Monday, May 26, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 33: According to the Desires of My Heart

Oh how glorious of a week it has been. I probably exaggerate quite a bit, but the sun is out, the air is warm and humid, and the world around me is just OH SO GREEEEN. How can I NOT say it's glorious! It's impossible to imagine that just a couple of months ago, all the grass and plants and trees were still covered in snow. Oh how Minnesota's grass and trees and flowers are so good at adapting to their surroundings. It really is quite miraculous! Weird to think, but the plants and grass and flowers that flourish so well right now are an example to me-- oh of just how TOUGH they really are to so quickly spring back to life after being frozen and buried for like 7 months straight! Weird--i know, but deal with it. They are an example to me. 

I promised you all with stories this week, and indeed, I am a woman/ SISTER of my words. Prepare yourself to be blown away!

But before I share the successes of the area with you, I want to clarify that I share these things not to boast of our own strength, but like Alma did, we talk of these things to glorify our Heavenly Father, because in His strength, we truly can do all things--but MOST IMPORTANTLY, what i've learnt is that --we HAVE TO BE WILLING TO GIVE ALL OUR HEART, MIGHT, MIND,AND STRENGTH to Him.
Like I told you all last week, I set a goal of being absolutely faith-filled and hopeful in all things, and Heavenly Father heard the desires of my heart.

I started this week off with an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders of our Zone. So off to the family wards, and tracting life aka "normal" missionary life of the New Brighton area I went. It's absolutely mind-blowing to me that whenever I leave my areas for exchanges, it usually is only about 10minutes car ride from where I usually am--yet a different area feels like a whole different world to me outside of the campus. Anywho! Miracles after miracles came about here on this exchange. 

After picking me up at about 8pm Monday night, Sister Richardson and I went back to her area. We were planning to do a stop by to visit a less active but because Sister Richardson was new to her area, we couldn't exactly find the house, so we decided to stop in that neighborhood and 10 by 10 the area. Ever since President's training from last week, I have started to ask for guidance, strength, and the ability to recognize all opportunities where we can find someone to baptize in EVERY one of my prayers. So before hopping out of the car, Sister Richardson and I said another prayer asking for guidance and went about knocking on doors. By this time it was about 8:45pm, closing to the time that we had to head back to the apartment. We did not have to wait long, but Heavenly Father heard the desires of our hearts and with the last door we knocked, we met a man named Gary, who was home alone, sitting in a dark living room, with his beautiful german shepherd Eva. Gary had just returned from the hospital the night before after getting treated for a lung infection. He had just recently lost his wife, and because of some contention with the pastor of the local Lutheran church that he had gone to for many years, all the members of the congregation including his children have turned against him. Gary was at a lost. He had lost his trust in God, and was at a very lonely and sorrowful point in his life. We brought him light and hope and encouragement as we told him that we were representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ to come to bring a message of peace and hope to his life. We taught him a doorstep restoration in a dimly lit, smoke-filled living room, with the door half propped open by Sister Richardson's leg so we wouldn't break the rule of 3 gender rule. We promised him specific blessing of healing and love, and forgiveness. I truly felt His Heavenly Father's love for him as I bore my testimony to Him. I saw in his eyes a sense of hope and curiosity. 

Second exchange miracle was the following day. Right before the end of our 24 hours exchange, Sister Richardson and I were stopping by an investigators home for her lesson. Of course, it fell through like all our other investigator lessons that day. Surprisingly, neither of us were worried but we continued to be hopeful and talked to EVERYONE! Sister Richardson had been praying all transfer to find a family that they could teach in their area. Heavenly Father heard our prayers. After being stood up by our appointment, we left the porch of the house and right behind us, across the street, we saw an african lady sitting in the grass, enjoying the sunshine with her 3 year old daughter playing around her. We went over to simply talk to her, to get to know her, and to hear her story. Sister Linda Inaho is from Papa New Guinea, and had just arrived in Minnesota not too long ago with her husband and her three year old daughter, Delahney. Sister Inaho has been searching for a church. She used to be Baptist, but since being here, hasn't found anything that made her feel comfortable. We talked more and got to know her better and through our conversation we learnt that her husband is an alcoholic. We saw fear, stress, and worry in her eyes. We taught her about her Savior Jesus Christ and promised her the blessing of the Atonement, of healing, of confidence, of strength to raise her daughter in righteousness, and with that the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. She was so excited to meet and to attend church that following Sunday. 

Sorry I ran out of time, but the last part of my letter are more miracles taken from my letter to President Clements-- enjoy!
. It was indeed a remarkable experience--imagine the scene, a Chinese Sister, a sister from California and an African Sister, sitting in the grass on the side the road, in the middle of Minnesota, feeling the spirit and talking of the same thing--of the Love of our Savior Jesus Christ. The spirit and the light of Christ is truly universal. We truly are ALL children of a loving Heavenly Father. He knows us so well!

Progressing Investigator:
One last miracle! I truly have been praying and eating and drinking and sleeping baptisms like you told us to President! Heavenly Father truly does grant us the desires of our heart, as long as we TRULY desire it! Sister Wei Xiu You is such a delight to teach. We are edified and enlighten by her examples each time we meet with her. Sister You is the mother of one of our Chinese recent converts, Wei Liu. Sister You had met missionaries in Hong Kong many years ago, but upon returning to mainland China, she was not able to continue attending or learning about the Church.  After all these years, Heavenly Father prepared her by giving her the desire to continue to read the Book of Mormon. Heavenly Father then prepared her by allowing her daughter to meet missionaries and be baptized here at the U of M campus. Through an inspired and prayerful mission President, Chinese speaking missionaries were requested to be sent to Minnesota. Sister You was then finally able to visit her daughter for the first time in the states this summer season, and now has been taught almost all of the lessons within a week. She cannot say that she believes in a lot of the things that we teach her during the first sitting, but through her diligent, prayerful, study and pondering every day, she is able to come back and confidently tell us the things that she believes, without us evening following up or asking. Heavenly Father can truly do His work on His own, but simply is merciful, and loving enough to let us participate, hence helping us, the missionaries, His children, learn in the process. 

This week I plan to work really hard on finding member referrals! President, you are very inspired, thats all I can say to have given us those words of counsel last night. Many weeks I have been praying to seek guidance of how we can help our Chinese investigators and new converts become more involved with the ward and with the other ward members. This is the answer! Build up their comfort zone with their own friends! I know that if this becomes the true desires of my heart, that Heavenly Father will grant us according to what we set our heart and mind upon. I am excited to act on these counsel! Thank you for all that you do President. We truly do look up to you and Sister Clements! We love you two and pray for you always!

Family, I love you all so much! I just wished you could be here experiencing the same joys, and life-changing, experiences that I get to be so fortunately a part of everyday! Thank you for all your support. Until next week! Robsters! Don't be down about not getting into the school. Be filled with hope! Pray and fast, and seek out His guidance and His will. I will be praying for you!

Sister Pao

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