"...But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
I started my personal study one morning and came across a section in the Doctrine & Covenants (31) that was completely marked in my quad. At the top of the section I wrote, "Missionary work and homesickness." Still not sure when I ever studied this chapter... haha. Anyway, Sister Washburn has been feeling a little homesick lately so I told her to read it. Later in the day she told me she was feeling extremely homesick during personal study and didn't want to tell me. As soon as she decided not to tell me I invited her to read that section. Sometimes we follow spiritual promptings on accident. Then we went to Maria's house and she just broke down. I opened up my quad to Doctrine and Covenants 31 and handed it to Sister Washburn to share. The Holy Ghost was literally in the room- He is real, he is alive, he is tangible to our hearts. You never know the impact you have on others. And although Sister Washburn thinks her homesickness is a weakness, I can testify that it is a strength.
A few months ago our cute Mukilteo Ward made grab bags with food, water, socks, hand warmers, etc. They are to give to the less fortunate (the homeless) we see/meet on the street. On our way home from the church we saw a homeless man on the side of the road with a sign asking for anything. We had some of these bags in our trunk and we were stopped at a red light. It was getting late, we were tired... and I looked at Sister Washburn and said, "I will pop the trunk, you jump out and throw this man a bag." So she did! Right as she threw it a young dad with a couple kids in the back pulled up. He looked at us, smiled, and proceeded to get out his wallet to give the man some money. GOODNESS IS CONTAGIOUS. There is no way he would have done that if we wouldn't have set an example. And he got to be a great example to his cute kiddos too!
This week I was really, really sick. Sicker than I have been in a really long time. I finally called our mission doctor and he told us to go to the dollar store to get some medicine. As we were in line to get out stuff a really nice Tongan lady said she wanted to pay for our groceries. THERE ARE STILL GREAT PEOPLE IN THIS CRAZY WORLD. It was also such a blessing that we went to Rue 21 on Preparation Day so we could compliment the shirt she was wearing (we saw it at the store) and were able to have a good conversation. THE SPIRIT CAN PROMPT YOU TO GO SHOPPING... SHOPPING CAN ALSO BRING MIRACLES. (Maybe I just made that up.)
Sister Washburn and I hit a slump in our day. We were both tired, sick, and not all that happy. We were stopped at a red light and this guy just started happily smiling and skipping as he crossed the street. He totally made us smile, laugh, and become happier. THE LORD TRULY PLACES PEOPLE IN OUR PATH... SOMETIMES JUST TO MAKE US SMILE! This guy also may have been on drugs but we will keep that on the down low.
We went to go see one of our investigators we haven't seen in a while and we were able to have a lesson with her. Her son also became a new investigator. :) Tender Mercy number 1. But tender mercy number 2 was that we were running really late. We called our dinner appointment and told them how long until we would be there (they were fine with it!) In the meantime we were walking as fast as we could in the pouring rain. We were rushing the whole way there. We said a really fast prayer. Then we knocked on the door. As soon as we walked in the Spirit just engulfed me and filled my whole heart and mind. It was a confirmation to slow down and really enjoy everything around us.
A guy in a car
Remind me to tell you this one in the future!
This week we did our weekly planning down at the Mukilteo Beach. We were parked next to this really really REALLY old couple. They sat in their car for a while and then got out to go for a walk. It was really windy and we thought the wind might just pick them off and carry them away. Well they went for a nice walk. We had watched them the entire way. Sister Washburn and I went back to our weekly planning and then we heard the little old lady yelling. We can't see the guy anywhere. So we jump out of the car and see that he had fallen in front of our car. We made sure he was okay. He said he was okay but we think he busted his knee. We lifted him up and got him settled in his car. The cute wife just thanked us over and over and over again because she had no way to help him if we weren't there. The old man just kept waving to us.
We are currently surviving the rainiest season of all time on record... so yeah, tender mercy.
My message today has to go along with joy. For the last few weeks the word joy has come up in conversation, scripture, and thoughts more than ever before. I have been studying it for quite some time to really figure out what "joy" actually means. We throw this word around so casually when in reality it has a profound and impactful definition. I read these definitions from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being. It comes from being complete and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws." He also said, "Joy is an eternal emotion whose ultimate extent we are not likely to experience in mortality." And lastly, "Despite all we can do, we cannot have a fullness of joy in this world or through our own efforts. Only in Christ can our joy be full." For the first time... in ever... I was able to experience what the scriptures mean by “joy” at church this past Sunday. We were sitting in our typical seat at church. The Priests said the sacrament prayers and the Deacons started to pass the bread. As I put my head down to pray the spirit touched my heart and I was filled with peace/comfort. Overcome by this I looked around the room and it just hit me even harder. To our right was a single mom and her five kids who are currently returning to activity. To our left was one of our investigators who is on date for baptism. Behind us are two more investigators and across the room is Maria (another investigator on date for baptism). I put my head down to thank Heavenly Father for all the blessings he has given to us. Then they offered the blessing on the water. As soon as they started to pass the water I was going to put my head down to pray when again I was struck with the Holy Ghost and started looking around the room again. I saw Reymundo, a recent convert, passing the sacrament on my right and to my left I saw Adolfo, Reymundo's brother- another recent convert, passing the sacrament for the very first time. I wrote a note to Sister Washburn that said, "Maria+Jodi+Abraham+Isaac+Rey+Adolfo=JOY" And she wrote back, "I guess there is your answer." I know that Heavenly Father really does hear and answer our prayers. He knows when we put in our side of the effort to study something out and he gives us experiences to understand more fully. I can now say that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and it is the ONLY way we can feel and experience the eternal emotion of joy on Earth.
"When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is explainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance." Elder David A. Bednar
I loveeeeee you all! xoxo