So before I tell you about all the crazy things that have happened this week, I guess I'll give an update on my health since so many people have been asking haha. thanks for all your concern :P Im not quite too sure what's been happening to my health. 3 weeks ago i had told my district leader that it was like slow times of the (like riding in the car, right before bed) where I start to get emotionally sick...so he told me to keep myself busy. And I have. Maybe a little too busy. I get these really weird/scary dreams and so I guess I've been avoiding going to sleep. I'll stay up and do something until 10 30 even though I'm exhausted...andeven though I wake up at like 4 in the morning. Grr. I haven't been eating too much either. I haven't been buying groceries because everytime i do, they just go bad in the fridge cuz I dont eat anything. i'm just lucky the food pantry likes to give us free stuff and that my companion loves cooking. So when she cooks, she makes me eat. I've also have been getting gagging episodes. It's not the usual noxious feeling of "sis limas is having a super bad migraine and needs to vomit to make it stop", but a noxious feeling cuz i just get this sick feeling in my gut. But because there's no food in my stomach, there's nothing to throw up. GROSS, i know. Hahaha anyway, onto more interesting things.
Like I said, this week has been crazy. SO many of our appointments were dropped. Again. UGH. But let me tell you about 3 scary/interesting ones.
First, Gino. He is a less-active recent convert (man, that should never happen. never let your recent converts go LA!) Well we went to his place so we could teach his 20 yr old son. He said he wanted to learn, but this time he refused to come down. So we had a lesson with Gino. We started with BOM Baseball. And then he starts talking about what spiritual path to take, and saying how he's been baptized in so many churches and wants to know "what's next". I am glad sis linton was bold and said that our church is the only one with the priesthood authority to make his baptism valid....but let me teellllll you, IT GOT SO AWKWARD. Gino started preaching about how we are saved by grace...dont go into doctrince....we cant count on our actions to be saved because then we're putting ourselves above Christ. And my heart just stopped. And the memeber that came with us started saying stuff to. I was starting to panic REALLLL bad and I was begging Heavenly Father to help us. Then I felt impressed to ask Gino a question. And in my head i'm like "what? Heavenly Father are you sure? I won't know what to say next!" Haha heavenly father's just said "TRY ME." So i sucked it up and asked Gino the question. Everything went silent. He answered. Then I felt prompted to ask him another question. he answered. And then I felt prompted to share one of my favourite scriptures: 2 nephi 31 (last 3 verses :)) I don't know what happened, but he just stopped preaching. And then i felt prompted to ask him if he knew about patriarchal blessings. And then i bore my testimony on a whole bunch of things which i can't even remember anymore cuz it wasn't me, it was the spirit. I was definitely spiritually exhausted when he left his house and just mentally hi5 Heavenly Father for helping us out.
Second, Manuel. We had gone to his house twice this week and both times he wasn't home like he said he would. The first time we got to know his family a bit more. The second time, we ended up starting a lesson with his brother in law and his brother in law's girlfriend (who is already an investigator). Randall & Andrea are their names. Anyway, before Randall let us in, he had mentioned how he needs to come to church cuz he hasn't in a long time. So my head is going ding ding ding! That's your gospel-conversation starter! So he lets us in and we start talking. I was trying SO HARD to keep things on topic but him, andrea, my comp, and the member that came kept talking about other things. Eventually Sis Linton could tell i was getting frustrated so she helped me out. And just as things were starting to go a bit smoother, Manuel walks into the house. With a big empty vodka bottle in his hand. DRUNK. He starts laughing saying we caught him doing something bad. i just about cried. It took a really long time to settle him down, and then we try to go back to the lesson and everyone starts talking about weather, and asking why woman don't have power in the church (oh goodness, how many times do we needs to discuss the snow?! and the news?! and woman in the church?! it just went SO OFF TOPIC) We start talking about joseph smith and just because i said "1800s" he thinks he can start changing the subject to slavery and starts asking if we teach that and "if we're gonna teach, then we better know anything". I almost yelled at him. And i tried avoiding him and tried focusing on randall and andrea because at least they were being somewhat receptive. But manuel kept interrupting. I was like oh man this is so useless....we're counciled not to teach drunk people cuz they can't feel the spirit. I was so frustrated! I just wanted to say k, it's late we gotta go. bear my testimony of the restoration, and storm out. I guess Sis Linton could tell I was pretty much close to tears, so she talked over them and bore her testimony of the 1st vision. Then I attested to what she bore testimony of. The room was completely silent. Normally I would get super nervous when that many eyes are glaring me down, but that's how I know the Spirit was in the room helping me testify. The spirit was definitely strong in that room. Then we did what he said we'd apply during comp study: let them know the Spirit is there. So we did. And we told them to take a couple of minutes to pay attention to those feelings. I just smiled at sister linton and whispered thank you. Andrea said she felt realllly good, and Randall said he had a few questions....and Manuel just left to try to get to KFC before it closed -_____-" But we started testifying more about this stuff and pretty much used the "how to begin teaching" bullet points without even realizing it (haha i've been telling sis linton we had to practice that cuz i stunk at doing it. But there the spirit was guiding us. and i didn't know we did that until this morning when sis linton told me lol).
