I am happy to say that this is the hardest I have ever worked on my mission, and we see miracle after miracle. The week is honestly a huge blur from Sunday to about Thursday, though we had a ton of fun going up to the Upper Peninsula and working up there for a day. The Abend girls were baptized on Saturday, and they were so excited!! That family quickly became a favorite for me. Christ was not kidding when he said we should all become as little children. The sweetest things in the world!!!
I have heard before that God often comes in the 4th watch, when the night is far spent and the storm is long lasting. That when all hope it appears is lost, the hope comes and delivers. That has been the theme of this week.
On Friday we had been knocking for about 3 hours straight and it became very discouraging actually. There were quite a few people who were either very rude or very afraid, and just about everyone was very uninterested. There were a few times where I had to pray for strength to continue in faith, and I am thankful that the Lord blessed me. We finished the streets we were knocking, and we only had about 15 minutes left until dinner, so we started weighing our options. We were about to head home a little early and make some calls, but then we thought, "No, there is somewhere we can go for 15 minutes." We started walking down the street again and worked our way towards a man and his family sitting on their back porch. The man saw us, rose to meet us, and invited us to sit down with him.
We talked for a minute, and learned that his cousin is a member of the local branch. He asked if we had a scripture we wanted to share, then he added softly, "You know, your timing is wonderful. I don't know if you have seen the headline today, but that is my son." There son had just been charged with murder. With a scripture suddenly coming to mind, we introduced the Book of Mormon to him, and began to teach him about Alma the Elder praying for Alma the younger and how the prayers of righteous fathers are always heard and answered. As he prayed, it reminded me of the Saviors submission when he said, "thy will be done." I have not seen so great faith, no not in Israel. He and his family would like to know more, and said their door is always open. The feelings I had there were very tender and close to the surface. I hope good things come of that family.
The last story I share will be about Jennifer. She just might be the death of me, but I LOVE her and her family. We have been on a roller coaster with her that I have been familiar with. She did not like Church at all (very unfamiliar). She feels peace when we meet with her and over the next day or so, until she goes to work. Then she is blasted with doubts and questions that overwhelm her. We had a breakthrough lesson where she learned by the spirit that instead of writing down her questions when we leave, she should write the things that she learned. That worked well, but the doubts kept coming. She was the purpose of our car fast on Saturday, that she would feel peace, but she came to the baptism on Saturday, and felt overwhelmed again. She texted us that night with another question, followed by "I don't think I am on the right path any more." Obviously sent us into worry mode, but that night she went to a ward party. We weren't allowed to go, but she found her 2 fellowshippers, and watched "Meet the Mormons. To make a long story short, she loved the movie (Bawled during the missionary part btw) and said, "If I can get passed the name and focus on the faith, it seems like this is the right path for me. I need to stop listening to my friends and just do what is right for me."
We asked why she felt that way, and she said "the sense of peace that I have gets greater and that's what I want." Car fast. Answered. She came to church even though it made her late for work, and really liked it this time. Things are looking up with her. I don't think the stars have ever aligned quite like this for an investigator. God is obviously very mindful of her.
Today, I was pondering over the last 18 months, and became very overwhelmed at all the extraordinary miracles I have seen in the lives of people I have taught. I honestly wonder why these things happen to me when there are missionaries far more faithful who see far less success. I thank God for the blessings I have seen and earnestly pray to be worthy enough to see more.
|The Abends baptism|
|View from said Bridge|