Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!!

no library, playing on a blueooth keyboard I bought a while back.
Sorry if it's a bit clunky.

Happy Memorial day!!! We did some community service helping out for
celebraton on Saturday, and that was fun. C:

This week was SOO COOOL!! We had so many fun miracles!! One Thing
that was really fun, we did exchanges [can'nt fiind paranthesis] [when
we trade companions for traiing and learningpurposes, its an exchange]
and I got to go back into Laveen! I've done that before, but usually
Im justquietly hoping to see some of the eople I know and pretend like
I've never been in the area before, just do a normal exchange. But my
Sister Training Leader actually planned in a lot of the people she
knew would like to see me and who I would like to see again....I felt
guilty a lot because I wanted to focus on being a missionary and not
just reuniting with people I love, but it was really fun. We did do
teaching, anyway, and it was really incredible to see how far they've
come and what they're doing now and to testify and encourage them to
keep going. I missed them so much.

(If you haven't notice, I've definitely given up on the keyboard :p)

Julio continues to be the coolest person ever. He's really excited
about receiving the priesthood and had all sorts of questions about
it. It continues to be rough with his family accepting his choice. It
fluctuates, somedays they're totally fine with it, other days they
have a real problem with it. It's hard on him, but h plows on through.
He seriously has such a strong testimony. We just learned and are
excited to tell him, there was a less active youth who attended his
baptism. We'd been trying to meet with him, but he hasn't seemed too
keen with talking to us. He was really struggling with his testimony
and hasn't been coming to church. But when he listened to Julio's
testimony at the baptism, he felt the Spirit really, really strongly,
and he wants to come back to church and start living the standards
again. It really sparked a big fire in him. Man, I can't wait to tell
Julio! It'll help him feel good. Especially, imagine, what if he
serves a mission now because of Julio's testimony? And all those
people he'll help come closer to Christ in another part of the world,
and their families, just how cool is that?!

At church someone was talking about how hard it was to give up coffee.
Julio told them, "when I had cravings, I would just drink water and
read a scripture or two. That's how I got through it." Hahahaha!

Fashe has been struggling a little....I can't imagine what she must
be going through, she's in a country where no one speaks her language
(who speaks Croatian? We used to have a returned missionary in the
ward who did, but he just moved....gah!), she doesn't speak the
language very well, she can't read English at all, she has no
transportation, she wants to work but can't find a job.....and then
some of the stories she tells from before she came to the States are
insane. She hasn't told us anything about how she got here, but the
stories from her past are nuts. We have to teach one small, basic
principle at a time, with very simple sentence structure and words.
Teaching is going slow, but she loves it, and she's always praying and
learning from God, too. And He understands her, He can speak in a way
she can understand. She's so cool.

We had two really insane miracles this week! Very similar! So now
that we just have one ward to focus on, we can do everything we wanted
to do with this ward. It's a huge ward number-wise, but it's so small
because hardly anyone goes to church. So we just went through the list
and decided to go by names we don't recognize. Which is very easy and
productive to do, because I've been here since before Thanksgiving and
know a lot of members, including all the ones who moved out months ago
and who's new to the ward. So we fill in our appointments and who we
want to teach, and then fill in backups with members we don't know. So
one day, everything fell through so no sweat, we go to meet this
unknown member. She comes out and answers the door and tells us that
she doesn't really believe, but....she keeps talking to us, so we keep
talking to her. Eventually she admits, "normally I don't answer the
door for Mormons. Ever. But I don't know what I believe anymore, and
I've been praying so hard for the last three days that God would show
me the way to go. When I saw you through the window, I thought about
not answering, but....well, I'm not that stubborn, if this is His
answer I'm willing to take it." Then it was really cool to see how
relieved she was when we told her, "we're not here to present material
and tell you that you need to believe everything we say. We're here to
help you find the truth for yourself. We're really just guides to help
you look for and recognize those answers from God, and we never want
you to just take our word for it. Always pray and ask God for
guidance." She was pretty excited to set up another time with us. It
was so cool!

Second miracle, there's this door we've knocked on a few times
before, a referral from the Spanish elders, but no one has ever
answered. They've always just kinda been a backup to appointments in a
place we don't have a lot of people to work with. Suddenly my
companion has a little freak out, "what if we're knocking on the wrong
door? Wasn't it 22? Are you sure it was 21? I'm certain it's 22."
Nothing I'm saying is helping her, so she eventually just pulls me to
knock on this other random door. Meh, best case scenario, someone
there wants Jesus whether it's who were looking for or not, worse case
scenario, they don't want to hear it and say no.

So we knock on this door and it's not the one we're looking for, but
we find this random member whose name we don't have and who hasn't
been to church since she was 16. And, whenever we asked her why she
stopped, it was all social reasons. Imperfect people, especially
imperfect children and teenagers. She doesn't remember anything about
the doctrine. We showed her the Book of Mormon and she wasn't too keen
on reading it. "I never wanted to open it again, if it allowed so much
hypocrisy in a church." But when we told her it was a record of a
people in ancient America written around the same time as parts of the
Bible, and that God wasn't just talking to a small group of His
children in the Holy Lands but was talking with all His children, she
got really interested. "I don't remember that," she said, "but it
makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I'd like to read it again, actually. Maybe
I'll understand it this time." She was very happy to set up another
time to meet, too.

My companion, man. :p she was so right when she said that that was
the door we were actually supposed to be knocking at. Haha!

I think that's it for me. I've never been happier. We went through a
few rejections this week, but the miracles were way better. There is
nothing better than helping people come closer to the Savior. I love
wearing His name next to mine on my chest. I love watching lives
change, there's just nothing better than a mission, guys. It's really
the best thing ever!

I love you all! :)

Sister Stratford

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