Monday, August 11, 2014

Not Transferring!!

Sister Nelson and I are staying in Laveen! yaaaaaaaaaay!!!! I'm so glad I don't have to pack everything all up again. Three areas and four companions not counting the MTC. I thought they only did this to the "problem" missionaries, ahahahaha. 

 Sister Amary was baptized this Saturday!! It was so funny, when it was announced that she was getting baptized, everyone was super surprised taht she wasn't already a member. Even the Relief Society president was like, "Wait, what?" haha. Everyone was there, and they've gone through a years worht of missionaries in Laveen before being baptized, and almost all of them were able to get permission to come to her baptism! As a spur of hte moment thing, each missionary who got to work with that family got up and bore their testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and expresssed their love to this family. It was probably the most powerful baptism I've been to. It was really amazing.

 By a miracle (we weren't even planning to be in that area that night), we found Lizzy. Missionaries have met with her before, but she's been impossible to meet with. She's never home. We were driving by and saw the garage door open, and we were like, "Hey, we've knocked on that door twice, let's go talk to them." 

 Meeting with her was a really, really neat experience. She immediately told us she wasn't interested, she believed what she believed and that was that, but it was one of those times where the Spirit says, "Just keep talking to her." So we did. And she eventually let us in and just unloaded everything. She's been going through so much, and she doesn't understand why doing the right thing comes with so hard consequences. She insisted God had abandoned her and wasn't listening, and eventually, she finally said, "I want to hear a message. If you have any hope to give me, I'll take it from anyone." 

 Once someone is convinced they've been abandoned by God, it takes a lot more than one conversation to try and bring that hope back. But we're continuing to meet with her. She inhaled the Plan of Salvation pamphlet and even hi-lighted it and marked it up. This is the fun part about being a missionary, encouraging people and bringing that hope back, and watching them light up again. Really, it's the reason we stay out here when things get hard, haha. 

 Merry and her family are really doing well!! God has really worked with that family, and they're getting back on their feet. The kids have started school again and we're still having FHE with them on Monday nights. 

 A lot of this week was trying to find people to teach. Which is a weakness of mine....talking to strangers is HARD, haha. It's a fun adventure, too, but I was never a graceful conversationalist and now I have to share something near and dear to my heart. It's tough. But we do work hard, and people do actually listen. It's not days full of rejection, which I'm grateful for. And we do have a higher power on my side; there have been times when something pops out of my mouth and I realize, "wow, that was not from me." Those moments where you simply open your mouth and let God have it come out however He wants it to come out are really neat. Those experiences are the only reason I haven't completely clammed up from social exhaustion yet, haha.

 Missions are the best thing ever. I still love the work and I love this Gospel, and I love sharing it with these people I've come to love. I love sharing my Savior with others. I wish more people could hear, and more people would listen, but my companion and I are limited on how many people we can talk to a day, and people have their own minds and can choose what they want. And I'm grateful God lets us choose. That's an awesome gift.

 You are all awesome! C: Thanks for the letters, and for reading, and for the prayers. I love you all!

 -Sister Stratford

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