January 11, 2016
Dearest Family and Friends,
|Sisters Mathews, Wylie, Johnson, Rodda|
Tuesday: We had mormon.org time where we can spend an hour on the church websites to look up talks, mormon messages, really anything that will help investigators or people in our area. My favorite thing I read was about Howard W. Hunter. They had a biography of his life and his teaching as well as video documentations. But with my bad luck I saw the article 10 minutes before we had to go so I have read and seen everything yet. That night we had dinner with a cute older couple in our ward and Sister Boyack was telling us about the lesson she was giving in Relief Society on Sunday on Uncle Howard. I didn't tell her about our relationship to him until after she told us that he was her stake president in Pasadena, California! It was such a blessing to hear her perspective and the things she remembered about him. I know that Howard W. Hunter was a prophet of God called to guide and direct the people living during that time. I know that God continually calls prophets so we know exactly what we need in order to live with him for eternity.
Wednesday: This is where the Gift of Tongues comes in! This week we had a lesson with a cute African family that speak French. In order to teach them we needed a member of our ward who speaks french to call and set up/confirm the appointment. We also were able to get in contact with a recently returned missionary who had french pamphlets. Then we went to our lesson! We taught a small part of the restoration and the Book of Mormon WITH A TRANSLATOR! They have only been in the United States for 8 months and their English is... nonexistent. BUT THEY LOVE JESUS CHRIST and they loved all the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Africa. We have another appointment with them on Wednesday and we have a French copy of the Book of Mormon to give them! So I guess that was the first day I prayed for the Gift of Tongues... I'm not sure that it helped but I tried to communicate. We also went to a less active's home who had their nonmember neighbor over. Her name is Lisa and she is actually a potential. We are going to do the stop smoking program with her because that was her New Year's resolution! We also taught Maria and the boys! The lesson went well and we have three set appointments with them each week.
Thursday: We did our weekly planning and had another lesson with Maria's family. We watched the Restoration movie and the spirit was so strong... until right when it was showing the first vision our member (who is 18 and a convert) received a text and the sound it made was "EXTERMINATE." Yep, that fled the spirit out of the room... those dang boys... but the rest of the lesson went well. We are trying to get Adolfo (15 years old) on date for baptism and it was amazing when his mom pointed out that Joseph Smith was around his age and he was looking for the truth just like Adolfo is. After we left our member gave Adolfo a blessing for his ears. He gets really bad ear infections and they are constantly giving him trouble- part of the reason he is scared of being baptized by immersion. But after the blessing Adolfo didn't feel any pain and he slept through the night for the fist time in a long while.
Friday: We had Zone Conference. The last two Zone Conferences we have had I said the opening prayer... this time I didn't pray though. I got to say our mission scripture instead and Sister Johnson got to pray! We talked a lot about member missionary work and we have great ideas for how to implement it. We have 19 twenty minute appointments set up next week with members! And we taught two lessons on Sunday already! That night we exchanged with our Sister Training Leaders!
Saturday: I stayed in the area with Hermana Spackman and Sister Johnson went with Hermana Fifita to Lynwood. I learned so much on the exchange and I also learned a bit of Spanish. Hence again, the Gift of Tongues. Spanish is helpful especially on Casino Road. We went to another ward's convert baptism with Maria and her boys! Adolfo really wants to be baptized now and we are really hoping to get him on date tomorrow! We were able to get in contact with a "new move in." Her husband has been excommunicated 3 times... he was really nice and she is a convert of 4 years. We also taught a less active again who is now returning!!!! She came to church yesterday with two other less actives we are teaching and four of our investigators.
Sunday: We had missionary correlation and a few other meetings including ward council. We had church and four of our investigators came! Our recent convert Reymundo passed the sacrament for the first time as well. :) It was a missionary farewell... so glad I don't have to do that ever again. We also taught a few members of our ward and did studies! Sundays fly for us!
As I was talking to Hermana Spackman this week, I realized the thing I love most about being a missionary. That is: change. I love the walking down casino road and talking to people that look really really... scary. At first they can be standoffish but by the end of the conversation you are filled with love for them and they want you to come to their home to learn more about the Restored Gospel. Or seeing the change in investigators when they learn a new principle or desire to be baptized. I love the change less active members make to draw themselves closer to God. I love the change you see in your companions and how quickly they learn through experiences. I love seeing the change in myself and my friends and family all over the world. Another word for repentance is change and I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the ability we have to learn, grow, progress, and change attitudes, thoughts, behaviors, desires, beliefs... anything.
I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who cares about each of his children. He has a plan for each of us and he has provided ways to learn about his glorious plan. He has given us tools and resources like scripture, prayer, the Holy Ghost, and church to draw closer to him. He has provided us with a Savior who can take away all of our sins, who can make our weaknesses our strengths, and who can take our burdens upon his back. I know that Heavenly Father has called men to be prophets so that we will never be led astray. He has given men the Priesthood authority to perform sacred and everlasting ordinances. I know that God is real and that he lives. He knows the exact thoughts and intentions of our hearts and he is giving us opportunities every day to change and improve so we can live with him and our families for eternity.
I love you and miss you all. XOXO