July 23, 2013
I have the greatest family in the world! THE END. Seriously, I know I say this every week, but I mean it with all my heart. I just loved seeing all the pictures of all the cousins and fam at little Gary's baptism. And how special that grandpa got to baptize him! Everyone is so tan and getting so big!
So this week, I got to see three people from outside my little mission world. Can I just tell you it's the weirdest thing when your mission world and normal world combine! It's completely surreal. Ever since I've gotten to the jail I've always thought about how neat it would be to take someone through that I'm close to on this tour, and then Jana came and it was so wonderful! It was so great to see her and just hug her. I was nervous it would be completely distracting, but I am totally fine. Jana, I love you so much and I'm so glad I got to share the sacred liberty jail with you! I also saw a girl from my freshmen ward at BYU on Sunday and Chris Booth (I think that's her name, the one you play wallyball with mama). I'm sure she sent you a pic.
On Saturday, Sister Rackham and I went to a baptism because she was singing in it and there was a little girl the had Down syndrome, and yes I cried! It's the first little kid I've seen that has Down syndrome and I was just so happy! And then, the next day at the jail there was a little four year old boy who also has Down syndrome! So, I was in Down syndrome heaven! hahah Made me miss my Aubsy!
Anyways, this whole week I have just been overflowing with joy to be a missionary! I am so blessed! Yesterday, we met with one of our new investigators, Porche, and we had one of the most powerful lessons I have ever been in in my entire mission. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and as she continued to talk to us, we realized that we needed to change our plans and talk to her about the atonement. She shared with us some serious and unfair things that had happened to her in her childhood that she has never told anyone, except her mom about last month. As we were all in tears, Sister Rackham and I were able to testify of the healing power of the atonement and I have never felt the spirit bear such a strong witness to me of this before in my entire life. As I was able to testify to her, that she is a precious daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves her, and that she does matter and is of great worth to Him, I could feel the spirit working through me. There is no better feeling than this, to know that you are truly being His hands. She is so prepared for the gospel, yes, there are many things that we will need to work through with her (word of wisdom, law of chastity, etc.), but I know this is her time if she is willing to take the journey.
Another one of our investigators, Dylan, is a complete miracle story! He was a referral given to us from some other sisters and we had been trying to contact him for about 2 weeks and just weren't having any luck. As we were walking home one day, we saw this kid walking around with a guitar. We asked him if he would play us a song. He sat down on the grass and started to play a Christian song called "Doubting Thomas". We immediately felt such a powerful connection with this kid. After the song we introduced ourselves, and he told his name was Dylan. We found him!!! Well, more like the Lord placed him perfectly in our path. Anyway, we went over on Saturday and taught him and invited him to church on Sunday. As we went to get him on Sunday with another member, he seemed so nervous and hesitant. He told us that his friends had been trying to talk him out of going the moment we left on Saturday, but something just kept telling him he needed to go. So, he CAME! :) We sat in the back because he wasn't comfortable in what he wore (sweat pants). As the sacrament was starting, I had just been praying the entire time that he would feel at home. (You have to understand, that he's this 24 year old kid, who doesn't really have any family around, has been in jail, and we can just tell that he really doesn't have a support group or people that love him.) During the sacrament, he leaned over to Sister Rackham, and his exact words were, "I feel at home here.". Oh my goodness, hooray! The Lord answers prayers. The talks that were given couldn't have been more perfect for him. After the second talk he told us he needed to go out and pray for a minute. When he came back in, he had a small piece of paper that he wanted to give to one of the speakers (who is about to leave on his mission to Brazil). He was so impressed by his talk! After the first hour, the ward just engulfed him. Everyone came to meet him and welcome him! It was incredible! Very different from my old ward. He, like Porche, has been completely prepared. Yes, there are a lot of things to also work through with him, but they are both truth seekers and they have found the truth!
The jail has been wonderful. I love it there. Every single presentation I take, I feel my testimony growing deeper and deeper. There is nothing like being able to bear testimony of the Savior and the prophet Joseph Smith, at a place where they have been. With all my heart, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know it. This week I was studying about the history of the men that were in prison with Joseph, and I came across the story of Caleb Baldwin. His was my absolute favorite! At the time that he was in jail, he had 9 kids (7 of them daughters). He was very concerned about how is family would make it without him, especially in the winter. He went to the judge and presented his unique situation to him. The judge told him that he would let him go under one condition. If he would deny Joseph as a prophet. Caleb could not and would not do this. He knew, so deep within himself that he truly was called of God. And so, it was because of his testimony that he was imprisoned. I just love his story. He is my hero. I may name one of my sons after him (and of course Kaleb Bailey as well :) ) But, I just love that he was willing to give up everything because he was truly converted. It's made me think a lot about my own conversion. Could I do what he did? Something for all of us to ponder and think about this week.
Well, I love you all mucho! Have so much fun on your trip! You are all my sunshine! LOVE YOU! XOXOXO MUAH!
Con Mucho AMOR,
Family Scripture: Luke 22:32.... "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art CONVERTED, strengthen thy brethren."