So this week has had its ups and downs. I don't even know where the weeks are going anymore and it's freaking me out. I can't even handle looking up at our calendars. Time is just whizzing. It's all slipping through my fingers and it puts me in a panic. I can't even imagine what it's like for Sis Sudweeks. She freaks out about it more than I do cuz she's got 5 months left. Sis Rouse is just hitting her 6 month so she isn't freaking like we are aha.
Anyway, I don't really have too much to say, but I want to share a really cool experience we had .
So the Hafner family invited us over for dinner. Via text. So I have no clue who this family is. We get to their home and the first oldest lady I see, I go up to and say, "And are you Sis Hafner?" The lady says, "no. I work with her in the office. I'm _____ Elders" (forgive me, I forget her first name). Katelyn Hafner, who I met once before and thought was in a different ward, was talking to Mrs. Elders daughter, Jordan. My heart is slightly starting to beat fast because I'm thinking like, waaaaait, we need to teach them something! Haha, you 'd think being out for almost 10 months, I wouldn't freak out as much with last minute situations. But I still do a little bit. Jordan is 15 (but looks 20), and totally reminds me a lot of the young-ins back home. So I clicked with her off the bat. Over dinner, she was asking what Mormons believed in. So we took that opportunity to discuss the restoration. It was super relaxed cuz it was over dinner. And the Hafner's did a great job bearing their testimony at the perfect times.
Then Sis Hafner says, "you know what's weird? We haven't had missionaries over for dinner in two years. And we haven't had Jordan over for seven years." We were like, are you serious?!?!?! I turned to Jordan and I'm like, "no way this is a coincidence. We were supposed to meet you. What are the changes that you wanted to know more about Mormons, and then we happened to be coming?"
Yeah, I thought that was cool? It gets better.
We showed her the Abide With Me Mormon message video. Afterwards there was the awkward dinner silence because Sis Hafner was trying to clear things up. Then the Spirit was like, "ask her if she's prayed before". And me being me--I argued. Seriously, you'd think I'd know by now to just do it haha. Anyway, so I'm thinking, "what? Are you sure? That's too simple of a question. And of COURSE she's prayed before. We just said a dinner prayer". Heavenly Father is shaking His head, I'm sure. And of course He says, "are you serious? TRY ME. Just do it". So I'm like fineee.
I turn to Jordan and ask, "Jordan, have you ever prayed?"
She says, "yeah..." Dead silence.
I could tell my companions were waiting for me to say something else, but I tried really hard not to let that freak me out. I soaked up the silence.
Then Jordan starts talking again and says, "I've prayed to God before when I went through some hard things. I don't pray to Him as much though when everything is going well."
Then I ask, "so how did you feel after praying?"
Part of me is begging and pleading that these questions weren't just fillers.
But what happens next?! She starts telling us about all the bad stuff she has experienced and how praying helped her forget all those bad feelings.
I'm sitting there smiling, and she's looking at me like "what?"
I thanked her for sharing that and told her how beautiful I thought it was. She looked surprised and asks, "what? Why?" Now THAT caught me off guard.
I started bearing testimony of the Savior. And I'm crying my face off as I testify of His strength to help us overcome hard things. I tried to clear the tears that were blocking my view, and when I did, I saw Jordan's face and SHE was crying too. I look over to Sis Sudweeks and she's tearing up. I'm like woah, what just happened?
Jordan opened up even more about her past. And it was a lot similar to one of my companions. So that companion was able to relate and share her experience and bear testimony of the gospel in that way. OH MAN, there were tears everywhereeeee. The Spirit was so strong! So the four of us are sitting there in this intense conversation and bearing testimony of overcoming hard things through the Saviour and how the gospel blesses our lives. Man, it was so spiritually renewing!
Afterwards Jordan says, "You know, when you girls walked in you looked really familiar to me. But I didn't want to say anything cuz it sounded weird". I told her that everything Sis Hafner said about the pre-mortal life was true; that we probably were really good friends in the pre-mortal life and probably promised her we'd find her when we got to earth."
Gah, it was AWESOME! I seriously love that girl to death.
Anyway, that experience was a huge testimony builder. Why?
