The title of this email is dedicated to this awesome mission I get to serve for the Lord. I can't even hardly believe that I am only 12 weeks out. It is scary and I may have had a few breakdowns about it this week, but alas, we are seeing more miracles than ever. I can't even hardly believe how much love the Lord has been pouring out His Spirit upon Sister Chandler and I. It has been hard and especially exhausting, but most definitely WORTH it. I have never felt more satisfied in my WHOLE life, never mind in my mission. It is amazing what can come to pass when we put our faith and trust in the Lord. He will NEVER forsake us. If we are righteous and obedient to the commandments, nothing we don't deserve will ever come to pass. That doesn't mean it will be easy, but it will be worth it.
This week was GREAT.
My birthday! everyone has asked me how it went! Sister Chandler made me pancakes in the morning, then we headed out to get all of our shopping and emailing done. Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Then, we went and got Mani-Pedi's with the South Hermanas and enjoyed a great dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant in Denver. The evening of proselyting was filled with some good ole' hearty TRACTING. But, nevertheless, it was a blast. We finished off the night with a delicious ice cream cake (made by yours truly--- thanks to Lance for the tips), and some candle-blowing fun. The BEST way I could have ever imagined to spend 21!
We saw a miracle!!! One of our investigators that I don't know if I've told you much about is Stella! She is awesome and I love her to death. She suffers a lot of mental challenges, but has been taught by missionaries since 2002 and backed out of her baptism 5 times. (Seriously... font filled and everything). Well, we had a little falling out with her after a member offended her in a lesson. We were praying and fasting so hard that she would forgive the member and allow us to keep teaching her. We weren't having any luck until we went and brought her flowers (that I arranged- thank you BYU floral design class). She wouldn't come to the door so we left them with a sweet card for her to find.
Well, we texted her on Monday night after not hearing back for several days since we had dropped off the flowers. At 6 when we woke up the next morning, we had a text waiting from Stella that we were permitted to come by and teach her that day!!! We were ELATED and went over to see her. She acted as if nothing had happened and we were able to set up a meeting with her and the bishop to help her with some financial needs. She has so much faith and expressed her deep desires to be baptized, even though she is suffering so much at this point in time. (recently divorced, 2 young daughters, mental challenges, no job, rent, health stuff, etc.) It was most definitely a miracle to be able to see her again! We continued throughout the day, had some awesome lessons with less actives and a few investigators.
At 6 AM we got to go the TEMPLE!!! It was an early session, but I loved it as always. Such a beautiful and sacred place. Later on, we found a new Less Active family - Los Nevarez. I love them so much! The mom, Rosa, is amazing. She is going in for surgery tomorrow to scope out more cancerous cells. She has already battled and defeated cancer once and is continuing in the process now. After a long visit on Wednesday, they came to church on Sunday and she bore a powerful testimony about her faith and trust in the Lord's timing. It was amazing to hear such a beautiful woman testify of the love of trials and timing in her life.
We had a great last district meeting of the transfer!! TRANSFER NEWS is that I will be staying in Denver 1st with Hermana Chandler for the next transfer!! We were so relieved to hear the news! But, unfortunately, two of the elders in the district are getting transferred. Because we all serve in the same ward, all 8 of we missionaries have become so close. It's so fun being in such a strong bond of missionaries and we are sad to see them go :(
Weekly PLANNING! We planned a ton and at 8:30 started our exchange! I went to the Denver South area with Sister Allison! (same ward, just south) WE stayed up entirely too late talking, but boy do I love that girl!
EXCHANGES in Denver South were awesome! We taught basically all day and never stopped. Sister Allison and I had set a challenge at the beginning of the exchange to invite someone to be baptized without teaching the restoration--- just based solely on FAITH and the Spirit. Well, we had the opportunity, and I took it! The member that was with us must have thought I was crazy, inviting this random man to be baptized after only briefly explaining the Book of Mormon. BUT... He accepted! It was such a cool experience to rely on the spirit to testify that we were true messengers of God, called to invite him to repent and be baptized. He accepted a baptismal date and a return appointment. Such an amazing experience of fearing NO MAN.
