Monday, April 21, 2014

Mesa Easter

So I spent a lot more time today on personal letters, so this will be short and choppy
 HAPPY EASTER!!!! It was an amazing, spiritual day!! We didn't really get to celebrate it, just Sunday as always, but just the PSirit of the day, and knowing what day it was....I wanted to be that weird missionary who runs down teh streets shouting "EVERYONE JESUS LIVES AND IT'S AMAZING" and embarrass my companions, haha. I didn't, but i was a lot bolder talking to strangers that day. I was already excited to be out here, but somehow Easter gave it more meaning.
 We got to go to the Easter pageant at the Mesa temple!! It was amazing!! Linda and Tate came with us, and Linda brought her husband!! He really wants nothing to do with the Mormons, and really didn't like his son getting in with all that, but now that his wife is, we's willing to do more. THough he's still not going to talk with us, haha. But the Easter pageant was amazing and powerful, and that image of Christ rising at the end....guh, you guys, Jesus Christ is amazing!!! I'm so excited to be talking about him!! The nametag kinda gives you that freedom to say whatever, haha. It's kinda nice. My trainer knew a lot of people in the pageant, so that was fun, too.
 If you ever get the chance, guys, go to teh Easter pageant. It's so awesome. It's the largest in the world.
 Linda and Tate changed their baptism so that Linda's daughter, Caty, could make it. Caty was baptized a while back in HS but has since stopped living it, and seeing her mom and brother getting back into it has reawakened that desire in her. When we talked about the word of wisdom, something clicked for her and she's giving up the coffee and tea. Linda's not looking forward to quitting smoking, since she's tried before, but she knows that this time she has God on her side and she knows that through the Atonement of Christ she can do anything. It's so, so amazing to see the Gospel work in people's lives!! The miracles they've seen and the peace they've felt....I'm so glad I got to see this at the beginning of my mission. I want this for everyone. It's absolutely indescribible, watching lives change and people finding their happinness again. I can't record it, there are no words. It makes all the hard times so worth it.
 We've still been delivering pictures of Christ. We found an Arabic Catholic woman who doesn't speak much English. She was really excited to hear the word "Christ" and to see the picture we brought her. We gave her an Arabic Book of Mormon, too, and she recognized the word Mormon. She said she doesn't knnow anything about Mormons, but she liked the word "Christ" on the cover and is looking forward to finally reading something in a language she knows. She lit up when we told her there are other mormons on who would love to talk to her about Christ in Arabic. We couldn't get a return appointment, but we left our number, and she said she'd call if she had any questions about the book.
 There was a couple sitting outside on their "lawn" (no one has lawn, it's all gravel, and it's a little depressing haha), and we talked to them. They were uninterested in hearing about the Church, but they were happy to talk to us. We told them if htey ever needed anything, "even cookies when you're sick," to let us know. Which is an odd thing to say...but the wife coughed a little as a joke, and we all thought it was funny. So the next day, we brought them cookies as a joke. They thought it was hilarious, hahaha! So they allowed us in their home, and we talked a little more about what Mormons believe. They're always quick to say that we're not going to convert them, but we're welcome to come anytime.
 We met a Muslim woman, Hapi! She considers herself Muslim, but she has an odd mix of Christian/Catholic beliefs in there. Like, the Islam prophets, they're saints. She prays to Abraham and Muhammad to ask God for favors. She doesn't speak much English, only Farsi, and she can't read or write in any language. She comes from an older generation in Iran, so education was forbidden her. I never thought I'd run into culture shock in Arizona, but she was shocked to see us pray without covering our heads and she can't talk to men. She'll only speak to the sisters, never the elders. We talked to her a little about skyping people in who can speak with her in Farsi, but she doesn't like the idea....she really escaped from Iran, and she doesn't want to talk to anyone from Iran. She doesn't want to be found. And she really didn't like us talking about God as a father. She hated the idea of a Father-like God. I didn't realize until later why that might be a scary thought to her. I did NOT expect these kinds of culture shocks. XD But she loves to talk to us and she loves the christian and ideas, and anything she likes she just adopts into her own religion, haha. She's awesome.
 I'm running out of time, but I love you all!! Mission work is awesome, and there are hard times, but it's so worht it an amazing, and there's not where else I'd rather be!! Thanks for your letters, your prayers and support!!!
 -Sister Stratford

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