|Chelsea is being very calm even though she is terrified of birds!|
|Text from recent convert|
OK IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ THIS EMAIL... SKIP TO THE STORY ABOUT "T." MOST AMAZING WEEK OF MY MISSION. GOD IS A GOD OF MIRACLES.
Hey Y'all!! So obviously a lot has happened this week! God is so real.
The event we had last night was AMAZING. So many people came... over 250 showed! The chapel and overflow were filled. Not bad for a "missionary devotional."
Someone recorded it... I'll try and get my hands on it. We had president baker invite everyone to read the book of Mormon, so many beautiful musical numbers... the spirit was SO STRONG. Strong enough to hit me even when I was so stressed out I couldn't breathe! Everyone came up to us and thanked us for all the hard work we did. Everyone was impressed and wished the friends they invited had come. Success!!
We had Zone conference this week and learned a lot about teaching simply. It was a good refresher for all of us missionaries. We had our testimonies strengthened, our visions lifted, and took what we learned and WORKED.
Chris is doing amazing!! We had a family home evening at the Wettstiens about family history work and the spirit prompted him many times to do the work for his grandpa!!! He's working on getting it done so he can go to the temple!!!! ahhhhh. He texted us and said this is the happiest he has been in his whole life :) :)
K isn't going to make her date.... She has gone MIA this week :( so sad.
Okay I will get to T now because I cannot contain my excitement:
Monday, We finished up at the library, came outside and it was HAILING. Like really hailing. The ice was sticking to the ground and it was beginning to snow. So all of our plans to get together with our zone got cancelled because we are grounded from our cars when it snows. We got permission to pick up our car from the shop (b/c of the car crashes...)and were stuck inside the rest of the day. We get a call from a sister who used to be in this ward but her family moved to DC. Sister Tarwater had the phone so she answered and this sister begins to tell us about her dear friends and old neighbor, T. apparently, on Sunday she was sitting in a baptist church, (she's a Lutheran) and she had a feeling she needed to go to the Mormon church that day. So she gets up and goes to church at 9. This was the other ward, but apparently she had an amazing spiritual experience at church, and loved all the people there. She told this sister that she wants to learn more and what was the process of doing so. She was told that there are missionaries that teach people about Jesus Christ and his restored gospel. She said she wasn't ready for that... so the sister told T to read the Book of Mormon then. So T comes by and we give her a Book of Mormon. Before I go on... rewind to about 8 months ago... Sister Tarwater and her companions at the time were early to their dinner appointment with the Thayne's. I'm just going to say their names. This is the same lady who was calling us who moved to DC. So they knocked on some doors, they weren't interested, the missionaries asked who they knew who was going through a hard time... and they referred T. So they knock on T's door, she answers, they tell her they are from the Thayne's church, she explains she just got served with divorce papers that came out of nowhere and she has no idea what to do. Missionaries feel inspired to pray with her. They say a prayer, give her a Book of Mormon, and plan to follow up. Missionaries invite the Thayne's to have T and her family over for a family home evening, after a couple follow up appts, T gives them the book of Mormon back and says thanks but no thanks, and to give it to someone who needs it. This opened up many gospel discussions with the Thayne's, and provided T the chance to watch and see what makes us different. So fast forward now to Monday. T comes to get the Book of Mormon, Sister Tarwater answered the door and T gets this huge smile on her face.... "It's you! Do you remember me??!" She was so surprised that it was the same missionary after all these months. Seriously how rare is it that Sister Tarwater has been here the whole time.... working on 10 months here!
So T grabs the Book of Mormon and runs away before we could talk to her more. hahha.
Tuesday. We get another call from Sister Thayne. She says "so remember how T didn't want missionary lessons, and she wanted to just read the book of Mormon and see what she thought? Well, she wants the lessons. Today. WHAT?!?!?! So we scurry around and find a member who we can do the lesson at their place the last second, teach T the MOST SPIRITUAL LESSON I HAVE EVER TAUGHT IN MY LIFE. Literally every scripture that we used she related to. She felt the spirit so strongly. Scriptures would come to mind... I would say them or sister Tarwater would, and T would sit there and say wow. I wish y'all could have been there. I cannot even put into words how powerful this experience was. When we first began teaching, we told her that she would know this is true as she prays, and recognizes the Spirit testify it to her. She stops us and says... what do you guys mean... this is true? How will I know. We invited her to keep her heart and mind open and she would know. Fast forward to the FIRST VISION. After it was said.... Silence. At least 20 seconds. I wasn't even fidgeting in my seat! (MIRACLE) She kind of starts laughing after this pause and says. "I know what I need to do. Now how do I do it? God has given me enough signs already. I know what you mean now by knowing this is true. I know this is true...what do I do now?" So we invited her to be baptized. ON MARCH 15. THIS WEEK. She agreed. She said, "I didn't come here to say yes. I came her to ask questions and observe. I didn't come here to say yes. But I know what God needs me to do."
Tears. All week. Just tears. She is so elect!
The most prepared person I have ever met.
Another amazing part to this story... she was terrified to tell her brothers and sisters about this.... They are all strong Lutheran. Before this first lesson she told us that she just got off the phone from a 2 hour conversation with her brother.... WHO HAS BEEN MEETING WITH THE MISSIONARIES FOR MONTHS NOW. He said if he wasn't stuck as a Lutheran he would be a Mormon. What ever that means. But so many tender mercies. We taught her 4 lessons this week and she had her baptismal interview yesterday. She loves the ward, and she LOVES this gospel.
T has been the biggest tender mercy. My testimony of the small and simple things has been strengthened so much. I KNOW that no effort is wasted. For the missionaries... those hundreds of people who close their door in our faces, those NO's... they all amount to something. Sister Tarwater is the luckiest person I know to have been able to see the fruits of that labor from so long ago. I have been so humbled this week as I have felt the LOVE that God has for all of his children. It is not about us. It is about being an instrument in Gods hands for the salvation of his children. No effort is wasted. For members... all the invitations we extend do not go unnoticed. They REALLY ARE planting seeds. The Thaynes had no idea the extent of their example went for T. Now she is getting baptized on saturday because she noticed how happy they are.
I know that God knows and loves all of his children. We are placed in certain areas for a reason. To meet people, to connect with them, to love them as Christ does. I know that we are placed in peoples lives for a reason. It is our job to find that reason and ACT.
I know that Christ is our savior. I know that forgiveness is REAL. I know that the book of Mormon is true. I have seen it change so many peoples lives. I know that it is our job to humble our selves and act as God would have us act... so that we can truly be instruments in his hand.
I KNOW that miracles are REAL. Everyday I have witnessed them. They are possible not because God is going against His will, but are possible because his children have faith and humble themselves before him. Repentance is a miracle. Baptism is a miracle. Eternal life is a miracle. The restoration of the gospel is a miracle.
God wants all of us to be a part of one of his greatest miracles... the hastening of his work!
I LOVE this work so much. I have never been happier.
Never forget that your righteous efforts are not wasted. The seeds we are planting will harvest. I have been so blessed to have seen one of them :)