MLC Mission August 2015–Picture sent by President Richardson
Received September 14, 2015
MLC Mission August 2015–Picture sent by President Richardson
Received September 14, 2015
What a wild and crazy Miracle Transfer Week it has been! My new companion, Sis. Ferrari (from Buenos Aires, Argentina!) is fabulous and we really have been seeing miracle after miracle after miracle! It’s nuts!
On our first day together, we met Georgie, a funny little Indian man who invited us inside and tried to show us how intelligent his children were and how much they knew about the Bible. It was great! We said a nice little prayer with them, and he was so tickled by it that he gave us two pieces of his favorite fruit! We have no idea what he called it, but we have taken to calling it “el chivo” because that’s what it smells like (el chivo means ‘the armpit’)! Yes, our car and apartment had a lovely odor before we realized that the safest place to keep it was probably the back porch.
One day we had only about twenty minutes to knock doors before we had to head out to an exchange. We stopped in the most Latin area we could find, said a faith-filled prayer, and knocked one door. Inside we found Lucia, a younger single mom who had been baptized in the Church in the Dominican Republic when she was fifteen, but had fallen away for a while. She now lives here with her four daughters and has been searching to come back to church and wants to quit smoking! We had absolutely no idea beforehand, but know that God led us right to their doorstep. And her oldest daughter is ten years old and hasn’t been baptized! We are so very blessed and excited to have found them and to begin to work with them.
It’s official. I do door approaches in my sleep in Spanish. Yup.
We also knocked a door and found Estela, a really sweet young mom from Nicaragua who took an interest to our message (we thought). After meeting with her the first time, she told us, “You know, I have a brother who really needs to hear what you have to say.” Absolutely thrilled we replied, “Great! What’s his name?”. Her response was, “Michael Jackson!” Among the Latin population here, it’s pretty common to meet people with names that are not Latin in the slightest. It’s the best. BUT, he has been quite an interesting one to teach! He is one of the the most spiritual 24-year-olds I have met and takes everything we teach him very seriously. He is hesitant to commit to anything to soon, but we have seen some really awesome progress with him since our first meeting. He sent us a text this morning saying, “I have been praying and am pretty sure that God put you two in my life for a reason.” Now that I typed that, it sounds a little creepy, but it really was an answer to prayers! Baby steps. Baby moon-walking steps.
We are still working hard with Jesus and Wilson, helping them progress towards their baptisms. The progress has been a little slower that we hoped and neither of them were able to make it to church on Sunday. BUT an awesome part-member family came to church that we’ve been trying to work with for a long while now! Miracles.
I have had to do some serious relying upon the Lord this past week. Between taking over the area, trying to keep up in Spanish, and our Sisterhood, it has been positively wild. I have been striving to make my prayers more effective, meaningful, and sincere and have seen such a difference. We met an awesome woman named Sasha last night who told us, “One must be desperate in prayer.” I connected with it so much because it’s true. Once we really begin to recognize how fully dependent upon God we are, we begin to recognize how vital a strong and close connection with Him is. I have made it a priority to say a personal verbal prayer daily, which probably doesn’t sound like that big of a goal especially as a missionary. Yet, with a companion at your side every hour of the day, one-on-one time with my Heavenly Father is most often spent inside my head. I have cherished the last few mornings that I’ve taken the time to say a verbal prayer and am already recognizing immediate answers. While studying in True to the Faith I found a gem about prayer: “If you have a difficult task before you, Heavenly Father is pleased when you get on your knees and ask for help and then get on your feet and go to work. He will help you in all your righteous pursuits, but He seldom will do womehting for you that you can do yourself”(pg.121).
How powerful is that! Finding the balance between always seeking spiritual guidance and trusting in God by showing your faith and getting out to work is the constant, joyful struggle of a missionary’s life. And I love it.
I LOVE YOU.
Pray a little better. Work a little harder. Love a whole lot more.
Transfers are in: I’ll be staying in Rio Vista and Sis. McGrath will be moving on to new things! We are sad to part, but excited for what the Lord has in store for us!
