November 5, 2013
My Dearest Fam Bam and Friends,
So, it being the month of November, a month of gratitude, I am trying to record in my journal everyday, the tender mercies of the Lord. I know this is something I should be doing everyday anyway, but let's just say I haven't been the best at it. It has been so neat at the end of each night to review the day and see the miracles and positive things that happened. It has really helped me to feel better as I do this work.
One of the incredible tender mercies this week happened last Wednesday. We had an appointment with a girl named Lhaylla. Lhaylla is seriously so cool. She's from Brazil (Rio) and is living with an awesome family in our ward as a foreign exchange student. Gotta love foreign exchange students! She already does family prayer and scripture study every night, goes to church and young women activities during the week, and even goes to early morning seminary everyday! Isn't that incredible!? We've gone up and talked to her from time to time at church and have shared a message with her when we went over for dinner at their house but, finally we were able to actually set an official appointment with her. We talked all about the Restoration and Book of Mormon and through the whole lesson, her comments were just astonishing. Here's just a few things she said.....
"I know the reason I have come here is to find the truth."
Through out the whole lesson she kept saying, "this just all makes sense".
"When I read the Book of Mormon, darkness is replaced by light."
"The Book of Mormon is answering questions I could never have answered."
Talk about probably the most golden person I have ever met on the mission! This girl is a serious truth seeker and it has been so neat to see how the Lord has prepared her and led her here. About a year ago she stopped going to church with her mom because she didn't feel that the things they were teaching were right. She and her 3 older sisters have been searching for truth and her sisters have all joined different churches in the last few months, but Lhaylla still hadn't found anything before she came here. Of course there are a few loop holes we still have to figure out, like if her program will even allow it (the Gales, the family she's living with thinks it's fine) and then we need permission from her parents because she isn't 18 yet, but if all works out, she seems very ready. And, I guess if she can't get baptized here, we can just give her a good foundation here and then she can go back to Rio (where there are tons of members) and get baptized. Pray for her though!
Next tender mercy of the week, the Burch's came to church all on their own! You have no idea how big of a deal this is. In the beginning, it was like pulling teeth to try to get them to come and now they just want to! Oh happy day! We hadn't seen them in over a week because they had family in town, but then we called them on Saturday night to see how they were doing and they said, "We'll see you at church tomorrow!" Made my whole day! They only came for sacrament because John was in a lot of pain (he broke his back a few years ago and wasn't suppose to be able to walk again). At the end of sacrament meeting, Lisa turned to John and asked if he wanted a blessing and he said yes! This is such a huge step! So, Bro Kesler and an Elder in our ward gave him a blessing. It was such a beautiful blessing and addressed a lot of things John is struggling with spiritually too. Hearing that blessing was such a testimony to me again of how aware our Father in Heaven is of each of His children. Last but not least, last night they went to the Maddens (who are originally from Wisconsin and are also converts) to watch the Packer game! YES! Did they win by the way?? This made me so happy because we have been trying to find them more fellowship in the ward. So, now they know the MacDonalds, Keslers, and Maddens, how great is that!
Wow, I feel like this email is longer than usual, but one last experience I had this week. Yesterday, Sister Sommer and I had a lesson with a couple who is a part of a Restoration group. We met them last week tracting and they said we could come back on Monday. It was really neat preparing a lesson for them because we had to teach in a whole different way. We didn't have to focus so much on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but on temples, authority, etc. Let's just say we get in there and from minute one we could tell their hearts weren't ready. Pretty much the entire time all they did was bash the church and they talked to us about church history like we had never heard it before. Anyway, I don't want to dwell on the lesson so much as I want to talk about what Heavenly Father taught me in that lesson. Often times as a missionary, you worry about if you have the spirit with you or if you're feeling the spirit, and I learned last night that I have gotten so use to feeling the spirit 24/7. There have only been two times in my mission where I couldn't feel the spirit, the lesson Sis. Rackham and I had with Andrea a few months back, and last night. Well, I guess I should say I could feel it when I bore my testimony, but not during the lesson. Sister Sommer and I pretty much cried during the car ride home, partly because we were just so frustrated, but mostly because we were sad for them, sad that they were so lost and confused. I am so grateful for the spirit and so very grateful to know without a shadow of a doubt that this is Christ's church in its fullness. This is the real deal, I know it. Love you guys mucho! Make it a great week! Dad have such a wonderful birthday! XOXOX
Look whos names I found where we ate lunch in Adam-ondi-ahmen. They had a wall with all the missionaries names who had ever served there so I looked for the Petersons and there they were!