Well, today has been a very emotional day for me and quite a sad one. I just said goodbye to my dear friend I told you about earlier this week who had a seizure. She was sent home from her mission today. She has to have 6 months of no seizures to be able to come back and doesn't know right now that she will. My heart is seriously broken for her....I can't even hold back the tears now as I type. I am struggling for understanding right now....it had been 3 years since her last seizure, she was prompted to go on a mission and she followed the spirit...she prayed so hard to be able to get through her mission without any seizures and 2 weeks into it she had one...even though it was less than a minute long, they said there are no exceptions, and she had to return home. Sister Kunz is my hero...she has been so incredibly strong today and I think I was crying more than she was! She fasted and prayed all day yesterday, and said that whatever happens happens, and if she was going to be sent home then there must be a reason. There are many missionaries who come here because they are told to or because it is expected, but she came because Heavenly Father prompted her to. She wanted to be here more than anything. She said they would have to pull her by the hair to get her to leave! I hugged her so tight and told her that I admired her so much. Her strength, her testimony, her trust in Heavenly Father. I told her that we know we are here to be proven and to see if we will do all that the Lord asks of us, and she did. If anything she has proven her faith in the Lord and His plan for her. He knows He can trust her. I told her how much I had seen her grow in just 3 and a 1/2 weeks and how I KNEW she was going to change her family's lives when she got back because of the knowledge and testimonies she had gained here. The Lord must have needed her to experience the MTC and all that has happened here for a reason. I told her how thankful I was for the day that I got to spend talking with her while she recovered from the seizure and how I knew we were going to be friends forever and considered myself lucky to have met such an amazingly strong woman. We laughed and quoted some of our favorite lines from "Friends" and we all put our Pioneer dresses on and walked around the MTC and took pictures by the Joseph Smith statue, so that she could get a little Mormon Battalion experience...since she won't be headed there with us on Tuesday. Again, I couldn't believe her strength. She was smiling. She said she'd come see us at the Battalion. We took a picture in front of the map of the world and instead of pointing to San Diego...she stretched her arms out and said..."the whole world is my mission now!" As much as I'd like to think I'd be that positive...I can't imagine I would be. I know I shouldn't share the hard parts of my mission...but this is all that's on my mind right now...and I felt I should tell the world of this amazingly strong and faithful Sister. Please say a prayer for her today....while she hid her hurt, I know if I were in her shoes...the next few days would be very hard to handle. So from the bottom of my heart, please pray for her to be comforted.... I know the Lord has a specific plan for her and I KNOW He will bless her for her exceeding faithfulness! Seeing her go through this and being sent home without a choice has made me so incredibly grateful to be here and I feel that I have no right to complain or slacken or waste any minute...and I only want to work harder now, and keep taking care of my health, in honor of her and those who long to be here and serve the Lord, but because of circumstances are unable to. I thank my Heavenly Father daily for this opportunity of a lifetime.
So now that my make-up is smeared all over the place...I will try to tell you a few great things that happened in the past couple of days.
