Hello My Dear Family,
Well how are you all? Are you all surviving the cold weather and the cold/flu season?? I feel like the United States of America is sick! I hope you are all healthy and happy and that if you aren't you are on your way back to being that way! I myself have been miraculously blessed to not get sick...even living in the same room with my 2 companions that have been sick for over 2 weeks. I seriously feel like I am surrounded by tuberculosis or something with their constant and awful coughing....teaching lessons has been interesting, ha....and I have to sleep with ear plugs or I do not sleep at all. Sister Rasmussen seems to be on the mend and Sister Pagel has acute bronchitis....it's crazy! I am thankful I have my full health and praying I don't come down with it cause it sure sounds awful!
It's been a fun week! It rained a lot, which I love and it never seems to rain here so I was happy. I went bowling last preparation day with my zone and am sad to say I have lost some of my skills! Ha ha....I bowled a 144, 154, and 135 or something like that. I did a head to head match with my district leader (because we held the high scores for the day) and lost by 1 pin! It was crazy. I am definitely out of practice though. We also had our annual Mormon Battalion Commemoration Event on Saturday and that was a lot of fun. We got to march in a parade and the Elders dressed up in uniforms like the Battalion had. I got to work my bonnet all day (we don't usually wear bonnets) and I can see why they helped the pioneer women so much = ) It truly is incredible what faith and courage these men and women had and what they truly sacrificed daily to follow the prophet and the Lord. I am so honored to be able to tell their story every day.
Our little China man, (as I like to call him even though he's tall) David....just keeps amazing us more and more. He is constantly involved in all of the activities with the ward and at the institute and is just the cutest and most tender little China man ever! We love him so much! We were announcing his baptism at church for Feb. 9th, which is what we committed him to and he looked at us in shock and said, "No, I'm getting baptized on the 2nd. You said the 2nd right?" We were like, "ummm no we said the 9th but let's talk after." He had thought all along it was the 2nd. We told him we could make that happen for him if that's what he really wanted. We asked, "Well David, what do you want, the 9th or the 2nd?" He responded with excitement, "Well let's do it THIS weekend!" So! We are having a baptism on Saturday! Ha ha...he is just so ready and excited and every time we see him he is asking a member to be a part of his baptism program! He asked me to speak but I think I convinced him to just let me sing instead ha ha. He also wants to feed us dinner sometime and said it would be our prize for being good teachers ; )....we so don't deserve him but I am so glad Heavenly Father blessed us with such a golden contact! Yay for David! The picture in this e-mail is us at the Battalion after giving him a tour....he's the one in the middle in the BYU sweatshirt = )
We started teaching a young woman named Laurel. She says it like it is and is very straightforward and open. She told us she didn't want to talk about Jesus Christ or Joseph Smith or anything, but that she just wanted to talk about God. So last week we started there and shared our testimonies of how we knew God loved us personally and asked her to pray to know she was a daughter of God. We saw her last night and I was so happy to hear her tell us of how she prayed and expected negative feelings to come from it but was surprised and happy to experience positive feelings and that she really liked it. We then thought we'd teach from the Book of Mormon how people came to know God and what they did to do that. So we shared the story of King Lamoni and his father coming to know God and we were asking questions after and she flat out said, "OK...what you're sharing is like black and white." We said, "OK, well we just wanted to start with the basics because you mentioned you just wanted to talk about God." She said, "OK, maybe a little too basic." I asked, "Well, OK, what do YOU want to talk about Laurel?" She said, "Broken families." How's that for the gift of discernment? ; ) She opened up about her parents divorce when she was 4 years old and it is still very much hurt about all the bad things that happened. It was interesting to hear her perspective (which is many people's perspective) about how if God loved us he would keep bad things from happening to us and how it's not fair to be sent here to a world and put in to circumstances that a bad....which lead to more bad choices...which lead us to be evil and then we get put in hell....basically what she shared. It was a spiritual experience to share with her the perspective of, "God loves me and shows that love for me by giving me trials and showing me I can overcome." I had the chance to bear personal testimony of the trials I have faced and the opportunities that not only I have had to ask "Why me God? Have you forgotten me? Do you even care?" but the things my family has been through and times they could have said the same thing but didn't. I looked at her and said, "I know you said you didn't want us to talk about Jesus Christ, but I cannot ignore Him in my testimony, because without Him, none of this, none of this would have a point or mean anything. He is the reason for it all and He is who makes it possible to get through this life with hope and happiness, even through trials." After I bore testimony of the Savior. She told me something I said last week that resonated with her was when I testified that I knew that God was right here, right here and 110% with me in this and knew every detail. That brought the song "He'll Carry You" to mind and we closed the lesson with that song. We can't not include Jesus Christ. I found as I tried to teach her of coming to know Heavenly Father that it can't be done without learning of, and believing in Jesus Christ.
This morning in my personal study I decided to ask the Lord where I needed to read and then put my thumb in my scriptures and open up and start reading.....I opened up to Alma 37 and 38....how perfect it was for me to read. I was reminded that I have been entrusted with sacred things and that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. The Lord works by mean and by very small means does He confound the wise and I need to preserve these small and simple means. I was comforted by verse 16 and 17 "...for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words. For he will fulfill all his promises which he shall make unto you..." and especially 38:5 "And now my "daughter, Ralynne" I would that ye should remember , that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day." How thankful I am for that....the gospel is such a blessing...it makes life better and so much easier and enjoyable....we are the ones that make it hard....but as 37:44 says, "it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ which will point you a straight course to eternal bliss as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass..." It IS easy, we just have to go and do....and trust trust trust...I am thankful for answered prayers through the scriptures this morning. I love the Gospel! You should too!
Love and miss you all dearly! Keep the prayers comin'!