Monday, October 21, 2013

and they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love; yea, and we have been instruments in his hands of doing this great and marvelous work

My sweet, sweet family and friends,
If you really want a sincere understanding of how I'm feeling y'all ought to read Alma 26. I've never been so happy in my whole life. This has been the sweetest, most joyful, most beautiful week of my mission. Actually of my life. The joy of the gospel is so deep and filling, my heart could burst. Joy to the roots of my hair. Love, gospel, My Savior Jesus Christ. I'm so thrilled to be here. I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father.

Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men?

Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

First, on Tuesday evening, we sat down with Chris and we asked him how it went when he talked to his friend Nick. Nick had a few arguments against the idea but in the end, he was supportive and he was accepting. And that was what Chris needed. He said he could hardly sleep the next night and he kept thinking over and over about being baptized and then he said the sweetest thing I'll always remember. I think I'm ready to be baptized. And without missing a beat I looked at him and asked, Will you prepare yourself to be baptized on October 26th?
And he said yes!
I've been on a spiritual high ever since. I'm like about to cry even thinking about all the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us this week. Since then, Chris has taken off. He's SO thrilled to be baptized this Saturday and so are we. Because this isn't just a blessing for him. He will be active all his life. He will preside in righteousness as a priesthood leader in his home. He will be married in the temple for time and all eternity. This has been the most rewarding teaching experience of my mission. I feel so much gratitude to my Father in Heaven that He let me be a part of it all. But truly it's the Spirit. It's always the Spirit. I'm just an instrument and I'm so blessed to see it unfold. We invited Chris to stand up and bear his testimony in sacrament meeting yesterday so that the ward would see and hear him and want to attend his baptism and it was so simple and sweet. I know God is pushing me to be here and to be baptized. Last night there was another baptism in our stake and so Chris and Virginia came to see it. It was beautiful and perfect and the warmest, softest spirit filled the whole room. Chris was just grinning the whole time. Afterwards we walked him through how his service will go and I have just never felt so happy in my whole life. This is the very happiest time ever. And I'm a happy person. I physically feel like my heart will overflow because this is such a sweet time.
But this is not all. The miracles poured down from heaven this week. We went on exchanges with the Cheney 2nd sisters on Fridayand Sister Kunkel came with me to blessed 'lil Cheney YSA. We had full day of appointments and nothing fell through or anything but we had a open time between 6:30 and 7:30 and none of the people we had planned to see were home. So we stopped the car and said a prayer. We wanted to be where the Lord needed us. This girl we had met on campus came into my mind. I knew it probably wasn't a good time but I decided to follow the prompting anyway. As we drove to see her we passed another house of potentials and the lights were on so we stopped. They weren't interested but I knew just a couple houses down Christina might be home. Christina is a less-active we met on campus a few months back when Sister Gardiner was here. The fact that we ever ran into her was a miracle in and of itself and the first time we talked she said "yeah i used to go to church with my family all the time and I would really love to go back" so we got her address and phone number and for the last 3 months we've gone by to visit her like 4 times a week. No success. We always catch her roommates. It was getting to the point where I felt a little silly always stopping by. But I went anyway. And Christina answered. It was clear to see that she had been crying. She let us right in and we just told her we stopped by because God knows her and loves her. She needed that so bad. And then (because we've received TONS of great trainings on using "how to begin teaching" in every situation including less-active visits) I asked her what her experience with the church was.

"My dad was raised in the church and my mom got baptized and they were married in the temple. We went every Sunday when I was little and I loved going but we stopped going when I was around 6 or so."
My heart might have stopped.
"Christina, were you ever baptized?"
"No, but I always wanted to be."
Like WHAT??? You're NOT a less-active?? So we invited her to be baptized. And within in the first five minutes of our lesson she was on-date for November 16th. Then she scooted her chair closer to us and we taught the restoration. The spirit was so strong. It was so beautiful. After Sister Kunkel taught the First Vision we asked Christina who Joseph Smith saw in the grove and she just wept into her hands, "He saw Him." It was easily the most serene moment of my mission. She was so grateful saying over and over, "I needed this. I want this so bad. I have wanted this for so long." We took her on a church tour the next morning and it was like coming home. She was so happy to be at the church. She told us, "I can just tell this is the beginning to a beautiful journey." AMEN! And she also told us that her dad is a man that never cries but when she called him after our lesson on Friday evening and told him that she was going to be baptized, he wept. I am so touched. She has waited 16 years to return to the safety of the Gospel and to be back home with her Heavenly Father. I have never been so grateful for the gospel in my life. She came to church on Sunday and she was glowing. She was so happy. I'm so happy. It's the most amazing thing. The Lord knows each of His children. He wants them all back home!
And we have another new investigator named Erica who has been dating a member for 6 years and she comes to church everySunday. She's already met with missionaries before and she is in Helaman in the Book of Mormon and she knows it's good, but she has a lot of family pressure. I think the baptisms this Saturday will help so much. And another boy named John who has a best friend on a mission and has been coming to church and activities most of his youth. There are several more people that are just plopping on our plate. It really is an incredible and exciting time in our ward. The elders have been teaching Anthony and he is also getting baptized on Saturday. We're having two baptisms! How crazy.
We have had a feeling for the last 3 weeks that we were getting swept out because that would be best for the Spanish work and even though I'm sad that I won't get to continue teaching all these precious souls, I feel so peaceful. SO happy. I've been praying for whoever would be coming in that they would be responsible and obedient and hard working and I will just say now, the Lord does LOVE His missionaries. He always answers prayers. The first thing I asked when we got our transfer calls and I heard that Sister Walton and I would now be covering all the Spanish work on the South Hill was who would be sweeping in. Elder Brodale and his little trainee. It's the new zone leader area. (For the past two transfers President Mullen has been putting zone leaders with newbies so that we could train the newbies up right! :) I think it's a brilliant idea ) I could not have been any happier. Elder Brodale is SO hard working, and loving and obedient. Peace came to my heart. I feel so excited. And I feel so pleased. I've worked so hard. I have LOVED Cheney with my whole heart. I've given it everything. We have kept the area book updated and things are planned for the baptism this Saturday. I know this ward is in good hands.

And let's not even begin with how excited we are to be doing ONLY Spanish work. ALL the time. My little heart. The joy is too much! And we will get to go to the baptism this Saturday so it's all great. The work is hastening. There is no better time to be a missionary.

I love my Savior. I LOVE my Savior.
Love y'all!
Hermana Em

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