Missionary Letters 11.25.2013

Inviting to Come/Return to the Temple – note how members and missionaries are working together…
I am most excited for one of our reactivation efforts. We have been working with Carmen a week or two before I got here. This Sunday she received a blessing because of some trials. Then after church she got her limited-use temple recommend! She is preparing for the endowment and is so excited to be closer to her Heavenly Father. It is even sweeter because her and 13 year old daughter are going to do baptisms together! We are so excited for them and for the beautiful work we get to be a part of!
And another…..
There have been some amazing miracles happening in the way of finding non-members for us to teach. My writing can hardly do justice for what happened, but I shall try to recount the story to the best of my ability. A member couple, Marvin and Charlotte, were able to find a potentially interested couple for us to teach. Marvin helped the couple remodel and clean up their newly purchased cabin, years ago, and throughout those years they kept asking for his help in fixing things. Two weekends ago something went wrong with the cabin’s plumbing, so they asked Marvin to come over to help. Charlotte invited them to use their bathroom until the problem could be fixed. Brenda, the nonmember wife, stayed with Charlotte while Marvin and Ernie went back to the cabin. Brenda talked about a lot of her problems that were happening in life, and it included not being able to find a ‘believing, friendly, family oriented church.” Prompted by the Spirit, Charlotte was able to not only invite Brenda to come to church next weekend, but also taught her several fundamentals about the Restoration. The next day, Marvin visited the couple and gave them some pamphlets to read and dusted off the copy of the Book of Mormon he gave them years earlier and invited them to read it. Brenda read three pamphlets and to Nephi 7 in three days. Brenda and Ernie came to church yesterday, and loved the friendly people and the Primary Program. They will be coming back up in two weeks, perhaps permanently, and we will begin teaching them then.
Facebook starts to yield fruit!
We found some miracles this week. We had a Facebook referral that now has a baptism date!
The Power of Example…of a Member Missionary
We recently had a new member move into the ward. A delightful gentleman named Eddy. He is very involved and always wants to serve. Eddy has some light form of special needs, but still lives on his own and takes care of himself. As he stood to introduce himself in the Elders Quorum, it was quickly evident that he had a speech impediment. After class he came to the Missionaries with his phone number and said to call him any time, and he would love to join us. A few days later Elder XXXX and I were rushing to an appointment. It was 7:45pm and we had still not found a member to join us at our 8pm lesson with a single sister. We didn’t know what to do. After a prayer, Eddy’s name came instantly to my mind! I looked at his address and saw that he lives just 3 blocks from the home of our appointment. We called and he gladly accepted the invitation to join us. He then said “When will you be picking me up?” We told him that we were on bicycles and it was only a few blocks. Little did I know Eddy had more problems than just his speech- His legs do not work well. “I can’t walk very far” he said. We apologized and told him we would keep him in mind for future appointments. He paused and said “I want to go. I’ll do it!”.  We met Eddy outside of his apartment and walked the 3 blocks by his side. He limped along slowly and painfully. I wanted to cry.. He did not complain one bit. The 3 blocks took us about 15 minutes! We could tell that he was in pain, but I knew at that moment that Eddy was special. He has such a great love for the Lord and would do anything to help build the kingdom. We were able to find him a ride home after the lesson.
Dear Presidents – we love and sustain you in the exercising of your keys to hasten the work.  These stories are shared with permission.

Missionary Letters 11.11.2013

A beautiful reminder of the power of daily scripture study and the gift of tongues –
Now the last thing i want to talk about this week is what i am doing for language study. president, you told me last week to make a sacrifice or an extra effort related to language study and that the Lord would bless me. i was working on figuring out what that should be and i felt promted to read the book of mormon through cover to cover, verse by verse in english and then spanish. i have spent an extra half hour on this everyday since thursday and i have felt such a difference. i dont know if its so much in my actually ability, but in my confidence, in my understanding, and in the spirit that i feel during that time of the day. it has been such a blessing for me and i am so grateful for this blessing the lord has given me.

On the rescue – and being sweetly bold –
Back in May, Me and Elder xxxx visited the Hernandez Family. They hadn’t been to church in quite awhile. The family consists of Nana who is like 60, Inez 38 and Irene 14. So we weren’t able to teach cause we didn’t have a third male. We conducted a little chat outside on her door step and we were talking and we asked if she had been to the Temple. She said no, I haven’t ever thought about it. She also said, Well, I drink coffee also. So I said, Well, Don’t. You know you can do better. She looked at me and there was silence and I was scared of her response and she said, “Alright. I’ll go take back my new can I just bought.” We then invited her to go to the temple, and she now just has to have her Interview with President Williams! It has been a blessing to see her grow in testimony.

On being humble and smiling your testimony when that’s all you can do –
President Sweeney, if you get reports of investigators complaining that the Church isn’t true because one of the Spanish Sisters didn’t have the gift of tongues this last Sunday, I would like to own up to that right now. Heavens to Betsy I have no idea where my Spanish vocabulary went but it did not reside with me during my talk. Goooodness I need improvement. A well-meaning member dictated that Hna. xxxx and I should start reading the Libro de Mormon together out-loud (which we have been) which tells me that I need to work ten times harder to get this beautiful language down pat. I am striving to not get frustrated with my pace of learning. We plan on having at least eight investigators with solid dates by the end of this week which I am completely excited for. We’re constantly trying to keep our thoughts centered on the needs of our investigators and it really has helped improve my disposition. My goal of smiling at all times, for all things, and in all places is still going strong! I’ve even been able to keep up my goal of getting others to laugh/smile at me! I mean with me.