Our miracle-man this week was Jesus – a Cuban media referral we received a bit ago that is preparing for baptism! Our lessons and experiences with him have been very interesting, mostly because he has the gift of gab and can literally talk for hours straight without being prompted if we let him. He was so excited about church when we invited him that he even offered to bring the members who accompanied us to the lesson (even though they have their own car). On Thursday we went over to meet with him and met his nephew who has a crazy Cuban name that I probably couldn’t spell even if I could remember it. Basically, he has a lot of issues, but he was really excited that we were there because he wanted to show off his knowledge. He ended up teaching me “original ancient Hebrew” and told me that it was the most important thing I would ever learn in my life. It was quite the experience. 🙂
We started teaching a new woman that we recently found named Yeny (pronounced Jenny). We thought that she was really cool because we found her quite miraculously: We had only eight minutes before we had to leave for an exchange and decided to pray that we would be able to find a Latin in what appeared to be a completely Haitian neighborhood. We prayed in faith, walked down the street, and knocked the door we felt! Lo and behold, a wonderful Guatemalan woman who apparently never lets people in but that day she felt it and allowed us to pray with her. As we were leaving, I noticed a portrait on the wall of a salty old sailor that looked pretty antique and important. I asked her who it was, thinking it might be a distant ancestor and faimly heirloom, but her response was, “Oh, that’s the grandfather of Sponge-Sponge! My kids wanted me to buy it.” Turns out that her children are just big fans of Spongebob and she has no sailor-ancestors at all, that she knows of anyway. It was special. We continued teaching her for a couple of days, but unfortunately we weren’t quite specific enough in our prayer and have dropped her. We know that God will continue to prepare her and that missionaries will again knock on her door at the right time!
Our car needed some lovin’ so we had to head over to Firestone for a bit. We thought it would be a quick appointment, but we still haven’t learned yet – when it comes to cars, it’s never a quick fix! We ended up passing a few hours there and had a really cool experience with a man named Elicio. He was reading the Watchtower, so we thought that he might be a Jehovah’s Witness, and so we casually struck up a conversation about religion (it helps when they’re already obviously religious). Turns out that he was an avid studier of religion and had been searching for his whole life to find the church that most correctly lines up with the teachings of Jesus Christ. We were able to have an awesome Restoration lesson right there in the waiting room and sent him on his way with his own copy of the Book of Mormon to study. The best part was, when Sis. McGrath was sharing the 1st Vision with him, though in Spanish, Jeff, our Canadian cashier was 100% tuned in as well. It was a cool moment for me to witness the power the Holy Ghost can have upon people when true doctrine is spoken.
We made leaps and bounds with the Sales family this week! We randomly stopped in while they happened to be making tamales to sell at a farmer’s market, so we jumped right in and had a grand old time with them. They have been semi-active for a long time, and their son, Edwin, was baptized just a few months ago. It ended up being a great and spiritual experience with them and they came to church!
In other news, Isidro received the Aaronic Priesthood! WOO!
In the wise words of my favorite wizard, Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”. Whenever we turn to the Savior, we will find light and hope. We need only to trust in our Father in Heaven and His promises, live obediently, and take the step of faith into the darkness. Matthew 6:22-24 says, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Let our eyes be single to His glory.
I love you!
A crazy week it was indeed! As you can tell from the pictures, we have been getting BUCKETS of rain every single day! There’s been quite a bit of lightning, so we’ve had to do a few quick sprints to the car to take shelter! But, the good thing about the rain is that people let you in a lot more #blessings. We had two full-day exchanges in a row with a big old Zone Conference sandwiched in-between. It’s always so good to see the old missionary friends and even better to receive some really inspired counsel from the Spirit through our President and Assistants and senior missionaries. Our whole conference was all about tiny course corrections we need to make in ourselves and our companionships in order to more fully qualify for the blessings from our Father in Heaven. It has truly been phenominal to attend these conferences and trainings throughout my mission and to have quite literally every one be exactly what we needed – how grateful am I for specific, direct, and personal revelation! I am also eternally grateful for priesthood leaders and for their calling to receive revelation on our behalf. We truly never walk alone, and neither do you!
Speaking of priesthood leaders, our Zone Leaders asked us to give them a companionship study (miniature-ish 2-on-2 trainings that we usually receive from our DLs or ZLs or Assistants) which was a big surprise, but it ended up being a really spiritual experience for all of us, even though we didn’t really know what we were doing because it was almost immediately following our crazy exchanges and we didn’t have too much time to prepare. I have definitely gained a testimony of the importance of spiritual preparation when it comes to lessons, finding, and basically everything, but fortunately I have also gained a testimony that when you’ve done everything you can do, the Lord will always provide and fill in the gaps. The Spirit is the real teacher anyway, so all we have to do is invite Him and not get in His way. 🙂
While driving around Lehigh to go to our next finding place, we felt prompted to go visit a dope YSA investigator, Isaac, that we had found and passed a few weeks ago. He happened to be home! An awesome Restoration lesson ensued. Unfortunately, the missionaries hadn’t visited or even called him yet, so thank goodness we followed the prompting to go to his house! We aren’t too keen on passing him back, just for fear of losing him again, so we got permission to teach him (YEAH!) and make the change over gradual if he wants to attend the YSA branch.
