Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 10: Extraordinary Things

Most Sunday nights, when my district leader calls to get our numbers (of lessons, investigators, baptisms etc.) for the week, he won't let me dictate my list until I've told him a story first.  This was our most recent:
Once upon a time, Sister Brimley and I were lost.  We'd been walking around a few neighborhoods for hours, looking for someone to minister to, getting work done but not as much as we'd like, and were now in search of Schaub street.  We spotted a couple teenagers coming toward us and asked if they knew where Schaub was.  They did not.  So we walked on.  And there in front of a nearby vacant house was a beautiful naturally-occuring wish opportunity - a fairy ring.  A fairy ring is, of course, a circle of mushrooms that around here tend to pop up on people's lawns after a rainfall.  This one was new, the mushrooms still pure white and puffy.  So of course, I had to get a picture of Sister Brimley in one.  Everyone knows that fairy rings are magic and by standing in the middle of one, one may be granted the desires of their heart.  Ours must have been so collectively strong that we didn't even have to vocalize this wish before it was granted.  No sooner did I snap the photo than we heard the pattering of running footsteps behind us.  The teenage boy had run back outside after learning where Schaub was, that he might offer us the previously sought direction.  We learned his name, Justin, and thanked him and I almost waved goodbye, but Sister Brimley had other ideas.  As he began to retreat, she ran after him and said "We're missionaries!"  Without her boldness, we never would have learned that Justin, young as he was, was a fervent prayer-sayer, a proficient reader of the Word, and a seeker of truth in the Christian religion.  We straightway invited him to read the Book of Mormon, which he gratefully accepted, saying "I could probably finish this in a week."  The plan is to return on Tuesday and test the truth of that statement.
This was just the beginning of the manifestation of a motto that my companion and I have come to adopt:  "I BELIEVE IN EXTRAORDINARY THINGS."  This line is taped to the front of my planner, and garnishes most of our conversations, particularly at the end of the day when we search the day's memory for small miracles that made the toil worthwhile.
"The way Jen's tangents about ghosts led perfectly into the spirit world and Plan of Salvation."
"The fact that we're always at her house right as something catastrophic happens in her family life - and that she recognizes it as divine intervention."

My General Conference embroidery square

"The less-active (of several years) father of the family we're teaching offering the closing prayer at our last visit."
"Reconnecting with Susie, just as she's waiting to be taken to the ER."
"Having a scripture on hand that spoke to her soul, affirmed to her that we're sent by a loving Heavenly Father at the right time, and caused the perpetual look of worry in her eyes to soften to one of peace and gratitude."
"Getting answers to all four questions I wrote down at General Conference."
"Happening upon a man I'd met weeks ago who'd asked for our church's address and lost it, but wants to come."
"Sister Burton's fruit pizza."

All of them, seemingly coincidence at times, but all of them divine.  And all of them, extraordinary.  Not least of which is the news I recieved this week, that my first investigator, a dear friend of mine back home, had finally, after two years, made the choice to enter onto the path home by entering the waters of baptism.  The news was met with much rejoicing in the form of screaming, floor-pounding, and shoe-throwing, and a loud declaration of happiness that must surely seem a trifle in comparison to the joy our Father in Heaven feels when another one of his children has entered into a covenant with him.
 On the subject of covenants, some of you that listened to General Conference and particularly the General Relief Society broadcast may have recognized the emphasis on keeping our covenants, and the power that we recieve from them.  After that broadcast, I was doing some dream-studying (like when missionaries teach lessons in their dreams, except I was studying in my dreams) and was given to much pondering on the subject of covenants - What's a simple way I can explain and teach covenants?  They are unique to our faith in a way, when paired with ordinances, that much I know.  And the last thing I saw before I woke up was this written on a page:

We promise to try.  God promises to help.
We covenant to trust our Father in Heaven, to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to keep the commandments to the best of our ability.  And God, knowing our imperfections and weakness, covenants to "pour out His spirit more abundantly upon us" so that we may know He is with us and so we might have the strength and ability to keep those commandments.
We promise to try.  God promises to help.
May the words of our prophets continually give us all encouragement and inspiration, may we recognize the words of God's servants as messages from a loving and Eternal Father, and may we choose now to set our personal goals with the hope that when we hold fast to those promises, we are connected to, or yoked with an all-powerful God and our mighty Redeemer who will help us reach them.
As quoted multiple times in the last weekend,
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
It is only together, yoked with Christ, that we truly will see and accomplish extraordinary things.

There's a storm abrewing!
 Sister Valdez

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