Dear Family and Friends,
Well I think this has felt like one of the longest weeks in my mission. As I looked back over the week I realized why. As always, so much has happened! I got to experience several little miracles as we taught throughout the week and were at the right place at the right time. I am just going to share some of these with you:
Last Tuesday we had an appointment with a young man named William. Sister Patterson and I had called or texted everyone on our branch list to try and set an appointment with them so we could meet and strengthen the branch. Sister Patterson had talked to William on the phone and as we were planning for him she said she felt like he needed a message about change or just to come back. I said, "Well, there's Alma 5 that talks about the shepherd calling his sheep and a mighty change of heart." We studied it and she felt right about it and that there were some specific verses in that chapter he would need.We wanted him to feel by the end of the lesson, that there were scriptures just for him and that when you read The Book of Mormon expecting answers, you will find them. Well, I am not going to lie but as we sat down to meet with him I was silent as I thought, "Really?" and tried to figure this guy out. William is this quirky, sweet little guy with a speech impediment, a little short, unkempt hair, and a little round belly....just not at all what I expected....and I was a little skeptical. Sister Patterson did all the talking and getting to know you stuff while I just stared at him, probably with a puzzled look. He was pretty interesting to listen to....a video gamer and intelligent....and I was wondering if what we prepared was going to be what he needed. Well, we read Alma 5 with him....and here is a testimony of The Book of Mormon.... as we read he stopped us and told us of how powerful verse 15 was...it wasn't the verse we expected he'd need. Alma 5:15 "Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption braised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?" He then told us of how many physical ailments he faced with his body, how corrupted it was with different illnesses and how it was so hard for him...how he couldn't even look in the mirror and like himself. In that moment I felt this overflowing love for him and the spirit prompted me to tell him how much he means to Heavenly Father. I shared of the challenges I face with my health and how sometimes it's the thing I hate most about me too...but that I have come to know the Savior through it and that He could do the same. I testified of the great instrument he could be in the Lord's hands because of his humility and because of the way he could relate to so many more people because of his trials than anyone else could. We both strove to build him up and help him see who he is. It was a sweet experience made even sweeter when he said, "I know that this is inspired. It wasn't just coincidence that you picked my name out from the list and called me. It wasn't chance that you felt inspired to read these verse with me that have hit me more powerfully than anything else in a long time. You two are like my angels...like the angels that visited Nephi when he was getting beaten by Laman and Lemuel." Wow...break our hearts why don't you! I taught him about CPR for the soul...Church, Prayer, and Reading, and how that is what we need in our lives to keep our spirits from perishing. He loved that! I asked, "Are you happy with the way things are right now?" He said, "No." I replied, "Do you want things to change?" He answered, "Yes." I responded, "What do you need to do then?" And he said with conviction, "C P R!" We were so grateful as we left that the Lord had inspired us with what William needed and that we were able to bring him hope.
We were finally able to contact a referral we had received a few weeks ago, and we met Krysta. She is a 24 year old single mom with a 3 year old boy. The feeling in her apartment is depressing...there is a lot of help needed in her life. We met with her to teach her the plan of salvation and came to find out she had Type 1 Diabetes and it's out of control....I have never talked to or taught more people with health problems (specifically my diabetes) than I have on my mission...hmmm related??? I am pretty sure I am where the Lord needs me ; ). I got to testify again of the the way diabetes has strengthened my testimony and my relationship with Christ. I was also able to testify of the resurrection and the promise and hope of a life free of diabetes. AND, because I have had lots of practice on my mission of eating only things that don't affect my blood sugar, I was able to respond to her text message she sent, just this morning, asking for advice about what to eat when your blood sugar is high. She needs hope and help and the gospel is the perfect place to start.
Sister Little, our branch president's wife, mentioned to us that a friend of hers had terminal cancer and that they had her funeral and everything planned and were just waiting for her to go. Her name is Barbara and she is about 70 years old. Sister Little felt prompted to have us come by with them after church on Sunday and thought it would mean a lot to her to hear a beautiful song. I had the opportunity to sing one of my favorite hymns "Oh, What Songs of the Heart" because it talks about the great rejoicing we will experience when we are reunited with our Heavenly parents and loved ones. I read to her my favorite scripture from Enos 1:27 "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen." It was a sweet experience. I had to detach myself for a moment so I wouldn't become too overwhelmed with emotions as I remembered singing to my sweet Nana just before she passed. I love the comfort that the gospel brings and I know the plan of salvation is real, and there will be a sweet reunion someday.
