First off, I am getting transferred out of Chaparral. It is a bittersweet moment for me. I have been here 6 months and I honestly feel so at home. I feel like these people have become a very close family for me. I am grateful for all the goodness and love I have been shown by them. I will never forget this time. I think I have learned more about what it really means to be a missionary here then anywhere else I have served. I have learned what it means to sacrifice and what it means to be lead by the spirit. I have learned what it means to believe in and experience miracles.
The Spanish sisters' car was in the shop so we got to taxi them around for 3 days which was really fun because they cover the whole stake. Yeah, being an STL is the best. You get to do all the fun stuff AND all the logistical stuff. It's a riot.
Avianna is a new investigator and she is SO golden! She grew up going to a Christian school and believes in God and Jesus Christ but has some hang-ups about going to church because of some bad experiences. But we got to talk to her and she's really excited to come to church. The main issue is that she's super sick and gets dizzy really easily. She got a shot for something and they hit a nerve or something awful so supposedly she's going to have dizzy spells the rest of her life. She's only in her late 20's. It's so sad! But we love her a lot and are so excited to teach her! So keep her and her health in your prayers! How we found her was a miracle. We decided to randomly tract like 5 houses at 10 am. She had been sitting on her couch feeling sick and very lonely. She was praying and we knocked on the door. Because of that she said she wanted to listen and knew that God sent us. I love getting to be an answer to a prayer!
Mason and his family are awesome, too! They're doing so well! It's been so fun to see them go from not even knowing the difference between Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to being able to tell us why baptism and praying and going to church is important. At the beginning, little Sumo told us, "I lost my faith!" (because he was confused about what faith actually was) and now he loves going to church and he knows what it really means to have faith.
Dean's doing really really well! We had an awesome lesson with him on Tuesday. We couldn't get a member to come with us so we sat on his front porch in lawn chairs and talked about Conference and the Prophet and kind of the basic set-up of the church. And finally, FINALLY Dean said the closing prayer. We have been waiting for that moment for 2 months and it happened! :) He hesitated at first, and then he started and tried to think of things to say and he even tried to get me to finish, but we just sat there and waited and he prayed. It was such a sweet moment. (We found out from him last night that apparently Jaydean was sitting by the window listening and when Dean walked in after the lesson Jaydean goes, "Wow, dad, that was terrible!" HAHA! Kids are too much.) Then in our goodbye visit last night he prayed again and it was basically so great. It was sincere, heartfelt, and it just seemed easy for him to do it. Both were proud "mama" moments. :) We taught Jaydean the Plan of Salvation by drawing it in Chalk. When we got to the perfect body part Jaydean went right to work on his picture. I looked over and asked what he was drawing and he looked up and said, "my 6 pack". Oh my goodness.
Carmen and Wilson had been struggling, not calling or texting us back, so we decided we'd just stop by. We called Sis. Esmedina (their fellowshipper) a few hours before to see if she could join us and she could. And let me tell you, it was exactly what was supposed to happen! We show up and Wilson is hesitant to let us in because he said he was finishing eating. Sis E said something in Tagalog and he let us in:) So we go in and he says that after he's done he's going to color his mom's hair. Hmmmmmm that's convenient. I didn't even ask permission from sister Price to allow her hair skills to be used before I said, "Sister Price can do it! She does hair! She's a pro!" So she colored Carmen's hair, Sis E and I read from the BoM in Tagalog and talked about tithing and the experience that she had, and we talked about church and all these wonderful things and Wilson just softened. It was SO wonderful! By the time we left they had committed to read and pray together and come to church! The whole thing was led by the Spirit! So Sunday comes, and Sis P and I had decided that we needed to fast for some miracles so we did. (We went to 9:00 church with Thu and her family because they couldn't come at 11, so that was great!) And then we're at church, sitting in our pew, per usual, and Alan is with the May's, Ember is with the Francis', and Dean and Jaydean are sitting together. And Sis P and I have our usual bench all to ourselves because noone else came. So sad. We're waiting and praying for Carmen and Wilson to show up; Sis E walks in late and asks us where they are. When we told her they weren't there (yet) she looked like she was going to cry. All of sacrament was wonderful. Then I'm sitting there during the closing prayer and praying in my heart for a miracle, and I feel someone walk up to our bench and sit down. The prayer ends and I look over and there is Carmen! She was literally an answer to prayer! (As it turns out, Sister Price was praying for the exact same thing and had basically the exact same experience. Comp unity for the win!) Tons of people walked up to Carmen and Wilson and introduced themselves! They stayed for 2nd hour and we talked about agency and all its components and we were talking to Wilson after and he said that he felt opposition as he was trying to come to church and so he knew it's where he needed to be! :) We're hoping for their baptism this Thursday so keep that in your prayers!
