Saturday, December 17, 2011
This is so sad! I can't believe this is my last letter home! I just got here, didn't I? As for my last week on the mission it was awesome. It started off with Luna's baptism! I am so happy for her. Arriving at the baptism I gave her a big hug and said, "You look so good in white!" Then it reminded me of that line from The Best Two Years and I felt dumb... especially when everyone laughed at me... awkward. Anyway, not important, the Spirit is. But she was so happy and she practically jumped in the water; after they baptized her she came up screaming. At first we were like, "Wow, she must be excited!" But after she told us the water was cold, ha ha. The brownies served after the baptism were fantastic! Big and still warm.... ok, just kidding Mom. Lubna looked so happy and as if she had just had a huge weight lifted off her shoulders. That is what the Gospel can do for us, if we let it change us everyday.
We had great miracles on the Square this week too. With the Christmas lights it brings in so many members but for some reason we were finding all the non-members on the Square. We contacted these two kids by the eternal family painting from Southern California. They told us that they were atheist and agnostic and had a hard time believing on something just because everyone else said it was true. Because they were science majors I showed them Alma 32:27 about experimenting on the word. They liked that part. We followed up with Moroni 10:4-5, then invited and they both referred! The only thing they knew about the Church was from South Park and that everyone else will go to Hell because the Mormon Church is the 'correct church'. Good thing South Park got it right!
We also met a man from Algeria. He spoke French better than English so Sister Tahi took over on that one. Within 5 minutes of explaining what the Book of Mormon is and how we are the original Christian church he also referred. We were so excited (I was more excited that Sister Tahi did it herself without my help!) and then realized that 1) he is Muslim; 2) he lives in a Muslim country and 3) The Church isn't in Algeria. So sad!!! Kinda a bummer but he felt the Spirit and he knows about mormon.org. It is all we can do now. Stupid Satan!
Other than that snippet of miracles this week I had all my departing stuff. First I had my interview with President Holmes where he read of list of things to do to stay active. I guess it is a big problem. He also gave me a new temple recommend that only lasts 3 months to force contact with my Bishop. Second we had our temple trip today. It was full of reflection of my mission and the realization that this is now a springboard for the rest of my life. I am so happy that I made the decision to go and the impact it has and will make on my life. I never want to leave but I know that my time is up. I want to close this last letter with a scripture that inspired it all and has defined my entire mission:
"Yea and from that time until now, I have labored without ceasing that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Alma 36:24
I know this Church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He suffered for us, so that we might know the joy of our redemption and the lasting peace of eternal life. I know that His Church is restored on the earth again. And nothing is more important than this Gospel. May we recommit ourselves everyday to “waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things [from] darkness.“ I love you all so much. Thank you for being great examples to me. See you next week!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
What a good week! It was even busier on the Square and thankfully my body seems to have adjusted to working our schedule until 10 p.m. -blessings from heaven, seriously. But we were spoiled this week by being able to attend the Christmas Devotional on Sunday. We were seated right where all the apostles walk by to take their seats. All the international Sisters were trying to shake their hands. If that were me the Brethren would have taken one look at my American flag and ignored me. Why can't I get away with that like they can?! It's because I look American, isn't it? That's it! Next time I am looking Asian; I think that could work. But it was great to listen to the First Presidency speak about the importance of Christmas. I really like this whole missionary thing, not feeling guilty for being overly concerned with the materialistic side of Christmas because my focus is on the correct reason for the season. Gotta love it.
We talked to some amazing people this week on the Square. One was a man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He joined the Church 20 years ago and was one of the first ordained priesthood holders there. He has moved to India and is helping to build the church there too! Something about Africa but it has followed me my whole mission. As we talked to him I thought about all our investigators in Liberia who have no access to the Church. My heart aches so badly as I think about how they have no way to get to Church and no missionaries, except us calling them. BUT a miracle happened this week, by which we received contact information to a member in Liberia who is a ward mission leader. He said that he would tell the mission of Bong Range (that is the city we are teaching) and see what they could do!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH! It isn't much but it is a step in the right direction. We couldn't have been happier.
As for Sister Tahi and I, we made yet another trip to the doctor, not for me this time but for her. She has this weird allergy to the cold and her skin gets huge itchy bumps when we are outside for too long. Long story short the doctor wrote her a prescription to "Stay inside." Wow, I could have written that one. Hey that just means we cannot be given assignments to be outdoors for too long!
