Dear Family and Friends,
It is so hard to believe that another transfer has gone by and I am now down to my last two! We said goodbye to two of my most favorite Sisters this morning, Sister Mendez and Sister Hall, and as they drove off it was crazy to think that was going to be me in just 12 weeks! The comforting thing is remembering how long my first 12 weeks were and how much happened in such a short amount of time. There is still so much to do and so many miracles waiting to happen! Sister Patterson and I are staying together!!! We didn't get transferred and we are both so happy about it. We've got a lot of things going and are excited for what's to come. The last 6 weeks we have been focusing on the members and strengthening the less-actives, and this transfer I feel like it is time to find and we will focus a lot of attention on the booth we will be able to have at the Grossmont College Campus weekly! Oh boy, I can't wait for those conversations = ) I love Sister Patterson so much and she and I make a great team. She said in our companion prayer after we found out we weren't getting transferred, "I am so grateful thou hast heard MY prayers and that we will get to continue being companions!!" I just started laughing and we both laughed....and that's us! I have never experienced so much peace and joy in the work daily. It's such a tender mercy at this point in my mission. So we will continue on and keep working hard and keep seeing miracles in Santee!!
Speaking of miracles!!! We had Vanessa's Baptism on Saturday!!! We weren't entirely sure it was going to happen, but we exercised our faith, prayed for her A LOT, and just trusted in the Lord and miracles happened! Monday she was having a bad day and lots of doubts and wasn't responding to us. Tuesday we invited her to come take a tour with us at the Mormon Battalion and she was so happy! We asked her after how she was feeling about everything and she confidently said that she was feeling great. She is so incredible. She told us how Monday had been a hard day and she didn't make the wisest decisions, but that she prayed about it all, went to sleep, and when she woke up the next day everything felt right. Wednesday we taught her about tithing and fast offerings and she said that she was actually most excited about keeping this particular commandment! Really?! Could she be more prepared?! Thursday she had her interview and was found ready to be baptized! I just love Vanessa. We told her just before her interview how she was literally our miracle and a promised blessing from an apostle of the Lord. We told her how on July 31st, Elder Ballard had come to speak to the missionaries and that he gave us an apostolic blessing and promise, that there was someone new we could find, teach, and baptize before the month of August was over. It was 6 days later that we met and began teaching her, and at that first meeting, she accepted the invitation to be baptized...and here we were, at her interview = ). She began to cry tears of joy and said she was happy we told her that because it just confirmed to her even more that this was all right and all meant to be. We had to exercise a lot of faith, and we had to meet with her 3 times a week! ha ha...but faith precedes the miracle!!!! She was just glowing on Saturday and some of her non-member family came to support her. Sister Patterson gave a beautiful talk about baptism and the miracle that Vanessa was...her amazing childlike faith and how much she has actually taught US. She asked me to sing a special musical number, and as I thought of her I just went back to the first night we met with her and asked her what she wanted. She had said she just wanted to be closer to God and strengthen her relationship with Him. I also thought of how much she had been progressing on her own, the changes she made by herself just by simply listening to the promptings of the spirit and keeping the commitments we extended to her. I felt to sing a song by Rob Gardner, "More Like Thee," because I could imagine her saying the words. These are the words:
"Faith to move what can't be moved. That which proves what can't be proved.
Hope to make the world seem bright, shining through the dark of night.
Grant me these that I may be more dear Savior, more like Thee.
Light that burns away my doubt, casting all the shadows out.
Love so pure it falls like rain. Bringing life where once was pain.
Grant me these that I may be, more dear Savior, more like Thee."
The spirit was sweet and tears filled her eyes. My heart felt like it was going to burst as I watched her step into the water. She was just beaming and glowing and I am so happy for her and this perfect, fresh, new start she has. What a gift to be able to be forgiven...to be baptized and be able to access all the help the Savior has offered through His Atonement, and then to be given the gift of the Holy Ghost. In her blessing, it said that as she shared the things she has come to know that many would follow! She is a light in our branch and a miracle of my mission I will never forget!
