A Really Cool Story

Monday, November 18, 2013

Yup, I've got a cool story for all of you. Problem is it's going to be LOOOONG. Can ya handle it? I will apologize before hand that I will probably go off on tangents because there is no other way I can think of explaining how awesome this week has went. Here we go:

On Thursday I had the privilege to attend a training meeting with Elder Donaldson. He was the mission president of the missionaries in District 2. He was doing a mission tour, but for some reason only part of our mission got to come listen to him. So I just felt uber lucky that the Sister Training Leaders decided they wanted to bring me along. To explain what he trained on would take forever, but let me just tell you it was an answer to my prayers! He just talked about the Atonement and ordinances and how we can't access the Atonement unless we've completed the ordinances. It was insane. So his whole training was on going back to what it's really about. Don't just ask people to attend meetings, ask people to partake of ordinances. It was crazy. I wish I could type up everything I learned, but it was just way too much. Like I had a headache my the end of the meeting. Anyway, now I will explain why his training was an answer to my prayers.
So during the days before and after transfers I was starting to self-evaluate myself pretty hard. Here I was in a new area, with new people, no progressing investigators, and with a new companion who gets sick and noxious even more times than I do. Before coming to the area my thoughts were kinda like "oh good, now I will be paired up with someone who would have been out longer than me and can teach me the SECRET to missionary work". Dont get me wrong, I've learned SO MUCH from my companions. And I'm grateful for that. And it's totally my fault for used to thinking the following. When I got out here I had this expectation of missionary work cuz of how hard-working all the missionaries seemed to be back home. And as I've been serving I felt like I was waiting for something different to happen...for something to meet my "expectation" of what missionary work was. And so I learned tons from my trainer, but when our time together was up I was still like"oh, but I still can't talk to people fearlessly, or relate random topics to the gospel". And the I ended up training and my thoughts turned to "ok, she's new, and I have to teach her everything I know". But in reality Sis Fernandez has pretty much changed my missionary life. Like Sis Ash says, "you truly lose yourself while training because you're focusing on someone else". I've learned a TON from both Sis Ash and Sis Fernandez. And so hear I am, feeling like I'm starting a brand new page in a new area and I still felt like I was waiting for something to happen. And so when I got paired up Sister Linton (who has been out 3 months longer than I have), at first I was like "Yes! She'll probably be strict with me and I'll get to know the secret to missionary work". But like my last area, we started off slow because we were both new to the area. And we have both been under the weather, so there's more down time than I'm used to. And so on Monday as I was self-evaluating myself and praying tons to Heavenly Father about what I wanted, I got this impression from Him, "Ok Sister Limas, are you going to really wait around another transfer hoping and looking forward for your next companion to teach you the "secret" to missionary work? You already know what it is. You just need to put it in your head that you can figure it out on your own as you put in the effort. And besides, like with your other two companions, you are going to learn what you didn't expect. Be real with you think you would actually learn if I paired you up with someone super strict? No. You don't learn that way. You and I both know that." And all I could say to myself was, "He's right." WELL OF COURSE HE'S's HEAVENLY FATHER I'm talking to here. Duh. And so I promised Him that I would put in 100% in this area and not wait for my companion to push me, but I would push myself and push her if needed (which is quite often considering we are both still sick).
So, what's the secret to missionary work? He's right. I already knew it cuz I've been taught it multiple times already. HARD WORK & OBEDIENCE. And I can definitely testify of that as I've seen the changes in me and in the areas throughout the pass 6 months. But it hasn't hit me as hard as it did this week.
On Tuesday I woke up just super pumped for the day, especially after having that conversation with Heavenly Father. We drove out to Granite City and planned on tracting. It was SUPER cold and the moment we got out of the car Sister Linton was like "uhhh I hate tracting". Tracting isn't my most favourite thing to do either, and it was super cold, and Sister Linton was still sick that don't even know how tempted I was to just say 'ok, let's go back in the car and try to find some less-actives/formers'. But a promise is a promise, so we pushed through. AND IT WAS GREAT! The one side of the street was totally hilarious because of the different ways they rejected/avoided us. But on the other side of the street we got to talk to pretty much everyone. We ended up having one invite us back, AND of course it would be the last door we knocked on where we found a lady who invited us in and said she was looking for a church...doesn't wanna join the Mormon church, but she's willing to listen. It's a start :)
That evening we had a lesson with Manuel and his family (the man I talked about last week). To my surprise I was not nervous at all for this lesson. Like I haven't taught the restoration in forever, let alone remembered the points in "How to Begin Teaching"....but the Spirit was there and we got through it. The miracle? We picked up 3 new investigators that night! Manuel, his wife Elanore, and his brother's girlfriend, Andrea. It was a really good lesson and I was so so SO grateful the Spirit was helping me with inspired questions. Whewww. BUT still, when we got home I self-evaluated again and I'm like What is missing?! Today was wonderful, we put in the hard work, we have potentials AND new investigators...why do I still feel like there's something missing? I could have done something more in the lesson...i just didn't know what. I think I've just been getting really antzy about 'teaching people, not lessons'. Like I've been wanting to master that since I was in the MTC, and I guess that's where my "what's missing?!" comes in. I felt like we TRIED to teach them and not the lesson, but i still felt like there was probably a better way to try and actually get it done.
And so that lovely day on Thursday as Elder Donaldson was speaking....he talked about going back to basics. He told us that the number of baptisms we get will be in the quality of our teaching. So that's what he did. He taught us how to teach and how to build investigators faith through the book of mormon, prayer, and church attendance. Like he dissected it and taught it hard-core. It was INSANE. He taught us how to have lessons and gave us tips on EVERYTHINGGG. So crazy. The whole time me and the sisters I was sitting with were like :O *jaw drop*!
Now here's the cool part. I had a huge headache after the meeting. I was expecting to go back to Sister Linton and have her know what we were going to be teaching Edna that night. I come back and find out that all her and Sister Trop were able to do was fix the tire on the car and stay in the house because she wasn't feeling well again. So I'm like what are we teaching Edna? She says Restoration. Now here's a little fact about Sister Limas...I hate re-teaching lessons other missionaries have already taught. But I didn't say that of course. I just let her know of what Elder Donaldson taught us about how to use the pamphlets for teaching. So we get to Edna's house and the spirit was totally like "use the pamphlet, use the pamphlet!" And at first I was totally avoiding it! I was asking Edna questions to see what the sisters had taught her and if she had any questions and I even almost turned to Sis Linton and said maybe we should teach the plan of salvation. But nothing was working and so I finally gave in and asked Edna to take out the restoration pamphlet. She said she had read through all the pamphlets already and I just had to suck it up and do what the Spirit was saying. that took a lot out of me. I told her we were just going to go over it in a different way. Instead of reading we were just going to discuss the photos. Oh my goodness...i can't even explain how AMAZING that lesson went. The Spirit was truly guiding that lessons. I was so scared to try Elder Donaldson's way of doing it cuz i hadn't practiced! i totally stunk at it during role-play in the training...and here I was about to attempt to do it with an investigator? The room was filled with the Spirit. Sister Linton knew EXACTLY what was going on, and we had no problem teaching in unity even though we didn't have a mapped out plan before hand. It wasn't us teaching her. The way that Elder Donaldson told us to use the pamphlets was to get them to teach themselves. Let them talk about what they see, and not about what we know. The Spirit testifies as they learn on their own. Edna said that even though she's been taught it before, she now saw it in a different light. After Edna said the prayer she was crying and she said she knew God was in that room with her. AND SHE SAID SHE'D PRAY ABOUT BAPTISM!!! Say whaaaaat!?!?!?!