A) I teach better when there's silence and when the Spirit is bouncing back between me and the investigator. It's been something I've worked so hard on since my first area....to listen with love, to not be afraid of silence, and to speak as the Spirit directs. And whenever I think I've finally got a hold of it, I always get thrown into a situation to remind me to keep working at it. For example: being in a tri and seeing the way other people teach. It really does humble you though, cuz its a reminder that I can't be relaxed with it. These words kept going through my head as I was asking Jordan those questions, "fight your fight, fight your fight. You know how to teach powerfully. You're not going to teach with the same power Sis Sudweeks does if you do it her way. You're not going to teach with the same power Sis Rouse does if you do it her way either. You teach powerfully the way YOU know how to". The way I know how to do it is to feed off the silence and really waiting for the Spirit to speak (either to me or the investigator). Silence freaks people out, okay! It really does. It took a lot of work for me to not word-vomit when I didn't know what to say next and just let the Spirit take over. So to see Jordan open up after asking such simple questions as the spirit directed was a huge testimony to me that YES, I can still teach the way I know how to. I don't need to put myself down and try to be like the others.
B) The Lord really does send us to people that need to hear our specific testimonies. Sometimes we don't realize it, but with Jordan it was very apparent. Everything that she had shared with us was stuff my companions and I had shared with each other over the past couple of weeks. And then to be placed in the path of someone who was experiencing something similar and was searching? Shoot dang. The Lord KNOWS what He's doing. It IS His work! And then the one companion whose life was similar to Jordan's...she said that when the other companion and I were teaching and bearing testimony it was just so powerful and she felt like we were teaching her too. Man, I can't even explain all the tears that were flowing. It was so crazy!
Well, that was my miracle for this week! When we left the Hafner's home, we said a kneeling prayer right behind our car to thank the Lord.
I testify again, in the strength of the Lord we CAN do all things. I don't even know how to tell you how many times I've felt so far from capable of doing things. Incapable to teach, incapable to open my mouth, incapable to meet the standards, incapable to go one more step, incapable to let things go, incapable to overcome weakness, incapable to overcome challenges....but through the Lord we can be lifted. His grace isn't there just for when we do all we can, and He makes up the difference. NO! He pulls you through it the whole way. He sticks right by your side through everything. He isn't the light at the end of the tunnel, but the light that brings you through it. You guys, things are hard! Life is never going to stop throwing hurdles at you. And they come in so many shapes and forms. But I can PROMISE you that when you trust the Lord and do everything you can to stay faithful to Him, you WILL be lifted. You WILL have the strength to overcome. We don't need to fight the battle alone. I bear witness of that, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Also! So every we're all pretty much like, "ROADTRIIIIIP!" and is when we work Sis Sudweeks area. Man, her area is HUGE. To get from one side to the other takes two hours or more! But it's been way fun. We stayed at the Academy night. The only way to describe it to you is "Madeline". Like, that's what the academy looks like. (If you've seen Madeline, then you'll have an idea). But it also has a bed and breakfast, and used to have a hospital, an antique shop, a general store, its got an auditorium. It's just super ancient. But I can't even tell you the overwhelming feeling I got in there as Sis Sudweeks was showing us around. Going back to being prepared.....I want to tell you to evaluate yourselves and ask that question. How prepared are you? I was super overwhelmed because going through the academy...I realized there are things I have yet to learn to prepare for this battle. Sis Sudweeks said that we need to use this time on the mission to prepare spiritually. We work on our prayers, our meditation, our spirituality, our relationship with the Godhead. And then when we get back home, we continue practicing it and start preparing physically and intellectually for all the other stuff to come. Gah, I don't want to write details cuz you're either going to freak out OR think I'm super crazy. But let me just say...there are over 90 000 missionaries right now. Why? Because the battle is raging. The closer the second coming is, the thinner the veil gets. That brings both good and evil spirits. (have you seen the last Harry Potter movie? Yeah, picture that.) "Even the elect will fall." Don't be one of those elect. Prepare now. No one ever said living the gospel was going to be easy. But we need to do it oh so desperately everyday!! As Elder Holland says, "SALVATION IS NOT A CHEAP EXPERIENCE. Salvation was NEVER easy. This is the church, this is the truth. Why would we ever think that it would be easy for us if it was Never easy for Him." Don't give up. Don't falter. Keep pressing forward.
