"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." Alma 29:9
Monday, February 22, 2016
I seriously don't even know where to start. This week absolutely changed my mission. I have never seen so many beautiful miracles in my life. I am in AWE and utterly humbled. I think this week was the happiest I have ever been on my mission, maybe my life. I could feel God working through me. The Spirit was so strong. It was SO much fun. We worked SO hard and had so much success. At the beginning of the week, we said, "We are going to see miracles." We prayed prayed prayed. The 400 goal our mission has set it so real. My testimony of the Lord's hand and TIMING in this beautiful work, not only here, but all around the world, has been strengthened 100 fold. His hand is guiding this work. Perfectly. He knows and loves all of His children. He answers prayers of pleading, tired, faithful, repentant missionaries. He loves His missionaries. He is walking beside us. When we pray and do our part, He leads us to the Elect!! I love the work. I love this area. I just want ALL OF YOU to come out here with me and just spend a day teaching and enjoying the beautiful weather and Spirit here in California. AH!
Okay, I will try to put all these miracles into words.
We went to visit a former investigator and ran into this Filipino lady named Bherney on the street. She was just the sweetest angel and we talked all about the Book of Mormon. She wants to come to church and learn more about it! The Lord definitely placed her in our path.
We went to give a Book of Mormon to someone who had requested one online. We knocked and he opened the door and was like, "that was fast!" He has ordered it about 20 minutes before. We taught him about the Book of Mormon and eternal families and he said he wants to learn more!
We have a big list of people called "Former Investigators" which means people who took lessons from the missionaries a long time ago. We "randomly" (nothing is random, especially in missionary work, it is all TOTALLY the Lord) picked this woman in her 20's named Gaby. We pulled up in front of her house and she pulled in the driveway 2 minutes later. We went up to her door and knocked. She opened the door, sighed a relief, said hi, and let us in (which never happens). She said she was surprised we caught her because she is never home. She said she was going to the store, but she felt like she needed to come home first. She practically told us that we were an answer to her prayers and that she was ready to be baptized. She asked us all about eternal marriage. She is engaged to her boyfriend right now and they are planning on getting married in December. I told her she couldnt get baptized until she was married and she said, "oh okay then I definitely have to get married before then! Could your Bishop do it?" She has a beautiful 2-year old daughter. Her husband is completely supportive. She said, "Could you tell me more about the Book of Mormon?" It's like no, sorry, we are super busy. haha OF COURSE. We were in shock. She practically bore her testimony to us about the Word of Wisdom. She asked us if she could come to church on Sunday. She came to Tori's baptism and loved it. It was nothing we did or said. It was all her being prepared by the Lord. She is SO ready. I love her with all my heart and am SO grateful the Lord guided us right to her so we could be an answer to her prayers.
A member in our ward named Chloe has been bringing this guy Tristan to church. I thought he was a member for the past month and I finally asked someone and they told me he wasnt! I quickly texted Chloe and asked, "Does your friend want to meet with us?" She texted back 2 minutes later, "yes." We went over that night and taught the Restoration with her entire family and he committed to baptism.
A member in our ward named Sister Davis has a friend Jessica that we have been trying to meet forever. We finally set up a meeting with her. We taught the Restoration and Book of Mormon and Premortal Life. You could see her eyes lighting up. She was on the edge of her seat, soaking it all in. At the end she goes, "How could anyone NOT believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?? And how could anyone believe the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon??" Hahahaha that is MUSIC to missionaries' ears. I just laughed and was like, "I KNOW RIGHT?" She came to church on Sunday and wants to be baptized.
There is something so special and inexplicable about teaching the gospel to someone and watching it CLICK in their brains. It sounds familiar to them, because they HAVE heard it before. We aren't teaching them, we are reminding them. They know this stuff, they knew it before they came to earth! They CHOSE Heavenly Father's plan. Their eyes light up and they are just like, "This just all makes so much sense." These are the prepared people the Lord leads us to. We don't even do anything! We just love them and teach with the Spirit, and the Lord does the rest. We are just tools! The Lord is working miracles. It is the most beautiful, rewarding, precious, heavenly thing.
Tori was baptized on Saturday! She was sooo soooo nervous before and we had to like BEG her to change into her jumper. Then we forgot a towel and had a member go grab one for us. Then they forgot a key to the font, but the Bishop saved the day. Luckily it was in the Lord's hands and he MIRACULOUSLY works everything out haha. The baptism went beautifully. Watching her come up out of the water wearing all white just makes your heart feel like its going to flutter out of your chest and into the font. Her mom, dad, and brother all came! None of them are members. Her mom came over to me afterwards with tears in her eyes and said, "I can't thank you enough for everything you have done. She has changed so much for the better. She is a whole new person, so much happier. Thank you."
Absolute miracles. I wouldnt trade this for the world. I would get 1000 doors slammed in my face if I could re-live this week. This is what makes it ALL worth it. The Lord's hand and timing are so perfectly involved in this miraculous work. I am so humbled and grateful to be a teeny, tiny part of it. I am the happiest and most excited EVER. We will see success in San Lorenzo as we continue to rely on Him and work hard and have faith and listen to the Spirit! People's lives are changing. I am so happy.
This is part of Elder Caeden Knight's testimony (serving in Nicaragua):
"How many times do we say that we believe in miracles and that God is great when we are seeing miracles happen? But when trials come, how many times do we begin to doubt? If we are believers not only during times of miracles, but also in times of trial, the Lord will strengthen us and help us to overcome them."
We had Chinese food the other night and my fortune cookie said, "You will be rewarded for your hard work this past month." So inspired.
It has definitely been different being in our area full time, but as we were planning for our next week, we felt like we didnt have enough time to do everything!! We were like, "How did we ever do this with the VC schedule?" haha I love being full proselyting!! The Lord obviously prepared these people for us when we had time to teach all of them!!
During our stake conference broadcast, Elder Renlund said something that really stuck out to me. Instead of saying, "sin," he said "plan-stopping behavior" or "plan-stopping choice." Something keeping the Plan of Happiness from working: word of wisdom, not being married in the temple, not repenting, not forgiving. I love this idea! The Plan is so central and essential to our lives. We must remember the Plan in every decision we make. We must ask ourselves, "Is this choice in accordance with the Plan? Am I moving the Plan forward or am I stopping it?"
One last thing I came across in my studies:
"Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand."
I think of this in relationship to our prayers. Do I tell Him what to do? Do I give Him options? Okay Heavenly Father, here are the choices. Am I truly seeking His will for me? or am I seeking to find the answer I want? Do I think I know best? Am I prideful? Are my prayers the will of Christ, words He would speak, questions he would ask? or do my prayers come from the selfishness of my heart? Do I seek to counsel the Lord? or do I seek counsel from his hand? Do I seek His will? I do I trust that He knows best? Am I willing to submit? Am I humble? Do I search sincerely for answers from Him? These were some questions I asked myself as I read this scripture.
Sending love and prayers in return to all of your for all of yours!!