Tuesday, August 26, 2014

25 August 2014

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When you can't remember the last time you made an entry that usually isn't a very good indication of how your blog is going. So I spent some time today reflecting on what to share and as I reflected I realised that I have witnessed very many miracles in my first transfer in Christies Beach. Now, with the advent of a new transfer, I look forward to a second transfer! An upcoming baptism in September, and I know that many might (and humble) prayers will be said and many more miracles await. But before I get too excited about the future, I would like to reflect a bit about the past. After all, my blog purpose has a dual purpose - to record my missionary experience (how many times will I get to say that I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ? For how long will I be privy to such daily revelation, how long will I be able to wear this missionary mantle?) and also as an avenue to bear my testimony. My sister added a third purpose, to express gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the many blessings I am showered with day by day. So, without further ado!

Sandy's baptism

Sandy is one amazing lady. As I mentioned, I can't remember what I have or haven't told you about Sandy (have I even mentioned her at all? the difficulties of choosing not to look at my own blog site on my mission - like I think the background is pink but I can't really remember) but there's a term in missionary lingo for people like her - golden. Over the past few years, due to the agency of others and things outside of her control, she has had both of her legs amputated below the knee. And she first came into contact with the church, well actually her father knew the missionaries back in another state in Australia. He would wait all afternoon for the elders to come and knock on his door and then he would smash them with questions and quotes from the Bible. In any case, not sure what kind of impression that left on her but many years later, she met a latter-day saint and they became fast friends! She invited Sandy over for tea (tea is dinner here in South Australia. It is quite amusing. When I first came here I wondered whether South Australians had somehow exempted themselves from the Word of Wisdom hahaha) and also invited the missionaries! And since then, Sandy has been drinking from the living waters. There are so many miracles related to her conversion story. So many of her prayers were answered. She's an artist also and while she was in hospital (did I mention that it's also been a very dramatic ride? fire brigades, smoke alarms, four course meals split over two days, service projects, swimming pools...) she was reading the Book of Mormon and she kept feeling like someone was staring at her from out of the pages. And she drew Him and she didn't intend to draw anyone in particular, only the person that was staring at her and as she was drawing we witnessed together the striking resemblance to Jesus Christ. And she said that is how she feels as she reads the Bible and so she knows that the Book of Mormon is from God also.

And as a double amputee, you can imagine the interesting pickle that we got ourselves in when considering the logistics of her baptism. The baptismal font is not wheelchair friendly with its stairs and narrow corridors. And even though she was so ready to be baptised at the beginning of August, we had to wait because we had no venue. The beach was out because she could not get sand in her prosthetics and as we were brainstorming and all praying about it she remembered a pool she used to take her daughter to that had wheelchair access - in fact it was designed and created for people with disabilities or handicaps. And she had connections to them! Unfortunately it seemed that she would have to wait a few months for the pool to clear up enough for us to book it and perform a baptism, but then a sliver of opportunity presented itself last Saturday for one hour. And we took it! Sandy truly showed faith in every footstep. Even her baptismal clothing (she couldn't wear anything longer than where her legs stopped due to safety reasons) and then the ever present issue of the modesty of wet, white clothing and in addition to that pressed funds which made shopping an interesting exercise. But many prayers were said and opportunities and solutions always just presented themselves!

And something funny, the doctor who had to amputate both of her legs is a member of our church and he wasn't able to attend the baptism because of work but he met up with her after and he said - you don't even have to tell me that you've been baptised and confirmed. I can see it in your face. You glow again, like I never knew you could after what has happened. You have your spark again. And that meant a lot to Sandy.
So, miracles all around! Glory be to God! And mum and dad, I've said she has a place to stay if she ever comes to Sydney, okay? Because she is a very special.


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Something else that has happened recently is that my companion showed me an example of truly loving those we teach. I think I realised something about myself - the only trait that I find remotely lawyer-ly in myself is that I have this strong sense of justice. I don't accept feeling wronged very well. But one day, due to circumstances out of our control, we found ourselves in the firing line of somebody we were teaching. They just grilled us and blamed us for everything that had happened to them in the past week and a half. And I've studied charity and read that consecrated missionary talk. So I said we were sorry. I said we accept blame. But it wasn't enough, she kept going and going and going and we were both pretty close to being quite upset. And my companion took the phone from me and she said, 'Thank you for letting us know these things.' And then they ranted and blamed us some more and told us how we could be doing our job better in a few other ways and my companion said again, 'Thank you for letting us know these things. Now we can try to do better.' And I know my companion was feeling as frustrated as I and after that conversation we were both really upset still and she coloured in a picture and I started baking en masse (baking is a great stress-reliever when you can manage it. And then you can eat what you've baked! Hahaha!) but I really admire how despite how she was feeling, she was able to tell our friend exactly what they needed to hear. Which in this case wasn't necessarily an apology but more of a submitting to their will, completely humbling yourself. Quite an experience. She's amazing, my companion :) I feel very blessed to be serving with her!

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And another experience over the past week. We had been meaning to visit a sister in the ward who had been looking sad ever since she had gotten back from the funeral of her older brother and so we visited her yesterday and when we came over, her younger brother was living with her. And it was the night before he began chemotherapy treatments. Now, he isn't a member of the church and his belief in God is only so-so but I know that we were in the right place at the right time. We were able to share and discuss Psalms 23 -  David's psalm about the Lord is my shepherd. And then we were able to sing that hymn (#108). And we talked about the song and about how some of it really is mourning, it is grieving, David did some things not pleasing to God and he was quite remorseful, but at the same time, in another part of the song, you can hear the hope that he has still for eternal life, for something more, for the love of His Redeemer. And it is so, so beautiful. And I pray that his treatment will go well.


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And if you really know me (last thing I promise!) you will know that yesterday I turned 21 (a/n: That is, 24 August 2014)! And I realised I had been quite spoilt (or overly blessed haha) in my life thus far because my experience of birthdays have been really great. It becomes an avenue for people to express what I mean to them and all that - and I love that about birthdays - other people's birthdays especially. But on a mission, you don't really get a day off. And you certainly don't get a day to yourself. And I've been writing some poetry (ha!) lately and unfortunately my skill level hasn't progressed much since the haiku and limericks that I learnt in primary school but here we go: 

There are no days off
Each day I am more than me
I represent Him

And that's my 21st birthday! And this has been my week. Love to you all! I think if I could invite you to do one thing, it would be to pause and reflect on the miracles you see in your day to day life. A miracle is an event that cannot be wrought by mankind. It is the hand of the Lord in your life. And they are all about you! I promise you! God is a loving God! He wants to bless you, and he wants to hear from you! 

So have a wonderful week, and god bless.

Sister Magallanes 

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