Monday, June 29, 2015

Officially Monsoon season

The heat is bearable because it's the heat that makes monsoon weather patterns possible. Thunderstorms, warm desert rain, dust storms, it's so much fun! Phoenix has the most fun summer weather, if you can muscle out the heat for it. ANd the clouds and sunsets are so pretty!!

 This week was so much fun!! It's still ridiculously hot, people still dont' ever answer their doors anymore and everyone's out of town (especially with the 4th coming up....HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! I'm so excited! Also, I was in Phoenix for the last 4th of July....full circle. XD), but when you push through, God gives you miracles!! 

 ....Also, when you just choose to have fun with it and keep a good "adventure" attitude about things, it makes God's job just that much easier. And He trusts that you'll see the little miracles and helps He gives. 

 Michelle is still just super sick.....everything in her life is just going wrong. :C We keep praying for her and hope that she'll be okay.

 Fashe's been really sick, too. Another missionary has a friend who served his mission Croatian speaking, so we've been trying to set up a time for him to skype in. But we haven't been able to see her :/ Her whole family is sick.

 Everyone just needs to stop being sick for a second, m'kay. 

 Julio's going to the temple tomorrow!! So excited!! So, I don't remember if I told this story about him, but he was working on building a computer game for years. He was reading a whole bunch of psychology books on how to make an addicting game, and he just felt the Spirit touch him and he asked himself, "What am I doing? I don't want to trap a whole bunch of kids into an addiction just to get money." So he deleted years and years of work and just destroyed the game. Then he used his skills to build a website for his family history. Then, apparently, it evolved into his conversion story and how he found God and why he joined the Church and his thoughts and feelings on his journey. One time he asked us to give the link to our investigators. I'll have to ask his permission to post it here, but our jaws just dropped open when he told us about it. Missionaries only have like three websites we're allowed to go to :p so sadly I probably won't see it until after my mission. I'm so excited to look at it, though. 

 We have a few new investigators! So, we have Dana and Alice. We actually got caught at their house during the dust storm, so we stayed there a couple of hours. It was so what they needed. They had so many questions and we talked all about the Restoration, Joseph Smith's experience, what feeling the Spirit is like, how God communicates with us, how He feels about us, priesthood authority, the Book of Mormon, and everything. We sang "Abide With Me, 'Tis Eventide," because they're another family where just everything is going wrong. They're getting forced out of their home pretty soon, so we don't know if we'll get to meet with them much longer. But singing that song with the storm going on outside and hearing things hit the window, and feeling the Spirit so was a powerful moment. "The darkness of the world, I fear, would in my home abide. Oh, Savior, stay this night with me; behold, 'tis eventide." 

 They were going to come to church, but they decided to pray about it first. They're used to noisier church environments, where they're singing and praising and shouting. They seemed a little intimidated by the idea of a quiet church meeting. 

 Another person we just started teaching is Alandra. She's in the middle of a very messy divorce, and her cousin, who is serving her mission in Mexico, offered to send us by. It was a very strange experience to knock on a stranger's door and be immediately told, "Hey! Come on in!" as if we'd been visiting them for years. She just wanted us to help her build up a stronger relationship with God so that she could get through this, which is exactly what we're there for. :p She's so excited to learn more.

 She told us she felt bad that this was the moment that she turned to God. "If I was a better person, I would've tried to find him in the good times," she told us. "I almost don't want to look for Him because I feel like I'm being one of those people who just use Him as a 911 emergency line. It makes me want to muscle it through myself without His help and look for Him when things are better again. Maybe this is just a punishment and I need to suffer through it without Him."
 .....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh DON'T SAY THAT!!!! D: It was so sad!! God wants us to turn to Him during the good times, yeah, but failing to turn to Him in the past is not a good reason to fail to turn to Him now! We all have trials in life. We were specially given our own personal weaknesses and challenges for the sole purpose of learning how to rely on him. Ether 12:27, God gives us weaknesses, as a gift. And His Grace is for everyone who turns to HIm, regardless of how late it is or how good we've been before. 

 We're so happy to work with her. It's seriously the BEST THING IN THE WORLD to help people realize just how much God loves them. It's the most important thing people can know. Because then we can trust that He did give us a Savior and a way back home. Then life becomes manageable. It's the best thing to tell people. 

 Missions are awesome. :)

 I love you all!! Thanks for the prayers and support. I miss you!! YOu're awesome :D

 -Sister Stratford

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