Tomorrow one of my old investigators is getting baptized! She lives in Salt Lake so guess who gets to go! I can't think of a better way to end my mission than with a baptism. Lubna is amazing. We met her at Welfare Square and she is just so ready to make these steps in her life. She needs the peace that comes from the gospel and she needs the direction. I am so proud of her. She has had a really hard life. But to make this decision when your whole family is Muslim takes courage. Well, off to this next week. Gotta make every moment count!
Hey Hey Hey!
Hark how the lights, cold, frigid nights, all seem to say Christmas is here, thousands and thousands of people coming, thousands and thousands of people coming! yadda yadda yadda you get it. But oh my gosh my poor, tired, 80-year-old missionary body is about to die from exhaustion. We are so wonderfully busy! We are out till 10 p.m. every night and who knew that that precious time from 9-10 helped us rest for the next day. So, needless to say, everyone here is tired yet happy for the season. It is like conference, except every night. We used to have set assignments out at the reflection pool for a few hours, then contacting outside for a few hours but Sister Tahi thankfully has an allergy to the cold. Don't believe it? Neither did I until we were outside for 40 minutes and HUGE itchy bumps exploded all over her face. Needless to say we spent an hour downstairs waiting for them to go away. I have never been so grateful for an allergy in my life. So we have many indoor assignments. The Square looks beautiful and it is only going to get even busier as it gets closer to Christmas. Bring it on.
Other than nighttime we have had some really good success this week with our investigators. One of them, Vincent from Ghana, got baptized last week! We taught him a while ago but found out he was Muslim so we couldn't call him. I felt like we needed to just call and see how he was doing and he told us he got baptized! He was the guy who found a Book of Mormon on the ground and, after reading and praying, knew it was true and searched for the Church. He was so happy and we were internally screaming. Now to get all the rest of our people to the missionaries!
So I have a story that proves that 1) prayer works and 2) miracles still happen. So Sister Tahi and I were making our lunch in the kitchen on Temple Square and I sliced my thumb on the can. Right when it happened I knew that I needed stitches but I was just hoping that maybe if I applied pressure and elevated my hand all would be well. But two huge bloody napkins and a half hour later I decided maybe I should at least go find a band-aid. I spoke to Sister Holmes who took one look at my finger with the subcutaneous fat visible and told me to go to Instacare immediately. Fine. So we went and waited for about an hour to see someone. Good thing it was just my thumb, I would have died otherwise. But I saw the nurse and she took one look at my thumb (still bleeding by the way) and said, "Oh yeah, you need stitches" She got everything all prepared and left to get the doctor. Now earlier I prayed and asked for my thumb to be healed then felt silly for even asking for that. But when the doctor walked in 20 minutes later (again I would have died if it was anything else more serious than my thumb) and looking at it said, "Wow, you don't need stitches at all!" I looked at my thumb and the wound had closed up completely and stopped bleeding. Yay! All the doctors and I were friends by the time we left, probably since I made a huge deal out of the whole thing in the office.
That was my week - more spiritual stories next week I promise.
Happy Thanksgiving... yesterday! We had a blast here in Salt Lake City- the Square closed early so we all went over to Noahs, a party/reception center for big parties. We went to the same place last year and I was happy to be back. As soon as we arrived I, of course, ate some snacks then headed over to dominate on the volleyball court. It was Polynesians versus the French speakers + me. Because we didn't keep score I’m not sure who won but I will just admit it was probably the Polynesian Sisters. You don't mess with them; they were screaming battle cries the entire time. After I was on stage helping direct the mission for line dances (thank you stake dances). Finally we were able to eat catered Thanksgiving food, nothing like Mom's but that is ok. Last year I thought it was terrible but this year I thought it was wonderful. Same food, maybe I am just more grateful for what I can get. Look! Progression!
The anticipation for the Christmas lights to come on has been building all week. Tonight is the night they turn on so from here on out p-days start at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. Not a fan of morning p-days but eh what do you do? We are given assignments every hour just to make sure that every area is covered. Unfortunately we are stationed at the reflection pool for a couple hours at a time - I might not live to see Christmas. If I don't make it, just look for me, a frozen Popsicle by the pool, and take me home.