Transfers are coming up! These weeks are simply flying by. We get our phone calls a week from today, so my P-day next week will be on Tuesday (please, feel FREE to write me on Monday anyway – a fuller inbox is always much happier to login to 😉 ). President Richardson made some mysterious comments to us at Zone Conference, and we have a feeling that something crazy is about to happen to us and our Sisterhood. We’re stoked to see and have prayers in our hearts that we will not be split up!
I had to speak in church on Sunday – it was the best! Not that my talk was the best (#notthatpridefulipromise), just that I love the experience and opportunity to learn more as I share. I chose to spoke all about maintaining an eternal perspective and enduring to the end from a missionary work perspective! I got some great ideas from Rafael E. Pino’s talk from last conference (sorry, don’t know what it’s called in English), so you should probably just read that and think about sharing the gospel while you’re reading it and then maybe you’ll get my flow. Everyone on this earth is, droplet by drop, being prepared to receive the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. You never know what comment, testimony, word of encouragement, or spiritual Facebook post could cause their bucket to overflow and lead to their baptism by the power and quthority of God. So SHARE!
I LOVE YOU.
What a week it has been! First off, I attended my first wedding! NANCI AND ISIDRO WERE MARRIED ON FRIDAY! Oh, what a fabulous occasion it was. They ended up holding it in their house and we helped them decorate it up real nice. She found some pretty sweet stuff at Dollar General (the best store name to hear a Latin say) and assured us that when we get married we were welcome to use all of her supplies and that she would be happy to decorate for us. So, there you go, Mom and Dad – free wedding! 🙂 But really, it was a beautiful occasion. The best part was when Nanci started walking down the aisle with her father and Isidro wasn’t even in the house (he was showing the kids their dogs) so we had to shoo her back into her room until we grabbed him. Just kidding, the actual best part was when they were finally, finally married.
The real miracle came on Saturday night, however: the baptism!! It was just wonderful. We ended up with a really good turn out from the ward (almost 40 people), and all went well. We only started 35 minutes late, so that was a pretty good accomplishment #latinwardproblems #thebishopmighthaveforgotten. Isidro was just so excited. He has been coming to English class every week taught by the Creole elders, so they are his new best friends. Even though they’re in a different ward he invited them to both the wedding and the baptism. His new favorite word is “awesome”, courtesy of the elders.
Aside from the miracle of a prospective eternal family, we saw many other miracles throughout the week. We found a cool Cuban family, Esleidys & Jorge with their two kiddos, and had a great Restoration lesson with them. It just happened to be Esleidys’s birthday on the day we knocked and she took it to be a sign from God that we came on that day! We agreed. We’re excited to begin teaching their tiny family of four.
We also found an AWESOME Puerto Rican family of four on Saturday with whom we had an additional great Resto. lesson. Jose and Katia have been looking for truth for a long time. He has studied the Bible a LOT and has hopped from church to church, and finally has stuck with the one that he felt matched the closest. It was amazing to see him connect so much with Joseph Smith’s story and to see the light in his eyes when we introduced the Book of Mormon – he is so excited to read it! We are totally stoked to begin teaching them, particularly because they fulfilled a specific prayer we said before beginning our door-knocking for the day.
I got to go on a full-day exchange with my old companion, Sis. Jones, last week! It was so, so good to be with her again and to see how much she has grown! That has absolutely been my favorite part of being able to exchange so frequently – seeing the growth and developing a closer relationship with even more people! What a blessing it is. I love that as we live the Gospel correctly we see daily changes in ourselves. The Atonement provides us with such endless opportunities – all we have to do is be willing to follow a perfect leader!
Last night we began Isidro’s new member lessons and kicked it off with a bang by teaching more about temples. They are so excited to be sealed in a year! Their plan is to go out to the Salt Lake City temple for it. Nanci was telling us about a pretty spiritual experience she had at one point in the which she was describing a time when she was searching desperately for something but she didn’t know what it was. Isidro chimed in and said, “Maybe yo” (spanglish for “maybe I”), and they had the most precious little moment. FAMILIES ARE MEANT TO BE ETERNAL.
This morning I read Helaman 10:12 and LOVED IT. Nephi is such a perfect example because, though he had been a’preachin’ and a’preaching away to the people and finally had the opportunity to rest, he chose instead to act upon the prompting he received from the Lord and to get back to work! Some common mottoes we have in our house are: “All gas and no brakes!” and “We rest when we’re dead!”. Alma 43:1 (“and Alma, also, himself, could not rest, and he also went forth”) gives yet another example of a diligent servant of the Lord. We’re trying hard to follow these awesome examples in the scriptures of giving it everything we have. So when you get that prompting to do a good thing, don’t wait a second to do it! For just as you act immediately, so shall you be immediately blessed (Mosiah 2:24).
I LOVE YOU! But our Father in Heaven loves you so much more.