Well I am 99 percent sure I wouldn't be saying even half of a word on this subject if I didn't feel it was necessary to talk about what a wonderful day February 3rd of 2017 it was, but it was a fantastic unforgettable day so I definitely need to share.
The past couple of weeks have been cause for self reflection and panic attacks and self guilt trips and mental pats-on-the-back as my
"year mark" has approached.
Well it has come and gone my friends.
Even though I would love to be in denial, and probably would have been all day, I have had to accept reality in order to move on and part of that was an incredible day of miracles and kindness from others, God, and my special companion.
It started with yoga, the most delicious crepes that Sister Jamison made me, a bubble bath with the fizzies my mom sent for Christmas, planning, studies, call ins, weekly planning, comp study, lunch, then the rest of the day where more detail is definitely needed.
There is a woman that we helped clean her house because she has spinal compression. She can't feel anything from the knee down so she has to crawl because her hallways are too small to fit her wheel chair. She is only in her late twenties and it was super heart breaking to see.
She told us her life story filled with trials and tribulations you wouldn't believe. It was sad, but cool to see that even though she has been through so much, she is kind.
Ashley is seriously the BEST HUMAN
She made me chocolate covered strawberries with cute 1's on them
Then her husband taught us all about guns and what the different parts are (he's a cop for the military) and he taught us how to shoot them
WARNING: No bullets were involved... mostly
Then he promised us we could sit on his sicker than life bike sometime, and the promise was fulfilled two days later in the church parking lot... LOL
Something that was really spiritually building for me over there was when he helped their daughter pray
I have seen people help their kids pray many times, and it is always so cute to hear the kids try to say the words and to remember everything mom or dad said.
And this experience was just, idk, it was so cute. The Spirit was strong and I realize now that even though I have seen this before, the Spirit needed to teach me something as they prayed.
This is what it's all about. This is JOY. The little things.
The father praying to his Father, but more importantly, teaching his daughter to pray to hers.
The teachings of the gospel bless us in ways that are just inexplicable, and if I were to try to describe all I learned and felt during that prayer, well... I really can't.
I learned that God loves his children, and He is pleased when His children teach His other children to have a relationship with Him. To create spiritual environments. To protect, love, and teach.
Love for the Vank fam!
Later when we got home I had a package on the door that contained
flowers and chocolates and a sweet note from my family <3
I am thankful for all the love. I am so happy to be here. My thoughts and feelings are a little muddled when I try to figure out how to go about the rest of this miraculous and beautiful time here, I am simply working on soaking it ALL in. Every little thing. I want it all to sink into my heart, become the way my mind works, and I want to do it with all my might.
Now that that's all out of the way (I'm back to denial mode)
There was 2 miracle moments that were INSANELY amazing.
Seriously, buckle your seat belts because it's about to blow you away...
please keep all arms, legs, and heads in the ride at all times.
Hold on to your hats, and put your sunglasses in one of those little bag things at your feet at Disneyland that you end up forgetting about after the adrenaline rush of the ride, and have to come back two hours later when you realize its gone and thankfully some kind soul made the choice to turn them in instead of swipe them so you luckily got your sunglasses back.
Yes. That happens (no judgement allowed here)
okay two miracles
On an exchange with one of the most wonderful Sister Missionaries ever: Sister Evensen,
we went to visit Quan and share a lesson with him.
Now, we have established that Quan is super stellar BUT
there has seemed to be a lack of desire. So we pondered how can we help him to have a desire to learn, to thrive, and to soak in the gospel?
answer: we can't
Desire comes from the Spirit and from personal will
Well during this lesson Quan opened up about questions, he poured them out. I was so excited.
He apologized and told us it wasn't because he had doubts, he just doesn't understand priesthood authority. He has a really good relationship with his pastor who was an amazing mentor to him while he was going through the loss of his mother at the age of 16 just one year ago.
Q: What's so bad about my pastor that I need to come to this other teacher?
We bore testimony and told him that OF COURSE there is not anything wrong with his pastor. That we are sure that God has inspired that pastor ho teach His children many times.
"where two or three are gathered.."
that scripture doesn't say
"where my priesthood authority resides"
"Where the fullness of my gospel is taught"
it says that when people gather to learn of Him, He will be there to testify of TRUTH
He will be felt more around the Truth
and His priesthood ordinances are for our salvation and eternal joy
Q: "Do you believe the people in that church across the street are going to hell?"
us: "Absolutely NOT. No we do not."
that would not be just or fair. God will give everyone a perfect opportunity to accept His power and grace by repentance and ordinances of His power whether in this life, or in the life to come.
He was somewhat still confused.
But the Spirit was there
he said, "I need to do some reading tonight"
I handed him the Book of Mormon and said-
"Think of a question that you have. You have a lot which is awesome! Just think of one of them and don't tell us what it is. Then open this book."
He though of one and opened it with some attitude :)
"Do you believe that the answer to your question is in the chapter you just opened."
"No because I just opened to a random page"
"Lets read it and find out"
He didn't even finish the first verse when the spirit hit like a wall, he shut the book, and Sister E and I had tears in our eyes because we knew what happened.
Q: "That answered my question."
(Alma 6:1 And now it came to pass that after Alma had made an end of speaking unto the people of the church, which was established in the city of Zarahemla, he ordained priests and elders, by laying on his hands according to the order of God, to preside and watch over the church.)
We asked him what does that mean about the Book of Mormon
Q: "That's a magic book"
He read the rest of the chapter that night and came to church Sunday and he is rockin it!
Later Sister E who had been out for less than a week, told me when I said that to him she was like
"what. is she. doing. is this missionary insane?!?!"
I told her that I was thinking the same exact thing about myself, but thank goodness the Spirit overruled my doubts and that miracle moment edified all of us there
The next miracle is that
THE TWINS ARE GETTING BAPTIZED IN GULF BREEZE BY THEIR FATHER MATT WHO I DID NOT LITERALLY BAPTIZE BUT I TAUGHT HIM ALL THE LESSONS
"You have to be there. You are the reason they are even getting baptized."
She got my mission presidents number from her Elders and called him up. SCARY
AND HE GAVE PERMISSION
I am going back to GB to see the twins get baptized by Matt and squeeze the living daylights out of the Gulf Breeze ward
(males not included)
My heart is SO full.
here's a thought
this is the last dispensation
the priesthood is dispensed to all
in many different languages in many different ways
We showed up to an investigators house the other day
she broke down into tears
she felt lost and depressed and told us that she had been praying to God
"Please send someone to give me comfort and teachings"
We shared with her the Mormon Message "Like a Broken Vessel"
it is incredible
watch it right now
and we were all emotional
She asked if there was someone in our church that could lay their hands on her head and give her comfort
Yes. Yes. Absolutely yes.
Her first language is Spanish so we asked the member of the Baltimore who just came home from Venezuela on his mission.
He gave her the blessing in Spanish and the Spirit was so powerful.
I just love that in this, the Lords last dispensation, He has organized a way for us to have His direct peace, comfort, council, healing, binding sealing POWER
I am so thankful to be born in this time with access to this power
I don't know what I did to deserve it
but I'd do it twice again in a heart beat.
I love you. I pray for you.
|Saw the Hogans on an exchange, they moved from Gulf Breeze to Niceville which is where the exchange was |
and we had dinner I LOVE THEM it was so good to see them
-Sister Saunders <3
|Ashley drove us to Destin this morning.|