Monday Miracles 12.30.2013

Jacob 5:72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
Here was last weeks Story….
Yesterday we found a new investigator! I have never met anyone in my life that wants to change his life more than this man. When I first met him he was extremely drunk and said “PREACH To me!” ……  In the middle of the complex, we kneeled on the grass and asked him to pray. He told us that he couldn’t. We waited and asked again, still he wouldn’t. We told him that we would help him and my companion began and asked him to follow and then he would continue.  He did, and then just began crying. My companion also finished the prayer and the man’s young son came running out of the house, He looked at his son and expressed again how much he wanted to change. But this time, His eyes looked different. I can’t tell you what it was, I just saw something clearer, and I don’t know.. Different!! He promised us that the next time we come (which will be today) He will not be drunk and thanked us and we left.
Here is this week’s update….
The man that I told you about last week, Jesus, who was so drunk but wanted to change his life is really pulling through! He came to church on Sunday and we went to the lights last night! It was really great! I love so see him and watch the change that comes every time. He knows that he has a baptismal date and says he is going to work really hard to achieve it. It will take a lot of faith and work. But we know that He can do it!
The Dawning of Consecration from a new Missionary….  
There have been hard times, but the good/great times make up for all the hard times. I love going outside and sharing the gospel with everyone that I see at the park. It was weird at first, but I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve also read and have become more familiar with the Book of Mormon. I’m really happy about that. I can now use stories in my lessons and passages to help my investigator.Everything is going great so far and I can’t wait for the months to come. Only 17 more. It’s hard to not think/sing my favorite songs from home, but I’m doing my best to only sing hymns. It’s fun to shout and sing them while riding on my bike. Nothing better than singing “Nearer My God to Thee” in the freezing cold of the night. It’s the best!
The Lord labors with us….
We have been teaching a Catholic woman about some of the gospel, and since we have been teaching her I have been getting frustrated because its basically a comparing of religions and the last time we visited with her we got into a heated conversation about the trinity and I did not like that. Afterwards I brought this up with my companion about how I didn’t think we should teach her anymore because we are only just comparing religions with her and she is not going to be converted because she is too far set in her own religion that she can’t feel the truth of ours. This was also a pretty heated conversation to which my companion’s response was very calm and clear. She knows that sometimes it gets hard, and that there have been times when she has wanted to drop her as well. But then she just gets that feeling that she just needs to keep going because if we don’t teach her, nobody will. We decided to pray about this and I took this question to the temple. The answer to this question was also very clear. I heard a voice in my head saying; “You have no idea what powers I hold and what I can do”
again…and again….
Then one day this week during companionship study Sister xxxx mentioned how she just wants to be teaching more lessons because she feels that we’re not accomplishing as much as we should be as missionaries. So we read the section “No Effort is Wasted” in in chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel. I pointed out that we’ve both been put into a new area with an area book that didn’t have a lot of people to teach, but we’ve been doing all we can to add people to our teaching pool. We’ve been trying to contact as many potential and former investigators, we’ve been asking for referrals from everyone, and we’ve been talking to everyone and taking every opportunity we get to share the gospel. Despite all that, we haven’t been having much success and that’s something that was bringing me down for a day or two as well. But I mentioned that God put us in this area for a reason. He wouldn’t put us here to waste time and run in circles and not accomplish anything or see any miracles. He knows there are people here we’re meant to find, to teach, and to bring unto Christ. We just need to keep doing all we can on our part, and keep praying and having the faith that we’ll find people to teach. Literally one minute after we discussed all this, the phone beeps and we have a text referral for a couple who had visited the Mesa temple to see the lights and sent a request to be taught about temples and family history by the missionaries!  A Christmas miracle we’ve been waiting for!
and again.
Last night a couple in Show Low invited us to go caroling and delivering treats to some people in the ward with them. This was very successful. We went to go visit a part-member family named the Lxxxs. As they opened the door we started to sing “Silent Night” and their down-syndrome daughter says to her Mom (non-member) “I know her” and then runs a gives my companion a big hug saying again “
I know you, I know you.” There is no possible way that she knows Sister xxx. We believe that she must have recognized Sister xxxx from the spirit world. The family invited us all in to visit. The mother explained how she had been going through chemo-therapy lately and how the ‘missionaries always seem to show up at the right time in her life.’ She explained how she had met with missionaries before and I asked if she would like to meet with missionaries again, she said sure. Her very less-active husband said that we were welcome in his home anytime and that he still believed in the church. We are going their for dinner and a lesson on Thursday night! We are very excited to teach this family! This was quite the unexpected miracle!