I went to say goodbye to Sharon and she told me that some of her neighbors were trying to get her to go to their church. She said how she went to a bible study with one during the week. She then said this, " When I go to our church I feel like I am getting into a warm bed" I know I am where I need to be. We talked about how God lead us to her and how she was so prepared to accept the gospel. I thanked her for her faith and we made plans to reunite in the temple one year from now. I have learned so much from Sharon.
Alan Sanchez. Man this one makes me sad to leave more then almost anything. He is just incredible and teaches us all so much. We had a break through lesson with him this week that was probably the best lesson I have had my entire mission. We have been reading a chapter a day in the Book of Mormon with him and then we discuss them when we meet. It is like a roller coaster with Alan and some weeks he loves what he reads and some weeks he just gets plain upset at Nephi. When we showed up on Wednesday for the lesson we could tell something we different. We were in our members home who have been incredible to him and really taken him in. We quickly find out that it was the anniversary of his dads passing 16 years ago. We start the lesson and he brings up that he read the ENTIRE book of Genesis that day to prepare for the lesson as well. All 50 chapters mind you because he thought that the Laban from Nephi was the same Laban from the book of Genesis and he wanted to really understand his story. If that doesn't show dedication to learning and understanding I don't know what does. We were all sitting there frantically flipping through Genesis trying to figure out what he was talking about (Turns out they are related but not the same person). I think it was quite insightful of him to make that connection though. That is just one small example of what it is like to teach Alan. We have to be on our toes ALL the time and nothing gets by him. It is one of the most powerful and spirit filled things I have ever done though, God has given us the ability to be enough for Alan. As we were talking Alan through down his Book of Mormon, looked me in the eyes and said: why does it matter? Why do you go to this church? Mormonism is only 200 years old and yet you claim it to be the one and only true church. Why? Each of us in the room then had the opportunity to answer that question for him and to bear our witness of the truth. Our member then was prompted to ask Alan some very specific questions. She later told us that the spirit was literally saying the words into her ear and she was simply repeating them. She asked him what he thought his father was learning, why his father would want him there that night, how could he help his father and so on. Alan was so overcome along with the rest of us that he started crying and said, " my dad wants me here tonight because he doesn't want me to make the same mistakes that he did. He doesn't want to waste my time." That was the moment right there. When he knew for himself that his father was guiding him to this church and that this church would allow him to give his father what he never had. Alan then opened up and told us how he had been depressed and angry all day. He said that when it came time for him to decide if he would come to the lesson he literally felt the holy spirit impelling him to go. He said it took him off the couch and brought him to the members home. As he opened up to the spirit and acknowledged the spirit it became so strong in the room. He talked about how he saw this journey as a long short process. We talked about baptism and then to close all of us, including Alan, knelt on the ground and he offered a beautiful prayer. It was the best way to end my time teaching Alan. The best part too is that the ward just loves him and wants to all help him out. They stop the Elder quorum lesson and just do a Alan Q&A on a regular basis. Everyone talks to us about him and so many people are supporting him. Alan has taught me more about being a member of the church then any person I have ever met.
Yesterday we had some minor miscommunications about meals, so Sis P and I ended up eating 3 dinners. To say that I don't want to eat for a really long time is the understatement of a century.
Quote: "God uses the unlikely to speak thru so you can KNOW Who it is that's talking to you!" ~Sis Ellen Michiel
I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!! Onward to my next home.