After we left her house we were all so shocked. Sis Spencer (the member we took with us) hugged me and started crying and thanked me for teaching it in a way to help her understand because in the other lessons she just wasn't getting it. Now here's another fact about Sister Limas: I admire people who can recognize the Spirit and teach with it confidently. And when I compliment people all they say is "it's the spirit". And in my head i'm just like "take the compliment, dang it. I want to be that in tuned with the spirit". And after Sis Spencer thanked me, all I COULD say back was "it's the Spirit". It truly was. And it was then that I understood. It just clicked into my head. I had no talent or ability in being able to relay that lesson to her. What I felt was me literally being a vessel carrying the Spirit and the Lord literally using me as a tool to teach His child. I am capable of doing nothing without the Lord's help. Ah, being on the mission truly is a humbling experience. To know that you seriously can't do any of this work unless you're relying on the Lord and working on being in-tuned with the Spirit. It's a humbling experience, yet a sensational one as well...because there's nothing like being able to be that close with a member of the Godhead. Ah, I love it!
Anyway, now that you've heard my speal on amazing miracles here are some more tender mercies:
* We made cookies for our neighbours and attached a note with a mormon.orgcard and a quote from pres monson to give each of them. We knocked on their doors and introduced ourselves...THEY ARE ALL COLLEGE STUDENTS! how awesome is that? Its awesome because we were able to relate to most of them (aside from the fact that most of them live with a significant other bahaha). Anywho, there were 3 doors where we talked to people for quite a bit. Hailey is an English major like me! And Chase is work with photography like me! And the other door we went to ...they were playing beer pong when we walked in...AWKS. Lol but it was great! They were the ones we talked to the most and most interested in what we were doing. Aha i love meeting new people.
* During district meeting one of the STLs asked Sis Linton and I to do a roleplay on the spot. I HATE being put on the spot. But we tuned in with the spirit quicker than i expected and it was just awesome. And i didn't cry when i bore my testimony!!! Now THAT's a miracle ahaha. Also, Elder Raushce is in my district! Hooray for MTC friends and Canadians :D
* We got to attend a baptism of someone Sister Linton was teaching in her last area. So we travelled to Webster Groves. What's so "tender mercy"-like about that? Well,
a) driving by the city always reminds me of home :) St Louis is exactly like down town Toronto. 
b) I got to see Sis Sheppard!!! I didn't train her, but she was one of the sisters being trained in my last district so she's pretty much my "foster-child". and of course I jumped on her when I saw here. (see, still same old Ariana). 
c) I got to meet 2 Canadian elders!!! Elder Beaumier is from Calgary, Alberta and he knows Elder Hall and Elder Doummachel (who both served in the Don Mills ward!) Hurrah! And Elder Rassmussen is from Edmonton, Alberta and his family is moving to Toronto! I was no help in letting him know what ward they were moving to. Where is Oakville again? haha i dont remember.

