Monday, June 8, 2015

Hello dear family/blog! 

OKAY this past week has been so great! Except for Friday, Friday was a hard day. Something about weekly planning seems to get me down, but we persevered and my companion was like I don't know what to do do you want to talk someone? And I didn't want to just yet I wanted to exhaust all the other avenues heavenly father has given us so I went into the room and I tried to lie down because I was tired but I was not sleepy (it is hard to discern sometimes what you need) so instead I just prayed and when I ran out of words (which I do, even in prayer sometimes) I just kind of meditated I suppose and I felt like that was really, really good for my soul. 
So I think I share this because a missionary will always share the highlights but i don't think you can appreciate really how special the highlights are unless you know that we suffer as others do, and we are under an extraordinary amount of pressure and as we learn to rely on heavenly father, that's what produces the miracles. 

But let's not focus on the negatives because as I said this week was really wonderful!
Our previous rescue had another Sunday off and came to church again! I love that family so much. She's Filipino and whenever we come over she cooks a FEAST. It reminds me of the Filipino parties you know with all the food on the table and it is kind of like a buffet and I forgot that that was what I was used to with all the western food I've eaten on my mission and how they give you your own serving.. it was awesome. I had ube again! Hooray! And lots of spring rolls.
Anyway, she had been struggling a bit over the past few, well, years... and almost losing her testimony and even considering going back to her old church but we knew she had a testimony, and so we tried to fan the embers of that testimony and she said she would try church just one more time before shutting the door and she did and it was a wonderful experience! And she just looked so happy. Sister Soh always says the gospel is so logical! You look at that face and that manner, and even if you were blind I'm sure you could feel her happy glow and you tell us that this isn't the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You tell us that something that so obviously benefits her is not from God. We've had too many experiences to doubt. 

And what else has been happening?
Our investigator Brian had an interesting spiritual experience. First off let me tell you about their family. They are Samoan + a Tongan family friend living with them and the islander culture is quite different to the Aussie way of life. it is similar to Filipino culture re food haha but ah I can't explain it. it's just different. Anyway, we joined them for Family Home Evening last night and our investigator was teaching us the lesson (role reversal, hey) and also we had just had lunch with that family at another family's home and we talked about standards (watched "Stay Within the Lines" it's a good one. I recommend it) and that was good! And then the father of the home turned the time to us and we talked about the b word, baptism and how his prayers were going etc etc. And then he shared with us that interesting spiritual experience - with the aid of Brother Finau. 
So, I wish I could draw this for you haha but he was running along the beach after work and the sun was setting and he was standing on some cliffs and he realised that the sun rays were pointing directly to where he was, on the cliff. He felt like God was speaking to him, giving him the signal but his reply was "I'm not ready!" 
Hahaha... so we talked about that and what was keeping him from entering into that sacred covenant with heavenly father and we used the Book of Mormon to allay his fears and we invited him to baptism for the date that we had prayed about and he accepted. 
Something else I love about teaching this family is that we seem to always begin and end our lessons with hymns. And they are so good at singing - any hymn we sing turns into a 4 part choir. And I love music and the Spirit that it brings. I told Sister Soh, who needs iTunes when you have a hymn book? hahahaha! 

I've been thinking about the favourite moments of my mission and like you hear missionaries say so many things but I wanted what i said to be real and from the bottom of my heart and not just some cliche. And I think that honestly the favourite moments of my mission have been when we have felt the Spirit in the room and in the lesson and then invited our investigator to baptism. Elder Holland described this in a talk "The Divine Companionship." The veil is thin, hearts burn, sometimes tears are shed and nobody in the room would rather be anywhere else. And then like that corny EFY song "I cry and say, this is what matters. The truth is calling to you." I used to think that song was ridiculous but I realised that it kind of is describing a true moment. And that moment is the best. I think glimpses of this also happen whenever we find someone new to teach, or we hear someone's very first prayer ever. But really something in common with all of these moments is the presence of God's Spirit. My dad's mission changed his life in so many ways but he told me something that I think I'll always remember. He told me that the greatest blessing of all from his mission (and mind you that's where he met my mum and boom 4 kids a house no dog later) was the testimony that he received that God lives and that this is His church. All he left on his mission with was the knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true - but that's all you need to start, hey? I'm really grateful for the rich heritage my pioneer parents have left me. 

Attached are some photos!

                                                                     district activity
some nice scenery from my pro companion except i think the resolution may be small, sorry
eating a giant marshmallow from kyle and kirsty. it seemed like a good idea but after 1/3 of the marshmallow i was kind of done with it. but i'm sure it would work great over a fire!! 
our lemon tree in the backyard - the colours are so bright and poppy 


oh yes and at sister rowling's house. with the cat. I've developed an interesting kind of relationship with dogs and cats on the mission. but in case of any cat or dog lovers out there, I think I'll refrain from explaining the nuances of it. But I'm really glad my family didn't get a little inside dog while I've been gone. Hehehe. 

This is the best work ever! Elder Holland says 'welcome to the work of angels'. It's true. This work and the change that the restored gospel can make in people's lives is nothing short of miraculous. 

Anyway, thanks for reading. Have a great week!

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