Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Hi from Berkeley! We had another wonderful week! We had a few meetings to go to, the Visitors Center was busy with visitors for Labor Day weekend, and we saw lots of miracles! We had Family Home Evening with the ward, which is a great way to get to know the members and bishopric and find new investigators because people just show up all the time! Fast Sunday was great. We have such an awesome ward with so many strong testimonies. Mitchell, our investigator, got up and bore his testimony!! I have never had an investigator do that before haha. It was great! He testified of the power of the Atonement working in his life to help him change and become better. He said, "I havent told the sisters this yet, but I want to move my baptismal date to as soon as I possibly can." He testified that he knew the church was true. In our lesson this week, we were discussing the word of wisdom, something that has been holding him back from baptism for so many years. At the end of the lesson, he reached in his backpack, grabbed all the weed in it, and flushed it down the toilet. We ended the lesson with a kneeling prayer. Mitchell said it and it was so sincere. Afterwards, we all just kind of knelt there in silence. He said that he has never felt so calm in his life and that his mind was so clear, a stark contrast to his typical racing thoughts. He has so much faith! It is so beautiful to watch the Atonement work in these people's lives. It is so real and so powerful. It can loosen even the tightest grasp and the toughest chains.
We gave a tour to a family who only spoke Cantonese. Sister Chiang is so sweet because she lets me teach some points, then she translates what I say. I was explaining Jesus Christ to this family because they had never heard of him before, not uncommon for the Asian people. I showed them the picture of Jesus Christ kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane. I told them, "Right here, Jesus Christ knelt down and said a prayer. He felt every pain, every sorrow, every anger, every heartache, every doubt, every sadness you have ever felt. The reason He did this is because He loves us so much! Whenever you feel alone, you can know that He is there and He knows how you feel. How does it make you feel to know about Jesus Christ?" Sister Chiang translated and one of the daughters said, "Grateful." Wow that was a powerful experience for me. Oftentimes I just take this knowledge for granted. Here, this girl was hearing of the Savior for the VERY FIRST TIME and she was grateful. The Spirit testified to my heart that what I was saying was true and I was filled with gratitude for the Savior, as it is right now as I am writing this. These experiences are so simple, yet so sacred to me and my testimony and my mission.
We have another investigator named Marissa. She is a student at St. Mary's and is really sincere and sweet. I will keep you updated! We had an investigator named Kat, the one who came to church, but she found some anti-info and isnt interested in meeting with us anymore, but is still going to come to activities and such, so she will join eventually. :)
So a few weeks ago as a mission we came together and set the goal of every companionship in the mission having a baptismal date by the end of the month. We set a date with Mitchell which was a complete miracle, one set of elders also set a baptismal date with someone they were working with, and we still had two companionships who had not set a date yet. It was August 29th and Sister Harper and Hsiao went to a former investigator's house who they hadn't been able to contact for a while and he was home. They taught a lesson and set a baptismal date with him! Miracle. Then, Wednesday night, August 31, the LAST night of the month, one companionship still didnt have a date. We came home, planned, and were getting ready for bed. All of the sudden we get a phone call from the elders. They met a guy on the street that day and gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. Later that same day, the guy called them back and said, "This is the best book ever!! Can we meet up really quick??" They met up, had a lesson, and set a baptismal date with him. 9:30pm on the last day of the month. I just kept getting wave after wave of chills all over my body that we really reached the goal. The power of God was SO obvious and the Spirit filled the room and our hearts. I immediately thanked Him in prayer.
This goal was set in faith. It was set with the will of the Lord in mind. We worked as hard as we could. We did our part. We prayed in faith, we studied diligently, we talked to everyone. But we are so imperfect that we just do our best and the Lord sees our efforts, hears our prayers, and performs miracles. This goal was not reachable without Him! He will always do His part as long as we go forth with faith. This is His work and these are His children. I know for a fact that God loves us. He will help us if only we will have a righteous desire and ASK. He is just waiting to bless us. My testimony and faith have been changed because of this experience. I remember my sweet Daddie telling me that the joy I will experience on my mission is unlike any other. I can testify of the joy that comes through working side by side with the Lord as His servant.
Some of you might remember Ann Helen, my recent convert from San Leandro when I was with Sister Harper? She is taking out her endowments and we get to go!!!!!!!! Oh my heart is just bursting with joy to see these people changing their lives and making covenants and coming closer to the Lord. What an honor to be a part of this miraculous work. I love everything about it. From the second the alarm goes off, to my nightly prayers.
I hope you are all healthy and happy and experiencing the JOY that comes from living the gospel.
L O V E