Monday, April 20, 2015

I Love to See the Temple!

I can now pray in Spanish pretty fluently. I'm still being stubbon, I was called to speak English, I came out on a mission to focus on serving people and not to learn Spanish, etc. But my companion and the other two hermanas we live with are determined to teach me. I've been picking it up pretty fast. it's fun.

 So, Ramon....wasn't baptized on Saturday. :C He had some stuff come up in his baptismal interview with president that needs to be worked out first. I mean, he's made soooooo many changes in his life, he's almost unrecognizable even just from when I first met him. He's a completely different person. But some things in the past are still lingering a bit, and he and our president feel that he needs a little more time to prepare himself. He's ready to be baptized as soon as he can, though.

 We had the interview last monday night, and we were planning to go to the Mesa Temple visitor's center with another family we were teaching (names are Julio and Kristen). But after the interview, Ramon just looked so sad and resigned and bummed out, and we were like, "y''ve never been to the temple, and there's an extra seat. Do you want to come with us?" And he was like, "Whatever, not doing anything tonight." 

 So we drive to the temple, and he's quieter than usual, and as we turn the corner, the temple just explodes into view. And it's so beautiful and big and glowing and Ramon's eyes just pop out. And he starts asking us, "Is it like Soloman's temple?!? Wait, so when you say temples, you mean like the temples the people of God were always building in the Old Testament?! I want my family in there!! I want to be in there so badly with my kids!!" it made him so happy to see the temple! And it really raised his determination. He was telling us, "Maybe I was delayed so I could be baptized with my family. In a year, we're all going in there together. I'll be so prepared for baptism, and I'll definitely be prepared for the temple." So cool.

 We ended up waiting a long time for Kristen and Julio, and we missed the showing of Meet the Mormons, which was really the one we wanted to take them too. But Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration was starting (if you're curious you can watch it for free on One of the few approved movies we can watch, so I've watched it tons of times and could probably quote it at you, hahaha. It's so good.), so we watched that one instead. Ended up to be God's plan. Julio and Kristen had been kinda wary and closed off to us, just really skeptical about the whole Mormon thing. We had given them a Book of Mormon but they hadn't touched it. After the movie they told us, "Wow....all of our apprehensions were lifted." They don't know if the First Vision is real yet, but it makes sense to them, and they're going to take it to God. But they loved seeing how it all came to be, what Joseph Smith and the other first members of the church went through (They really didn't gain anything from making it up, it had to have been true to go through all of what they did), and how it answered a lot of their questions about our basic doctrine, like eternal families and our relationship with Christ. Oh man, they looooved the scene of Joseph Smith beating the rug for Emma, haha. Helped them out so much more than Meet the Mormons would have.

 And now Julio is in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. They're really excited to learn for themselves if this is true. 

 And one thing that was really neat, Julio came to church on Sunday and said, "I've really been feeling the Spirit you guys have been talking about,'s telling me I need to make some changes. I need to make better choices in my life." That's when you know they're really feeling the Spirit, when it urges them to change, to be better and do better. It's the coolest thing to watch. 

 btw, I'm on a computer today...they're still working out those ipad-only rules? Things are changing so fast, haha. 

 Transfers are on Thursday. We didn't get transfer calls last night and we don't really know when we'll get transfer calls....President Toone actually got really really sick recently. We've all been worried. :C (if you can, add an extra prayer for President Toone, he's going through so much) Maybe transfers will be cancelled and nothing happens this transfer, we dunno.

 Maybe I'll stay in Phoenix for a full year.....haha. I've been here so long.  But, I've loved it. I get to see some of the Laveen people I love every now and again. Man, I get real trunky for Laveen sometimes. Haha. 

 God continues to make our crazy busy schedule perfect. Friday night, we had a lesson scheduled at 7:30, and because of a previous lesson going over, we were going to be pretty late, like close to 8, which was stressful because we had another lesson on the other side of our area at 8.....gah. So, we show up and we're like, "Sorry we're a little late," and they're like, "That's okay, dinner wasn't ready yet anyway." 
.....we were not expecting dinner with these people. 8I hahahaha. #Mexicans 
 Sooooo we eat dinner and teach a lesson and get out close to 9 almost and ruuuuuun to our other lesson, and he was totally cool with it and was just expecting a short little lesson anyway. In between that a few lessons that were also scheduled (we had lessons at 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, and 8) but ended up falling through.

 God just....makes perfection happen. He just does that. I have such a testimony that this is His work and that everything will be okay in the end. I've started to learn how to just kinda let go of the stress and let God work with it, while I just do my best. When I try to fight promptings to stay a little longer or to stick to the original plan, things fall apart, but when we really let God do His thing, it somehow just works. It's something I'm so grateful to be learning, and I hope I never forget it. We do our best to plan and logic out how we'll get where and how we'll help who, but the only way it works is if we let God do His thing.

 I love missions!! haha. If President Monson comes out and says, "Sisters can now serve two years," I would probably take that extra 6 months. This is the best thing to have happened to me in my life. <3

 I love you all! Thanks for the letters and the support and the prayers! God is in His heaven, so everything will be okay! :) 

 -Sister Stratford


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