 

P Day at the Phoenix Zoo

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P Day at the Phoenix Zoo

Missionaries DO get some time to enjoy the local culture and attractions on Preparation Day. Here in AZ, that means everything from hiking Camelback Mountain (about 1300 feet up from the valley floor) to – the Zoo. The North Scottsdale Pinnacle Zone Elders and Sisters descended on the Phoenix Zoo recently (actually, it was October) – and here’s proof that it’s not ALL work! Elder and Sister Holmes, our marvelous senior missionary couple serving in Cave Creek, coordinated the trip.

Monday Miracles 12.23.2013

Can human hearts be changed? Why, of course! It happens every day in the great missionary work of the Church. It is one of the most widespread of Christ’s modern miracles. If it hasn’t happened to you—it should.”  Ezra Taft Benson, Born of God, July 1985 Ensign
Three Stories of Changing Human Nature….(either the missionaries or the people they are teaching)
Story # 1
Yesterday we found a new investigator! I have never met anyone in my life that wants to change his life more than this man. When I first met him he was extremely drunk and said “PREACH To me!” we told Him maybe another time when he wasn’t so drunk..  Later, we continued to see him outside but he was always really drunk. When he would come out sometimes the little kids always yelled “ITS THE DRUNK” and he says “DONT CALL ME THAT” We set up an actual appointment with him for the next day.. But the next day something happened that prevented us from getting to our appointment. Then, we saw him yesterday, He told us that he had been waiting for us the day before for our appointment, and we apologized. I asked him if we could have a lesson right there, and he said yes, and went to his house to grab the pamphlet that we gave him the day before. He came out and said “I read the whole thing” We sat down at a table outside and began to teach him. We started with Faith and Repentance. After the lesson He said “look at my eyes.” We looked,  I had been looking at them the whole time. They were SO blood shot. He expressed how much he wants to be different, how he doesn’t want to drink anymore but he can’t stop, even though his kids ask him every day. He promised that he will change and we taught him prayer. In the middle of the complex, we kneeled on the grass and asked him to pray. He told us that he couldn’t. We waited and asked again, still he wouldn’t. We told him that we would help him and my companion began and asked him to follow and then he would continue.  He did, and then just began crying. My companion also finished the prayer and the man’s young son came running out of the house, He looked at his son and expressed again how much he wanted to change. But this time, His eyes looked different. I can’t tell you what it was, I just saw something clearer, and I don’t know.. Different!! He promised us that the next time we come (which will be today) He will not be drunk and thanked us and we left.
Story # 2
We were asked to visit a less active family that nobody knew for the Primary. When we got there we found out that the mom was a member, there are 4 children, and the Father is a non-member. We set a return appointment for the next day, and we got to go teach a lesson. The father has had some really hard experiences in his life and their house was a disaster! However the Spirit was strong. We set a baptismal date with him for the 4th of January. The mom also asked if we could help her 8 year old son to be baptized. As we were wrapping up the wife said, “You know to be baptized you’ll have to give up smoking?” I looked at him and invited him to give us his cigarettes and he said yes. His wife sat there in astonishment and as he went out to get his cigarettes she told us that he has been smoking for 20 years and that he has told her that he would never quit! They all came to church and Sunday and it was a wonderful experience!
Story # 3
We found this woman named Ericka, her husband is away. They have 6 kids together; 15,12, 8,6,4, &3. She doesn’t have a stable job, so she makes snacks and sells it at a church and cleans houses occasionally.  She loves her husband and her husband loves her, it is so sweet hearing her talking about him and how much she misses him. She is so cute even though she is super busy she still asks if we can read from The Book of Mormon together, the best part is that she makes sure her husband reads the Bible and she reads from the book of Mormon to him. We asked her if we can help her out around the house, she gladly accepted and we went the next day helped her sweep, clean her fridge, and the cutest part is the little ones helped me move the couches and throw the dust into the trash, they were all being really helpful, it was so cute. then on Sunday we went over an hour early so we can help her get ready for church. My companion did all their hair while I made Breakfast for everyone :).  Then we raced to the car and strapped them in their booster seats.  (I felt like such a mom) It was fun. They came to church!!! I am so grateful that we met her; we love that family so much.

