Quote of the week--every person we stop to talk to ever:
"Yeah, I just talked to your people yesterday!"
"You stopped me last week."
"Your boys knocked on my door earlier today."
"Whenever I see you, you're on your bikes or talking to someone!"
"Is this all you do?!"
MaryAnn is 49. She has one son. She is preparing to be baptized on the 23rd of August.
She smoked every day of her life from the time she was a teenager until about 6 weeks ago, when with the help of the missionaries and the Lord, she quit.
She got into basically everything bad that you can get into. I'd make a list but suffice it to say, she's had a ROUGH past.
Besides bringing some of her trials on herself through her poor decisions (like we ALL do), there were some that Heavenly Father gave to her to make her stronger. And she's had more of those than most people I know. She's ridiculously resilient.
We had a lesson with MaryAnn this week about Christ's atonement. We read with her the first 13 verses of Alma 7, which testify of the Saviour.
We got to verse 11 and it went right over her head. We took it apart phrase by phrase for her and explained each one.
First phrase. "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind..."
Second phrase. "...and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people."
And then something very special began to happen.
We started the next phrase, and the Spirit began to enter the room very powerfully.
"And he shall take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people..."
Explain. Testify. Next phrase. "...and he will take upon him their infirmities.."
Explain. Testify. Read. "...that his bowels may be filled with mercy..."
"...according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."
Stop. Pay attention. Feel. Listen.
It was my turn to explain. I defined the word "succor" for MaryAnn: "to run to". She was staring at me.
The Spirit was thick, and it became difficult to talk. She stared at me as I quoted Elder Bednar:
"The Saviour has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Saviour did not experience first. The Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor--literally run to us--and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power."
Pause. I took a deep breath. MaryAnn was staring silently. I testified to MaryAnn of the love the Saviour has for her. Then there was silence.
And then MaryAnn said some key words: "I wish I had known how much Christ loves me and how much He could've helped me if I let Him. I wish someone told me sooner."
I live for moments like that special lesson with MaryAnn. That moment makes me overwhelmingly grateful that God told His prophet He needed a larger force of missionaries. I feel blessed that the Lord has decided to qualify me to be the person to tell MaryAnn about her Saviour.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said to all members of the Church:
"After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel."
And I know--I have seen--that because it is the "greatest and most important duty," it brings the greatest and most important blessings.
PS. MaryAnn made me quote Elder Bednar again two more times. Powerful.
Sailboats remind me of my dad
Sister T and me about to leave after contacting for a few hours
Ultimate "lunch".. Vanilla ice cream in front of the fan.
The Elders backed their cars right up in front of ours.
Which meant I had to back Sister Thompson out. Not impressed.
Visiting one of the members in the hospital. She asked us to sing her "I am a Child of God" and write it for her on the board.
Our apartment isn't necessarily the nicest. This week, one of the windows let about 30-40 flies in. So we masked up to poison them.
We got to move the ward mission leader and his family!!! WE GOT TO WEAR JEANS.
The boardwalk at sunset
The dainty sister missionaries eating a light Saturday night supper.
Fried chicken wings and potato wedges.
The JWs had just knocked the same street as us. Haha.
Kept finding their fliers everywhere ;)
One of the maritimers with one of the merry men