Monday, March 10, 2014

the work is working

Another really good week! We had more investigators come to church yesterday than the past couple transfers. Got a new invetsigator who is epic; her name is Rhythm; more about her soon. Put a couple more people on date which was exciting. Still have to resolve some major concerns and follow up with missed commitments, but I am hopeful that our investigators are continuing to progress towards baptism and the temple. We tried to make an effort to talk about temples more with our investigators; since people are naturally interested in families forever, it makes baptism and church attendance and scripture study more important to reach a goal that they want so badly. 

On Wednesday, we had an epic lesson with Quintana. We taught the Restoration. We used the cups that represent different pieces of Christ's church. She loved the object lesson! She thought it made so much sense. When we talked about the Holy Ghost she said that she felt it when she left the church a couple Sundays ago. She first felt that when her daughter Jewel was born. She said she has been chasing that feeling ever since. She said she didn't really know it until she felt it again at the church. She said that when she was going home she wanted to share it. I thought of how much she sounds like Lehi so I shared 1 Nephi 8 with her where Lehi describes the fruit and wants other people to taste it. She then told us about a dream she had where she was sitting in front of a tiny little plant. She started to dig it up and around it. She dug and dug until she had dug up this huge green apple tree. The apples were so green and she picked one and was about to bite into it, but an amber alert woke her up. She had that dream like a week ago. she thought it was so cool that I read a scripture that was similar to her dream--I was like coincidence? I think not. The Spirit is so cool. That also really motivated her to read the Book of Mormon because now it sounded like something that she could relate to and find interesting. Then we committed her to baptism on April 12. I had no idea what date to say but as I was speaking April 12 just came out. She was shocked because that date is always a bad day for her since its the day her uncle had his service after committing suicide. As she told us that I was like "OH NO. what have I done???" Then her boyfriend Kyle and her talked about it. They talked about how it would be good for her to have something good on that date. Like his grandma died on Oct 13 but that day his daughter was also born. She said that it was so weird that out of all dates I would pick that one. Weird...still a mystery to me. Anyway, she pretty much committed to that date, so I was happy that it all worked out. 

On Friday, we had a cool lesson with Crystal, the 14 year old. She is awesome. We watched the Restoration video and it made her "happy." Her mom was in tears and very overwhelmed by the Spirit which was sweet to see--I'm not the only one! 

On Saturday morning, we helped Kelly pack up her classroom. She is leaving for Michigan. I will miss her a lot. She is an amazing person. I look forward to going to the temple with her when I get home! 

Then on Saturday night, Brother and Sister Saccomanno invited us over for dinner. They also invited their new friend Rhythm, who is in her late 60s or early 70s. Rhythm has had a very "colorful" life. When she was 4 or 5 she became an orphan which led to a life of much abuse. At 16, she tried to commit suicide by drinking hydro-chloric acid. That didn't kill her but she lost a lot of teeth from it. At one point she worshipped Satan. She got into Satan's church and witchcraft for a season. Then somehow she made it to Churchwells, Utah. 

 She has lived in Churchwells for a while and has lived amongst Mormons for quite some time since Churchwells is heavily populated with Mormons and like less than 50 people live out there. Anyway, she used to live with a less-active Mormon and there she came across the Book of Mormon. She was curious and decided to read it. She has already read in twice and is starting her third time. She has also read the entire Gospel Principles book and went to church in St. George once. She has also read the Bible more times than she can count; it is very evident because she can quote it so well and had great questions about the scripture in John 1 about no man seeing God and she also wanted to know the difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. She already feels the Spirit a lot because she prays so much and reads the scriptures so she invites his influence into her life a lot; but we told her that he could be her constant companion. She was so excited and wanted to know when she could get that--perfect segway into a baptismal commitment. 
Also when we first met with her, she was almost in tears as she thanked us for living what we believe. She said she has been watching us (Mormons) for a while now and she has seen that we "walk the talk." She has been baptized in 40 different "flavors of Christianity" because she has seen over and over again that so many people are hypocrites and do not at all live the gospel. I thought that was cool and it made me want to be better because I know that I don't live the gospel as well as I should. I know a lot of members, even myself, who belong to the church but do not necessarily live it, so I was impressed that she recognized that in general members of the Church live the teachings.
We watched the Restoration video with her and she LOVED it. She was on the edge of her chair some of the time, and made a lot of comments in agreement with Joseph Smith and how "right" everything was and felt. When Joseph asked one of the pastors/preaches: "Shouldn't there be one answer that is right for everyone?" She said under her breath "Good question." She was really listening--to the movie and to the Spirit. She was in tears at the end. We knelt in prayer and the Spirit was so strong. Brother and Sister Saccomanno thanked us and told us that they were on Cloud 9. I was so grateful for them; they have such a strong desire to be a part of the hastening of the work. 
 Rhythm came to church on Sunday and two members bore their testimony that through their relationships with Rhythm they have come to better understand the Savior. Rhythm has a light about her because she lives the teachings and loves her Savior. It strengthened my faith. I truly believe that sharing the gospel strengthens your testimony way more than it strengthens the other person. I am grateful for members who get involved in missionary work. Nothing would have happened with Rhythm if the members didn't open their mouths and invite her to meet with us. 

Overall I am overwhelmed by the opportunity to be a part of this great work. I encourage all to get involved; however, it does require work. 
 Over and over, I think about the quote by Elder Holland that goes along the lines of "Salvation is not a cheap experience. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?" In contrast, lehi teaches "Adam fell that men might be: men are that they might have joy." 
The work of salvation is awesome. It is the only thing that matters in this life--your own salvation and then helping others with theirs. It is the most joyful experience. 
We share it because we want to. We have tasted of it and it is delicious to us and we want to share it. Continue to invite. "Would you like to learn a little bit more about my church?" It is not enough to just be an example and answer questions; we have to open our mouths and invite. You can't be pushy if you aren't even asking. If they say no, just thank them; it is valuable to you and if they are interested we want to share more. 
Members have so much power as missionaries. All it takes is giving their friends opportunities to have a spiritual conversion IF their interested. We can't judge who is ready because we see the outward appearance but Heavenly Father knows the situation better--he knows their heart. Just invite; "come and see."

Today Sylvia is getting baptized so we will have a busy p-day: getting the font filled, still have to make programs, laundry still to do, we want to get ice cream with Kelly since today is the last day we can see her this week, etc. 
Great week! Thanks for the letters. I love reading your emails. I print them out even though I don't respond. If you give me your address, then I will respond with a letter though!

Love, Tchau,
Sister Sadie Bledsoe

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