Aloha from sunny Laguna Beach!
So this week I definitely hit my half way mark freak out. I have been reflecting a lot on my mission experience so far. I have been a part of so many amazing things. oddly enough, looking back it is hard not to feel like all in all I have not accomplished very much. I was kind of down on myself. I felt like I had wasted so much time. There was so much more I could have done. But then I realized I was looking at it all wrong. I wasn't counting the miracles and blessings that I experienced and continue to experience everyday for what they are worth. I remember when L was baptized I told myself that I felt like my mission was complete. I knew there was more people for me to meet and teach but I felt all the success I needed in bringing her unto Christ. As time goes by those feelings begin to drift away. How we look at success and its definition has become a true focus for me. There is always more that I can do but as long as I am doing my best that is all that matters. That is all the Lord expects of me. I am excited to move forward and finish my mission well. Time flies by and now more than ever I want to make sure that I make every day count.
This past week was incredible. The miracles kept coming. It is amazing how a week can start off slow and just burst into opportunities by the end. I have decided that it is Heavenly Father trying our faith and then blessing us for our obedience. Good things take time. I have truly been overwhelmed with the Spirit and my testimony of why I am here, now has grown even deeper. The Lord is aware of me. And He is aware of you. He is preparing us all for so much greatness. The question is are we going to turn our will to His will?
There is a family that was brought up in ward council a couple weeks ago by the YW's president (Cl). Long story short it is a friend of hers who grew up in the church but has not been active for years (Ch R). She is married to a non member (B R). They have 4 kids. The oldest son is friends with S. C son. Ch approached S. C one day and started asking about the church it wasn't long until she was in the Bishops office talking things over with him. They participated in our wards Trunk or Treat and their daughter (non member) participated in our wards primary program. They have been to church for the past 3 weeks. Ch has stayed all 3 hours every time. You can tell that she has come home. She just fits in so perfectly. B stayed for the all three hours for the first time yesterday. This is where it gets exciting. We have felt so excited about setting something up with them since the first time we heard their names. The Cls kind of told us to back off so that is what we were doing. We actually were told by B. Cl that he thought it would be better for the Elders to teach B because they are guys and can relate better. We were super bummed and let down. At church we waved and said hello to the R's and left it at that. But then something amazing happened. After gospel principles class as we were getting ready to move on to relief society Ch grabs my arm and says, "this is going to sound crazy but I haven't been to church since I was like 16 and my husband has a bunch of questions...would you be willing to come over to our house this week and teach us?" It didn't sound crazy to us at all. It was music to our little missionary ears. We were so excited that they had sought us out. We set up a time and chatted for a bit. She asked us where we were from and said I looked familiar. I could tell there was something she wanted to say but was holding back. I didn't want to push it so I left it alone. Then when we were in Relief Society before it began she came up to me and and with tears in her eyes said, "I know you. I couldn't say this when we were with my husband but I know you. I have dreamt about you. You are supposed to teach my husband." With tears in my eyes I gave her a hug and said, "well it looks like we are going to get to know each other a lot better!" I was overcome with the Spirit in a different way than I ever had been. Heavenly Fathers plan never ceases to amaze me. I just feel so blessed to be a part of it. It reillistrated to me that there is so much work for me to do. There are people that have been prepared for me. It was one of the greatest moments on my mission thus far. We are meeting with Ch and B tomorrow night. I am kind of nervous. I feel like there is this new found pressure not to mess things up. But I know the Spirit won't allow that to happen.
After church we went to see if R and A were home (the hispanic father and son). And they were. We asked if they had a few minutes to chat and they said sure. R the dad opened up about how he had been doing a lot of research on the internet and there is a lot of negative stuff about mormons out there. We were all worried they were just going to drop us and it was a little contentious at the beginning but we got into a discussion about truth. We reexplained what the Book of Mormon is and went over the story of Joseph Smith and modern day prophets. The son Anthony had a question for everything. The Spirit was there and Sister S and I had an answer for everything. It turned into what we like to call a "smash" a smart bash. It wasn't our words against theirs...it was let us add more truth to that which you already have. R feels like he needs more time to get a basic understanding. We compared A to joseph Smith, he is in the search for truth in a world of so many religions. You can tell he wants to follow God because of the kinds of questions he asks. He is smart and well versed in the Bible. He kept talking about Gods plan for him and how he was led to the bible. We said that was awesome but that maybe we were part of Gods plan for him too, to add even more to the knowledge that he has. They are both defintiely interested. Then R Jr. shows up. This is the oldest son who is an athiest. We talked to him for awhile too. It was all so facinating. The best part of all is we were able to present truth to a non believer and someone searching for truth and they listened. Different questions would lead into different parts of our lessons and it got to the point where we told them we were going to leave them on a cliff hanger for now. We told them to write questions down as they study from the Book of Mormon. We set up to meet with them next Sunday same time and got their number so we can plan for something inbetween. It was awesome. In the end we picked up R Jr. and A as new investigators. We are so excited for the next time we get to meet with them.
We met with C on Monday and she is just so great. She is kind of slow to understand things sometimes. But in her defense she is only 14 and all this is brand new to her. With cross country finishing up and Halloween we didn't get to see her again until church yesterday. A family from our ward invited us and her over for dinner. We talked about the importance of baptism and why we get baptized. After dinner we were able to take C to a baptismal service. She loved it. We kept dropping hints all night about her baptism. To remind you she is our investigator who's mom is being slow to give her permission to be baptized. At one point as the baptismal service was finishing up and refreshments were being announced...I leaned over and said, "there will definitely be food at your baptism!" She responded, "yeah if my mom ever lets me get baptized." I responded, "don't worry eventually she will." And to that she said, "And even if she doesn't, i'll just get baptized when I'm 18." I know with an attitude like that and the joint prayers of so many people her mom is going to soften her heart. She is actually going to come to church with C next week. We are going to extend a baptismal date for November 30th and then put our trust and faith in the Lord. As C was getting ready to leave the baptism with her friend from the ward (Sidney Kimball, weird!) she said, "hey, if there are any more of these baptisms...please invite me to come." She is so ready to be baptized. She feels the Spirit when she is at church, in lessons, and now at baptisms. I am hopeful that she will have to opportunity to be baptized soon!
These are just a few of the many miracles of the week. Please keep them all in your prayers! Reliving them as I typed each of them out brought back the same feeling of the Spirit I had as I actually experienced each of them. The Lord is preparing people. I feel so lucky to be a part of this work. It truly is amazing! I feel so spoiled for the blessings and miracles I am receiving. My testimony of this gospel grows each day. I know I am strengthened by my brother being out and my best friend preparing for the mission field. I could not be here without all of your love, support, and prayers. So thank you!
I hope you all have a wonderful week. Take time to look for the hand of the Lord in your day. He loves you.
:) S. Kimball