Monday, January 5, 2015


2015!! Woo!! :) Halfway through the decade, aw yeah!

 We had a good New Years. we had to be in early on the 31st cuz safety, so that meant we got to go to bed early :) :) :) :D
 that's how we party when you've gone 9 months feeling utterly exhausted, haha
 ALso, apparently it snowed on New Years eve!! We didn't get to see it, we were asleep. But I'd heard that it happens very very rarely, and I'm excited that it snowed in Phoenix while I was serving my mission here. 

 So now I"m talking more about the people we're teaching, haha!! Soooooo Mandy has kinda a sad story. :C We knocked on her door one night and she still still had kind of that darkness behind her eyes. So we knew, we just knew that she had kept reading whatever junk the internet has instead of reading the Book of Mormon and asking God. On top of that, she had finally gotten around to asking her pastor about what we've taught, and he gave her quite a passionate earful about us missionaries. And she told us she didn't want to learn anymore. She really really liked us, and liked how she felt around us, but it was clear that she saw us as poor brainwashed children that she couldn't help. She was just as sad as we were to say goodbye to us. 

 Part of me wanted to just shake her and say, "You had all these amazing experiences, you were impressed by how our members followed Christ's example, you felt the Spirit at church, you felt the power of a priesthood blessing, you even had a dream, and you're letting stuff you read on the internet erase all of those experiences from God?" So that was really sad, but she's still got God in her life. She still attends her church and wants to raise her girls knowing Christ, and she loooooves the FInding Faith in CHrist movie we gave her, she's watched it like 15 times. :p And she made some good friends who can help her out while Dave's gone. She's in God's hands, so she's in good hands, and so while we'll miss her tons and it's sad that we won't be teaching her, we're happy for her.

 I'm grateful for Facebook, and that I'll still be able to be in contact with her after my mission. <3 I've fallen in love with teh people here, I"m grateful I don't have to say goodbye forever.

 So Terra got into some ugly stuff, too. :p We knocked on her door, and saw some of the same dimness behind her eyes, and we were thinking, "Oh no, not you too...." ANd she sat down with us and said, "You know I love you girls, right?" And we were like, "No no no no nonooooo!"

 But....she felt the Spirit really strong when we talked with her, and when we read from the scriptures and testified of Christ as our Savior, and it was SO NEAT, to watch that brightness and spirit slowly grow and come back. She came to church again and really seemed to enjoy it. She loved that there's no one pastor who gets up to preach, but that it's all member taught. So she really, really enjoyed testimony meeting this fast sunday :)  

 Something I want to share because I"m excited about it...I"m slowly, slowly overcoming my fear of talking to random strangers. :p We've seriously had so many really cool experiences just talking to people we pass on the streets, and I'm getting more confident. I wish it didn't take until halfway through my mission to be able to step up at do it, but y'know, better than waiting until I'm 16 months in.

 So there's this woman we're teaching named Sara. We've taught her a few times, and her main feelings are, "I'm comfortable where I'm at, but I'm also open to God's will." And she's sooooo fuuuuun to read the Book of Mormon with!! Just because of all of her crazy awesome Bible knowledge, she's pulling things out of the BoM and drawing parallels I wouldn't have thought of, it's mindblowing!! And it's really strenghtened my testimony of the BoM, too, haha! She just gets it. Buuuut, even through all this awesome stuff, she says, "I know all this already from teh Bible. What does the BoM have that the Bible doesn't already teach? They both testify of Jesus Christ, I get that they're different civilizations who recieve the same teachings from God because He speaks to everyone, but....why do we need it?"

  We asked her how she would feel if the Savior came and visited her. She bore a passionate testimony of who He was to her and what that would mean to her, and that she wouldn't be able to contain it. She'd want everyone to know. We explained that that's what the BoM was, people in a different part of hte world who spoke with God and were visited by the resurrected Christ. They wanted everyone to know how they felt and what that meant to them. Their testimonies and their experiences were recorded for our good, as an additional witness. It doesn't replace or add to the Bible, it's just more testimonies.

 Reading it with her was seriously one of hte coolest experiences, though. I hope I get to read more with her in the future. Man, I just want to read the whole thing with her, haha! She just understands it so well.

 I think that's it for me.....2014 was a good year, and 2015 is going to be awesome!!! We don't have to wait until January 1st to have a new start, though. We have a Savior who gives us a brand new beginning whenever we ask for one, we can set goals everyday, and He helps us reach them!! :) I"m excited I don't have to stay where I"m at, but that I can keep growing and learning. Being a missionary has been an incredible adventure of ups and downs, and I love it. I've still never been happier in my life. <3

 Love you all!! Thanks for your support and your prayers!! I love and miss you! <3

 -Sister Stratford

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