Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 Hello!

Me and my comp at the ocean at low tide. Super pretty!

Aren't the goats cute?!! I was afraid that the mom would not like me touching her baby but she was nice. Not gonna lie I was a little bit afraid of the mom...she had horns! 

Hello Family!

Well, this week was pretty normal. It’s funny how fast time goes by when you are transferred to a new area.  You’re so busy trying to learn the place and the people and get to know your companion…it goes by fast.  I can’t believe it’s P-day again.  Crazy.

We had two neat experiences this last week.  One was with Brother Arselau who is the husband of a member but she was baptized and then never went to church again and that was years ago.  At first, they thought that she was an investigator and then found out that she'd been baptized.  So we're teaching them and trying to activate the wife and teach the husband.  They are in their 60's and seem really excited to see us when we come to teach them.  We keep asking them if they've prayed to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet and they say that they are every day, but haven't gotten an answer yet.  For me, I thought that we probably just needed to continue on with the lessons. I didn't really know what to do because they said that they were praying.  But Sis Empalmado just kept going back to their prayers and said that if they were really praying with real intent, they would get an answer.  She kept asking them questions and eventually, we found out that Brother was praying as he was laying in bed about to go to sleep and was looking at the stars (so he wasn't closing his eyes).  We taught him that he needs to sit up. It needs to be quiet and he needs to close his eyes and ask SPECIFICALLY if Joseph Smith is a true prophet.  At the end of the lesson, we asked him to pray and right then, ask God if Joseph was a prophet.  So he did and he asked God to give him a sign so that he could know.  After his prayer, we were quiet for a minute and looked up at him and his eyes were teary.  He quickly brushed them away and said that he got smoke in his eyes (there was no smoke).  We asked him what his feelings were right then and told him that was his sign.  That signs don't usually come in the form of angels or God speaking directly to us, but our feelings.  He was quiet and said, "Maybe that's my answer."  We were so excited!  The spirit was so strong in that lesson!  We are really going to push him to be baptized in May, I really feel like he could be.  I was very grateful for my companion that she listened to the spirit and we were able to find out why he hadn't gotten an answer yet.

With Sis Empalmado and Jerome,a member that is really great at working with us

Our second neat experience was with a less active.  She has been visited by the missionaries for a long time and the two sons are recent converts.  She never really wants to let the missionaries in and often will say "Oh next time sisters."  She also doesn't want to pray or read the BoM and isn't really serious during the lessons.  So we went back to her last Friday and started the lesson and then suddenly she started to cry.  She eventually told us her story that she had argued with her father a couple years ago and they were both angry at each other.  Then the next morning, her father died.  She hadn't gotten a chance to say sorry. So she went to go work in Saudi Arabia to provide an income for her family and kind of to run away and try to pay for what she had done.  She said that she stopped praying and reading and of course in Saudi, they are all Muslim.  She said that she hardened her heart and kind of let the customs of Saudi sink into her.  And then when she returned, she didn't open up to anyone and created a shell for herself.  She said that She kept wondering why the missionaries kept coming to her because she wasn't very nice to them and wouldn't be serious in the lessons.  Then she said that she went to her uncle's house on Monday and happened to be there when they had Family Home Evening.  She heard her uncle pray for her and that she would feel the love of Heavenly Father in her life and return to church.  She said that something cracked in her when she heard that prayer.  And then we came to her on Friday and she just dissolved into tears.  She said "I used to be so active.  And I hardened my heart and turned away from everything." and she said that she doesn't want to pray because she doesn't feel it in her heart. We testified about the power of the atonement and the power of prayer and that is the thing that the adversary uses against us: that we aren't ready or aren't worthy.  She looked at us and said she was very sorry for all the things she had said to the missionaries before and that she wasn't very nice.  And we testified that we had been sent to her because her Heavenly Father loves her even though sometimes we turn away from him.  At the end of the lesson, she even gave the closing prayer.  I really learned (again) the power of prayer and for this sister, the power of others' prayers.  Her uncle came up to us on Sunday and said that they have been praying for a long time for her.  Just like Alma the older, sometimes it takes a long time but God hears our prayers, especially for those around us.  We don't know what kind of effect our prayers can have for others.

I feel so blessed that I get to be serving a mission and have experiences like these.  I told Sis Empalmado that these kind of things make up for all the punted appointments, the hours of walking in the sun with no lessons, and all the disappointments of investigators not keeping commitments like not coming to church.  We do what we do for those one or two moments when people really feel the atonement in their lives and feel the truth of the gospel.  It is so true in D&C 18 that the worth of just one soul is great in the sight of God!

I love you all!  I know this church is true and this is the only way to obtain true happiness in this life. there is no other way.  Have a great week!

Sister Sirrine

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