So I started my Visitor's Center training on Wednesday and it all began with a trip up to Salt Lake City to Temple Square. We got to take a little tour and have a guest experience! I LOVED IT!! I usually just walk through Temple Square and don't really do much because it's always so crowded. It had been a long time since I had been inside the exhibits. It was a beautiful, cloudy day. We started by going to the Christus exhibit. It was incredible to walk in those doors and immediately feel the spirit. It was tangible. And as I ascended into the great room with the stars and world all around and stood at the feet of the Christus my heart swelled...it felt so big like it would burst. We talked about what the Savior meant to us. We went to the foot of the Temple and talked about what that meant to us and what it had done for our families and to imagine what it must have been like for the pioneers to have to leave it all behind as they were driven out of their cities. We sat in the old tabernacle where they use to listen to Brigham Young speak and we each bore our testimony of what it meant to us to have a prophet today. It was all so awesome and made me so excited to get to San Diego. Then, we all sat in a room and met the director's of all of the church's visitor's centers and learned about how powerful they are in missionary work and how special and unique we are in being called to serve. They told us lots of awesome things.... Of all the missionaries called to serve, we were the faces the Lord chose to represent His church. Of all the amazing exhibits and videos they have at the Visitor's Centers, we are the best exhibit! We are the one's who can talk with the guests and teach by the spirit and adjust the tour and the messages to their needs!! I never would have thought of that! The church has some pretty amazing exhibits! Also, the Mormon Battalion Site...out of 181 tourist destinations in San Diego, is ranked 4th!!! Even above Sea World!!!! How cool! We're more exciting than Shamoo!!! Ha ha! Oh and crazy random...one of the director's was my Home Teacher and good friend at BYU! Brother Tanner Kay!!! That was crazy to find out! He has the coolest job ever! We also learned that as Visitor's Center sisters we spend some time doing referrals....those awesome cards you fill out at the Temple?? = ) Yeah I call those numbers and take phone call from people who see commercials and what not and want to learn more! We also spend a lot of time teaching the gospel over online chatting...crazy huh? Like when people are researching on Mormon.org and want to know more...they can chat with a missionary! Apparently it is the number one way people discover the gospel and decide to be baptized! Over 1,000 people a day ask to chat with a missionary...and that's after they weed out those who are just playing around. And they are from anywhere in the world!!!! Crazy crazy crazy cool!!!! So here's a thought...in my Patriarchal Blessing it says I will bring strength and comfort to many of my brothers and sisters throughout the world....and when I was called to serve in San Diego I was like...."hmmmm...welp I guess it's not yet." But I was wrong! I really will be teaching and bringing hope and joy and comfort to people ALL OVER THE WORLD!!!! I am sooooooo excited!!! And also! We are some of the first sister missionaries to start being trained in all of this! Wow...I am a Pioneer...literally...lol ; )
So one final super cool story....so we were trained on how to do the chat and everything and my companion and I were really honestly NOT wanting to do it and we were thinking it was so weird and that others must think it is weird to do on-line...but you'll never believe this. So we finished training and had some time so they said..."OK, go online and accept a chat and start teaching." We were like "WHAT?!" As we did my heart started racing and I think all the blood flushed out of my face...I was so nervous....a name popped up... "Michelle" ...we accepted the chat and she said, "Hi, Ralynne how are you today?" And then no joke her next words were, "I am interested in being baptized and was wondering what the steps were, if any, to be able to do that." Sister Madsen and I looked at each other in utter shock and said, "No WAY!!! Yer kidding!!" Ha ha! We thought it was unreal! We asked if she had been able to meet with the missionaries and she said, "No, but I just signed up for them to come to my house and meet with me." Again...YER FULL ON KIDDING!!!! She said she hadn't grown up going to church but that her husband was LDS and they had been going to his parents ward and she didn't ever want to until her husband told her more. She loves the principles she knows about so far, especially that of families being sealed in the temple together forever. She also said she wanted her husband to baptize her and asked what needed to happen for him to be able to do that. Finally, she asked if there was a beginner's study guide to reading The Book of Mormon!!! OH MY GOOFY GUMMIES!!!! Talk about the field being white and ready to harvest!!!! We answered all her questions and I bore my testimony to her of the blessings that will surely come to her and her husband and she keeps following this path and her heart's desires to be baptized! And we also invited her to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon because it explains a lot...and to pray for help to understand as she reads and promised that she'd receive that blessing. We also gave her some links to True to the Faith to read and write down any questions she had! We have another appointment with her on Monday! I flippin love this!!! It was such a testament again that the Lord truly does prepare the hearts and minds of the people....and when they are ready they are ready...and it's our job to find them!!!! Here I come!!!
Pretty amazing!!! You have a huge part in this work as members! You are wonderful examples! You can help the seed be planted! Your example will help spark that desire in people's hearts! And as we read in Alma 32 if they will but "desire" then faith will begin to swell within them...that desire will turn into a seed, that seed will take root, and soon a tree will be bringing forth good fruit!
I love my Father in Heaven, I love His plan and know it truly is for our greatest happiness and joy! This is right and this is true!
All my love! Next time I write you, it will be from San Diego!!! Woo hoo!!! Look out! Here I come!!!