Monday, October 31, 2016

In the Field

This week has been THE BEST! Thanks for all of the support and love<3 I think I will just share some of the most miraculous things that happened this week...sorry if I talk too much, this is for my records too. I want to have this stuff in writing! So here goes. 

Our African Encounter
On Tuesday Hna Thompson and I were putting mail in the box and we heard a lady behind us say "Are you students?" Hna Thomson turned around and said, "What?" She couldn't understand the woman. The lady asked again "Are you students?" Hna T still couldn't understand. I hadn't even looked up at this point but I yelled over my shoulder "SHE SAID ARE YOU STUDENTS!" Then I realized the problem....the lady was speaking in a super thick West-African accent and that's why I could understand and Hna T couldn't. I literally ran over there, so excited, and started talking to the lady. Turns out she is from Nigeria! I whipped out my African accent and explained that we are missionaries. She lit up and said "Preach to me sistah! Preach to me about your god!" Hermana T and I were a little surprised, so she said again, "Preach to me! Who is your God! Give me your books! Tell me your gospel!" HA so African. Right there, we shared the whole first lesson in like 10 min. She was so excited and easy to teach. Basically the conversation escalated so much that I shouted the first vision at her with so much excitement and emotion. And she was so revved up...just shouting and saying "IS IT TRUE! IS IT TRUE!" It was so funny...and soooo awesome. I love those people and their faith! The craziest part was that she lives far away and doesn't have a phone...she just happened to be sitting out in the courtyard of our apartment. I don't think we will ever see her again! But she has a Book of Mormon and knows where church is so she will do just fine. 

That's how I wish every lesson went. If people understood the miracle of what we were saying, like my African friend, every person who hears our message would be yelling "IS IT TRUE IS IT TRUE!" It just takes a little humility and desire to know!

The Time We Told A Hindu About Jesus
Later that week the ward had a Halloween party. We took Ruben, which was quite funny. He has epilepsy and few social problems so he doesn't get social cues super well. So he walked up to this great dane, attacked the dogs face with hugs and kisses, and the HUGE dog attacked him. was so awkward and we felt so bad for ruben. (He wasn't hurt don't worry) Anyway...Ruben was so mad. Then we were talking to this other lady with a tiny pug and Ruben did the same thing (mauled it with kisses and hugs) and the pug full on attacked him too! At that point we were just dying laughing....that boy needs a dog that he can just love on. 

What happens next was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. So later on in the night Ruben was sitting with us and started telling Hna T that he has been kind of sad and was worrying about his baptism. She started giving him an awesome pep-talk in Spanish. She spent the night testifying to him of the comforting power of the scriptures.

 An Indian man came and sit down next to me, his name is Hermano Gupta. I found out that he is married to a Hispanic lady in our ward, but he is Hindu. He started talking to me about Karma. He believes that people do bad things and bad things come back to them. He said "have you ever wondered why babies are born with problems? Well it's because they did something bad in their life before this!" He was excited to prove his theory to me...and of course I was just biting my tongue. He finally asked, "is that what you believe?" I explained that we believe in being judged for our actions after this life, but the life before this was much different. Basically, after giving a lot of background about our religion, I could explain that those born with problems probably were the best of the best in the pre-eternal...that God trusted them with these challenges. That they are PURE and GOOD souls. 

He was amazed. He asked how it was be good and have challenges. I explained how God lets us have challenges to mold and shape us. That good people have hard times so we can learn to look to God for help. We need to learn to exercise faith in him.

By now he was so interested in our beliefs. (keep in mind this guy has whiskers on his face and cat ears on his head and we are sitting in the middle of a costume party shouting over the noise).  He couldn't wrap his head around the fact that bad things don't always have to be because of Karma. He asked about people who are good but get cheated on, or get in a car crash when it wasn't there fault...those kind of things. I explained again how trials help us to grow into stronger people. I wish I could write out everything we discussed, but I could feel it was building into something powerful. 

I shared with him about how I grew up with a mom who was sick, and that I learned all sorts of things like cooking, cleaning, being independent, having faith ect. because of that trial. I was able to grow. He stopped me.."THAT'S IT! I see how you grew, but your mother... With all due respect, she must have done something in the past life to deserve the sickness." 

