Monday, May 2, 2016

Finna Get Fun In Florida

What a week.

The amazing woman I spoke about last week, Sister P, is all I can think about right now.

We had a lesson with her and it was insane--the wide range of emotions thoughts and feelings I felt throughout the whole thing.

She had more questions about everything you can imagine than I think I have ever had in my life.

it. was. awesome.

Questions when asked with real intent that stem from sincere desires to receive answers are the greatest thing we as humans can have.  Questions are what lead to long lasting learning.  Long lasting learning leads to knowledge and assurance which lead to a testimony. 

but I have to back up

During that miracle moment last week when we talked with her and she had a change of heart, Sister C committed her to read Moroni 7 to address her concern about the Holy Ghost (this commitment was not what we had planned, but we both knew it was what she needed) 

Today she unloaded... a lot.

She laid out the timeline since we had been there.
Basically right after we left that day, she read the whole chapter.  In the chapter it talks a lot about charity and the famous "charity suffereth long and is kind.." yeah yeah yeah.

Then she went into her garage to listen to her audio book and finished it really fast.  She decided to start another book so she went to her wish list and found a Christian inspirational book that she does not even remember putting on her wish list.  She told us today she would never normally even look at that genre of book, but she decided to try it out. 

She then pulled out her audio book and found the place that had apparently hugelly impacted her.  She let us listen to this small part of the first novel in a trilogy series that she is now about finished with. (one week three novels she's almost finished with the third) 

It basically quoted the scripture " suffereth long and is kind..."
1st cor. 13  

She said,  "I am getting the chills even now just thinking about when I heard this that day.  The way it all happened you don't even understand how it felt in that moment.  Everything we had talked about that day and in the chapter I read was talked about in this book about a Christian in Rome right after Christ died that I randomly listened to.  Not only that but it was through my audio books!  I love my audio books they are part of me!"

Later in the lesson after we went through the restoration and answered a lot of her questions, she said
"I just wish God would give me a sign."

Even later when she mentioned it again I bore testimony
"Remember when you told us at the beginning of this meeting that you found and listened to a book on your wish list you don't remember putting there that restated everything we had talked about and even what Moroni talked about in that chapter and you got the chills even now just thinking about it?  That's your sign.  That is Gods way of telling you He knows your name, He cares about what you care about, He is aware of you and He loves you enough to guide you to Him."

We were all emotional.  Sister Christiansen bore powerful testimony of the power of personal revelation. That Sister P does not have to take our word for anything, but that she can ask God herself.

Sister P said the closing prayer, and a powerful feeling was there. Sister Christiansen pointed it out to her
"How do you feel right now?"

"I feel good."  
Watching her recognize the fact that she was feeling the Holy Ghost was one of the greatest moments of my life hands down.

She was almost surprised, but she realized that sometimes God doesn't send lightning bolts.  Sometimes God doesn't send a loud voice calling us to repent lest He flood the Earth.  Sometimes the miracle and the sign He gives us is not a bright star in the sky or three days of darkness and earth quakes.  It is however, a still small voice just as potent.  Just as real.  And just as powerful unto the convincing of His children that we are all of divine origin.  That we are loved.  That He knows our name.

 And that

 brothers and sisters and Sister P..

 is all the sign we need, if we can JUST recognize it.

The miracle of faith is not very often laid out in front of us to be seen, it is right inside us to be FELT and right ahead of us to be DONE.

faith equals action

I am so thankful to have had this learning experience with Sister P and many more to come as we continue to meet her and slowly but surely guide her to the knowledge and testimony she seeks + showing her how to find out for herself.

"Great teachers show people where to look not what to see."

We had some other really.... interesting..... happenings this week. 

I'm going to be honest about some events leading up to a very specific event that went down this week. 
So brace yourselves because the fact of the matter is that life is not always smooth and peachy.

Shocker right?

I hope I didn't blow you away with that intention is not for anyone to have a heart attack and die over that surprise. 

The fact of life right now is that there are moments that the soft serve ice cream machine of our lives, gets a little stuck and out comes "rocky" road instead.  Literally.  

There has been some... issues in the district.  None of them major or life threatening, just some bumps in the road that are hopefully now resulting in greener pastures. 

I send my thanks heavenward everyday for my companion, we get along, we communicate, and we work, and we laugh, and we play.

WORK AND PLAY AND LAUGH sometimes at the same time

but there are some missionaries that don't know how to do some of those things. or all of those things. or any of those things.

and that's okay.

but this isn't missionary work it's missionary fun. 


 The issue at hand is a real issue that I think every missionary goes through and that is the issue of:

am I a serious missionary or am I a fun missionary 

and hopefully by the end of this crisis all missionaries come to the conclusion that they are meant to be themselves.

We are meant to be ourselves! 
Heavenly father doesn't send out robot armies that have Preach My Gospel and the whole Book of Mormon programed into their brains to spout off to everyone and their dog. 
Nor would that even be effective in the least!

