Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 38: Shake and Quake

Easter Pictures

On the Road!

Mom is thinking...I think that looks like you are in the back of a truck Sister Valdez!
Mom thinks that Sister Sabrina Valdez looks the prettiest when she is loving someone.
My head is everywhere but Ima try to make this coherent.
Have you read 1 Nephi 22?  Because it's talking about today right now.
23 For the time speedily shall come that all achurches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become bpopular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the cdevil are they who need fear, and tremble, and dquake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be econsumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.
I may or may not have stood on a chair in the middle of companion study to shout this at the window like I was a preacher on a milk crate in the city.  THE TIME SPEEDILY COMETH!! TREMBLE AND QUAKE YE CITIZENS OF MISSISSIPPI!!
 Also we accidentally bashed again at the beginning of the week.  Argument: Joseph Smith can't have seen God because John says no man hath ever seen God.  Rebuttal: Why does the Old Testament mention five times that Moses spoke with God face-to-face?  He was obviously stumped.  Because he changed the subject real fast.
Last P-day, an elder lent me his voice recorder and I was in third heaven for three hours, playing and singing my heart out into it, just like old times.  Kinda sent me to Trunk City for a moment, but all the songs I recorded with it were gospel-centered songs I wrote while I've been in the mission field.  Family, you'll be recieving a CD shortly.
We did some of our best teaching on Saturday night.  It was a richie neighborhood, the kind that'll make any missionary quake and tremble, and the last door unexpectedly let us in.  Three of them seemed to be taking it all in, asking questions to understand - one of which was easily answered with an Article of Faith card, what makes our beliefs different - and the one that asked what's the point of religion if you can just believe in Christ and be ok? 

For heaven's sake.  "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the adevils also bbelieve, and tremble." [James 2:19]  Because, my dear friends, prophets are as crucial to our salvation now as they were in Biblical times.  And what if it IS true?  is the critical question that quiets the room.  What then?  Maybe Joseph was a prophet, you say, how does that change my belief in Christ?  Well listen, I don't know how many churches were on the earth during Isaiah's lifetime, but I do know that Isaiah knew more about Christ than anyone else alive at the time BECAUSE HE WAS A PROPHET, therefore I would have been in whatever church he led.  None else.  If Isaiah speaks for God, I want to be on his team.  Team Isaiah all the way.  If there was a prophet on the earth today, why wouldn't you want to be on God's team today?
Anyway.  I may not have rambled quite as much in the lesson. But that's the point I made.  Sister Creager wrapped it up with a power-testimony of the Savior and we got out of there.  They call it "spirit bombing."
No one showed up to church on Easter.  I know.  Sad.  However, several less actives were there.  More importantly, the Spirit was there full force as speakers and teachers testified of the reality of the Resurrection and the divinity of the chosen Messiah.  It's all real, friends.  As the true Son of God, only Christ could have endured what he suffered, and taken up his life again as perfected, glorified being.  Only Jesus the Christ had love great enough, powerful enough to overcome all fear, to resist all temptation, and to last until the words, "It is finished."
We showed the Restoration movie to a 10 year old girl we're teaching with her mom last night, and she loved it.  She asked questions about it, about the boy, about baptism and the priesthood and prophets until she understood.  Ten years old.  And she really wants to come to church now because she's pretty sure we're the only ones with the complete truth.  People who WANT to understand are the greatest.
We got another investigator to commit to baptism!  She also asked about Joseph Smith until she understood the need for a Restoration, and then said "Well none of this sounds unbelieveable.  I'm open to it."  So we were like, hey will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by the proper authority? She said yes.  So we said, hey can we set a goal date for you to recieve your answers by, say the 24th of May?  She said yes.  Sometimes all you gotta do is ask.
Diddy still hasn't made it to church, but she did say that if push comes to shove, she'd move out of her boyfriend's house if they can't get married so she can get baptized.  So she can live by God's laws.  That's very important to her.  She'll get there.  Though she didn't make it, she did inform us that her boyfriend, having run out of beer and cigarrettes was going through a withdrawal period.  Painful as it probably is, shaking and quaking, it's also his chance to see that he can do without those substances.  We're rooting for a double baptism.  Following a marriage of course.

Another cool lesson: a woman and her daughter (with gauged ears, a shaved sidecut, and purple streaks) let us sit and teach them about our church because theirs was judgmental and gossipy.  I told the daughter I loved her hair and would probably have the same style if I wasn't a missionary.  Then we taught the restoration and the mom flipped out at the great apostasy "I was just arguing with my husband about this! He didn't believe me!" well you were right this round, an apostasy did occur.  Also, unauthorized changes were made to the Bible- "I SAID THAT TOO he didn't believe me!"  Oh man.  Love how some of the most perceptive people are found in trailer parks.  People who have experienced things that have shaken them up enough to want to question tradition in the search for truth, are a lot closer than those who have lived comfortably and unafflicted.  Never disregard a shake-your-world experience - they're good for you.  You come out stronger and brighter.
That's about it.  Sister Creager and I get another transfer together.  We've been doing pretty well I'd say, working hard and focusing in on the big goal - baptism unto repentance for the searching souls.  We intend to keep shaking things up in Florence.  Declare some truth.  Call to repentance.  Invite into the fold.  Rejoice greatly. 

Repeat.  “Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust” (2 Ne. 1:23).
Whatever's holding you back, shake it off.  Go and do.  Your time here is short.  Happy Spring!

Sister Valdez

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