Thursday, September 3, 2015

Miracles and more miracles!

I truly experienced what it means that Heavenly Father truly protects His missionaries! Mom, you may not want to read this story... :) I live in a house with 6 other sister missionaries, so it's way fun! And it's hilarious because all day every day 8 pretty girls dressed in cute skirts walk in and out of the house and every 6 weeks sisters pack up and leave and new sisters come. The people that live by us probably think we are a bit crazy! But this weekend, our house tried to get broken in to!! Legit, there was a hole in the door frame and the lock got knocked off! It is such a blessing they didn't get in! Elder Seaman (he is in charge of housing) came over to check it out and you could see where they were using a crowbar to try and get in! Crazy stuff. A cop came to ask us all questions and I felt like I was on an episode of CSI or something. Even the cop was blown away they didn't get in! But I know it's because Heavenly Father protects His missionaries!

Anyways, that is just one way I have seen the Lord's hand in my life this week. Last Thursday we were trying to stop by to see all of these people that our bishop asked us to see. It was getting dark, but we wanted to stop by this one house really fast to meet them. They weren't members, but our bishop had met them once and thought we should go try and see them again. He didn't have an address though, he just told us it was across the street from a family in our ward and that it was a gray house. We drove over there and like I said, it was getting really dark, and we couldn't tell which house was gray. Sister Day wanted to go back to the VC, but I told her I wanted to go to this one house, whether it was the one or not. So we said a quick prayer and walked up to the door and a man answered and introduced himself as Henry Lara... It was the family bishop asked us to find! His son came out and talked to us too and we gave them a Book of Mormon and we are going back next week to teach them! I'm so excited and so grateful for the spirit's guidance!

Saturday I had a VC miracle! Two ladies from Canada came in! They were co-workers here for a course for work. One was a member and the other wasn't. They wanted to go through the history presentation so I took them downstairs and before I started, I asked her if she knew anything about our church. She said she knew very little, so I started with the restoration and the first vision. She was immediately amazed! And I told her that everything I was going to talk about actually happened, but that the spirit was also going to be present and to notice how she felt. It was a very different history presentation...I did tell the history, but I really felt the promptings of the spirit of when to testify of what. It was very spiritual. When I was telling the history of the printing press, I paused and bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and asked her if she would read it. She said "I was actually just going to ask you for one!" The spirit was testifying to BOTH of us that she needed the Book of Mormon! When she left, I saw her outside already starting to read it :) she gave me her email and I can't wait to talk with her and to help her in her journey!! I love the visitors center!!!

We met with Joyce twice this week! I love teaching her! She's so awesome. She hasn't had troubles with anything we are teaching her and she basically already lives all of the commandments! We watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and that was a sweet experience because she told us after she knows he is a prophet. Next Saturdayis her baptism!!!

Sunday we stopped by Jill's house because we haven't seen her in about a month. I was so happy because SHE WAS HOME! Jill came up to me and gave me a big hug and then started crying. She had just lost her mother in law. We had a little tender moment and then we went inside and talked to her. She was really scared because her mother in law wasn't Christian so she didn't know where she would go. We told her about the spirit world and Jill got SO interested! She told us she is now ready to learn more!!! I couldn't contain my excitement!!! I love Jill!! This week was the funeral and stuff so we are going back to see her next week. I can't wait!!!

We started John on his family history so we can go to the temple with him! He has done so much family history work! He is now preparing to take them to the temple. I am so excited to go to the temple with him! It'll be such a neat experience to be there with him. He has been so excited to go to the temple!

Last night, we had another miracle kind of like last week's. We were at the Banuelos' home, teaching Joyce, and it was a little after 8 when we were leaving. We wanted to knock on a couple of doors, so we knocked on two across the street from them and neither were home. We walked up to where we parked the car and I looked at the house we parked in front of and I felt very strongly about going and knocking on that one. We walked up and a lady opened the door with a cigarette in her hand. We told her about our church and she said that a couple months ago some elders helped her move her broken down car out of an intersection! We talked for a bit and we gave her a Book of Mormon and we are going back in two weeks to teach her! I am loving all of these miracles we are seeing!!! 

This truly is the Lord's work! Part of why there has been so much success is because of the revelation from our mission president. About a week after I got here he said he felt like the work would hasten if we truly were seeking to better understand the atonement. So we have been doing this "atonement initiative" where we read every scripture in the index under 'atonement through Jesus Christ' and keep a study journal of it. So the atonement has been something that we have been focusing a lot on. In a district meeting a couple of weeks ago, our zone leader read this story and I have read it a few times since and it truly sums up what the atonement is. It is called The Room and it really helped me visualize all that the atonement does for me. 

The Room

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.
I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.
An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it
Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.
I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.
Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.
He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."
I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

I am so grateful for the Atonement and that He literally takes away everything as we accept Him in our lives. I know the power that comes through the Atonement is real and it is life changing! I am so grateful to witness that everyday here on my mission. I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 
The Visitors Center sisters  :)

Some of the cute sisters I live with- Sister Hansen, Sister Baggett and Sister Hunt

Some people from our ward who are from the Dominican Republic taught us how to make plantains.  :)  They are so delicious!!!

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