Monday, August 18, 2014


So we had some really bad flooding this week!! XD It rained for about three hours and there were insane flash floods, walls of water, streets that became rivers (1-2ft deep), and there are still big lakes in the retention basins all around the landscaping of the city. They're designed to be empty within 36 hours, but we were hit HARD with rain.

 We were at a member's house for dinner, and the rain was so thick we had about ten feet visibility. We were going to try and muscle through it and get to Lizzy's house, because we really really wanted to talk to her and we didn't have her number, so we couldn't really call and cancel, buuuut....we were basically boating, so we didn't. We ended up at the Amary's for the rest of hte night and almost couldn't get out. Their fields had all flooded.

 So that was an adventure.

 One of the members of our ward had a sister whose house flooded really bad. several inches deep all throughout the house. Lots of mud and was really sad. But this member called everyone in the ward to come help out her sister, so everyone was there whenever they had time, trying to drain it out and shoveling mud and getting posessions to higher ground or bringing the biggest fans in their house. Her sister isn't a member, and she shook her head and commented to this member, "you and your call-a-Mormon."

 We have limited miles, so we can't drive a lot, but we looked for people who may have the same problem and needed help. The Elders found one, someone who had no connections and had to clean up the flood all by themselves, but we weren't able too.....we hand out our number to almost everyone and say, "call us if you need something," and I always wonder how many actually take us seriously. As we were shoveling mud down the driveway, I kept thinking about people who didn't have any connections in the area, no church and no family, and didn't know that there was a force of missionaries who came to Arizona for this singular purpose, who also knew most of the members in their ward with trucks and fans and shovels or whatever. I wish more people had our number and knew they could call us for stuff like this.

 About six hours before the big storm, we helped a family from Washington move in. They aren't members, either, but their friend is a member in Chandler and called the missionaries (us) in the area they were moving to and asked us to help out. We got quite a few people there and some other missionaries, and we got a 56' long moving truck empty in less than two hours. The guy was stunned, haha. 

 And, here's a miracle, I carried heavy boxes (for me anyway) up and down stairs for several hours, and was only a little stiff and muscley sore (the good kind of sore.) And, remember, there was a rainstorm coming. It's crazy to think that five years ago I wouldn't have been able to get out of bed, never mind help move a family, if a rainstorm was coming. I am getting stronger! Sometimes it's hard to see, but then miracles happen and you can see how far the Lord has taken you.

 Last night was a mission president's devotional!! We took some new investigators, and guess who I saw.....!!! I SAW MY MOMMY!! Not my actual Mommy, but my trainer, Sister Hutchison!!!!! SHE CAME BACK!!! She's been done with her mission, but she came back!! <3 And I saw my twin sister, too! Sister Eggleston is still in Maricopa, never been transferred yet! haha. It was good to see them all there again.

 And the reason they were there....I don't know how much I talked about him, but his name has been replaced in my little list, so I know I have....Do y'all remember Mitt?! He was baptized, and he was bearing his testimony at the devotional!!!!! It was SO COOL to see him again and to see him come so far!! He talked about how his life has changed so much, and how thankful he was that missionaries knocked on his door. We found him from tracting, remember, so that in and of itself is a miracle! Haha. 

 It was a slow week for teaching, unfortunately, because of the flood and because of transfers. But it was still a very productive week, helping people out...we still talked to a TON of people, they just haven't wanted to invite us back to learn more. :C There's a delicate balance between trying to figure out what you could've done better, and just accepting that people have agency and it's a God-given gift that people can make choices. It's satisfying to teach and to share something that's so special to me, something that I know will help everyone in any circumstance, but you have to push through a lot of people not even hearing you out to find those who are ready to listen.

 It's been a good start to a good transfer. C: I'm grateful I get to stay with Sis Nelson and I absolutely love this area. I still love being a missinoary. It's tough, but I've never been happier. C: I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being sent here to Arizona to teach and help has been an amazing gift from God.

 Thanks for all that you are and do! You are all amazing, and I love you! C: Here's to another good week!

 -Sister Stratford


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