’t find them!

Also, Lourdez was baptized on Saturday (my little sister Emily’s BIRTHDAY) and it was beautiful! She had some really tough stuff going on this week, but she knew it was the devil attacking her and did not let it stop her from making the right decision. Thank you for all your prayers on her behalf! She received the Holy Ghost on Sunday and is doing great.

The ward planned a surprise farewell party for me yesterday. It was so sweet of them. One of the members hosted it in his trailer and so he told me his sister was coming and he wanted us to teach her while she was there! Then we showed up and it was the whole ward and the elders and even the zone leaders came! What?! They made carne asada and a bunch of food. It was really nice to see them all one last time cause I was tempted to spend the day just saying good-bye to everyone, but I really felt like we needed to work and find someone yesterday.

So after some food and pictures, we headed out to work and I was determined to find this new person, someone who had no idea it was my last day so we could have a powerful first lesson with them. Saturday night we prayed that we could find someone prepared that Hermana Homer and her new companion can teach and then we looked through a bunch of old teaching records and put a bunch of people into our plans that we had never met before. It was kind of hard at first because we weren’t finding anyone plus I was really emotional that it was my last day so I had a little break-down in the car. It was tempting to just stay and cry and talk instead of keep working but we didn’t. I said, “We only have a couple hours left! I can cry later!” So we kept on. And we found 2 families!!!! And they just seem golden! One of them said we could come by later and the daughter is starting her last year of High School and has lots of good Mormon friends who have invited her to mutual and she really enjoyed it. She was really, really nice. Then we found another lady named Silvia who is a single mom with twins and a little girl and tons of extended family that all live in the same house. She was super cool and even told us that she feels like God has been preparing her for something lately and that this is just what she needs. So we had a powerful first lesson and it was a beautiful end to the night. It never ceases to amaze me how God answers the prayers of those who are in His service so quickly and powerfully every time.

So the bags are packed and all is well and I’ll see you all TOMORROW MORNING! I can’t wait! Expect HUGE HUGS!! Love you all,
Hermana Berbert

Arizona, Week 19 – Conversions, missionary exchanges, and opposition in all things…

(Mesa area with Sister Shannon Homer)

Dear Friends and Family,

Sorry I told you I wouldn’t write until Wednesday, but I was wrong. Plans changed and we have a normal P-day again. I’ll still get online one more time next Monday morning so there is still time if you wanted to write me a last email.

It’s been an amazing week with lots of miracles. We have been focusing a lot on less actives this transfer and helping them come back. It’s been beautiful to see their changes and it brings me just as much joy to help them have real conversions as helping investigators does. We have also done a lot of last exchanges with the sisters for this transfer and they continue to amaze me. We have amazing sister missionaries and I love them so much. We had our leadership meeting with the mission president and it was also so spiritual. We are getting really excited for zone training tomorrow and to help our missionaries be even better teachers and really focus back on the basics and following the Spirit.

I was on exchanges with a sister who shared this concern with me, “I don’t understand why I’m expected to feel the opposite of what I actually feel in certain situations.” She talked about trying to feel love for someone who didn’t treat her well and trying to find happiness when they were being rejected everyday. It’s a legit concern and I have noticed that there are a lot of opposites in the Gospel. Christ talks about many of them in Luke 6:

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
27 ¶But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But aove ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

We see many seemingly “contradictory” thoughts like these throughout the scriptures. In order to find yourself, you must lose yourself, etc. Science teaches us that opposites attract. I think that statement is poorly worded and the more accurate way of saying it is in the Book of Mormon, “For there must needs be opposition in all things.”
Why does Christ teach us to do the opposite of what we are naturally inclined to do? I think the answer lies in Mosiah 3:19:

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord,and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Opposition is essential in overcoming or mastering something. We need to learn to master our bodies and overcome all things and are placed therefore in a state of opposition in this life. Only one more scripture I promise haha. Alma 41:11-15

11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.
12 And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
13 O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
14 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
15 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

I think the biggest part of the natural man that we have to overcome is pride. The natural man is proud and thus can not progress if he will not admit his weaknesses, lift his fellow man, and be able to learn from others. I read a really good talk about pride this week. It’s sooooooo worth reading. Check it out!
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/beware-of-pride?lang=eng

Anyway, there isn’t sufficient time to tell you all the amazing things that happened this week. I just thought I’d share some of the spiritual stuff since I haven’t taken the time to lately. Please pray for our investigator Lourdes. She is getting baptized this weekend!! (= (= (=

Love you all!
Hermana Berbert

Hermana Berbert arrives home on Aug. 12th, and gives a homecoming talk on Aug. 24th…

[From her parents]: Anna Berbert returns home on August 12th and will be speaking in church on Sunday, August 24th. For those who would like to attend sacrament meeting to hear her speak the details are below:

When: Sunday, August 24th at 11:00am (we suggest arriving at least a few minutes early because we have two return missionaries speaking during the same meeting and the chapel will be more crowded than usual, though there should be plenty of seating in the cultural hall if you happen to arrive late).

Where: The chapel right next to the Draper temple (Draper South Mountain 4th Ward).The address is: 1911 E Gray Fox Dr, Draper. UT 84020

There should be plenty of parking, even if you arrive late, because the building shares a large parking lot with the Draper temple.