Third, Sis Moss. She is a less active and the last time we visited her, we promised that if she read the Book of Mormon, she will lose the desire to smoke. What happens? We walk to the back of her house and catch her smoking a cigarette. OH MAN. So we sit in for the lesson and originally we were going to share a Christmas video with her. But the moment we sat down I felt prompted to share Christ's birth recorded in the BOM. At first i'm like "i don't even know where that is...". But I went to the index to Christ's life and flipped to the first scripture that had "virgin" in it (like virgin mary) thinking it would be a good Christmas story. 1 nephi 11 :) One of my favourites, and didn't even realize it. But the moment i flipped to it and saw all my notes i'm like "ok, heavenly father I see what you're doing". So we asked if we could just read the chapter with her. And in the beginning it talked about "desires". And then we asked her what her desire was. To stop smoking, of course. And so we just went through the verses, and verse 16-17 has been one of my favourites since I got out here: "And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." Later on we read about how the condescension of God was to send our Redeemer to the world to be an example to us, to die for us, to suffer for us.....and it's all because of God's love for us. I bore testimony of the Atonement; how I, like Nephi, don't understand the reason for everything. Why you have an addiction. Why we have weaknesses. Why bad things have to happen. But I KNOW that Heavenly Father sent His son to the earth so that we can now feel that comfort, peace, love, and help we need through our weaknesses and struggles. Hey, if the past 3 weeks had to be trying just so that I can bear testimony of the Atonement with that much conviction, then sobeit.
Fourth, Lisa. We were tracting on this street we were prompted to go back to. Everyone either didn't open their doors or didn't want to talk to us. And all i could think was "heavenly father i know we're here for a reasooon! Why does no one want to talk to us?!" Then Sis linton says to me:
Linton: do you want to talk at this door since I've been talking at the past few...
Me: oh, i'm sorry! I'm standing on the opposite side of where people come out, so they end up talking to you first...
Linton: You're doing that on purpose!
Me: *gasps* no i'm not!
Hahah and of course in the middle of this short mimicking argument, a lady opens her door and I just put my smile back on and said "hi we're missionaries from the church of jesus christ of latter day saints and we would love to share a special christmas message with you". She looked at us, cocked her head, and then said, "come on in". Sister Linton and I pretty much looked at each other and mentally said "wait, WHAT?" Hahaha. So we're sitting at her table and she's like what's the message? And we were silent. LOL. She's like is this your first time doing this? I'm like "oh of course not", when in actuality it was. But we talked about Christmas and the birth of the Saviour and asked her if she knew why He was sent to earth. Of course we talked a little bit about the Atonement, but we turned it into a short restoration lesson. Did we get her as an investigator? No. But before we left she said "I wouldn't have normally let you in, but I had a feeling I should. I really needed that. Thanks for the message". And that was it. We left her a Book of Mormon and a couple DVDs.
To top all this craziness off....we had a creeper former investigator text us this week! He was all liek when are we going to do exorcisms together? and can we meet one on one? and lets meet at night. CREEEEEEEPY. Sheesh, first in Paris it was that man who wanted Sis Ash and I to go to his hotel room, and now it's this other dude who just likes to text the sisters about wanting to snuggle and watch movies. NO WAY, dude, NAY NAAAY.
Anyway, I just want to bear my testimony of a few things:
1 - I have a testimony of the power of the Spirit. It blows my mind that Heavenly Father trusts me that much to carry it. And I will bear testimony time and time again of the confidence that comes when we are keeping ourselves worthy of the Spirit to guide. Cuz there's no way you can go wrong. I know what it's like to not know what the Spirit is directing anymore; Where there's no confidence in what to do next because you don't know if you're worthy of the Spirit. But I can testify that when we live our life according to the will of Heavenly Father and show Him how much we love Him by keeping the commandments and standards, then there's no reason for Him not to help guide you.
