Monday, February 9, 2015

We Dream the Same Dream, We Want the Same Thing

1. I can't control myself when I see dairy products.

2. Sometimes we get lucky and find lots of Dr Pepper, which is really a tender mercy because it just doesn't exist here (or "Mr. Pepper" as Sister Yanisa calls it because she can never remember what it's called and why I love it so much). Oh, the little things :)

3. How can I get homesick when there are so many cows here? ;)

We're all on the same team here! Maybe sometimes we forget that. In the end, we're all children of our Heavenly Father and we all just need to love and take care of each other.

We went to a member's house to do some family history work again this week, and I found a bunch of family names that I had no idea existed! All my great grandpa's siblings on one side. A whole family! While I was working and finding name after name, I felt very strongly that I was not the only who wanted to find these names -- that there were people on both sides of the veil trying to do the work. And I felt the support of my family members on both sides of the veil in the work I'm doing here on a daily basis. And man did that feel cool.

This week, I've seen the hand of the Lord working through me and qualifying me to be able to do and say more than I ever could on my own. Heavenly Father is infinitely patient and loving with ALL of us. He's picked me up more times than I can count this week alone. No matter how lonely it gets striving to do the right thing, I know I'm never alone because He's only ever a prayer away! I'm grateful that this period, while difficult, is really strengthening my relationship with the Lord. We've had many experiences that have helped me see the hand of the Lord ever more clearly, but one day this week sums it all up:

So we called up one of the recent converts, Brother F, to bring us to the house of another member, Brother B, because we hadn't seen Brother B in several weeks. When we got to B's house, he was there with a nonmember friend who comes to church sometimes. It was kind of awkward at first...almost like Brother B didn't want us there. He's had chicken pox and hasn't left the house in a few weeks. But we each shared a scripture with and testified, and told him how we loved and missed him. After we did so, he opened up and talked about the things that really bugging him, like the fact that he hasn't been able to get a job. That allowed us to testify more and extend commitments that were more personalized to him, instead of just "come back to church." We, along with Brother F, B, and the nonmember friend were all edified by the lesson.

Then, as we were walking back, we ran into Brother B's uncle, an older gentleman named Brother J, who apparently used to live in a ward south of us but now has become less active. He stopped because he recognized that we were missionaries (I wouldn't have recognized him otherwise) and he immediately began to tell us about his friend who he wanted us to teach. (This Sunday, Brother J showed up bright and early, shook my hand, and dragged me and Sister Yanisa to the foyer where he'd brought his friend. He's now a new investigator!)

THEN we went back to Central with F, where he introduced us to his friend, whom we invited to learn. He wasn't interested, but as we talked and testified about Jesus Christ, I KNOW he felt at least a bit of the Spirit...because I did. As we awkwardly walked away from them, we ducked into a store and nearly ran into...Brother J! Who got baptized in November and then has faded in and out of activity because he doesn't know anyone at church. We met him and his wife (we didn't know he had a wife) and his two month-old baby (didn't know about her, either). It was so good to see him because he hadn't been responding to calls and we hadn't been able to see/meet with him since the time he was confirmed.

So in total, this effort to find one member turned into a day of testifying, and we testified to EIGHT people who were either recent converts, less-actives, or non-members (or some combination of those three). This isn't about the numbers, though -- this is still a one-by-one endeavor.  And it's a process. It won't happen overnight, but it'll happen. What really struck me about that day was that we hadn't planned on ducking into a store, and we hadn't planned on walking back the way we did...but we just did, and the Lord put people in our path (or put us in the path of those who needed us). The temple is on its way!

Love, Sister Z.

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