We met with a young man, just 19, named Kalen. The Elders introduced us and were passing him to the YSA Branch because they felt it would be a better place for him. He works at an Albertson's that a member owns, and he introduced him to the missionaries! You can tell he is caught up in drugs and things that are no good. He has a lot of family struggles and his mom is suffering a lot of health problems and is in and out of the hospital. He has a desire to change. As we ended the lesson we asked him to pray and ask about preparing for baptism. He said he wasn't willing to do it in front of us. We taught him of the importance of prayer and of asking for himself....that we could pray and ask for him all he wanted, but that he needed to say the words so the Lord could answer HIS prayer and he could get a witness for himself. He still felt uncomfortable, so I offered to say a pray first and then he could try. He said that he would be willing to add to the prayer. So, I did something I haven't and I began the prayer and said a few things then paused and he came right in saying some of the most humble and heartfelt pleas. He said that he was ready to find truth and pleaded for help and asked if this is what he should do. He stopped and I picked up and closed the prayer. It is always humbling and amazing to hear someone offer up a heartfelt prayer, out loud, for one of the first times in their life. What was neat, was right after, we were sitting in our car in the parking lot of the stake center finishing our weekly planning. A 13 and 14 year old boy and girl walked up and wanted in the building to use the bathroom...so of course we let them in, and of course we taught them! We came to find that Isaiah had a Mormon friend that he had been wanting to go to church with and Amori didn't know any Mormons, but was having a lot of struggles in life. I found myself saying something like, "I know often, with all of the things in the world that are surrounding you and confusing you that it can often feel like you are drowning..." I don't think I have ever said that before, but then she said, "That's exactly how I feel!" I looked in the cultural hall and saw they were setting up for a Young Women's Camp recognition night and I asked one of the leaders to tell Amori about young women's! It was so cool! Then the leader invited them to the stake dance this weekend! We took them into the chapel and they admitted the obvious change in feeling as they walked in...we taught them about the spirit and knelt and said a prayer with them. They walked away with copies of The Book of Mormon! Man, I love this!
Kelsey is getting baptized this Saturday!!! Yay!!! It was so neat! Before her baptismal interview we met and taught about following the prophet. We studied scriptures of different prophets teaching and inviting people to repent and be baptized....we decided on 4....well, Sister Patterson first read 2 Nephi 31:5-7 and I then read Alma 7:14-15. Kelsey stopped us and said, "Can I say something really cool? The first time I felt the spirit with the Elders and decided I wanted to be baptized was when they read that verse from 2 Nephi to me...and just this morning I was studying and I read those same verses from Alma 7 and it reaffirmed that this is the right thing for me to do....that is so crazy that you just read those!" We testified that it was just showing that Heavenly Father was right there with her in this decision and that He loved her soooooo much! We can't wait for Saturday!
We had stake conference this weekend and I was asked by my Zone Leaders to lead the missionaries in singing "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd" for the special musical number at leadership training, and to make it cool.... = ) Elders... Just before our song, President Morgan spoke about how all of our purposes...members and missionaries...is to INVITE and to HELP. Then we sang and the number went well. What was even cooler was finishing the song, then immediately exiting in silence as we "went off to the rescue" and back to work!
We came back later for the adult session because our recent convert was speaking and we had an investigator attend...but we felt wrong for being there...then when we saw our mission president, we asked if it was OK to be there if we had an investigator. He looked at us and said, "It's prime proselyting time...that's 2 hours of time....where will you be most effective?" So we said, "We'll go to work then!" And left to try and contact a young woman on our less active list with no phone number...we found she didn't live there anymore and ended up teaching a whole family who did! A sweet single mom with 3 adorable children. I am out of time to tell you the details...but we taught about families and the restoration for an hour. We sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" for them and her daughter said, "THAT WAS AWESOME!" Ha ha....the mom is a strong baptist but listened to what we had to say and we left them with a proclamation and testimony of Joseph Smith. We are planning on taking her flowers and an invite to the Relief Society Broadcast = ). I am thankful for a wise and obedient mission president who knows best!
I love you all so much and hope one of these little miracles helped build your testimony today!