Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Planning For Ana

So for the past three weeks Catie (a girl is reporting to the Guatemala MTC 2 weeks before me and also serving in Panama) and I have been having mock planning sessions for fake investigators. These investigators are individuals we have come up with that need the Gospel and are prepared, in some ways, to receive it into their lives. I was originally going to post about what it was like to plan for one of our investigators named Ramone, that is, until I helped plan for an investigator named Ana.

During the part of our planning sessions that we set aside for Ana I felt the spirit stronger than I have in a very long time. So much so that I started shaking from the sheer power of the Holy Ghost working on me. As we planned for this investigator that didn’t exist and that we would never teach I found myself aching to share this lessons with the woman. Rather then just sum it up for you let me get a little in depth. That way you’ll get an idea of what our planning sessions are like and how it is preparing us to be better missionaries once we get out in the field.

First, we come up with an investigator. Catie came up with Ana. Some key things about the single mother in her late twenties is that she has four boys ages 3, 4, 7 and 10. The oldest three from one father and the youngest from another father. Their dads are not in the picture. Ana works all day to support her young family. Culturally she is Catholic  but her worship does not extend beyond worshiping a picture of the Virgin Mary that hangs on her wall above a candle. Ever night she lights the candle and pray to the Mary for relief from her troubles.

So to begin our planning sessions we always start out with an opening prayer. This time I asked Catie to say it in Spanish because I want to see what words I could pick out. Unfortunately my  phone is horrible at picking up noise when it’s on speaker phone so I only caught a few phrases. We started with  Ramone and with about twenty minutes left in the session we started planning for Ana. We both felt like we should teach her about Jesus Christ and expressed this feeling to one another.  Catie suggested the sub point of faith in Jesus Christ as a main focus and God is our loving Heavenly Father. Almost at the same time we amended it to, Christ’s earthly ministry and atonement found in Lesson 1.
Now that we had the basis from which we would draw our lesson we talked about commitments we would extend. We both felt that Ana would be open to a commitment to be baptized. Plus we had talked earlier about the importance of bringing up baptism from the beginning so that its not a surprise for you investigators. We also talked about extending the commitment for Ana to come to church with us that Sunday.

We then  got into the meat of what we would teach from. We discussed the importance of first helping her come to know Jesus Christ. We felt this wouldn’t be a hard transition for her because she had a Catholic background and already faithfully worshipped the Virgin Mary. I felt prompted to use the story of the woman at the well found in John 3. I admitted to Catie that it was kind of weird connection. I felt like we should draw a connection between Ana and the Samaritan woman. In many way Ana, is like the woman at the well. Seeking for the living water that Christ has to offer. We planned to emphasize to her that Christ could give her the living water of faith. Christ could also give her peace in every aspect of her life. The way she feels when she prays at night to her painting could be experienced all the time if she would just return to Him. Catie like it and we discussed that concept a little further. I think at this point we both felt the Spirit very intensely, bearing witness to us  that what we were planning was true and would be very powerful.

We then moved into how to teach  Ana about the atonement. Catie talked about reading Mosiah 11 in which Abinadi is quoting Isaiah regarding the coming of Christ. We decided to use verse 3-5 to help Ana understand that Christ knows her sufferings and understands her in her trials. We connected to Christ’s experience in the Garden of Gethsemane found in Luke 22:42-43. We talked about how she could relate to feeling as Christ did, asking the Father to let the bitter cup pass from Him. We also discussed the next verse of how an angel was sent to strengthen Him in His suffering. We decided we would talk with Ana about how when she prays to God in the name of Christ, her Heavenly Father can send angels to her aid to strengthen and uplift her.  We thought that would be a good lead into committing her to be baptized and to come to Church with us that Sunday. We decided we would close with asking her to give the closing prayer.

We did not plan homework for Ana. I think it is best that Ana just be challenged to ponder on the things we have taught her but Catie and I will talk about tomorrow and that may be changed. To be continued…

At point in the planning session we felt like that was enough. What we had planned for Ana was powerful and we both knew it. We both knew that the Spirit was there and that we had been guided in planning for these fake investigators. When we were evaluating how it had gone (after a closing prayer given by me in Hebrew) I for one could barely speak because I was shaking so bad (that’s what happens to me when I feel the Spirit strongly, I shake, kind of like I’m shivering because I’m cold. We talked about how we would like to be each other’s companions and what went well with the session. Catie will send me Ana's reactions before our next planning sessions.  I look forward to many great sessions and cannot wait to get out in the field and actually teach God’s children in Panama. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve and how He is preparing me to do so. May He bless you my dear readers, until you read again. 

1 comment:

  1. We decided to leave Ana the homework of reading 3 Nephi 9, hoping that it would help her further understand who Christ is and how much He loves her.