May 19, 2014
What a beautiful week!
Frances Sue Williams was baptized yesterday after church! She is amazing! I'm so happy for her decision to follow Jesus Christ. Each person felt the spirit so strongly during her baptism. I'm so grateful for her example and to have had the opportunity to teach her. One of my favorite parts of being a missionary is watching the person come up out of the water and being there to hug them with a towel as they walk up the steps. That is when they feel the spirit testify to them of the love that our Heavenly Father has for them and that He is pleased with their decision to come unto Him. I was able to hold Frankie as she began crying as the spirit testified to her of the right decision that she made. I too cried with her and felt the spirit testify to me of the truthfulness of this gospel. We truly can be made whole through our Savior. He suffered so we would not have to. He loves us and set the perfect example for us to follow. I love this gospel. I love seeing it change lives. I love each person we teach (even those who do not accept the gospel immediately). I was thinking about Frankie and how 1 year ago the missionaries found her and she said, "no" to baptism. Now, one year later, I get to be the one that saw the fruits of their labors. I wish I could contact each missionary that taught Sister Dorsey, or Frankie, or each missionary who ever thinks they didn't make a difference. I've been blessed to see the fruits, but they did plant the seed! They did pave the way and prepare this person for accepting this gospel. Each person that we talk to on the street will one day remember that encounter and the spirit they felt. There is a light about us and we are to share that with each person. Set that example to those around us! They need the gospel! They need this knowledge and the joy that it brings! This is the true church of Jesus Christ. This is the Lord's kingdom on the earth today! We have the fullness of the gospel and because of that, we will one day receive a fullness of joy with our Heavenly Father! He wants all of His children to return to Him, so we get to set the example, share the message, invite, and help each person come to a knowledge of the restored gospel.
I love being a missionary! Even on the hard days! We have those hard days so that the happy days mean so much more! We have trials so that we realize the blessings. We have storms so that we can appreciate the calm. We have winter so that we can recognize the warmth of summer. Opposition in all things so that we can experience happiness! Our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect! I'm so grateful to be a part of it!
So yes, my heart is full. I can't express in writing how I feel about this work. Thank goodness it is there for everyone to be a part of! Share the gospel! Feel the joy it brings (even if they don't immediately accept it), what you do makes a difference!
This week we were able to teach Jolena and Tiffany. They are both ready to hear about the gospel. We are hopefully going to meet with them again this week and invite them to be baptized. They love the message and I know it will bless their families. They both are the mothers of 2 beautiful daughters and need this for their kids! Jolena is ready to be baptized right now, but Tiffany still has to learn a bit more before she can be baptized. I will keep you updated on them!
We also are still working on helping Mandy progress to baptism. The only thing holding her back is marriage. She told me that I could come to her baptism when I come back to visit next summer (When she is planning on getting married). No! I hate that idea! haha She needs to be baptized now! Then I can come to her temple trip next year! :) That sounds much better! Her experience though has caused me to ponder about what I would be willing to sacrifice for the gospel. Sister Snow and I had the opportunity to teach the lesson in Gospel Principles on "Sacrifice" yesterday and I've been thinking a lot about that word. The pioneers sacrificed their families, friends, earthly possessions, and even lives for this gospel! What am I willing to sacrifice? Yes, I am sacrificing 18 months of my life, but within that 18 months, am I giving it my all? It is not enough to simply serve a mission, I must serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength! This mission experience goes quickly and I don't want to have any regrets. Thank goodness, Heavenly Father is not asking us to sacrifice our lives or anything drastic. All he asks of us is a "broken heart and a contrite spirit". He wants to help us and is the only one who can, when we offer up those two things to him!
Last night we went to visit a less-active member who is the only member of her family. She got baptized last June, is 16, and her family is a bit chaotic. We walked in and her dad was completely drunk and the mother was yelling at him for being an alcoholic. He was using a few choice words but it was amazing as we began testifying of our Savior that he began to be calm. He began talking about how he wanted to be baptized and wanted to quit drinking and smoking. He turned to me and said, "You've been here for awhile and you are welcome anytime to help me!" He was practically pleading for help. His family wants the help and I know one thing. I can't help him! But, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Atonement can! All things are possible because of what our Savior did. We are going tonight to help him by sharing the message of the restored gospel. Wow! I love this work! Miracles!
Wow! Reading over my email I'm in preaching mode! :) This week has also been one with a lot of laughs and smiles as well. For example, during Frankie's interview the fire alarm of the house we were in went off. She still passed her interview, but we were giggling. She then came out and said, with arms in the air, "I'm in!" haha She is the funniest woman ever! The whole ward loves her! You never know what she will say next and she doesn't have a whisper voice. When she says anything, everyone knows what she is saying. haha But I love her!
Another funny story, during the night I dreamed that we were walking down the street and my shirt was not modest, so I turned it backwards so it would be. Well, when I woke up, I walked out and realized my PJ shirt was backwards! When I explained myself to Sister Snow, we both burst out laughing hysterically! It was a funny morning.
Ooh another cool story happened as we were walking in the rain (which was just about all week). We stopped in at the porch of one of our neighbors who was a bit tipsy. He began talking about his life experience and how he had experienced a lot of trials. We shared with him the Book of Mormon and testified of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. He was so excited to read and we are going to go back this week to teach him more.
I realize that most of the people I've mentioned have either been intoxicated or under the influence of something, but each of them has the potential for greatness. Both Sister Snow and I saw the father of the member in a white shirt and tie and clean cut. He needs the gospel! It will change his entire life! :) Sister Snow and I realized that yes, there are people out there who would be much easier to teach, but Heavenly Father has placed these people in our path because they are at low points and need the gospel! They can't do this alone and each soul is precious to our Heavenly Father.
Well, I'm so happy I got to write this email today! I'm sorry if it was a bit long, but I had to get it out on paper! I love this gospel and I sharing it! Again, there are hard days, (I don't want you to think it is all roses and daffodils), but I love the hard moments! Those are the ones that make us stretch the most! I love each lesson I learn, maybe not in the moment, but definitely by the end! :)
Can I just express how proud I am of my family?! Chandon! Madisen! Lexi! Hannah! Seth! Mason! Brigham! Steven! I love each of you! How awesome that you got to go to all the Arizona temples! I especially loved the part about how you were able to do over 300 names! Think about those people who are now as you said "a ward" in heaven! I love it! Thank you for each of your marvelous examples to me! Wow! I want to be part of that tradition when I get home! So cool!
I hope that each of you have the most wonderful week. Keep on being amazing and know that someone in West Virginia loves you! The work is being hastened and I'm grateful to be a part of it! I love you all so much!
P.S. Happy Birthday Brigham and Orinda!!! Hope it is the best day ever!!!
Also, next week is Memorial Day weekend, we will be emailing on Tuesday. :)
Picture 1 - Frankie!!! She got baptized!
Picture 2 - I love Frankie giggling in this pic, sorry I moved! haha