Monday, November 24, 2014

Some quick levity, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for weather that I can comfortable wear a scarf every day of the week. :3 
 Also, there was a little boy who was staring at my nametag, sounding it out. He said all of a sudden, "I thought you were a sister missionary."
 And I was like, ""
 "Then why does your thingie say you're a sister stratford?" Bahahahahahhahaha, kids are great. XD

Lacey got baptized this week!! It was so awesome, she came out of the water and gave a big "WOOPEEEE!!" hahahaha. She's worked so hard to get to this point. And she's so excited to share the Gospel with her whole complex and the whole world and all of Phoenix. She's seriously one of the coolest people I've met on my mission, and I'm so grateful for her.

 A lot happened since Wednesday. Lots of lessons fell through, people we love that we didn't get to see this week, Bernardo dropped us (Which was a sad day for us. He knows the Book of Mormon is true and loved Nephi (they have a lot in common, those two) and loved the baptism we went to and felt the Spirit so strong and had all these super amazing spiritual experiences I wouldn't broadcast over the internet, but he sent us a text that as much as he loved it all, he needed to stay Catholic), and a lot of rejection. But it's so funny, because I can't even complain, I saw God doing so much for us. So many little miracles (and even a few big) and tender mercies. Even when things seem like they're falling apart or things are "failing," it's clear that God is behind everything. And everything just works out for the best when God's behind everything.

We met so many cool new people. A cousin of a recent convert told us she couldn't fall asleep at night unless she was listening to the Mormon Channel online. She loved the music especially, and her favorite hymn was Joseph Smith's First Prayer. She said she felt so much peace when she heard that song and the words and she knew he was a prophet. Just didn't feel ready to make changes in her life yet. She was so much fun to talk to.

 Sometimes as missionaries we come just at the "wrong time" (or how it seems).We knocked a door of a woman who had met with missionareis before but had dropped off the radar for several months. She was super abrupt and scary at first, and we were worried that we had just ruined everything and now she hates missionaries and maybe we weren't actually supposed to knock on that door even when we both felt good about it.....well, missionaries don't like being rushed off without offering a prayear first. So we said we'd come back later and asked if it was alright if we left her with a prayer. She surprisingly agreed, and it was an amazing, amazing experience. The Spirit led the prayer stronger than I had ever felt before, and when we looked up, she was in tears. She had been waiting for us and wanted to bring God back into her life again. She told us that us showing up on her doorstep had been an answer to a prayer she had been praying all day, and she wants us to come back. Things that wouldn't have happened if a lesson hadn't fallen through.

 Don't allow yourself to get rushed off away from the scary people. They need their prayers answered, too.

 There's a woman we're teaching named Mandy. We actually met her the first week I came here, i wish everyone I talked to could make it in the letters (these people here in Phoenix are seriosuly so awesome!) but so much craziness has been happening. Mandy is going into surgery tomorrow and we've been meeting with her to give her support and encouragement. We had someone from teh ward come and give her a blessing, and it was a powerful, powerful experience. God had actually given her some amazing experiences to prepare her for it, and hearing her talk about it....God's doing all the work out here, I'm just lucky enough to show up and see it. It's so neat. The blessing was the perfect thing for her, and she was told some very powerful things. God knew what was in her heart, and told her He did, and totally soothed her fears and promised everything would be okay. She was glowing afterwards. Her husband was there to see it, too. He actually had given us a lot of flack about things--the first lesson we had with Mandy, he was sitting on his smartphone reading about Mormons on the internet (:I) and he would interrupt our lesson midsentance to ask us some wierd question about polygamy, freemasonry, or something. He had told us he wasn't interested because he had "done his research" and was very disenchanted with the Church. But that blessing had a powerful impact on him, too. The Spirit was so strong. He expressed a lot of respect that these men would give of their time and would live in a way that they could perform a blessing for his wife. He also respects us more, when he learned that mission work isn't just something Mormon kids do after school in their free time. God opens doors when the Spirit is there. It's incredible to experience.

 I think that's it for this week. I still love being out here, and it's still the greatest thing of my life. There's nothing better than meeting a whole bunch of new people and reminding them who they are and they have a Savior. I love you all! Thanks for your support and your pryares!! <3

 -Sister Stratford

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