Tuesday, February 7, 2017
This week has been AWESOME! Just a few highlights:
Menos Activo- Misonero
So remember or recent convert Ruben? He was so awesome...and then withing 3 weeks went less active. We had been trying to meet with him like every day and then finally he told me and Hermana Thompson that we "Annoy him" and that the church annoys him too. WHAT! We were so bummed.
THEN last week I got THE BEST PHONE CALL OF MY MISSION!!! Ruben was on the phone (in spanish) "Hermanita Johnson!!! Let's schedule a session!"
I'm like...."WHAT? Okay for sure! What's the occasion?"
"I WANT TO GO ON A MISSION!!!" -Ruben.
I was jumping up and down and freaking out! We met up with him the next day and he filled us in on his 180 change. He told us that he had been in Juarez Mexico staying with family for the past two months. Turns out, all of his cousins are returned missionaries! He had no idea!! They got him all pumped up about the gospel and a mission and everything! Ruben told us that as he thought and prayed about a mission, something came into his heart so strong. He said it was so warm and powerful in his chest! He was so eager to learn everything he could in a one hour appointment haha. He was asking, "How do I find people to teach? Where do I get the pamphlets? How do I know what to say?"
He still needs to get the priesthood and go to the temple and stuff, but in the mean time he is a ward missionary! We were helping him practice for lessons and we said, "What would you say to someone who doesn't come to church, but has already been baptized?"
He replied, "That's easy! Bro, I got baptized and was SOOOO LAZY. Don't be lazy. Just get out of bed and come to church!" hahahah
I had the craziest experience with Joel. He is the guy we found living above Pablo's house! He is so cool and ready to be baptized, so stay tuned for that. But we were teaching him about temples and baptisms for the dead. You could tell he was really pondering the whole concept of being able to help those who have already passed on receive a baptism. I had a paper in front of me so I drew a box, trying to illustrate what the little piece of paper that has the name of the person being baptized on it looks like. You know, the blue/pink slip that says the name and the birthdate and the bar code and stuff. Anyway, I drew the box and said "For example, you will get a piece of paper like this. It will have a random name like....." A name popped into my head and I wrote it. Gorge Neria. Joel freaked out. "How do you know Gorge!?"
Turns out, Gorge Neria is his cousin who got murdured. He already had told us that he wanted to to a baptism for this cousin of his, but he never had told us the name. He had been thinking of Gorge the whole time we were talking, and somehow the spirit put the name onto the paper!
Tell me the church isn't true!
We had so many other awesome lessons this week! We have a handfull of AMAZING children of God preparing to be baptized this month and next. I can't even express how amazing it feels to see lives change. It makes every minute worth it.
Biking is super fun! That makes mission life SO MUCH better. I feel like I'm at home cruising around Hillsdale with my friends haha. Me and my comp are doing great! We got invited to a special leadership conference this week so we will go up to a few other missionaries and spend the night in Albuquerque this week for the conference. Super pumped!
Also, It happened again! A different ward asked me to come to their relief society where they were teaching a lesson about "Turning lemons to sweet lemonade" (mom's article). I sang Grande Eres Tu (how great thou art) again and the spirit was so strong. They asked me to share my testimony and then passed lemons and limes to certain ladies in the room and the came up and shared their stories on how they used the gospel to turn "lemons to lemonade". I thought the relief society room was going to get water damage from all of the tears! Such a powerful meeting. Thanks again mom!
Sure love ya! xoxox
All I want to talk about today is someone who has impacted my life a lot. Pablo Gonzalez!GRUMPYWe met Pablo two months ago in his garage. We were walking up his road, trying to talk to anyone we could find. He happened to be standing in his garage fixing his car, so we asked if there was anything we could do to help.He seemed a little surprised, no words for a minute, and then he tried to shew us off. He said "I have a lot of cancer, and I'm very cold. I can't fix my car. I'm going inside."Hermana Thompson pulled out a scripture about Jesus Christ's power to heal. He listened, thanked us, and then very grumpily reminded us that he has cancer and needs to go inside.We made a note of his name and then a mental note to not go back.Three or four days later we arrived to an appointment with another person on his street. The appointment canceled and we didn't know what to do. I felt very strongly that we should go back to Pablo (which sounded a little useless when I said it outloud to my companion) but we both agreed to try by and see if he knows anyone else who might be interested. I remember being a little nervous as we knocked on his door. I was scared the same grumpy, easily irritated man would be on the other side. But to our surprise, Pablo opened the door and invited us in with open arms! He almost looked relieved to see us!Dios Por Que?As we sat down he told us parts of his story. Pablo has almost died several times. Once in a car wreck, and 3 times from cancer. He didn't just "almost die", he actually saw the light, felt the peace, and then something pulled him back every time. The last time he actually fell off the bed and he snapped out of it! He can recount each of these experiences in detail (as he does often). He told us, through tears, that he just wants to know why. POR QUE? Why does God let him suffer? Why does he live with 12 painful tumors, several diseases, and all alone?We told him we can help him answer these questions. We know exactly why God has kept him on earth. He told us, again through tears, that he knows that we can help him. He said that when he saw us he thought we were angels. He said he was actually very confused. For a moment he thought that two angels were standing in his garage the night we met. Then he asked, in all seriousness, "are