A happy endingthe conclusion of the young woman who dreamed about Meeting Moroni – here’s the conclusion (note the member support here!)
Jen got baptized this week; what a wonderful service it was! The primary room was full to the brim with members from our ward there to support her in her newly-made covenant, and many investigators were also in attendance. We spoke with her husband Doug after the service, who has been supportive but not interested himself. He said he was very touched by the service and loved it. We asked if we’d be seeing him around, he said most definitely. He later said he hopes to come to church as a family next Sunday. I am so excited for that family!

Here’s the beginning from a few weeks ago
So, a woman in our ward named Melissa texted us and told us she had a friend named Jen who wanted to meet with us. She had gone to the baptism we had last Sunday (which was an eight year old baptism) with her daughter and they both loved it. So Sister Soifua and I were pretty excited.. We had the lesson at Melissa and her husband Mario’s house. So we met Jen and started talking to her, and she said that her best friend in high school was Mormon and she had gone to church with her a lot. So that was cool. Then we started talking about the Book of Mormon and she said that when she was eighteen, she was just curious about it and so she read it, but she didn’t really remember anything about it. But she told us that recently she had a dream where she was walking down the street with some missionaries and they were talking about the Book of Mormon and they told her that one day she would understand all of it. So then we teach the first lesson, and she has zero questions. She just accepts it all. Sister Soifua wraps up the lesson and bears her testimony and then she looked at me. So I bore my testimony about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and said, “Before we go, we want to read a scripture with you from the Book of Mormon. It’s Moroni 10:3-5.” So she opens up to Moroni and just stares at the top of the page and she’s like, “Wait. Wait.” and she starts BAWLING. And we’re just kind of sitting there not knowing what to do, and then she said, “I had another dream where a figure was walking towards me and he was holding something like a staff or a flute or a musical instrument (Hmmm… Maybe a TRUMP?) and he kept saying “I am…” something. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. It sounded like “Macaroni” or something like that. But this (and she points to the top of the page) is the name he was saying. He was saying, “I am Moroni. I am Moroni.”” By this time we were all crying. And nobody said a word. We all just sat there and cried. And Mario was like, “Jen, do you know who Moroni is?” and she had no clue. So he told her that Moroni was the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon. He was the one who directed Joseph Smith in obtaining the gold plates. And he’s on the top of almost every temple and he’s holding a trumpet. And she just said, “Are you serious?” and cried some more. I told her how prepared she was and that there’s a reason why this church keeps coming back into her life. And then I said, “So, Jen, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ..” and she interrupted me and said, “Yes!” Haha I didn’t get to complete the invitation for baptism, but I didn’t need to. It was so amazing. She’s so ready! She’s going to be baptized in a couple weeks!

Missionary Letters 11.4.2013

From “The Rescue” Front Lines –
This week was wonderful! The highlight was knocking on the door of a woman who has not been to church since she was 12.(she is in her late 40s) We got to talk with her and it turned out her mother passed away a year ago, and she has been struggling with some other challenges. We were able to invite her to prepare for the temple, the Spirit was there. She told us that she had not felt welcomed at the church when she was younger, and it was perfect because we had a member with us to talk about how much she loves our ward. We were able to testify the temple would bring peace to her life and that she could be with her family forever. She said it would take a long time for her to go to the temple, but we reassured her it would be worth it. She said she would ponder it and that we could come back again and next week. We are so excited. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the best! I love it!

The Power of Member Examples –
This sunday we had someone just show up to church. I was so worried about transferring areas and Heavenly Father works so many miracles where ever we are. His name is Marty he grew up around Mormons and works in mesa. He has always been impressed by the example of missionaries and members. SO he went to a missionary clothing store bought church clothing and then went to desert book. He bought himself a brand new leather bound triple combination and then just showed up at church. It was amazing to see the research he had done on Mormon.org and lds.org. It’s such a blessing to serve in a time where there are so many amazing tools we can use online to share the gospel.

From a Spanish speaking missionary 1 week into the mission –
I have been blown over by the love I have felt for people right as they open the door. Such a blessing! I testify that you cannot teach people unless you feel God’s love for them, and you cannot feel His love for others unless you have His Spirit to bring it to you. I absolutely love this area, President! I am so excited to make our branch into a ward within the next month (yet another reasonably attainable goal, I should think.) and eventually see our ward split into more branches and wards! This work is wonderful. It is inspired of God and it makes all those involved in it happy.

On the importance of members and missionaries working together to home and visit teach-
The home teaching and visiting teaching is SO SO SO important I have come to realize! Yesterday we went to visit a woman that is less active and she said to us “I have been a member of that branch for almost 20 YEARS, and when I stopped being able to go did anyone care? Did anyone notice? Did anyone come and visit me? NO!.” It was heartbreaking. She just wanted someone to care about her and her family. We are going to work with her.. but it is going to take a while before she gains the trust of the xxxx again… But we invited her to work towards a goal of going to the temple 🙂 She told us that she wants the blessings of the temple 🙂 We are excited for her! 🙂