Hello My Dear Family,
Happy Birthday to my sweet niece Alexa! She turned 1-year-old last Saturday and had quite the party! Wish I could have joined her in "One-Derland!" She is getting so big! Hope the family had a wonderful time together.
As always, another wonderful week and always so much I want to say! I want to share though, what I think will be one of my most precious experiences here in the mission that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We had two days of training last week. They call it Missionary Training Exchange. We were taught by our wonderful Mission President and his assistants and I learned so much in those six hours. We are trained for three, go out about our plans for the day and apply what we learned, and then the next day come back and report and bring it all together. One thing that we practiced and tried to improve on was our street contacting and doing our best to talk to everyone. One thing that our assistants said that really hit me was, "The Savior was the best at street contacting and talking to everyone. Did He ever pass somebody by? There was never a time that He walked away and said, 'Aww man, I should have told him this...' or 'I should have said that.' He was always lifting and bringing comfort." I really thought about that and how it's so true and I need to be better at trusting in the message I have to share and not being afraid to say what I feel I should or could to someone (I usually do...the problem is I don't think of it until after I walk away!). So I was on a companion exchange with Sister Rasmussen. She came with me to El Cajon and ALL of our plans fell through and NONE of our back-up plans worked out (happens often as a missionary). I was thinkin', "Man! Something has got to happen. We have to do something so we have something to report!" We were walking back to our car and there was a woman sitting by herself under a tree on the grass with her bike on the ground. She was looking pretty alone and unhappy. Sister Rasmussen said, "We could go talk to that lady." I said, "Let's do it!" We walked over and this was the conversation:
"How are you today?"
"Pretty miserable." (her tone was not so nice.)
"Is there anything we can do to help you?"
"........(wondering how to get her to open up more)........You stayin' out of the heat?"
"Is your bike OK?" (ha ha...laughed about that later)
"......(obviously not wanting to talk or be helped)....OK well, have a nice day."
We turned around and walked back to our car and drove away. Sister Rasmussen said, "I was gonna give her a mormon.org card but I don't think she has the Internet." We weren't 100% sure but I think she was homeless...just with a bike and a back-pack. I started thinking out loud..."I feel so bad....what do you do in that kind of a situation? When they are probably homeless and obviously don't want to talk to you? I just feel bad because she flat out told us she is miserable and I felt like we couldn't do anything to help her. But when you think of the Savior and the people he helped and lifted and healed, it was people just like her. But he always helped everyone no matter what. He always knew what to say...." Then Sister Rasmussen said, "I guess in a situation like that we could have just shared a message with her about hope or a scripture." I said, "Yeah, like that she is a daughter of God and He knows and loves her even though she may feel forgotten about." I had already driven a couple miles away and I was about ready to park on mainstreet so we could just walk down it and implement what we had learned and do some street contacting....but I turned to her and asked, "Do you wanna go back and talk to her?" She said, "May as well, we got time!" I got excited and kind of laughed as I turned back and said, "This may be super awkward but I know I'll feel better if we go back." She pulled out a scripture she wanted to share about the Lord being our strength and I said, "We can at least giver her a Book of Mormon...and I have a 100 Calorie Pack of Chocolate Covered Pretzels in my bag I can give her....it's not much, but it's food...and chocolate always makes me feel better." I parked down the street on the opposite side so we could come from behind and she wouldn't see us coming...lol. We came around the tree and knelt on the grass in front of her and I said, "We came back!" She asked, "Why?" I told her, "We felt bad driving away knowing you were feeling miserable and we didn't do anything to help you. We don't know your situation, or everything that might be happening in your life and might not be able to help you with those things, but we just wanted to share a message of hope with you if you don't mind." She said, "OK." And then I looked into her eyes and all I said was, "I want you to know....that you have a Father in Heaven who loves you, and you are a daughter of God...." with just those words, tears started streaming down her face. I felt the love of the Savior fill my heart as I testified to her that as alone as she may feel she never was. That God knows her by name and that she has a Savior who knows her heartache right now. I testified of the Atonement. Sister Rasmussen shared her favorite scripture and bore her testimony....this woman's name was Allison. I will never forget her face. We said we were sorry we couldn't help more but she told us we had already done so much and that it helped her to feel a little less alone. I again promised her she wasn't. I showed her where our church building was and told her she could come any Sunday morning and there would be many there to welcome her with open arms. But most of all instilled in her the knowledge that she always has her Savior and he is waiting there with open arms to embrace her if she will just come to Him. We left her with the Book of Mormon and prayed with her, and then showered her with hugs. She seemed a little lighter...and she said, "Now I can get up and go." As we walked back to our car my chest swelled with so much joy and I felt I wanted to cry but the joy kept the tears from coming.....THAT is what the Savior would have done and I realized in that moment I truly was using my hands to be His.....no greater joy, no sweeter feeling.
I will forever remember that day. That is the kind of person (not just missionary) but person I want to be....no matter there station....ALL need to be invited to come unto Christ.
I love my Savior with ALL of my heart and am thankful for his perfect example in all things.
Kim and Tashyanna Sutton were finally baptized this last Saturday and it was the CRAZIEST baptism and we had a few fiascoes but I knew miracles would happen, and they did...all worked out and what matters is that they showed their faith and were baptized and made that first most essential covenant with God. It was a happy day to see a mother and daughter baptized by their husband and father who was recently baptized and got to use his priesthood to baptize his family for the first time! = ) I can't wait to witness their family being sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple next year!!!!
I love my life! Sweet is the Work!!