I had to remove my own emotions because the human side of me wanted to punch him in the face. (Don't worry mom I got you<3) It really was the perfect illustration though because I shared how she has blessed so many others. Others get strength from her daily. She agreed to this challenge in the previous life because she was SO pure and SO strong that God knew she could handle it, and he needed someone to take on her challenge and bless others. (SORRY MOM FOR USING YOU AS AN EXAMPLE! I LOVE YOU!)

At that moment I broke it down really clear for him. We talked about the pre-earth life, coming to earth, our purpose on earth...everything. I taught him the law of justice, something he really understood. I explained the role of Jesus Christ. How he died for us and offered mercy. We talked about the atonement in so much Jesus Christ suffered for every affliction and every sin. And how all we have to do is come to him and he will give us mercy.

His countenance softened, and he opened up to me about what was driving this whole conversation. His mother, who was an amazing lady who raised five boys, is really old and sick...but his other four brothers never call or do anything to help her. 
I asked him, "Have you thought all this time that your mother must have been a bad person in the last life to deserve this mistreatment?" He said yes. 

My heart broke....I testified that his mother was a pure and good soul, and that his brothers are using their agency poorly, and that Jesus Christ will take her pain. He asked how he can apply mercy into his life, so I explained prayer. He wanted to know exactly how prayer he needs to do it, and if I could pray for him. I even told him he could get a blessing. He wanted me to point out everyone who has this "Amazing power to act for God" (the priesthood) in the gazebo. I pointed to most of the men at the party! He was so amazed that God sent a son to do this for him.

I asked him to read Matthew in the bible, and think about the role of the Savior. We left and my heart was breaking that he had never known Jesus Christ. He had been living in a world of justice, without mercy, his whole life. HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE HAS A SAVIOR! His wife (who has been an active Mormon for her whole life, and married to him for 30 years) told us he wants us to come back and teach him more. I imagine they never have talked religion for fear of messing up their marriage, totally understandable. But we are excited to teach him more.

Last night, the story took an unexpected turn. Hermano Gupta's mother passed away. We haven't had a chance to talk to him, but keep him in your prayers. I am still in shock, just 3 days ago he learned that his mother might not be a bad person after all and that there is a plan of mercy for the both of them. 

Good and Bad Times
God is good and loves every single person on this earth, and he wants us all to have the truth. We have had too many crazy experiences to count this week. We taught the plan of salvation to a ten year old who survived cancer, the love of God to a man who is married to a Mormon but doesn't want to join the church, the healing power of the atonement to a recovering alcoholic, and we talked to a girl who just got used and thrown away by a jerk and told her that she is a daughter of a King! Honestly, who knows if any of that will go anywhere...but Sam, Mojo, and Katie I just want to say you are very blessed to be in the gospel. Don't take it for granted!

 Last night we had to leave an old woman who has been investigating the church for SIX YEARS steadily. We sat their and heard her say she knows it is all true and that her salvation depends on it, but that she needs a sign. We were all crying, testifying of what she needed to do. But she won't. The goodbye was literally tragic....Hermana T is SO close to this lady. I guess this life just isn't her time. 

but not got sick and couldn't come to church the next day...lame. But he will be don't worry.

Okay, let me rewind to the baptism. We showed up and there were 2 other wards there when we had booked the font, so it was a little stressful. Then Ruben was a half hour late, and showed up with tons of doubts and questions about the commandments. Satan was really working on him. He kept saying "I know it's true and I want to be baptized, I just figure out the reason behind the commandments." We talked him through it all and some how my companion gave a killer pep-talk (in Spanish) and he calmed down and remembered his testimony. 45 minutes later (the ward sat in the room waiting the whole time...yikes) Ruben was baptized. After he came out of the water he was SO happy. It was a roller coaster of a day, but turned out to be amazing!

This week has been incredible...full of miracles. I am doing super well, me and my comp laugh 100 times a day and love eachother so much. I really am so so so happy! Love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Thanks for reading!