Monday, September 22, 2014

Awesome Birthday!! C:

I need to keep a better note of what I want to share in these letters. Things happen, and I think, "haha, better write about that on Monday!" Then Monday comes around and I only remember what happened since Friday. Especially when it's as crazy as it's been. 

 btw, we got transfer calls, and Sister Nelson and I are staying another transfer. :D Good....i love Laveen, and I love these people, and I didn't want to leave.

 One of hte really fun things I love about being a missionary, is people make me think. People ask questions I've never thought about, because I've always considered them so obvious, having grown up with religion, but then when I'm asked to answer them, I really have to think. Questions like, "What does it matter to me if there's a prophet on the Earth? How would that affect me and my relationship with God?" "What was the point of Christ's horrible death on the cross?" "What can Christ and His sacrifice offer me?" "How can He help me change?" "How can I be happy?" "How do I know if heaven is worth it?"

 And one of hte most valuable things I've learned, is why Christ answered questions with questions. At the beginning of the week I started just answering them because I've known and lived the answer my whole life, should be pretty simple to talk about. Mm, nope, doesn't work. That's not how Christ taught His disciples, that's not how God answered my questioning prayers, that's not how people find their answers. And when I stopped and listened, I questions began to form in my mind that I could share with these people to help them understand. When I was asked, "Why did Christ have to suffer so much? What was the point?" I was able to ask, "What would've happened if He had NOT suffered? Where would we be then?"

 And she thought about it, and then she realized that there really is such a dire need for a Savior. Everyone needs a Savior. And once people see that need, they immediately start to listen for the voice of the Shepherd. They get that desire to come closer to Him. 

 You guys, it's the most incredible thing to see people light up with that desire. I can't even describe it. It's just amazing, and I'm so grateful that I get to see it. I'm grateful I get to be the messenger and bring the good news.

 Cindy was one of those people. She got so thirsty for the Gospel and loved to hear about Jesus Christ, and it was neat to see her start to come closer to Him. She misses her Bible, so we were able to give her a Bible and a Book of Mormon, and she was eager to read it.

 There was an incident on Sunday, sadly...I won't tell the story, because I'm positive it's not one she would want on the internet, even with the name changed. But if I had a "mission bingo" board, I get to put a marble on the "Drunk Investigator at Church" square. She absolutely loves church and looks forward to it every week, but right now we're hoping she'll still be willling to let us come and talk to her. We really hope she's not too embarrassed and that church is still something she wants. We love her so much, and we've seen what good it can do for her--we've seen a little glimpse during lessons, when she feels the Spirit and desires that relationship with her Savior. We want this for her so badly. 

 We invited Tanya to the General Women's broadcast this Saturday (YOU GUYS I'M SO EXCITED WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!?!? GENERAL CONFERENCE IS STARTING AHHHHHHHHH) and she sounded really excited to go. She really likes Yoshi a lot and asked if she'd be there. So glad God knows better than us; by our logic, we never would've guessed those two would click, but hey, God's the one in charge and not us. Thank goodness. Tanya is soooo neat, though....we're mainly hoping she's patient enough and not too frustrated to hear those quiet impressions from the Holy Ghost. She wants her answer so badly, right now, clear as day. She just wants to KNOW, now. What she's heard, though, she loves the doctrine. She loves the idea of eternal families and a prophet and apostles and continued revelation and the Book of Mormon and especially the Plan of Salvation. She loved the visitor's center at the Mesa temple and wants to take her daughter, her sister, her mother, everyone to go see it. 

 And speaking of temples, the Pheonix open house starts...October, I think? :D Super excited. That's always a great opportunity for people, to be able to walk through the temple and see everything and experience it. Soooo excited!

 My birthday was awesome!!!! 21 on the 21st, it's my golden birthday and my golden year!! Definitely golden, because I'm spending it entirely on a mission!!!!!! Everyone should be jealious, hahahahaha. So excited for this year in my life!! I have about a year left....I go home first week of October next year, so yeah, I've got a whole year left to go. That feels nice. C: Going home will be hard.

 Yesterday was busy, so we're more celebrating it today. We're going out to dinner :)

 and you wanna know what made it the BEST BIRTHDAY EVAR?!?!?!? Besides being on a mission?!?!?!

 So on the 20th, Elder Christofferson was like, "I'm in the area....can we just gather the whole Tempe Arizona mission together so I can meet them and talk to them?" And not just him, but also Bishop Davies (Presiding Bishopric) and Elder Corbridge (Quorum of the Seventy). It was basically General Conference early, which is basically Christmas early :D It was so awesome!!! I get General Conference three weeks in a row!!!!!!

 .....I don't have a lot of time, why did I save that for the end? Well, it was awesome and he said some suuuuuuuper cool stuff, had a little Q&A, as well. Which is always exciting, when an Apostle has a Q&A. :)

 I love you all!!! Thanks so much for your love and your letters!!!! God bless!!

 -Sister Stratford

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