I am so grateful for my mom and my family! I am so grateful to have been able to Skype with you guys yesterday! I definitely win for best family. It was bittersweet as it was my last call home and my last time seeing my brother before he leaves on his mission in three weeks. I love you guys so much! Thank you for your example, support, love and hilarity. And shout out to the rest of the mothers out there! I am blessed to have so many other moms and women who have taken care of me and blessed me.
This week was our first full week of doing less active/part member work! Although the key indicators don’t show it, it was a week full of great finding and miracles and hard work. ALSO, we had MLC and Zone Meeting and both were focused on less active work! We hope that the rest of the mission catches on with this fire!
Okay so some miracles that we saw this past week:
We went to look for a less active, Ildika and the initial encounter was not pretty. She came out and saw our tags and told us that she will never come back to the church and that we should leave because we are wasting our time visiting her and how she doesn’t know why her names are not of the records yet. We totally could’ve been like “oh okay, we will go tell Bishop and we won’t bother you again,” but rather, we started just chatting with her. We talked about her house and her landscaping and she started softening and opening up to us. We found out why she decided to leave the church and why she resents it so much. She’s just had a lot of hurt. At the end, we were like, “hey, even though you don’t want to come back to church, would it be okay if we came over to practice teaching our lessons?” And she said yes! In fact, she told us to start practicing right then and there. We did how to begin teaching and testified to her that God loves her so much and knows of the hurt she’s been through. We told her that Jesus Christ wants to help heal her and that He knows her perfectly. She started tearing up and the Spirit was so strong. I love being a missionary because we are blessed to feel so much more of God’s pure love for His children within a couple of minutes of talking to them. She was also a great person to practice on because she actually gave us advice and suggestions (for example, I have to talk slower haha. Definitely still working on that). And at the end, she as like “and always remember to say a prayer with every person you meet.” It was so precious. We are convinced she is coming back. It might take some time, but she is coming back.
Yesterday, we had dinner with our Stake President and his wife, who is also the Relief Society President. During dinner, we talked to them about how we are working solely through less actives and they gave us a couple of names! We went to visit one that evening. Her name is Sister Oliver and she is a returned missionary of about 40 years. She served in Mexico! Anyway, her husband is not a member and she was telling us that many missionaries have tried but his time is not up yet. But we are all convinced he will join one day. But then, she told us that she had a neighbor who moved and she got really close with her right before she left. Sister Oliver gave her a Book of Mormon and then guess what? Her neighbor ended up moving back recently! Sister Oliver said that when she found out her neighbor moved back, she just got a really strong feeling that the reason why her neighbor moved back was because she was going to hear gospel. So Sister Oliver told us that she will call her neighbor today and then set up a time to have us come over for dinner and start the discussions with her neighbor!!!! Words can’t describe how amazing that was. And Sister Oliver herself is the sweetest person ever. She was just talking about her mission and it was so amazing to see how much she cherishes it, even though it was forty years ago. I am so grateful to have served a mission and I know it is an eternal blessing.
On Saturday, we were on exchanges – I was in Sunland with Sister Colson again! She is so sweet and humble. I learned so much about patience and trusting in the Lord from her. We prayed that morning that we would be able to find one new investigator because that was a goal that we really wanted to achieve. Faith is a principle of action and power, guys. We need to have faith that the Lord will help us accomplish our righteous goals, but then we have to act on it and work for it. Faith won’t produce miracles itself. It’s the acting on that faith that allows God to use His power to bless is with miracles and answers to prayers. That was a big thing I learned that day. We went out and worked and worked. It was at the end of the day when our miracle happened. We were walking to find a less active and saw a man sitting out at his porch. He was an Armenian who spoke very fluent English and was willing to talk to us! That itself was a miracle. We shared with him our purpose as missionaries and invited him to come to church. He said he would like to come! And he said we could come back and share more! Ahhhhhhhhh I was so happy and grateful for the rest of the day.
It was such a good week but there are still a lot of struggles. I realized this past week that I am still having a really hard time adjusting to English work (even though I’ve been in it for almost three months now…). I got a blessing yesterday and that helped. But more importantly, I have come to know how to better use the Atonement in my life. We always say that we need to use the Atonement and we need to access the power of the Atonement, but knowing how is the key. And I think that’s the hardest part because the how is different for every person. Thank goodness for prayer and the scriptures because that’s how we learn how we need to personally use the Atonement. It’s important to have faith in Jesus Christ’s Atonement but faith is a principle of action and power. Until we figure out how to use and and actually use the Atonement, we won’t be able to access the power of the Atonement.
I know that my Savior lives. I know the Atonement is real and that it is the ultimate cure to everything. I am grateful to testify of the Atonement all day, everyday. We all will overcome physical death through the Atonement and resurrection – that is a free gift. But we need to work for overcoming spiritual death and that is by following the conditions that Christ has given us – His gospel: faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by the proper priesthood authority that has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. And as members and missionaries, it is our responsibility to help people overcome spiritual death by sharing His gospel! That way on judgment day, people can be judged not only by justice, but by His mercy.
I invite you all to think of one way to share the gospel – whether that’s by social media, writing a letter, giving a Book of Mormon, verbally testifying of it or any other way the Spirit prompts you to – and do it this week! Have faith that God will let you know who and how and then act on it!! I promise that He will give you the added power and strength for you to do it and that you will bless someone else’s life as well as your own!
I love you all! Have a wonderful week 🙂