We had a great launch night with our "Rescue" project. Many came to our Branch President's house to make phone calls to their list of 5 names and invite them out to activities and to the branch. It was so fun to see everyone working together and all around the house on their phones. I would get so excited when I would overhear someone who got someone to answer on the other end and start telling them who they were and that they wanted to invite them to church, etc. I had some kind of sad conversations as I called some numbers and mostly just got a hold of the mom's of these less-active boys. They would tell me some sad situations and thank me so much for calling and it just broke my heart. But I loved hearing the faith of these mothers saying that they knew the time would come when they would come back, but that they just didn't know when and until then, they'd keep praying. We had a few more faces at FHE and also in the branch on Sunday = ) We hope that will continue to happen!
We had a cool experience yesterday as we tried to contact a referral....we walked up to the door and there was another woman sitting outside of it and she asked if we were there to see Krysta too. We confirmed that we were and then told her who we were and what we do. She then told us she was there as a support also...a kind of life coach from a company that helps get people through individual struggles. Misty was there to help Krysta go healthy food shopping. Krysta wasn't answering the door or the phone, but we got to talk to Misty a little bit. We asked why she chose to do that for a living and she said she has just always loved helping others. We found out she wasn't very religious but believed in God. What was interesting was that I had felt to study hope for Krysta that morning, but it ended up being what Misty needed to hear....to get around her trying to think we were preaching to her, I just said, "Well you know, we were going to share this great scripture with Krysta today, can we share it with you since you said you needed this too?" I then read Mosiah 12:4 "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." She loved it and we testified of how our Savior is what brings us all hope and how when we are close to Him and have faith in Him, it really is an anchor to us in this world, and then no matter what storms may come, we are steadfast and unshaken. We sang a verse of "Abide With Me Tis Eventide" and said a prayer with her. Just before we left I said, "You know, something else you said made me think of another scripture you would love." I read Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." She said, "Wow! I love that...that is really a touching verse." I told her that is was her! We thanked her for what she did to help others and that she felt so happy doing it because she is serving God as she helps His children. We left her with our information and we sure hope she calls us. But although we didn't get to meet Krysta, I know Heavenly Father needed us to see Misty. How He works will always amaze me!
I just wanted to finish this week's letter by sharing something I learned in my personal study. I have been studying the Atonement, specifically the element of forgiveness and the Savior's incredible ability and desire to forgive. One morning I read Matthew 9:2 "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." I noticed the conditions of the story...1) They brought the man of palsy (they came unto Christ) 2) He saw their faith 3) He said to be of good cheer and forgave his sins and healed him. My thought was that all we have to do is come...when we just come, He sees that sign of our faith and is so willing to forgive and comfort, lift, forgive, and heal us! The next day I was reading and read His words He spoke upon the cross Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." I thought of the previous story, and how when we come unto Him and exercise our faith, He always forgives...but here, even in this moment, when people were not coming to Him, in fact they were doing the opposite, betraying Him and literally standing by, watching Him die....He still plead to the Father on their behalf....He still wanted them to be forgiven...and He still wanted to forgive. He is always pleading our cause no matter what. How can someone have such infinite love? I sat in amazement as I pondered that. The Savior really does love us so much. I know that for me there have been times I denied His forgiveness or thought it didn't apply to me. That is never true. And on the other side of things, can anyone ever do anything to us that is so terrible that we cannot forgive them? The answer is a resounding no! What a great lesson....I hope we do not push our Savior away when He stands ready and waiting to forgive us....and I hope that we do not withhold forgiveness of others when the Savior was able to plead on behalf of those who were taking His life. He is so patient with us when we make mistakes...always willing to forgive....and we should be just as patient with others. I know I am guilty of not being completely forgiving, and I am thankful the spirit taught me this great lesson this week. I love my Savior with all of my heart and am so thankful He gives 2nd and 3rd chances...and 50th and 100th chances = ). I am grateful He lets me, and helps me strive to become more like Him. Just know must of all...He loves you and you can be forgiven...that's all He wants to do for you!
I love you all so much! Have a marvelous week!
|Biking at Coranado Island!|
|Me and some of my Favorite Sister Missionaries!!!|
|It's been SO HOT and SO HUMID this week! 4 fans in our apartments made it bearable! ha ha|
|Vanessa's Baptism!!! Love her!|