2 - I have a testimony of the divine responsibilities of men and women. It bugs me SO MUCH when people (both members and non members) talk about how women don't have power. Seriously, there are times where I have had to bite my tongue at people's doors so I wouldn't go off on them. But I have such a HUGE testimony of my divine role as a woman. I know my Heavenly Father created me a certain way because I am vital to His plan. VITAL. My divine role does not include holding the Priesthood. Does that mean I don't have any power? NO. Like Bro Donaldson had told us in our training, we've been set apart by Priesthood Power. I have apostolic authority to fulfill and magnify my calling to what I have stewardship over. And I have definitely felt that power. I also testify that men and women are equals. Seriously, the church isn't sexist. This is Christ's gospel and it's perfect. And we have been created by our Heavenly Father PERFECTLY. He created men and women as equals and I bear testimony that we can't fulfill our divine responsibility of the priesthood and motherhood without the other.
3 - My new favourite scripture is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Verse 16 says "but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day". Yes, we suffer. Yes, we feel pain and sorrow. But I can testify that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be spiritually renewed and be stronger day by day. Like I said earlier, if I have to emotionally and physically struggle just so I can gain a stronger testimony of the Atonement, then sobeit. I have felt that change inside of me as I've relied on my Saviour for His help.
4 - LOVE & CHARITY. Man, if I could share how much I learn about this I would. But I dont got space or time :P But I do have a testimony of the pure love of Christ. I know I'm not perfect at this Christlike attribute. I feel like I will feel like i'm doing it right to a certain extent, and then i study it again and i realize there is much room for improvement. Just love, guys! Like Jack Johnson sings, "Love is the answer to most of the questions in my heart. Like why are we here? Where do we go? And why is it so hard?" Haha I know it's not a church reference, but it is SO TRUE. I've been studying the fundamental: The doctrine of Christ-the missionary purpose. There's a reason why Charity and Love is a study underneath it. Cuz everything we teach, everything this gospel is is centred on LOVE. Why am I on earth? Where do we go after this life? Why did Christ suffer for us? Why did Heavenly Father let Him suffer? Why do we go through trials? Why am I on this mission? It's all because of the LOVE Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has for each and every one of us. He loves us so much to send us to earth to we have the opportunity to learn and grow and become stronger. He loves us too much to not give us trials that will help build our faith in Christ. And I know I love my Heavenly Father too much to not serve this mission. I also know that part of the reason I'm out here is because of the love and hope I have for my future divine responsibilities. Like Elder Toki says, ONE LOVEEEE. Seriously, it's not to be cheesy, or romantic, or girly of any sort! If there's anything that I keep learning about its that LOVE and FAITH are not a possession to have. It's a VERB. LOVE and FAITH are what drives us to ACT. It's the motivation for us to pull through what we need to. Including Christ. Think of how much FAITH He had as He pushed Himself to do the will of His Father. Such humility and meekness! And think of how much LOVE He had to suffer for each and every one of us. Another thing I keep learning is about how much pain He had suffered. How could He ever be willing to do that much without that motivating LOVE He has for each and every one of us?
5 - Last but not least, a quote from President Lorenzo Snow: "...I say to the Latter-day Saints, if any of you are sleep, read the words of the Savior spoken when He was upon the earth in regard to the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and took oil in their lamps, and when the Bridegroom came there was only one-half prepared to go out to meet Him. Do not let it be so with us as Latter-day Saints. Let us try to be true to the everlasting covenants that we have made and be true to God. God bless the Latter-day Saints and pout out His Spirit upon you. May you be faithful to your god, faithful to your families, and conduct yourselves with prudence in all things, and labor for the interests of the kingdom of God, and that we may not be among the foolish virgins, but be found worthy to be amongst those who will be crowned as kings and queens and reign throughout eternity."
Follow the Spirit, Be good, Be happy, Be obedient, and Just love.
MUCHO LOVIN' from Sister Limas :)
Last pday we went to East St Louis to carol. And we may have explored an abandoned hotel to smash some windows as well. I mean....what? Ahaaa.
: SNOWFALLLL! :)
CANADIIIANS! Me, Elder Rasmussen (his fam is moving to Toronto!), Elder Rauche (my MTC buddy), and Elder Dahle (who actually isn't Canadian but always happens to be in the middle of our "canadian triangle" LOL)