you angels?""For they were treated as though they were angels sent from God to save them from everlasting destruction" Alma 27That was one of the most humbling moments of my life! We taught him about God, about his devine potential in God's eyes, and about how God wants to hear from him through prayer.Pablo Prayers <3He spread out a blanket on the floor and we all knelt in prayer. His prayer was so powerful. Pablo PLEADED with Heavenly Father for help, peace, purpose, healing, and love. He just kept asking "Dios, Por que? POR QUE tengo tanto sufrimiento?" (god, why? why do I have so much suffering?) It was like he was kneeling at the feet of God himself. The spirit filled the room and I left wondering how we are going to be worthy to teach such an incredible person who is so close to God (even though he didn't know it, yet).The Book Of MormonWe came back the next day to find a Book of Mormon sitting on the table. "Pablo! Where did you get that?"He received it from some "great young men in white shirts" more than 40 years ago in Las Vegas, and has kept it all this time.We told him that his answers were in that Book, and he said he already knew. He had never read it, never looked into the church, but he said out of the several religions he has looked into he always knew this one is right.Our lessons continued to get better and better. He told every member we brought to his house about how he is convinced that we are angels. In every lesson his prayers continued to shake the earth. It is incredible. He bows his head and I feel that actual angels come and kneel beside us, the spirit fills the whole house, and we all feel like we are in heaven for a minute.Dancing...KingAs we got to know him better we learned about his incredible life. He has always been a major party planner. He loves to throw a classy evening with music and DANCING! Pablo LOVES to dance. He even made sure that he could dance and be a Mormon. HAHA. He has stories after stories about some insanely famous people, but to him the are just old friends. One of the most famous Mexican artists, Juan Gabriel, was one of his closest friends! He is like every famous person's hype-man. He used to live such a wild, fast paced life hosting fabulous dances and parties (imagine a Mexican Great Gatsby). I could listen to his stories all day!The day Hermana Thompson left, and also the day after Pablo went to church for the first time, he called and said he wants to give the book back, and that he won't be baptized. We went over there right away and he had somehow decided to not be baptized! His reason was because he has to work (host dance parties) on Sundays and he doesn't want to make a commitment to God that he can't keep. We testified of what the gospel will do for him if he has faith and then invited him to talk to Heavenly Father about it. He bowed his head, sincerely asked for help knowing if this is the right path for him, closed the prayer, and said "I will prepare to be baptized".Eternal MarriageThen when he turned 50 he found the perfect woman he had always been waiting for. They lived the perfect life. They went through good and bad times, but when they were together everything was magical! Nothing could get them down!They lived in Las Vagas together for several years. Together, they always admired the big white church (temple) Pablo, as he told us about his wife and their love for the temple, told me that he wants to go inside before he dies.Turns out, Pablo knows nothing about the temple! It is just something beautiful that he and his wife have always loved. Before we could tell him the purpose of temples, he told us about what happened to his wife.Three years ago his wife fell in the kitchen, hit her head, and died in his arms. Hearing him tell this story first hand was about the saddest thing I have ever heard. He just melted, face in hands, sobbing. I couldn't stand to see him so broken anymore! So I reached out, took his hand, and told him about how him and his wife can be together forever in the temple. His face lit up, the spirit filled the room, and he said another incredible prayer giving thanks to God.Baptism, The First StepWhen Pablo arrived to his baptism he was beaming! He wore the classiest metallic suit and had his brother and girlfriend (hehe) there to support him! He got all dressed in the white clothes and was so excited and nervous all at the same time. When he went under the water I swear the heavens opened!As he changed, the elders in our ward shared the message of the Restoration in the chapel for the SEVERAL non members and investigators who were there. When they finished the room was so still. Right then Pablo walked in, absolutely glowing, and I sang "Mas Cerca Dios de Ti" because Pablo had asked me to.(then we did an awesome church tour for all the non-members...super fun)The next day, after he got confirmed in the church, he stood up to get sustained. As he stood he waved to everyone and said "Gracias!". So sweet. Then just about every talk was directed toward Pablo.ChangeChange is a miracle, but it is possible if we just put our trust in God. I think about the grumpy grumpy GRUMPY man that we met in the garage. He was depressed and so mad at God. His cancer pains were too much to be able to stand up well, let alone do is favorite thing in the world, dance. He was so depressed, missed his wife, and just felt alone. But, from the beginning he withstood the pain to be able to physically get on his knees, he sacrificed his dancing to come to church on Sundays, and he allowed himself to go through an uncomfortable repentance process. Now, if you ask him he will tell you that he has stopped asking "por que?" (why) and has started saying "gracias". His cancer pains hardly bother him any more and his depression and anxiety is healing!After he got confirmed he gave me a big hug. He thanked me for being his angel and then looked right at me and said, "I feel brand new".If I ever forget why I'm on a mission, just forward this email back to me. I mostly just wrote this story for me. I never want to forget the miracles we saw with Pablo!P.S. Our recent convert (Ruben) called me and said he wants to serve a mission! We are helping him work it out right now! SO awesome!!!!P.S.S. we are biking now so I'm pretty much the happiest girl ever