Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Miracles really do happen!"

SAN DIEGO — I sometimes have these epiphanies that, "Wow! I am a missionary!"

There is nothing like it at all. I wish I could explain it in words, but being a missionary is such a spiritual experience, it seems that there are only feelings to describe it. Nonetheless, I will still try my best to write in words what I am feeling.

But first, some shout outs:

Grandma and Grandpa Newman: That was so fun to see you, thanks for the Zucchini bread, the sisters definitely enjoyed it as well:)

Grams and Gramps Morgan: Hope your trip to North Carolina went well. Grams, I just got your letter, but haven't been able to read it yet, Thanks for writing!

Juli: I also got your letter this morning but havent had a chance to read it either, thanks for writing! I cant believe your baby Annalie is 4 today!:) Wow.

Sara:  Got your letter. I'm working on writing you today, so be ready for it! Love you girl!

Mom and Dad: LOVED LOVED LOVED the calendar and all the goodies you sent! Thank you so so so so so so so much. You are the best!

I was talking to Sister Kennington yesterday, and we realize more and more everyday that one of the biggest lessons Heavenly Father needs His missionaries to learn is to realize how precious our families are and to not take them for granted. You know how much I loved you before I left. Now multiply that by 100 and that is how much I have come to love you while being gone for these past few months.

Being a missionary definitely comes with ups and downs, just like life, I suppose. I teach people every day that there is opposition in all things, and that in order to experience joy we have to experience sorrow as well. One thing that is for sure, when the hard times come, there is always something great waiting behind what seems to be a towering wall of trial.

This week has been the "great" that was behind a pretty big tower of trial: on Sunday, Todd was baptized.


January 22, 2012

The only thing I can think to say is how amazing this day has been. It finally came. It finally came!

I remember the first lesson we had with Todd. We introduced The Book of Mormon to him in which replied that he had already been reading it. The Spirit guided us to ask him what his thoughts and feelings were about the book. He looked at us with his military stance — shoulders squared, eyes straight forward and said, "I know it's true." 

And now, a month and a half later, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon have transformed him into a man with hope, happiness and excitement for the future. I sat in the Elders Quorum room, which was completely packed. People even had to stand in the back.

Todd, whose dad wouldn't even come to the baptism because he wanted to watch a football game, was surrounded by family, surrounded by love, surrounded by support. This is what Heaven is like, of that I am sure.

As Todd was standing in the font, Sister Kennington wrapped her arm around me and looked at me with tears in her eyes. That's all words can say to describe the feeling of seeing one you have prayed for, served, taught and loved enter the waters of baptism. I can't imagine how Heavenly Father was feeling: one more of His children found Him again, and is on his way home to His arms. I wish I could have seen Heavenly Father's face.

On Monday, we had our first meeting with Oliver. Here is a little bit from my journal about that experience:

Monday, January 23, 2012

We finally met with Oliver tonight. Oliver is dating Sara, a member from one of the wards in the stake. He was introduced to The Book of Mormon by her six weeks ago, but this is the first time he has met with missionaries. The elders taught him the Restoration and passed him off to us since he is a Young Single Adult.

We were able to have a lesson in our Branch President's home. That in and of itself was a miracle. I haven't been in a home since August. Teaching YSA's, most of our lessons end up at the church, or on the doorstep. We taught Oliver The Plan of Salvation. Every time I teach that to people, it is amazing to see the Spirit touch their souls. It's like something wakes up inside of them and they remember who they are.

Something woke up in Oliver today. When we invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by somebody who held the proper authority, he told us he already knew it was true and he set his own baptism date for March 10, 2012. It felt like deja vu again!

Heavenly Father has taught me many many things. Tonight's lesson was that He really doesn't need missionaries at all. Just the Book of Mormon. The Holy Ghost bore witness to his soul that this is real. That this is true. He doesn't even know really who Jesus Christ is, yet He knows that God has witnessed to him of the reality of the Book of Mormon.

I wish I could tell you more of the miracles that happened this week, but I don't have time! I was asked a few questions that I thought I would try and answer in the few minutes that I have left.

Why do you love being a missionary?

There are honestly so many different reasons, I won't be able to write them all. I love knowing that even though it is not nearly enough, I am serving and giving back to Heavenly Father what He has given me. I love seeing miracles every day. I love being able to look back after a difficult trial and realizing that I did it. I love the people. I love seeing the light of Christ shine from one of God's children that before was dark and without hope. I love learning about what Heavenly Father expects of me and who He needs me to become. I love seeing other people realize that. I love watching His children who were lost, find their way.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from your Mom and Dad?

Well, again that is a question with many answers, but the first thing that comes to my mind is diligence. My parents have taught me what it means to work. Work to gain my testimony. Work to become who I want to be. Work to gain knowledge. They have helped me realize that nothing is impossible if you involve anything. Over and over again they have helped me realize that "In the strength of the Lord, I can do all things."

What is the most important thing you have learned on your mission?

Definitely to rely on Heavenly Father completely, absolutely, perfectly. When I give everything to Him, that is when miracles happen. We too often try to rely on ourselves, even just a little bit, when we think we are giving our all to Heavenly Father. It is when we let go completely, giving our all into His hands, that He helps us become, and do what we need to.

Time has flown by. I love you all. Miracles happen. They really really do!

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