Monday, January 12, 2015

Arizona in January

is the best ever. Honestly. It only rains a little bit, just enough to make it "fresca" as all the Spanish people call it. c: And Arizona smells SOOOO GOOOOOOD after rain!! Seirously it's the best smell in the world. <3 I could just stand outside and breeeaaathe all day long.

Yesterday I went to all three wards at church. All three of 'em. The two that we go to, then my companion had a meeting she had to go to so I was with the Spanish sisters in the Spanish ward. :D It was exhausting, haha. but also really really fun.

 So we met an AMAZING family this past week! Sister Morris and I both felt the need to ask God to lead us to a family. The Gospel really is designed to bless and help families, not jsut individuals, and it had been a while since we'd been able to teach a whole family. So through a CRAZY serious of little miracles that were weeks in the workings, we knocked on Aria's door. The person we were looking for didn't live there anymore, but it was seriously like she had just been waiting for missionaries to visit her the whole time and welcomed us in. She had visited the Mesa visitor's center and met with missionaries before and had gotten a Book of Mormon, but then moved out here to Phoenix. Within the first two lessons her main questions and conerns were, "I've wanted to start reading the BoM again, but I've only read the little passages missionaries have given me in the past. Where should I start? Can I start just from the beginning like a regular book?" or, "My husband always kinda teases me when I look into this Church. But I really feel like it's the best place for our family. How do I tell him that?" And her kids are absolutely adorable, and she's taught them how to pray and they like being in the lesson with their mom, and it's really, really fun., writing  short summaries just doesn't capture the awesomeness as well as I'd like. :p It was such a cool experience to meet and teach her. 

 Also, there's someone the Spanish elders ran into like months ago that they kept following up on. From what they told us, she was "golden," but every time we went she seemed disinterested or to busy. But they were insistent we kept visiting her, and so we tried again. She was too busy again, but she set up an appointment for us to come back.

 So we come back, and it's an AMAZING lesson. her house was crazy, so we had the lesson on her porch. Which meant I stood the entire lesson. I was really hurting by the end of it, but I was supported and we were able to teach an INCREDIBLE lesson about the Restoration and a little about the Plan of Salvation. At first she didn't really seem too interested about learning about the truth--"If God asks for a fox, that can be interpreted many different ways. One of you will bring the animal, but someone will bring a pair of Fox shoes, and maybe someone from my generation will bring a woman. God doesn't judge us on whether or not we interpretted right, He judges our heart, that we tried. So why would it be important to Him which church is true?"--but when we shared Joseph Smith's experience, she really started to want to know for herself. She wanted to try and find the correct definition of the word fox, so to speak. :p And watching that change was really neat. 
 She's been searching for a church her whole life, so she's studied with a lot of religions. And when we invited her to say the prayer at the end of the lesson, she was surprised but also really happy. "No one else I've studied with wants me to pray, they all want to say the prayer," she said. Haha. 

 And what was really cool is in her prayer she said, "Thanks for supporting these girls so they'd be able to stand through their trials." XD hey, that's my prayer, too!! lol

 Then she liked praying so much she asked that everyone take a turn praying!! :p It was so much fun!

 Terra read the articles of faith and doesn't like the 3rd one. She believes in faith in Christ alone is all you need to do for salvation, and we're like, "k, we do too, but what does faith's believing in Jesus Christ, and when we believe in Him, we trust His commandments, so we keep His commandments...therefore we're not really having faith if we're not keeping the commandments, right?"
 "Commandments are important, but we're not saved by works."
 "No, we're saved by faith, which faith drives us to do things. Like obey the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
 "You're still just saying that we're saved by works, that's exactly what you said right there."
 K, well, we're not here to bash Bible verses together. :p When she's reading the Book of Mormon, everything's okay. And you can see the difference when she doesn't. When she reads it, she really enjoys it, and she feels the Spirit and knows by the power of God that it's a true record of real people who actually lived and experienced God. When she's not reading it, she wants to debate and picks apart our words and just gets really contentious. And the Gospel just can't be debated. You have to experience it, and then you know for yourself. 

 Well, I think that's it for me...running out of time. :p Thanks for all your prayers and support!! I've loved hearing from you guys and seeing pictures from home. 

 Missions are awesome! ^^

 -Sister Stratford

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