He calls us all to the work.  "If ye have a desire to serve ye are called to the work."

It doesn't say "If ye are one hundred percent perfect and better than your peers and the VP of a company with great hair and a perfect knowledge of the gospel and the white hand book memorized and a Book of Mormon shooting out of your mouth at all times and in all things and in all places."

(you'd be surprised how many of those things are actually relevant to my current circumstance.)

He called us to be ourselves.

 Use our own individual talents and life experiences and testimonies that are all unequally matched and unequivocally important to HIS work.


Now do not get me wrong.  I am all for studying and applying and eat, sleep, and drinking Preach My Gospel and the White Handbook, I daresay I do everyday, but I do believe there's a way to do that AND still take the advice of my good friend President Tommy Spencer Monson and "Find Joy In The Journey." 

Fun is okay.  Not only that, but it keeps us missionaries going!

 Let's be real

 This can be a very discouraging work.  
I can confidentially say, that if I did not have my incredible trainer, fun, or most importantly my testimony.... my self esteem would be in the toilet and the rest of me would be pretty miserable.

In the bible belt when you are trying to preach the good news to people that are devout in their "faith in Jesus Christ" but they believe you are going to Hell, dragging others with you, and.. "You really need to read the bible because miracles are not a thing anymore." 

 Ma'am, ummmm... five seconds ago you were telling us that you know the bible is the word of God because when you had a stroke a few years ago the only thing that remained in your brain when you came to was knowledge you had acquired from the bible. 


anyway.  back to the issue at hand.

 There is a slight issue in our district with a missionary deals with that identity crisis but in the extremes. And also makes me in particular very uncomfortable because I was being singled out so that said missionary could mentor me aside from the others. 

(thank you Sister C for continually coming to my rescue)   
Then, when I made a goofy video with Sister C this missionary chastised me and advised that I delete it because it will cause me to have a bad reputation in the future throughout the mission if word gets out that I was singing High School Musical with my companion. 

Okay I'm done with that rant.

Nevertheless don't hold in concerns.  We had a sit down with this companionship and we talked about the  things that were going on.  We talked about each situation and we tried to resolve conflict like adults.  
It was not received the way we had hoped, but I hear time heals awkward. ;)

People aren't perfect

not even missionaries

not even me ;)

but the gospel IS thank goodness.

I am so grateful that the conflicts that have been going on and that are hopefully done were not between my companion and me.  We have FUN together and we WORK our butts off.  
YES those two things can and should coexist.

Okay.  Sunday something amazing happened.  
Fast and testimony is always a gamble when bringing investigators and inactive people to church. 

it's like a box of chocolates

you never know what you're going to get

but this fast and testimony meeting was one of the most amazing meetings I have ever been in.  I could tell Sister P was touched.  I was so thankful she was at church with her two kids.

Then in Gospel Principles class Sister P opened up at the end to the class.

"I realized the missionaries weren't going to go away and I haven't done my part to let my kids have religion in their life so they can choose like I chose whether or not they want to be a part of it.  I started the lessons for my kids and I have been shocked to see how much it has been for me."  
She said this with tearful eyes and my heart about burst in my chest. 
She thanked us for teaching her and she thanked the class for their help. 

Hahahahaha lesson learned: don't go away just keep buggin everyone ;) but do it with love as the motive. 

but seriously 

She keeps talking about how she has never been able to get answers before and now her questions are all getting answered.

I think she attributes to Sister C and me but I truly believe that the reason she is finding answers is not because the missionaries stopping by changed anything, but because she has changed.

The questions have not changed, but her heart and willingness to receive the answers HAS

I love the gospel

I love you

and I love Sister and Elder Wilde 


they normally reside in Tallahassee which is like... four hours away but they were touring the mission with their visiting son and his adorable wife

so they took us to lunch!

It was needed in so many more ways than one

After lunch Whitney (their daughter in law) and Sister Wilde took us home and they both gave us so much inspired comforting words of wisdom.

It was so needed after the drama in the district we had been dealing with and the daunting event of Sister Christiansen going home.  Whitney just returned from her mission in New York just a few years ago and she gave Sister C so much inspired advice. 
Sister Wilde is the type of lady that just being around her makes you feel special. And I did. I am so thankful for her and her family. 

Poor Jimbozo is going to be so mad when he finds out I hung out with his family on Saturday and he's clear in Peru! 

Elder Wilde in Peru

Ryan "Jimbo" Wilde wearing Walli's gloves back in high school...

There's a million and one reasons why the Wildes are here though, but that one reason after the million is to help me get my head on straight every once in a while. :)

It's been fantastic.

Sorry about the scattered events, but just know that Florida is great because:

people say "Im fixin tuh go to Walmart"

and I found out that's where Finna comes from because honestly
I had no idea what in the world finna meant: going to
now I know.. 

God loves you

Make it a good day:)


Sister Saunders