Thursday, December 19, 2013

Week 19: Angel Voices

First, my moment of true success:  Sister L, the less-active we've been working the most with lately, came to church last Sunday.  It's ridiculous how much I love and care about her.  I wanted to cry when I saw her walk into sacrament and I wanted to jump off a bridge when she didn't stay for relief society.  But it's cool.  There's always next Sunday.  But we'll make a point not to drive over the river that day just in case.
I feel like I talk about singing a lot - what can I say? I'm like Snow White or something - but I seriously have been doing some serious singing lately.
Last Sunday, I performed my own arrangement of "I Stand All Amazed" for the baptism of Olivia (i.e. my half-Filipino sister) and her mom Stacey, two of the elder's investigators from a part-member family.  It was so touching to see all the family they had there, all so excited to see two of their loved ones finally entering the fold.  That same day, we sang "Go the Distance" (not your traditional hymn) to the family that fed us that night, and a driveway solo for Rae, a less-active we've been seeing for awhile who texted us that night feeling really down about her rough financial situation what with the two little ones she's trying to take care of.  "Be Still My Soul" was the medicine of the moment.  I love how still everything gets when hymns of the kingdom are being sung.
Thursday we went on exchanges and I got to see other sister's side of Shreveport (also known as South Skreve; the true Skreets of LA).  Sister Harker took us to teach Donald, a man getting baptized this month, and she had me sing "I Am a Child of God" (I get volunteered way more often than I volunteer for this) but gee whiz I swear, boasting nothing of myself and entirely of my God, never before has anything so pure and angelic come out of my mouth.  Everything went still and the Spirit flowed through the room like celestial electricty.  It's like Heavenly Father straight up transforms my voice sometimes, especially when it's at a critical point in a lesson, and an angel lends me her voice for a moment so I can help invite the Spirit to touch the heart of a needy soul.  However it works, it's a true blessing.

We did a musical number together.

Christmas, as you can imagine, has brought even more opportunities to call for angelic help in the work of ministering.  Yesterday we sang carols at the doors we knocked and got a much warmer response than is typical.  At the stake's Nativity Celebration (i.e. cultural hall transformed into a winter wonderland, 250 nativity sets from all over the world on display, pictures of Christ everywhere) I went up on the stand with Bro Smith the piano genius and sang my little heart out as background music (btw somewhere on youtube is a spontaneous acapella duet of Angels We Have Heard on High by Elder Rose and I. Someone please find it.)  And yesterday departing Elder Lundgreen and I performed our rendition of Silent Night for zone conference.  He was nervous having never sung for an audience before, and never trusting me when I tell him his voice sounds good, but God blessed our voices once again and it was marvelous. 
But break-out-in-song moments are not the only ones that require the assitance of angels.  They're around us every day, pushing us in the direction of our next new investigator, or in the smiles of the members who give us fleecy blankets for our cold apartment.  As 2 Nephi 32 says, "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore they speak the words of Christ."  Does that make me the angel everytime I share the words of the scriptures?  I certainly like the sound of that.  On top of that, charity in any form is the errand of angels... which is given to women (see: Sisters in Zion).  What it do, elders.

Departing Elders: Carpenter and Lundgreen.

Tuesday was one of the greatest miracles we've yet beheld.  We were about to tract a street, a little more scared out of our boots than usual, and after a prayer, decided not to knock every door but those we were drawn to.  We spoke first to a man already outside of his house, hanging lights, and he greeted us thus "Hey!  Are you girls missionaries?"  We totally are.  And he was totally a less active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who wanted us to come back Thursday at 6pm to teach his nonmember wife.  Yes, he made the appointment without us saying a word - indeed I had very little idea of what to say when a golden contact is thrust at you without precedence or persuasion because this simply never happens.  As he would later tell us, he'd just prayed the day before for some spiritual direction for his family.  Next day, we show up on the driveway.  I am so excited to teach them, and so grateful to Heavenly Father for placing us there at just the right time.

 9 For behold, by the power of [God's] aword bman came upon the face of the earth, which earth was ccreated by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the dearth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?
 10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to acounsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in bwisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.
[Jacob 4]

Our friends we sing to at the Gables :]

All is well, my friends.  Don't worry about the holiday homesickness - I'll get over it :]  I'll also cry so many joyous tears when ya'll remember to send me letters, too.  So make sure that happens.  As the season creeps in, let's all remember what our good deeds are for - to glorify Him who created us all, who saves us all, who loves us more than anything.  As Jacob says, "why not speak of the atonement of Christ and attain to a perfect knowledge of Him?"  As we remember Him, we follow his example, and as we follow His example, we know him.  That's what this is all for - to know Him.  To be able to recognize Him when he comes again.  So "Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation."
Sister Valdez

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