Monday, September 30, 2013

Possibly my last email from the mission field! 9/30/13

Well it's crazy to think that my mission is coming to a close, it's the beginning of my last week here as a missionary and man am I blown away. It's flown by! I don't know what the plan is for next Monday 100% but I know we have to drive up to the mission home at some point and drop me off, so that's why I say this might be my last email, hopefully it's not though :)
The past week has been a great one, the Lord is really blessing me with a good end to my mission haha. We got to teach quite a bit of lessons and are hoping to teach even more this upcoming week. Probaly one of the craziest lessons we had though was with the new person we are teaching named "Meeka" (shortened from Shameeka). We met her the Saturday before last in some very ghetto apartments in the area, she has had a rough past that she is very open about and is looking to change. She told us all about how she had worked as a stripper from the time she was 16 until just a few years ago (she's currently 26) she realized that wasn't the life she wanted to live after a a private show she was told by a man that she can't "expect to make nowhere it in life without no Pimp" and so she should come work for him. It was at that point she turned her life around and get back into church but her first Sunday back she felt very judged and unwelcome because she could hear people whispering that she was just some "Holy-Ho" and so she want's to be a better person and get back into going to church but feels like she will keep being judged if she came back to church.  Well that's the very shortened very censored version of the story we got on our first visit with her, hopefully that didn't offend anyone, as a missionary people just open up and tell you all sorts of crazy and not so socially acceptable things so it makes it hard to tell what things are alright to repeat in a public setting and what's not after awhile haha. But anyways the reason I tell you about her is because, she was very very pregnant when we met her last week and this week we got to teach her in the hospital while she was having her baby, the baby's daddy isn't really around anymore as far as we can tell, so she wanted us to be there for support. It was definitely one of the craziest settings I've ever taught someone a lesson haha but she told us just to keep teaching her about the plan of salvation because it would help calm her down while she was going through her contractions. We ended up leaving about 3:30 because she was starting to be in quite a bit of pain and sure enough at 5:00ish the baby was born! Her name is Legend, and she's a very cute baby. That was definitely the craziest story we had happen to us this past week, I'll attach a few pictures of it. The rest of the week we had lots of great experiences teaching people too but for the sake of space I'll just talk about that one.
I have absolutely loved my mission. There's not a minute of it I would change. It's been so sweet to see the gospel effect the lives of the people here and help them to do better. It's been just as awesome to see myself grow in my testimony and conversion to the Gospel as well. I feel like all throughout my life I've had a testimony of the gospel, I've never really doubted the truth of it, questioned it yes, but never really doubted it. The difference to me now it that I feel truly converted to the gospel and know the things I need to do personally to hold onto that conversion. There is a very big difference between just having a testimony of the truth and being converted to the truth. The first can come very suddenly, it can be based off the knowledge of a true gospel principle, and it can be obtained by any son or daughter of God in any time period or any place in the world. Conversion comes only through living the gospel and implementing it in our life. I feel like through the past 2 years little by little I have been able to experience true conversion and boy is it an incredible thing. I hope to continue to experience that all throughout my life. I know this church and gospel are Christ's. I know that God loves every one of his children today just as he always has. Because of that he allows us to grow through sufferings and trials here in life, as hard as I'm sure it is for Him to watch us go through them and as easy as it would be for Him to take them all away, He doesn't, because He loves us enough to let us grow through them. If you don't know that for your self, I testify that you can know, just as I do. I know that God's church has been Restored here in our time and that any person can find that same truth for them self, all it takes is a sincere and heartfelt prayer to God with real intent to act on the answer he gives. I have loved my mission. I'm sad to see it end, but I know that it's all part of God's plan. I love and miss each of you guys and I can't wait to see you next week!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good times and allergies!

This week was another good one as always here in the mission field. It was a lot less busy than the past couple of weeks so that was very nice. Man have allergies been kicking my butt though! We're starting to transition to fall here so all the leaves are changing colors and falling off and man for some reason it has been driving my sinuses crazy haha. I definitely didn't have them this bad last year, but nothing a little allergy meds can't fix!
We had some great success this past week following up on the potential people to teach we found last week that were just too busy to meet at the time. We found a nice couple named Teresa and Randy that loved the lesson we had with them about the Restoration of the Gospel, they said they would definitely pray about it and let us know how it went. So that was sweet. We also met a young African American woman named Meeka. She has had a super rough past but said she wants to make big changes in her life to start doing what she should be doing. That's always a comforting thing to hear as a missionary haha. Probably the biggest change we've seen this past week in someone we are teaching though is with this guy named Erik. I've talked about him a few times in emails before, but just a quick review, he is 26 has two young kids and has had a very rough past relationship with his ex-wife who has done everything in her power to take his kids from him. He's always believed in God but just doesn't know where he's at right now, he feels like he's been left behind. Well this Sunday he came to church at his own free will for the first time ever, and although he's not the kind of guy to flat out admit it, he loved it and felt the spirit for the first time in a very long time. He asked us to come by later that night and man he was just a totally changed person, it think it was the first time in the 3 months I've been here that we've seen him legitimately happy, it was sweet!
Well that's the update for the week here. Not too many things out of the ordinary but enough to make it a great week! Well I hope each of you are having a great week wherever you are! Crazy to think I'll see a lot of you guys in just 2 weeks. 2 years flies by! I love and miss each of you though and I'll talk to you next week!