We had a busy week but there is one story I will share with you all. On Sunday Sister Tahi was announcing for French tours after Music & the Spoken Word. I was praying for a French tour since we haven't had one yet, but nobody came up for one except a man who was telling her all about his going to France. In my mind I thought, "Heavenly Father this ISN'T what I prayed for." He was here for the Physics Conference and at first I didn't want to take him around but then decided to offer. Turns out he was golden! It was so neat to ask him questions then sit back and let the Spirit do its job. We were in the NVC basement talking about prophets and how it just makes sense that there would be prophets in the Americas. Then he looked at me and asks, "So in your beliefs or does it say somewhere in the Book of Mormon that God would call a prophet today? Like, why would we need one?" I pondered for a moment then asked him, "So do you believe that Adam was a prophet?" "Yes." "Do you believe that God revealed to him what we need to do to live with God?" "Yes... Oh! I see where you are going with this! So if we only needed one prophet then there would be no reason for Moses!" And just to add the frosting to the cake I showed him Mormon 9:9 that God is the same yesterday today and forever. Bam. He was so excited. But like Preach My Gospel says most concerns are like icebergs where only the tip is visible. Yeah only after we showed him President Monson’s talk and he was sobbing (Sister Tahi and I looked at each other like, oh yeah, he feels the spirit) when, with face in hands he said, "My girlfriend broke up with me because I don't have faith!" Yada, yada, yada, yeah all of a sudden it got awkward. Uh.... Gospel? Missionaries? Thankfully he referred but man that was uncomfortable. Ha ha, good times as a missionary. Solving concerns one broken heart at a time! No faith? We can change that.
Well, life is about to get crazy so off we go to talk with members. All million of them that come in one month! Until next time!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Hello from freezing cold Temple Square. So to clarify I am no longer at welfare square (super sad about that, I loved all the crazies there) but just Temple Square. Definitely a change of pace. There are not as many people coming so sometimes we walk around a lot but that doesn't mean that the of quality of people that come has dropped but it is about the same. We had great miracles this week.
But it started off by having Cell Phone Training! Yes you read that correctly we are finally emerging into the 21th century by having cell phones. Look out world. The second coming is about to happen. But really they are only for texting and to get in contact with other sisters. But the missionary department gave us the capability for international texting so we can text our investigators in Africa! It is a great tool that was much needed. I guess they were worried about us walking around the square talking on the phone or texting. Nothing like a 3 hour cell phone etiquette meeting to squash all desire to ever have a phone to help us know! We still are working out the kinks... and there are many. It might take a while to get used to your coat ringing.
This week Sister Tahi and I had lots of miracles! We were working on speaking during tours and now we are up to sharing principles. She has progressed a lot already. We took a group around of Hilton Garden Executives and it was an interesting tour. With the Christmas season upon us everyone is practicing in all the buildings we have. Not conducive for the spirit to dwell in. But thankfully the Bells on Temple Square or the Christmas Concert Dancers were not practicing at the Christus statue. We were able to bear our testimonies on Jesus Christ and let the spirit sink in. When Sister Tahi bore her testimony a lady started crying! Nothing like a confidence booster there. 3 of them referred to learn more!
Later in the week we saw a French-speaking lady and tried to (discretely) track her down so Sister Tahi could talk to her. But we searched in vain for a half hour but found her in the North Visitor Center basement. Obviously it was a slow morning or else we wouldn't have tried this. But she was so good, lots on concerns about churches, and not ready to meet with missionaries yet, but she left with a smile on her face and a promise to go to mormon.org. The Lord must have felt bad for us, you know running and stalking people on the square, so he gave us a tour with a wonderful lady from Australia! At first she straight up said that she didn't want to learn more from missionaries but again, just let the spirit do his work and by the end of the tour she was so touched by everything that she filled out the card with no hesitation.
We have been very blessed this week and hopefully we can keep up the faith. I just love being on a mission. I can really feel the importance of it, not only for the people that come but for myself. It is amazing to look back and see how much I have learned and how far I have come. I am forever indebted to our Heavenly Father for this experience and I find myself full of gratitude as I reflect on our day His hand in everything we did. Off to find more miracles for this next week! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I will be sure to tell you all about it from my end.