Monday, May 26, 2014


HOLY COW was this a week of miracles!!! I don't even know where to begin!

At transfers, our mission president promised us that if we became more diligent in our planning, each companionship could find at least one person ready to be baptized this transfer. Which has never been done in our mission and is completely unheard of. So we've started working on that and fasting for that. Our district leaders had us pull names for a companionship that we would specifically fast and pray for. Sister Westfall and I got a name, we fasted for them, and literally thirty minutes after we broke our fast, we get a text saying, "Miracles are already happening! Elders [So and So]'s investigator suddenly got excited for baptism and moved their date from July 31st to June 7th! Thanks for whoever fasted for us!"

 And we're over here baptizing weekly. Literally, we have a baptism every week the next couple of weeks, and the only break was the Saturday after Jose's. And we're finding people who are legitimately thinking about it. This area has never seen so much craziness before.

 So Vince  has been being taught since before I came, but he dropped off the map for a couple of weeks and we just found him again. His live is even more turned around than Linda's!! He had to drop a ton of addictions to live the Word of Wisdom, one of them was meth, and now he's found work at a drug rehab center. He won't. stop. talking. about. God. IT'S SO COOL. He really loves Jesus and he's so grateful God sent him missionaries to help him turn his life around. He doesn't understand the scriptural language of the Bible or the Book of Mormon, but he's reading from them faithfully. He's always praying and he's telling everyone who looks like they're listening that he's getting baptized and he's a "church boy now" and he can tell people are annoyed but he doesn't care because it just means so, so much to him. It's so cool to see!

 Jose's doing solidly!! He keeps getting flack from his family. They never really liked the idea of him becoming Mormon, and no one came to his baptism. But He's coming to church and reading and praying, and he has good friends in the Church who are eager to help him out. I hope he keeps that support, because we won't be in Casa Grande forever.

 Remember the family thing I was talking about? We teach a lot of kids whose parents left the church a while back but want to work their way back. So they're like 10 or 11. And that's really, really fun, because you really have to use Bible and BoM stories to get them interested. It's sooo fun!

 One kid we teach has a bit of a focus problem, and one time we dropped by and he happened to have a friend over. We were willing to leave and come back at a better time, but the mom didn't want us to go and the friend was absolutely fascinated by us. So when we sat down to teach, his friend was all ears and big eyes. He was FASCINATED. He flipped through the children's BoM we had given the family, and he thought the stories were so cool.

 Children are so neat. I'm so glad I'm around them so much. I thought they would be my biggest problem, since I figured teaching them would be harder than just playing with them, but they're super fun!

 i don't know how many of you knew about my fantasy of being one of the first missionaries in China...because I really really really wanted to teach people who had never heard of Christ in their life. I thought that would be the coolest experience ever, was to introduce them to Jesus, and I thought I wouldn't get that opportunity in Arizona.

 But I totally did. There was a woman we were teaching who wanted to hear more. Since we'd never even thought that she hadn't heard about Christ, we just launched right into the need for prophets and the Restoration and we stopped at one point to see if she understood, and she said, "What do you mean, they rejected Jesus Christ?"

 "Well....they killed Him...."

 "Really? Why, what did He do?"

 That was a messy lesson, just because we had to do so much backpedalling, haha. But it was really a neat experience to tell her about her Savior. I hope we didn't confuse her too much with a lesson that was all over the place. 

 Last night we bumped into a man named Billy. He opened the door and let us in. He said he's run into the missionaries before and they gave him "one of their little Bibles" (he was talking about the BoM) but he didn't ready it. So we talked about what it is and where it came from and read the introduction with him. He looooved the first paragraph, the idea that it was another record of God interacting with His children in a different part of the world. That was fascinating to him. And then we got to the last couple of paragraphs, where there's a promise that anyone who reads the book and asks God, He'll tell them whether it's true or not, and it will be by the same power that they'll know that Jesus is the Christ, and He is the Savior of the world. That paragraph made him a little emotional and thoughtful.

 It's so cool to see people change. Sometimes it takes a long time, and sometimes it's like a light switch turned on behind their face, and it seriously is the coolest thing. I don't even feel like I'm doing anything, I just babble something or give them something to read, and the Spirit just hops from person to person pushing a button and turning a light on. People become happier and more hopeful, and it's indescribable. The most common phrase in my journal right now is "So a miracle just happened but I can't write it down because there's just no words to explain it." 

 Missions are so awesome. They can definitely be hard, but it's worth it, because you really do get those front row seats to the greatest miracles ever. 

 I love you all! Thanks for your letters, and for your support!! God bless!! <3

 -Sister Stratford

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