Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 76: Above That of the World

Remember that one time I wanted my hair trimmed and decided to do it myself over the sink but the problem was I was like three years old so it didn't turn out so great?  Yeah well apparently at twenty-three years old, it still doesn't turn out so great because I'm not a professional.  The good news is, if I flip em back in a poof and hairspray it, you can't even tell my bangs just got chopped up.
I made notes on a hundred things to tell ya'll about but now not one of them sounds as exciting as it did when it happened.  I'll tell ya anyway.
We had this older couple we were so excited to find and start teaching, the ones who invited us to their huge NYE bash at their baptist church.  I've made this goal (one of my "sprint to the finish" goals) to not shy away from asking every investigator to be baptized in the first or second lesson.  So we did and could tell the husband threw a wall up.  At his age, he's not just comfortable in his religion, he's clinging to it because it's a long time tradition for both himself and his family that came before.  He'd received us the first time we knocked because he'd been praying for a way to come closer to Christ, for guidance to know what the Lord wanted him to do.  And then when we put it in front of him - learn about and unite with the true church - he drew way back.  We were bold, as the Spirit directed, in telling him that if we were truly an answer to his prayer, he ought to figure it out by praying about the things we teach instead of immediately writing it off.  We're not here just to "fellowship" or do "Bible study", we're here to present restored truth and help you figure out if its the real thing.  I even had the nerve to remind him that the reason the Jews completely missed Jesus, the Messiah they had been waiting for, was because of tradition.  Because they too had a religious practice that was so ingrained into them, that when present with something new (the fulfilling of the law) they couldn't accept it.  I know, right?  Boldsauce.  I explained to my companion though, that if they are humble enough, they will pray about it and they will receive that confirmation that the restored gospel is true.  But only if they're willing to change.  100% dependent on humility level.
As missionaries we do a lot of detailed planning for each day the night before, and then when we go about the day, we adjust plans maybe twenty times depending on what falls through and what area we end up in.  One day this week I got this thought - "Actually stick to what you planned this time."  I wrote it down so I would remember to do it, and apparently that was a prompting from the Spirit because Sister Matealona had got the same thought that night.  So we stuck to our plans and backup plans and had a four-lesson day.  That's a rarity.  And one of those became a new investigator.  Because it was dark, I wouldn't have had the courage to knock on his door at the time we'd planned to, but because we'd committed, we knocked. And he stopped watching Fantastic Four to let us in and listen to our message.  If that's not elect, I don't know what is.  When we'd first found him, I remember looking in his eyes and seeing something very familiar.  He's Guamanian, so I thought he looked like he could be an uncle or a cousin of mine, but beyond that, there was something in his face that just made me like him a lot and want to follow up with him.  I got that same feeling about Lonnie when we first met him, and turned out to be golden.  Here's hoping it'll happen again!
We visited the nonmember husband we'd got to quit smoking last week, and in place of his evening glass of tea was a glass of blue powerade.  Word of wisdom!  It stuck!  He even quit the coffee too.  Plays it off like he could go back to it whenever he chooses, but we know he's smarter than that.  We taught him and his wife the Restoration last night and his wife bore testimony over and over of the blessings of the gospel, and he even admitted that we Latter day Saints all seem to be at ease with ourselves and have this radiance about us.  "You can have that too," Sister M pointed out.  I then proceeded to open my mouth and have it filled, like the scriptures promise, with things so wise and coherent I know they couldn't have come from my own brain.  That was the Spirit speaking.  Telling him that he too could have a testimony of the gospel that he's already familiar with if he simply applies it and lives it, just as he did with the stop smoking program.  The information is there.  We know it will bless your life.  But you won't know until you try it.  "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."  I don't know if I'll ever see the end of his story, but he's one of those I feel like I came to Slidell for.  Because being up-front with him as been easy as cake since my first week here.

We got to hear our recent convert K-dog bear his testimony at stake conference this last weekend.  That was the first time we'd actually heard him plainly declare that he believes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God's restored church, that our doctrine is the true doctrine, that President Monson is a true prophet sent by a loving God.  It was the greatest thing.  I can leave this place well assured that at least one of my fruits will remain.
We had more "right place, right time" moments this week.  We caught an older less active sister at home who wasn't going to let us in, but we talked to her on the porch and helped her discover that she hadn't been going to church because all her life she went for other people.  And now that her kids are grown, she has to do it for herself, at least as a thank-you to God.  We tracted into a woman who was widowed and living alone and having a really hard time with it who just needed a prayer and a hug.  It may not have been a typical missionary experience, where we shared the restored gospel and stuff, but it was still work the Lord needed done, a child of His who needed to be ministered to, so what better people to send over to her than the sister missionaries.  I'm gonna miss this.
26 And I saw that I must soon go down to my grave, having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophesy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ. And I have declared it in all my days, and have rejoiced in it above that of the world.  [Enos 1]
There's no greater joy in the world than knowing that you're exactly where Heavenly Father wants you to be, doing exactly what He needs you to do.  Love you all.

Sister Valdez

1.Bookmark a member made me
2.Sunrise over the marshes

3.Sleepy comp

4.The bangs

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