Happy Halloween and Happy November!!! Actually...not happy November! I can't believe the my final month is here! This is just crazy! It's official though = ( I have been given my flight plans and I will be arriving in Phoenix on Tuesday November 26th at 12:11pm! What a terrible day! I hope you can all join me in it ; ) Ha ha! I would love to see as many of you at the airport as can make it! It will be a once in a life time moment for sure!
I have been loving the opportunities I have had to teach the Restoration! It has taken me back to the beginning of my mission and reminded me of the fire and excitement that comes when you share of the miraculous vision that opened the final dispensation and was the beginning of truth being restored to earth again and Heavenly Father's work rolling forth! We taught one of our new investigators, Ashley, the Restoration on Tuesday night, and I had the chance to share Joseph Smith's words. As I invited her to listen closely to what I would say and testified that I knew the words were true, I said those humble words...
"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...
When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air.
One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
As I finished we just let the spirit speak. Ashley, wide-eyed, said, "Wow....that was really deep." I felt my heart burn, just as I did the first time I taught this lesson to Sean Penala last July when I first came on my mission...and just as I have every time throughout. I know that this is true and that it really happened. I know this work is real! Ashley knew too! We invited her to pray and ask if what we had shared was true and she replied, "I don't need to pray about that, I already know it is!" Amazing!
Alicia, our recent convert, has had miracles of her own. Ever since she has decided to be baptized she has been praying for her father's heart to be softened...that they could be able to talk to each other like they use to and that he would open his heart to the gospel. She shared with us her joy as she told of how the trials she had been going through were apparent to her dad. He could tell she struggled. So, she took him up to a mountain where many hike so they could talk. She let everything out and he talked with her like the friend he has always been. She had to go in to the hospital because of a high fever and she asked her dad if they could pray and they both prayed together. She said they came to an agreement, that while he may not agree on religion, he will always be her father and she can go to him for anything and he had seen the great changes in her and was happy she was happy. Faith is always rewarded with blessings from heaven!
Thank you for the Halloween cards and package! It was a pretty fun day! We spent the day doing regular ol' missionary things with a Halloween twist! We were all finishing our exercise when our Battalion Director, Elder Seegmiller, came riding up on his bike saying there was an emergency and needed to go to their apartment! The Seegmiller's surprised us with a bagel and egg breakfast! We studied and weekly planned and had district meeting. We then had a shift at the temple...it was quite slow, but we did get one referral! Then, we had to be in our apartments at 7pm for safety and updated our area book and studied D&C 84.....all while enjoying some candy here and there ; ) I was thinking of all of you and wondering what fun you were about! Hope you enjoyed the pictures!!!
We had a sweet experience with another recent convert, Kelsey. Kelsey is incredible...a rock for so many already even though she has only been baptized for a little over a month. We planned to teach her a lesson about Enduring to the End. As we said the opening prayer, the list of Mormon Messages we had on our disc was going through my mind and I had thought to show her a different one....but then "Good Things to Come" by Jeffrey R. Holland came to mind. My mind was stuck there so I decided we better show her that one. As it ended I turned to look at Kelsey and saw tears streaming down her cheeks. We both quickly moved to her side to hug her and just let her cry. She said she didn't have the words....that that was exactly what she needed. We testified of God's love for her...that He knew her heart and was listening to her prayers and how the message was from Him because He prompted us to change it in that very moment. We testified of our calling..."to represent the Lord in this area" and that we were there at her side to help just as Christ would be. It was a sweet moment....one of those where I just thank Heavenly Father for helping us do His work and trusting us with promptings so we can help His children's testimonies and faith in Him grow. She felt a huge weight lifted in knowing she was not, and never is, alone.
Last night we had another sweet experience...we were at dinner with a couple of wonderful members and one asked, "What has been one of your greatest experiences you've had on your mission that you will never forget?" I answered with a couple of stories where I learned how much God knows and loves each of His children and how He worked out the details for us to cross paths and for them to find the truth. Sister Salinas shared of those miracles she'd seen also, and then our members (both converts) shared the miracle of how they met the missionaries....we left that with a sweet feeling and were driving to the church and I looked and saw a car pulled over with hazard lights on and 3 girls sitting on the curb. I flipped a U so we could go and see if we could help! It was 3 girls - 12, 18, and 19, and one of the girls father's...they were Spanish. Sister Salinas started talking to the dad, Juan, in Spanish and found out he was from the exact same city in Oaxaca Mexico!!! While they talked, I got to know the girls and found they were students at Grossmont College. I told them about and invited them to the institute. One of them was wearing a Disney sweater and so I told her I use to sing at Disney World. They wanted to hear a song from the show so I sang a little of "We Rock" = ) They loved it and I invited them to come hear the Mission President's Fireside and they said they'd be there! All the while Sister Salinas found out the life story of Juan. He is looking for a church and said that everything Sister Salinas shared was what he needed and applied to him and his situation with his family. They were all very excited to come to the musical fireside Sunday and to meet with missionaries....no small miracles with Heavenly Father!!! I love how much He loves us!!!
I bore my testimony for the last fast and testimony meeting on my mission...it was one of the greatest experiences of my mission to stand before this branch I have come to love with all of my heart and testify of Heavenly Father's love for them. I felt like my heart would burst as I looked into their faces. As I looked into each one, I could remember moments teaching them, comforting them in the the church, in the homes, at the institute, and moments I was on my knees in their behalf and felt Heavenly Father's direction in what they needed. There were many tears in the room and I will never forget that sweet moment as the Lord showed me the great work I have been about.
Love you all!
|How great is our calling! Built upon a rock!|
|LOVE the crashing waves!|
|There was a seal just chillin! I promise it was alive! = )|
|As close as I could get ; )|
|Yep! This is where I serve my mission! Typical CA scene!|
|So I ended up using my sharpie markers and coloring on my pumpkin! ...a crown of course ; )|
|In honor of a Missionary Halloween!|
|We know how to have fun!|
|Dinosaur hats from the dollar store our Elders bought = )|
|We had the cutest Missionary Trick-or-Treaters! (Sister Miller, Sister Wells, Sister Huang, and Sister Wang) our Mandarin sisters! And me with my Vampire teeth = )|
|Me with Sister Rasmussen, Sister Madsen, and Sister Davies....all in our Halloween Orange! Each of these Sisters have changed my life and been a huge part of my mission!|
|Sister Huang cracks me up...she begged me to do her hair like mine...with my famous poof = )|