On Sunday....are you ready for this? We picked up another new investigator AND SET A BAPTISM DATE!!!! Holy moly, I was off my seat. Guadalupe Hayes has been taught by the missionaries for TWO YEARS. But with the past couple of sisters she told them she didn't want to talk to them anymore. She called us up earlier this week CRYING saying that she was being ignorant. We got to her place and she said she wants to be baptized. OH MAN. So the next two weeks we are re-teaching everythingggg. And she loves singing. So on Sunday we ended our lesson with a hymn...and thus far Sister Linton and I have planned to end each lesson by singing a hymn for her. (PS her neighbours are devil worshippers.....CREEPY stuff!)
* I just LOVE sister Linton! We had comp inventory and when we were discussing the strength in our companionship and I just went off on how impressed I was with her and that when we teach we are so unified! Like, we just became companions and we just know. Oh thank goodness for the Holy Ghost! Haha. Like she is so good at being bold when needs be. Like she'll be so sick and weary when we're at home, but the moment we're in a lesson she's like BAM. Hahaha its awesome! And I've been working uber uber hard on learning to listen with love and i find that when her strength and my new strength come together its like JACKPOT! Its amazing.
Seriously, missionary work isn't a puzzle. You work hard, be obedient, be worthy of the Spirit, and listen with love....and you just know what to do. I am SO grateful for how wonderful this week has been. I am so extremely grateful how gracious Heavenly Father has been in allowing me to be part of this work. It truly is a marvelous work and a wonder. It's definitely a wonder to me to see all these miracles happen, let alone being privileged to take a small part in it. I hope I didn't bore you all with my story. I'm not even going to get a chance to re-read it cuz I don't have time haha. But I did pray last night and this morning that the Spirit would help me haul it all out of me XD.
I love you all loads and miss you tons. 
And as much as I do miss and love you all, I love being out here and being a part of this.
Thanks so much for all your support.
Mucho lovin' from yo' Sister Limas :)
 Sister Fisher and I after the training with Elder Donaldson. She's so fun and I just love her. 

Sister Linton and I :) we crochet blankets before going to bed XD

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