Monday, April 27, 2015

20 April, 2015

Last Pday after emailing/shopping/etc. we went and did some art with Jenny and her pop-up shop on Beach Rd! It was super fun. Jenny is really cool - I know you'd like her. She's so bubbly and full of life and dreams. We made letter paper (the 3 pages of which I have sent off by now - I would use 3 pages just like that) using (okay forgive my terminology but I shall call it) stamps and watercolour textas and it was SO much fun. She told us, "just let go! if you make a mistake that's okay, that's just called art." And I love that!! There's no use in being a perfectionist. It takes a righteous desire to do good and turns it into something unrealistic and stressful (in my experience at least)... And what she said actually reminded me a lot of repentance. Not that it is "okay" to sin, but that in the grand scheme of things, we all sin, we all sin everyday, even the prophet sins, the only person who walked sinless on the earth is Jesus Christ. And so in admitting that, and working through your mistakes, learning from your mistakes, changing (i.e. repenting) .... that's what life is all about. And that mindset is so much more hopeful than I think what immediately comes to mind when somebody says "repent!" hahaha. 
I also admire how even as you "let go" a lot of skill in art really actually comes by a marvelous amount of self discipline. And I thought there was a lesson in that too. 

And final thought tangent is a quote for Tad R. Callister that I really admire. "I can live with some human imperfections, even among prophets of God - that is to be expected in mortal beings. I can live with some alleged scientific findings contrary to the Book of Mormon; time will correct those. And I can live with some seeming historical anomalies; they are minor in the total landscape of truth. But I cannot live without the doctrinal truths and ordinances restored by Joseph Smith, I cannot live without the priesthood of God to bless my family, and I cannot live without knowing my wife and children are sealed to me for eternity. That is one choice we face- a few unanswered questions on one hand versus a host of doctrinal certainties and the power of God on the other." 

This just speaks to my soul. Faith is a gift from God, and it is a gift worth praying for, asking for, fighting for the freedom to express.

One seemingly innocent Thursday after vising the temple, two elders walked into the newly opened Costco to go eat some pizza. Their daydreams of pizza were interrupted by, 'Hey Elders! Come over!' as a young family waved them over to their table. That was the start of how we met Kyle and Kirsty but their conversion story begun long before even that. 
Have you ever heard of #tumblrstake? I hadn't until a few weeks ago. I'd just like to thank all those who use the Internet for good. 
Their baptism is scheduled for this Saturday! We are so excited for them. They're such a beautiful family, and they've taught me a lot - about commitment and watching how excited they are about the prospect of entering the temple themselves, the prospect of finally joining the church that they have believed to be true for so long ... and also I've learned that Satan does not give up, he tries and he tries and in the face of it seems any kind of covenant or step forward you take to get closer to Heavenly Father, Satan is there to thwart that. But we know that he cannot win. The Book of Mormon (I'm up to Alma again! War chapters!) teaches it so, so simply that you can't misunderstand it. When you are righteous, you prosper in the land. Not to say that you don't go through hardship, see Mosiah 24 for that one, but the Lord takes care of His own. So if you are on the verge of something good, don't give up! He is there for you.  

Brian was supposed to give us "the sign" when he was ready to investigate the church. Weeks pass, some progress is shown but mostly we're just like - we know he feels the Spirit when he goes to church, we know he feels the Spirit when we teach his family (he's staying with some family who are part of the church at the moment) why won't he just investigate?
And then we start plotting how to help him investigate and how awkward it is and hahahaa we realised probably we weren't helping the awkwardness because beating around the bush really doesn't ever help. So we just prayed and felt it was time to teach him, sign given or not. 
We come into the dinner appt and chat with his uncle who asks us what we'll teach. We have Plan A) light message, commitment to investigate next time Plan B) first lesson, commitment to be baptised. The uncle says he thinks Brian is ready for the first lesson. Good thing we become meticulous planners on our mission, hey? 
So we go with lesson 1. And it was so, so powerful!!!!!! not us. But the Spirit that was present as the family - whose conversion levels are all at different places - shared their testimonies, experiences with priesthood blessings and conversion stories. In the midst of it all, we asked Brian how he felt. He said he felt "buzzy" (what was that? I wondered) and then I realised he was feeling the Spirit and I remembered a story that somebody else told me when he joined the church. He said that his wife told him to pray about the Book of Mormon and he did and he felt so funny, like emotions churning inside and he didn't like it because he was a man and what were feelings? But his wife, being a returned missionary, knew better and explaining to him that that was how the spirit works with us oftentimes. 
And so we taught about the Spirit, using the handy restoration pamphlet and Brian bravely committed to prepare for baptism next month! dun dun DUN! Missionary work is so exciting :D 
To cement the feelings of the Spirit (and because the family is musical and I know music helps us to feel the Spirit), we closed with hymns. Love One Another and  #136 - I Know That My Redeemer Lives. I love that hymn.  
So I think morals from this story include (a) missionary work is awesome (b) trust the Spirit (c) you can spend your whole life waiting, sometimes, maybe, you just have to jump and trust in God. 

Also Sister Soh is awesome. She calls the animals I am allergic to away from me. She runs with me (and often ahead of me) and she has a powerful testimony that she can definitely say is her own. I think that's what makes a testimony powerful. You can have eloquence and awesome stories but if they aren't your own, then it isn't enough to get you through to the end of the day, it isn't what touches a sincere investigator's heart. I'm so blessed to be serving with her in Christies Beach. As our District Leader Elder Hefa says, Christies Beach is BURNING! (I totally did have a lot of unfinished business it seems.) 

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