Oh yeah! One more thing. So earlier this week we totally had our faces ANTI-ED! The poop! We were looking for less actives and we met a family who left the church. Man, they were super nice but once we started getting into doctrine, she whipped her bible out. And they were super strong members until they started reading the bible more and starting going apostate because the church doesn't fit all the "requirements" and all this other stuff that was just SUPER RIDICULOUS. Man, her husband even pulled out a slideshow to show us how "by their fruits ye shall know them" is false, and what it really means. The poop? Man, I whipped my bible out when she said, "nowhere in the scriptures does it say the Spirit speaks to you with good feelings". OH THE NERVE. I was about to go off. NOBODY BE DISSING THE SPIRIT, YO. But the minute I whipped my scriptures out to tell her off, the subject changed. Afterwards the sisters said good thing, cuz maybe it wasn't meant to be. I pretty much didn't say anything, and most of what they said went in one ear and out the other. I've had this experience before in Paris. And the Spirit testified to me then what they were saying WASNT true. And the same goes for these people as well. So...I was sitting there pretty bored. Anyway, we left and I wasn't really fazed. But Sis Rouse starts crying in the car, and then Sis Sudweeks starts crying and I'm like O____O what is happening?! They kept talking about how they felt and I'm like is it bad that I'm not crying about this?! We called up the Elders to get a blessing. By the time we met up and finished chatting, Sis Sudweeks says, "I'm good now. talking helped!" So Sis Rouse went in for a blessing first. Afterwards Sis Sudweeks says, "ok, it doesn't hurt to get a blessing". Oh man, the Spirit was so strong. There were words that were said that I KNEW Sis Sudweeks needed to hear. And then it was my turn. I didn't feel like I really needed it, but I'm like it doesn't hurt to get one. Oh man. I'm glad I did. There were two things that really stood out to me in the blessing.
1) Heavenly Father is THANKFUL. It was so weird for me to hear that. As Elder Spencer was giving me this blessing, he kept saying how Heavenly Father was thankful for me doing this thing and that thing. I was super surprised and taken aback that Heavenly Father needed to let me know that. I'm doing this for Him. No needed thanks back, yet it was still given.
2) "Choosing to serve was the right choice." OH SHOOT. I started crying when that was said. I wasn't even looking for that! In my last area when I was struggling, I had told President Morgan that I was trying super hard to push Satan out of my head in telling me that if I didn't serve, then none of this stuff would be happening to me. I knew that was wrong, but I had to really push those thoughts from staying in my head. And since then, there have been multiple blessed experiences that have showed me that being on a mission is where I needed to be. But to have it directly said to me from Heavenly Father in a blessing? Oh my goodness, I couldn't even handle it. It's like getting an answer to something you didn't know you were searching an answer for. Does that make sense? So that pretty much filled a hole I didn't know was there.
The Priesthood is real. As Elder Spencer commented, "the Spirit is so thick you can slice it". That tiny room was filled. Those words did not come from Elder Spencer or Elder Davidson. They have NO clue what is going on in my life, in Sis Sudweeks life, or in Sis Rouse's. NO clue whatsoever. No one knows or can even comprehend the things I'm going through or feeling. NO ONE. No one but the Lord. And so I testify that I know those words came directly from my Father in Heaven. You guys, this gospel just makes so much sense! The Priesthood Is so real. Heavenly Father wouldn't abandon us with no way for us to receive His blessings. I don't even know Elder Spencer and Elder Davidson that well, but I know they are worthy of being the Lord's instruments so the Lord could use them to help us. That's WHY we have the Priesthood. Who ever heard of someone giving themselves their own priesthood blessing? It's not possible. And its because the Priesthood is used to serve others. Divine responsibilities for men? Fulfilling Priesthood responsibilities is all centered around service. Being able to heal and work miracles like the Savior? It was always for someone else. God loves us too much for His power not to be here.
ANYWAY...sorry, I know I said I didn't have a lot to say, but the Spirit just kept popping these experiences into my head. And I'm like sitting here at the computer crying as I typed it. Maybe someone needs to hear it? I don't know. But yeah, that was my week!
Be good. Be obedient. Have fun. Work hard. Prepare yourselves. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
(I hit 10 months in 5 days. GAH. The tears are flowing.)
|So I seriously have this obsession with mustaches. And they tease me about it all the time :P|
|In the middle of no where. Redneck!|