Later that night, we had a lesson with the Campos family and Sister Murdock accompanied us. The Campos family are amazing but some were stubborn about the purpose of baptism by the correct authority. Since Sister Murdock was there, the lesson had to be in English, which was fine because all of the kids speak English... BUT, Susanna, the mom, does not. SO, while Sister Murdock and Sister Allison were boldly testifying and teaching, I had the beautiful task of translating everything they said.... and they weren't taking pauses to breathe. As I sat next to Susanna and translated their words, I could truly feel the spirit guiding my words. I haven't had many out of body experiences with the Gift of Tongues on my mission, but this one was definitely one for the books. I can't even begin to describe the power of the spirit I felt as I translated every word spoken. The words were just flowing out of my mouth at a speed I couldn't even control. Susanna was listening intently and her heart was completely softened. What an amazing experience to truly be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Although I wasn't teaching, I was playing such an important role in allowing Susanna to hear, understand, and accept the teachings of Sister Murdock and Sister Allison. This was, by far, one of the most powerful experiences with Spanish on my mission. I love this language and I love these people. I can't imagine not having had the opportunity to learn this culture and love every aspect of their lives. It was such an uplifting exchange and gave me so much faith to continue moving forward.
Wow. WHAT AN AMAZING DAY! Stella came to church with her girls and had her baptismal interview!!! She is so excited to be baptized on the 20th!! She texts us the countdown every day and tells everyone about her baptism. We are so excited for her!! After church, I had a quick lunch (Sister Chandler was still fasting, but I am unable to because of health) and headed out to work. We went to some new apartments and just started walking around trying to OYM people. We talked with EVERYONE and taught 6 lessons in the 2 hours we had before dinner. SUCH a miracle, especially since we still needed to teach 6 lessons and find 1 new investigator to hit the standards of excellence this week.
After dinner, we thought we had a lesson set up with a former investigator of the sisters. His name is Luis and he called us the week before to ask us for the elders' phone number to help him move. He has previously been waiting for a baptism acceptance letter from the first presidency, but in the process, the previous sisters lost contact with him when he moved. We had been trying to get in contact with him all transfer and thought it was such a miracle when he called us! We set up an appointment for last night and had the member that knew him come with us. Well, needless to say, IT WASN'T EVEN THE RIGHT LUIS!!! The Luis we met and scheduled the appointment with was already a member and speaks both English and Spanish (he attends an English ward with his wife). We felt SO awkward because we set up an appointment with a complete stranger, who we thought was a former investigator. The Luis we were trying to get in contact with also moved and speaks both English and Spanish, so it seemed completely logical that we had the right guy! Well, needless to say, Member Luis is super active and has a beautiful conversion story. Luis, his wife and 3 kids live in a trailer park that we didn't even know existed!!! We taught the whole family and the nonmember family that he lives with (The Zuniga's). Turns out the Zuniga's have been to church several times and used to be taught by hermanas in the past. They all became new investigators and were happy to be in contact with missionaries again! Such a miracle and tender mercy! Then, after the lesson, Member Luis took us around to meet all of his neighbors and gave us about 5 referrals. It was SO cool and so awkwardly inspired!!! We ended the day with 11 new investigators, 8 surveys, and 10 total lessons. Why is our God so good to us???
Well folks, like you read, it was a week FULL of miracles and tender mercies from the Lord. I don't know what I ever did to deserve this beautiful life and the opportunity to be a member and a servant in Christ's Church. I KNOW that this is the only true church on the face of the Earth and that the Book of Mormon is in deed the word of God. I love you all so much... make it a positive and diligent week!!! Here's to another transfer in the Mile High City!!! CHIERCE. (Chandler & Pierce). LOL. I'm funny.
Picture: The District 3