Mission Tour – Elder Teh of the Seventy

The life of a Mission President is precarious!  After Sister Sweeney, the most important duties are the Elders and Sisters – and Couples who serve.  Farther down the list is checking to see if what you thought you posted to the blog got posted.  While reviewing the blog yesterday, I discovered a post I thought had gone out 2 months ago was still in “draft” mode.  So, with a well-deserved “mea culpa”, here is the long-delayed post from October 2013, the 3-day mission tour by Elder Michael Teh of the Seventy (Oct 21-23).

Elder Teh is a remarkable man.  He comes from the Philippines where he served as an Area President and Temple Recorder.  His family converted to the Church while he was young.  His Mother did laundry for hire.  On several occasions the missionaries dropped in to invite them to listen, but she politely declined.  However, one day a new set of missionaries asked her if they helped her with her laundry, could they take the time saved to teach her family.  That was the perfect invitation!  She accepted and the entire family joined.  Most of the family has now emigrated to the United States, where Elder Teh moved last summer to assume his new duties in the Seventy.

Elder Teh taught the missionaries doctrine.  He illustrated with a King Size candy bar how Satan tempts us to cross into his territory, and how the Lord will bless us if we stay on “the Lord’s side of the line”.  He taught how missionaries shouldn’t strive to be “just diligent enough to avoid the mission president’s radar” – such missionaries are just like Nemo in the Disney movie Finding Nemo where they ride the current rather than reach for the stars. He taught us by what he did (teach and interview missionaries, visit the sick, teach a missionary discussion, and visit a former Philippine missionary and her family (at 11 pm at night!)) and did not do (take time for himself).  It was a magnificent experience!  May God bless Elder and Sister Teh!

Snowflake Temple Missionary Trip 12.11.2013

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Snowflake Temple Missionary Trip 12.11.2013

The Payson, Show Low and Snowflake Zones gathered in the Snowflake Temple in the afternoon of December 11th for a special session temple trip. President and Sister Baldwin greeted the 70 Elders, Sisters and Couples serving as missionaries in the 7 White Mountain stakes of Zion as they entered the beautiful temple. The chapel gathering was breathtaking as the missionaries gathered to feel the Spirit. Missionaries filled every seat in the session – with folding chairs added to each row. President Baldwin said that so powerful was the Spirit that accompanied the session that the temple workers were moved to tears as they worked behind the scenes to attend to the company. It was the largest gathering of missionaries in the Snowflake Temple ever and we are supplying this photo to the temple for its archives.

Biltmore, Phoenix and Scottsdale Zones – Mesa Temple Trip 12.13.2013

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Biltmore, Phoenix and Scottsdale Zones - Mesa Temple Trip 12.13.2013

The Mission scheduled our quarterly temple trip and Christmas dinner for all 10 zones over 3 days. Here are the missionaries working in the Phoenix and south Scottsdale areas outside the Mesa Temple. All of the missionaries enjoyed the strength from gathering to the temple – and seeing that “they were still [their] brethren [and sisters] in the Lord”. We started with a temple chapel session where President and Sister Sweeney spoke, followed by an endowment session (and one of the Elders did the work for his grandfather that day). A delicious meal and Christmas music followed at a nearby stake center. It was a day never to be forgotten.

A Mission Wisdom “Quickie”

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Elder Molinaro, one of our visa waiter missionaries headed to Brazil some time before the millenium, shared this bit of missionary wisdom about inviting:

“There seems to be a law irrevocably declared in the mission that whenever you open your mouth, you find more people to teach.” Which they have done to the tune of 19 lessons this past week!