Monday, May 19, 2014

Random Transfers, MY VERY OWN COMPANION!!!

Y'all thought I was in Maricopa this week. PSYCH the day after I emailed everyone I was in Casa Grande. A sister had to go home for medical reasons, and so I was pulled from my trio to replace her.

 ...Guys, I miss my companions. Like, a lot a lot. And I miss Maricopa and all the people there I didn't get to say goodbye to.

 But I do have my very own Sister Westfall, and she's AWESOME. She's from Boise. Uncle David, you're one of our mutual friends on Facebook! She said she knows you! So that's weird XD

 The Night before I left (and like an hour before I got the call) we taught a lesson to a guy we found, Mitt. He had met with the missionaries for a long time, but they got transferred out and no other missionaries have tried to contact him since. We found him because there was a little duplex neighborhood we felt strongly we had to tract. Turns out it gets forgotten a lot.

 But he was really excited to see us come back, and because of time constraints, we couldn't teach him in his home and asked him to come to the church. We taught him a lesson in the chapel. And it was AWESOME. As soon as we walked in and turned on the lights,  the Spirit was there and powerful. He looked around and said, "That feels good...yeah, I like this." He said that a lot during the lesson. He loves the Gospel and really wants to make changes in his love to come closer to Christ, but he doesn't know how, and he's scared of what God will ask him to do. I would love to keep helping him...but I'm grateful for the chance I got to teach him even one lesson. 

 When I was in Casa Grande, there were less people to teach, but the people we had were AWESOME. We taught a Jose who just got baptized on Saturday. And that was really cool. I got to know him really well the week before as we taught him the rest of the lessons. He's kinda quiet and doesn't use a lot of facial expressions, but he's super powerful. He testified of the Book of Mormon and the power of Christ's Atonement in the middle of a lesson, and I was just blown away. He stopped illegal drugs cold turkey when he learned about the Word of Wisdom. Because of all the changes in his life, his friends and family were abandoning him...he invited everyone he could to his baptism, but no one came. Only members who knew him.

 But that baptism was absolutely amazing. As soon as he came out of the water, he looked different. Completely and absolutely different, like when someone gets a haircut and you know something's different about them but you can't figure it out? That's what it was like. We asked him after it was all over how he felt, and he said "different." And he looked it. 

 We did find people to teach in Casa Grande. That's all we did last week! It was actually a lot more fun that I thought. I still suck at finding, and I still struggle talking to strangers, especially when they see the black nametag and they get that look on their face. But I am getting more confident, especially when I realize God is really just doing all the work. Seriously, just like in Maricopa, I hear miraculous things like, "We lost contact with the missionaries when we moved, and we don't know how to find you guys, so we've just been praying you guys would come back!" Or we run into people who are asking things like, "I need guidance, and none of the palm readers have been much of a help. You guys have gotten a strong enough answer to be out here. How did that happen?"

 It wasn't just Maricopa, all of Arizona is looking for God!

 Another thing that's really fun about Casa Grande is the kiiiids. Oh my gosh, there are so many KIDS in this ward!! And not just the members, we're teaching whole families!! It's the coolest thing!! There was one lesson I spent the entire time teaching with my head at an angle because the little four-year-old was "braiding" my hair. She had been eating a cupcake, so I had frosting and crumbs in my hair the rest of the day, haha! It was pretty fabulous. And while we were helping a sick recent convert clean her home, her 2-year-old got up to "help" me with the dishes, and I went back out to proselyte withmy clothes all soaked down the front.

 When I got my call letter, I was so excited for ASU, because of all the college-age kids who are going through all those hard college times and are searching for their way. I was so excited to help them......but families are the best. I'm so grateful I get to work with families. I've really started to gain an understanding of what "the Gospel blesses families" really means. 

 Being out here is amazing. It's hard, and it's hot, and you run into people who just want to tell you how wrong or annoying or hell-bound you are, but the amazing bits are just AMAZING. I've never seen so many miracles. God's hand out here is almost as visible as it was to the Brother of Jared, and the Spirit is so strong. There is seriously nothing else I'd rather be doing with my life right now. 

 I love and miss you all!! Thank you for the letters and for the support and the prayers, it all means so much to me!

 Stay cool and stay awesome! God really is over all, and He really does love you, I promise!

 -Sister Stratford

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