Wow another week down on the countdown. Time doesn't make any sense on the mission! I bet on your receiving side, it still feels like an eternity away until I get home. I know I know, and I'm sorry it feels that way. If it makes any of you feel any bit better, THIS IS REAL LIFE. Something that I don't mention as often as a missionary is that there are actually a good amount of moments all across my mission where I have felt like time couldn't be any slower. However, from all my emails home, I'm sure you haven't been able to catch on to it, because, well, straightforwardly, I don't talk about those moments as much. Why? I can promise that I haven't been lying or hiding these REAL feelings with you all, but simply one answer, these seemingly blatant, slow and hard times are just simply ALWAYS over encompassed by the fast paced joys, and goodness of the week! Example A: THIS WEEK!
Guess what? Pretty much all our investigators, and progressing investigators dropped us earlier on at the start of this past week. Cute little Vietnamese Vinh broke our hearts, actually the day of my birthday by writing us a letter saying that he needs extra time. Initially, he felt prompted to be baptized on, but his battle with cigarettes has just been a really difficult one. I am grateful that he gave me a moment to realize that time is okay, and that a break from our visits will be a good time for him to evaluate, to soak in all that he's learnt, and to learn to rely on the Holy Ghost for himself. I learnt that even when we are not physically there meeting with him, God's plan is still going according to plan, as He continues to work miracles in His life. It proved to be true because out of the blue, we invited him (very last minutedly) to a fireside that night, and he jumped right on board. He has a great heart and desire to be right with God. His time will come according to God's time.
Two of our other progressing investigators, Xu Pu, and JingBo have been way too busy with school and student teaching. With zero people in our teaching pool, we had a lot of work to get done. By exercising our faith, we invited God to work miracles in our lives.
This past week, I set a personal goal of seeking to talk to literally EVERYONE within my reach planned or unplanned, and to share about Christ and to invite all to come closer to Him WHENEVER and WHEREVER I have the opportunity. Funny thing though, I made a personal deal by promising Heavenly Father that I'd talk to everyone possible with the 20 days that I had left to being a full time missionary, but I cannot remember what I hope that He'd promise or bless me with. Within me, I guess that I have always had an unspoken goal of teaching Africans and to teach a little family with kids. As I have sought to testify of Christ at all times and in all things and in all places, LITERALLY, in the gas station, to our waiters/waitresses at restaurants, to people sitting off the side of the street, Heavenly Father has blessed us with a new investigator! Sylvia, from Togo, AFRICA, and her little 6 year old son, Given. I am beyond excited to be able to keep teaching them. Africans are just oh soooo very faithful and has sooo much Trust in God. I hope that I can go through life with the same amount of trust that Sylvia has shown me from all the struggles and challenges that she has had in her life.
While on the tangent of teaching Africans, while we stopped by to pay Sylvia a quick visit last night, we met some African Americans sitting outside in her parking lot soaking in some sunshine. We said hi to the one lady, and made our way to knock on Sylvia's door first. We made a mental note to stop back by to talk to the lady sitting outside after we got in touch with Sylvia. Without us even having to do anything, the African American lady approached US on her own. She said that she recognized who we were, that we were angels and that we are doing a good deed. She came and petitioned our help in praying for her. LaDonna, is our new friend that we will be planning to visit with again. She expressed how she has definitely gone down some wrong paths in her life right now and just needs all the help she needs to get back and to be right with God. We testified to her of the healing power of our Savior's Atonement, and how by making promises with Him, we can be fully healed and learn how to truly change our nature. She was filled with the spirit, and we prayed with her (all the while she chanted "Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus as I prayed...oh and of course we held hands in a circle.. ya we did not look like a cult or anything). haha Despite it all, the spirit was strong, there was light present, and she definitely was drawn towards it. We were so blessed to be in the right place at the right time.
This work is amazing. I am so grateful to be able to shed the light of Christ all day errday, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEIR IS REAL SUNSHINE OUTSIDE. Minnesota is warming up and my hopes and dreams as a dying missionary is for it to turn green before I peace out!
I love you all and pray that your faith may continue to increase each and every day. Our faith increases as we speak and hear and read the words of God. So share your testimony, study the scriptures and listen to the words of our prophets and apostles. We gain real peace, and divine direction through that. Don't miss out on His love and quiet whisperings to us!
Love you all!