July 30, 2013
Hola familia y amigos!
I have a lot to write to you all about, so this email might get a tad bit long! Sorry about that!
First of all, I got a little surprise the other day when I got back from my shift at Brigham's and there was this big package on the couch in the break room waiting for me! Hand-delivered! It made my day!! Thanks so much, Aunt Lisa :)
We've had several interesting experiences this week! We saw bats (picture to come), did a door approach with a few teenage boys who were obviously on drugs, and the most bizarre is probably this man who came into the Visitor's Center. He claimed his name was B.... Smi.... and that he was a member, and he just "wanted an audience." He was probably in his 70's or 80's, and he seemed a little creepy, so Sister Gui... went to grab a priesthood holder (Elder He......... was in the annex, so he came), and they both joined us. We (Sis. He...., Sis. Gui..., Elder Hew........, and myself) sat down in the Special Witnesses of Christ room because it is open, but a little more private of a spot. Then the man went on this big rant that got around to how he thinks that we should use the Bible to convert people first, and then bring in the Book of Mormon. He said that we should just leave our Book of Mormons at home, and that if Joseph Smith had done that, he wouldn't have died and the saints would not have suffered so much. Oh gosh. Anyways, he went on for about 45 minutes, with each of us trying to bear testimony to him and get him to think logically. Finally I told him, "B......, I can promise you that before I plan any lesson, I always pray and listen to what the Spirit tells me the person needs to be taught. And if they need to be taught from the Bible, then I teach from the Bible. In fact, I usually teach almost the entire Plan of Salvation out of the Bible. But if the Spirit tells me that I need to share something from the Book of Mormon, then I will not go against it." He responded by telling me that the Spirit is mostly just in my head, something that my subconscious makes up. Ooooh gosh. After that we just told him that we didn't have anything more to say, but that we invite him to go out and convert all of his non-member friends using the Bible, and then give us the referrals.
What he said got me thinking over my mission though, and as I thought about it, I became more and more convinced that the Spirit is real. It's not something that my subconscious is making up. How else would we have found Ra.....? It didn't make logical sense to go to a house that we had been trying to contact with no success and missed appointments for a long time. But we followed the Spirit, and we saw a miracle. And there are countless times when I am prompted to share specific verses with someone, and it turns out to be exactly what they needed, for reasons not previously known to me. The Spirit is real. And anyone who denies that is not under the influence of Christ, but of the Adversary.
On a happier note, Wednesday we got to march in the parade with Elder Holland! They had us in groups of 50, lined up in 10 rows of 5. First went a group of scouts, then a group of elders, followed by a group of mostly sisters, then another one of local youth. We didn't get to meet him, but he road in a little horse-drawn carriage right past us and we waved, to which he responded by applauding us as they passed by. He rode in front of the troops, and as we marched along we sang a few missionary-themed hymns. It was still pretty neat!
We taught Ann.... the 10 commandments yesterday, talking about the Sabbath day with number four and chastity with number seven. I love teaching the Law of Chastity! It is my favorite thing to teach! Haha I love how when I started out on my mission, I felt super awkward about it, but now I am super to the point and I just say it as it is. I loooove it! It was a great lesson. She still won't agree to a date though, and she has yet to pray about it. I hope she prays about it this week. She said she would! Cute thing she said though--she was talking to a man at work who was saying how he hates Mormons. She asked him why, and he said something like, "I don't know, I just don't like them." And do you know what she said? She said, "Well, then I guess you won't like me." How cute!!
Our shift yesterday at the Visitor's Center was amazing! A nonmember couple from Grass Valley came in, and we took them to the Savior of the World room, but ended up teaching them pretty much the entire Restoration on the spot, showed them the 20-minute Restoration movie, bore testimony, gave them a Book of Mormon, and got their contact information so that we can keep in touch. How awesome is that?! Poderoso! Also, I had received a referral from some Spanish-speaking elders the other day, for this lady in El Salvador whose relative they had just baptized. So I finally had time to call her yesterday, and she sounded super excited and said that I could send missionaries to her! Wahoo! That was so great :)
Also, my companion and I were doing Mormon.Org chat, and this guy came on with a bunch of questions--all easily answered though :) I love it when they ask sincere questions, and aren't just trying to trip us up. Anyways, he asked about the Word of Wisdom, and about the part where it talks about grains and herbs...so he says, "Well, I don't eat wheat. Does that mean that I am disobeying the Word of Wisdom?" Of all the people to have answered that chat, it was me!! Totally got that one. I told him that I am gluten-free as well, and that the main point of the Word of Wisdom is to take care of our bodies--so if there is something that is bad for us, we should not eat it. Inspired! We had a really nice chat. He is waiting for the missionaries to come over now; he had already referred himself to them.
Last night we had an amazing experience as well. We had eaten dinner with Bishop Son.... the other day, and he gave us a few names of people that he wanted us to go by. One of them was this woman named And..... She is an active member in her mid-thirties, and has 5 kids. About three months ago, her husband was playing church basketball and tore his ACL, and had to go in and have surgery on it. A few days later his blood clotted and he went into Cardiac Arrest. He passed away. He left behind a family that is amazing. As my companion and I were walking up to their doorstep, I felt that we were walking on sacred ground. Their 12 year old daughter answered the door, and we went in to the mom's bedroom. She had just had surgery on both of her feet, so she couldn't move around much. Her parents were there as well, so we had a nice little chat, along with a few laughs. Everyone felt completely comfortable. My companion and I just pretended that we didn't know anything about what had happened. There is an amazing spirit in that house. Eventually And.... and her mom told us about her husband passing away, and we all cried together. I asked them if it was okay if I shared a scripture, and I read John 16:33 and bore testimony of how even when we feel completely alone, the Savior is always by our side. It was an unforgettable experience, and I feel like we will be friends with this family for a long time. I know that my calling as a missionary is to work with nonmembers, but my calling as a member is what I covenanted with God when I was baptized--to "mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort" (Mosiah 18:9). My goal for my mission as well as for my life is to be His hands and His voice, doing His will in all things, and not my own. I feel like I did that last night.
I am so grateful for this experience that I am having, serving the Lord as a missionary, bringing others to the path that will lead them to eternal happiness. I am also grateful that I have a wonderful family who supports me and sets such amazing examples for me to follow.
I love you all,
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