Hark Dear Angels!
I hope you are all well and happy and loving those Christmas lights in the neighborhood and favorite jingles on the Christmas station and seeing so many family and friends. Give a hug and a kiss from me when you're together. I sure can't believe how much I miss everyone!
3 Great Stories for you this week:
So remember Myra? Our awesome investigator we met on the street? Well, she lives in a half-way house (for people and families who are struggling and need a place to stay until they get back on their feet)...and through meeting her...we met Thelma...a wonderful and faithful woman who loves the Lord and is reading the Book of Mormon and is past page 60 in one week! I have never seen someone so grateful to receive The Book of Mormon before. She grabbed Myra's hand and got so excited (a lady in her 60's) and started praisin' Jesus. When we gave it to her to clapped her hands together, kissed it, and held it to her chest! (Wow! Are we all as grateful to have this amazing blessing in our life?) So, we are teaching her too. The other night though, we were having a lesson with Myra and one of the other residents, a 14 year old girl named Christina, asked, "Are you from the Mormon Church?" We told her who we were and what we teach about and she said, "Yeah I went to church a couple of times and learned a little back in Chicago." My companion and I looked at each other excitedly. I asked her if she had ever read the Book of Mormon and she said, "Yeah I have one, just a sec I'll get it." We looked at each other wide eyed and then she came back in the room with a full on quad with all the books in it like we have! What?! We were speechless! We asked her if she would like to learn and she said yes. We have started teaching her and I have never seen so much faith in one so young. She even serves her community in a program called Dare to Care, and even though she lives in one bedroom with her two little brothers and mom, she prays in her prayers for those who don't have much to be able to have at least as much as she has...wow...what a spiritual giant! She loves the scriptures and gets them. When we taught her the Plan of Salvation and asked her if she knew she would have a perfect body someday because of what Christ did for us all she said, "I had a hunch." ha ha! When we taught her about enduring to the end she said, "Kinda like Job right?" And recounted his story. I walked out of there in total shock! She just fell right into our laps! She said she wants to get baptized but her mom wants them all to be baptized in the same church....sooo...hopefully we'll have a family baptism in the Lord's time = ) Too cool! The Lord loves us!
Sunday night was a sacred experience. We left the Stake Christmas concert and tried a couple doors and then I thought...so casually...let's go see the Chavez family...Bishop asked us to, and it's Sunday night so they should be home (they are members but are going through quite a lot right now). I prayed before we went that the feeling to go was from the Lord and that we would be needed. We knocked on the door and Sister Chavez looked through the window of their little apartment and had an expressionless look...not very excited we were there...and then she opened the door and asked, "Yes? What can I do for you?" We just said hello and that we came by to share a little message about Christmas with her family. She said she was sorry but she was on the phone and had a lot of stuff going on and to do....we said something to the effect that we were sorry there was so much happening and that was why we wanted to come by...to bring some love. She said, "yeah I'm sorry." I looked at her and said. "Well, can I just give you a hug?" I gave her a good one = ) And then Sister Hudson said, "We just want you to know your Heavenly Father loves you and appreciates all that you are doing to help in the ward and everything." As we did this....her hands came to her face and she just began to weep. We stood with her and let her cry and she started to tell us all that had happened just in that one day and everything she was trying to be strong about, and all that people were demanding of her that was making her feel like she wasn't doing enough when she herself is in the middle of many storms and she was feeling like nobody cared, and wondering if anyone stopped to think about that and maybe offer a helping hand. She then let us in to share a thought of hope. We shared a Mormon message video with her about good things to come and the Lord being there in the times we feel he's not and ask, "Do you know I'm having a hard time?" As she talked and then began to testify herself of her trials and how she knows the Lord carries her...I asked if I could sing one of my favorite songs about the Atonement and enduring trials..."He'll Carry You." As we knelt to say a closing prayer Sister Chavez told us...when I saw you at the door I thought you were coming to ask me if I could do something for so and so... (she is in the Young Women's Presidency...part of why she is feeling so stressed with people asking her to do so much)...but when you said you were here for me....the feeling in my heart that came, I felt like I couldn't contain....because I was praying...I was crying and praying for Heavenly Father to know what I was doing was enough...to know if He was there and was aware of all this turmoil in her life and to feel His love.....and that is when you Sisters knocked on the door." She began to cry again and said, "I couldn't believe it...but I knew the Lord heard my cry." I then cried..ha...there were lots of tears....because the thought to go there came as easily as the thought to brush my teeth! I was able to share a thought I read in my personal study that day that touched her heart....the Lord totally prepared us to be there that night and in that exact moment. I cried at the thought of being able to truly be on the errand of angels and be able to be an instrument to answer a cry of one of Heavenly Father's precious daughters so immediately...in the middle of her plea. She said that was the first time that had ever happened to her. It was a sweet experience I know none of us that were there will ever forget. I though about how the prompting to go was so natural it wouldn't normally stand out as a prompting and I thought, "Wow, the Lord can really trust me."The more and more in tune we are and the quicker we are to act upon the promptings He gives...He will send more...and He won't have to shake us to get us to realize we need to do something! I always want Him to be able to trust me!
Finally..a funny story....we parked on the street in a pretty shady neighborhood to go contact a referral. It was our last stop of the night. 8 pm and dark. We were in the middle of praying in the car and a black man (not being racist, I love them, just saying) came up to our window...
"Hey how ya'll doin? What are you doing here?"
Sister Hudson, "uuh,,,,we're trying to pray."
"We're trying to PRAY!"
"Yo could you jus crack your windo fo a minute?"
"Look I ain't tryin to kidnap you or nothin I just wanna conversat witch you! Crack your window! Just roll it down a seck."
"Why not? Look I am a US Marine!!! ok? ok? I ain't gonna kidnap you....look." (he full on got his license out and pushed it up against the window and said, "Look, this is who I am ok? This is who I am. You wanna come drink or something?"
"No, we are missionaries."
"Missionaries!!! ..Look..." then she pulled her tag off and put it up against the window and said, "Look this is who WE are!" His look on his face was like, "Oh dang!" He bent lower and pointed at me and said, "Aight, you..you pray for me ok? You'tre not gonna come out?"
"Aight pray for me.."
"We will." And he left....I said, "Ok we are NOT getting out.....home it is!"...and we drove home laughing about what a crazy exchange that was...too funny...no worries...I had my pepper spray ready to bust out.
Oh the joys of being missionary! Gotta love it! What a week!
Love you all! Thank you for your prayers!
Just FYI....Christmas packages will be delivered to us on the morning of the 22nd....so...needs to be here by the 21st to get before Christmas! I love you all! I am working on a Christmas card!
Have a merry week!
Love Sister Riggs