Monday, December 29, 2014

MIssion Christmases are the Best!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! It was a really fun Christmas!! c: All day Monday we hung out as a mission in Gilbert, and we went to see the Basha southwestern art collection....which felt like home. I loved going to see that stuff with my mom. <3 Have you hear of it, mom? It was a really good gallery.
 Mainly we just hung out and got to know all the other missionaries. We never have time to just hang out and get to know each other, and sometimes it feels like missionaries are our only peers. It feels like THey're the only people who know exactly what we're going through, so it's fun when we get to do that. Oh, also we had like a talent show FHE thing, and that was really fun. I got to sing "Shephard's Carol" and "Beautiful Savior." Our whole zone got up and sang, "On the fifth week of training, my trainer said to me, ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE" and that number totally stole the show, haha! It was erally, really fun c:

 And it was so nice to hear everyone's voices!!! I was SO BUMMED I had to tell everyone that conference calls weren't allowed, it was almost tempting to just let it slide....I was sooo sad. But, hearing everyone's voices through speaker phone was seriously the greatest. I loved being able to tell my mom and dad and brothers and sister that I loved them, and to hear them say "I love you" back. That was the best part of Christmas.

 Shout out to HIllside ward, too, the package was the BEST!! <3 I looooved reading the card, and seeing all the little notes from the women in the ward, especially my young women's leaders. I miss HIllside a lot. <3 You guys are awesome. 

 Christmas miracles to record! So remember Terra? She's veeeery Baptist, but she also attends Catholic mass with her mom. It's always really interesting talking to her, because it almost sounds like she's just anti, and just wants to fight and argue, but then when we answer, she just accepts it and is like, "oh, okay. Yeah, that makes sense." She went from "that's the Devil's book" to "I really really love Moroni!" haha. A week or so ago, we had basically flat out told her, "This is Christ's church. This is where the authority to act in His name is found. THis is the church that has the authority to baptize." She believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon was "inspired," and that he definitely was given authority, but she didn't believe that this was the only church to have authority. She had told us, "There's no way I'd ever be a Mormon. There's just no way." So, faith filled as we were, we were like, "Okay, she feels the Spirit, she's close to God, she loves her Savior, she'll find truth. Maybe she'll be baptized 5 or 10 years from now. But we'll probably have to drop her, she's just going to be one of those 'eternigators.'"

 The other day, we were walking up to her door, trying to think about how we'd have to tell her that we can't come by as often anymore. The door pops open immediately after we knock and she pulls us in and sits us down and says, "I threw away my cigarettes and took out the trash and I am never smoking ever again!! I was thinking about what God wants for me, and I realized that I had a window wide open to the devil. I never even liked smoking. My body's special, and I realized I had grieved the Spirit, so I don't smoke anymore. Nope." 

 Well, okay. Spirit just taught our investigator the Word of Wisdom. That's cool.

 Theeeen she started asking questions like, "If I was baptized by someone in your church, would that mean I was Mormon?" And then she opened up the Book of Mormon to the doctrine of Christ scripture (Faith, repentance, baptistm, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end), and read it to us, and asked, "Which one do you think I"m missing?" And we had a really good conversatoin about it all. When we pulled out Moroni 10:5, she was like, "You guys read this to me like three times already." We read it again anyway.

 ANd it just clicked for her. She realized, "I get why you guys were so persistent now. I need to do this. This is about me ad God and Jesus. It's about getting my answer from Him. If He tells me this is the church, then yeah, I'd join it. Of course, if God told me. I'm not afraid of being Mormon anymore. I got the sincere heart and real intent now. I don't know why I didn't understand that the three times you guys read this to me. I'm ready to pray this now." 

 so that happened. It was so neat. 

 On the flip side....Mandy got into some anti stuff. She went to the internet instead of reading the Book of Mormon and had a huge stack of notes. It's funny, you can really tell...when they're reading and praying and really earnestly seeking, you can see it in their face, they're brighter behind the eyes and their face is bright and it's obvious. When Mandy opened the door, there was a cloudiness or a darkness or something, I don't know. ANd I was thinking, "Oh no...." 

 But it was kind of neat, because she asked about the Articles of Faith, and when we started talking about them, she said, "That's not what I read...." She found someone's antagonistic rewrite of the AoF. And when we explained that to her, she was legitimately upset, she was like, "Wow, this guy really made it sound like this was official, that this was something you actually believed and taught." So, it was a good lesson in that it showed that the internet doesn't have a truth filter. We encouraged her to read the BoM and ask God. That's where the answer would come from. So, praying that she turns to the BoM and Bible and prayer for her answers. It's hard when you're so used to the internet having all the answers, though. 

 Let's see, Que mas....We had a neat street contact the other day. This woman looked down her nose at us, listened casually, then the first thing she said was, "you and I believe verrry differently." 

 Then she basically stated Church doctrine. So. :p Always fun when tht happens.

 Well, I should probably head you guys!! Thanks for all you do for me! THanks for the Christmas wishes and the prayers and support!! I'm still loving it out here! Missions are siously the best thing ever. <3 There's nothing I'd rather be doing right now.

 See you all in 2015! Happy New year!

-Sister Stratford

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