Good morning! It's freezing here!! But beautiful!!!
We're picking up a family of investigators tonight!! They were taught a couple years ago. Their names are James and Lindsay Blackwell*. They've been taught everything, and were on date for baptism. But they weren't married and had a really hard time quitting smoking. They have 3 kids who are 19 (has a disability), 16, and 10. IT'S A REAL FAMILY!!! So we've had their teaching record forever, and they sound so amazing that my last companion and I decided to give them a visit. But the elders who taught them only wrote down their street name (I hate that) and their number was out of service. So my last companion and I tracted out the entire street and couldn't find them. Well, my current companion found the teaching record and long story short, we followed the Spirit on a whim a million times until we FINALLY found someone's phone number who could be them. We gave them a call and IT WAS THE DAD!! They've been married now and we're pretty sure that if they do still smoke, it's not as much as it was before (their house smells super clean). But we found them! And he couldn't believe we were calling him, he kept saying, "How did you know??" because their family is going through a really hard time right now and they said they NEED spiritual guidance and immediately set up an appointment with us. We didn't have a lot of time in the appointment yesterday so we didn't get to pick them up as new investigators but they're dying for us to come back and teach them. They both have testimonies of the Church. IT WAS CRAZY.
We also got a couple on date for baptism this last week! Their names are Blake and Susan Laurent*. They are amazing. I love teaching them together... she got him on date for baptism herself. Amazing.
This week I had a pretty remarkable experience, among many, that I can't seem to get out of my head.
Sister Bowden and I were almost back to our car after street contacting downtown when a cute, bubbly, blonde girl not much older than me stopped us on the street and started talking to us about her religion. She didn't know we were missionaries when she stopped us (Sister Bowden's tag was under her coat and mine had flipped over to the wrong side). She was with her fiance. Anyway, we obviously started talking to them about the gospel and learning about their backgrounds and inviting them to learn about the gospel haha. But I was really intrigued because she just went to a non-denominational Christian church and was on her way to the store, running errands, stopping the people who walked past with a pamphlet about Jesus Christ. I've never been approached by anyone about religion before, and it was a very interesting perspective. Let me tell you what I saw and felt as she approached us.
I saw a bright, smiley girl walking down the street towards us, basically bouncing. I saw her make eye contact with me (I had been about to stop them, although she didn't realize that). Then I saw her look down at her feet, obviously very nervous. And then when she looked back up at me, she looked determined and opened her mouth and stopped us. She offered us a pamphlet. We started asking her questions and introduced ourselves as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She suddenly got excited and we had a great gospel conversation. Her fiance was talking about God needing to have justice and mercy and how lots of people just expect mercy from Him and not justice. I agreed and quoted Doctrine & Covenants 45:3 to them. As I finished, the girl gasped and quoted it back to me. Then she started tearing up and stared at the sky. And right there, in the middle of crazy downtown, in the rain, completely self-motivated and sincerely out of wanting to spread the gospel because she realizes how important it is that people know about Christ, she began to testify to us of the Saviour.
After a few more moments, we had exchanged contact information and we'd invited each other to church. Sister Bowden and I walked away kind of awe-struck.
This girl, named Daisy*, got it. She got missionary work. No one was telling her she had to do missionary work, no one expected it of her, her church was even nondenominational and wasn't sending missionaries out to do work. She got it. She herself realized how much the world needed a knowledge of the Saviour and that catalyzed that natural outcome--it was natural for her to share the gospel with people after that. "I have something the world needs, so of course I'm going to share it with people, regardless of what they think of me. Of course I'm going to testify to complete strangers on the street. Of course I'm going to make missionary work a part of my everyday life on my way to the grocery store." She gets it.
She was also willing to sacrifice. She was obviously nervous to stop us. But I remember the face she made after she looked down anxiously. She looked back up at me--straight in the eyes--with determination, because she knew she needed to do it and that it was God's work. And so she stepped out of her comfort zone and sacrificed. Gave up her own personal comfort to help someone else. In the MTC, I heard a clichee phrase: "Man's extremity is God's opportunity." But despite how clichee it is, I know it's also true. God cannot work miracles with someone who's not willing to let miracles be worked through them.
She really believed what she was telling me. She was bubbly and excited and bounced around a couple times, and as soon as I quoted that scripture to her, she was so naturally in tune with the Spirit that she got choked up. She believed it, and I could tell.
And my last observation is that I didn't feel offended. I probably would have felt awkward if it weren't for my mission, but I didn't feel upset or angry that she wanted me to attend her church. In fact, the conversation I had with her stuck with me like crazy and I actually learned from her. I learned from her example of fearless discipleship. I want to go home and have missionary work that present in my mind.
Anyway, it was a pretty incredible experience. It struck me the power that one girl had, and the power that we as members can have. We underutilize the power God can put behind us when we're willing to step out of our comfort zones.
I better get going... Lots of good things still have to happen in Charlottetown before I'm gone!!!
I love you!!!
|Old photos of Sister Thompson and me getting distracted from our missions...|
|Saying goodbye to one of my favourite people from my mission...|