Missionary Miracles – 7.27.2014

“That Felt Amazing!”

Nick (Dad) and Ashley (daughter) got baptized this week!  The baptismal service was on Saturday at 5pm. Nick, Ashley, Nick’s wife, and their friend Leslie all came.  As Nick came up out of the water it was apparent that he was feeling the Spirit very strongly. The best way I can describe what then happened is that he exclaimed, “That felt amazing!”  It wasn’t in a disrespectful or irreverent manner, he was just overcome with the Spirit, and his eyes filled up with tears and he started to cry. I had never seen anything like that at a baptismal service, but as he said that and he started to cry, chills shot up and down my body. It was a powerful experience. After the baptism, Nick and Ashley shared their testimonies. Nick said that when he first started coming to church, he would hear people say that they know the church is true, but he didn’t really know what that meant. He said that after how he felt in his baptism, he now knew that the church was true. He said, “I cannot deny what I have felt.” Ashley then shared a simple but strong testimony. She mentioned the fact that she was the one dragging her dad to church at first, and that she knows that it is true. I felt so blessed to be a part of that experience and to be able to help them in their own process of becoming converted.  (Elder Wilson)

 

“They Do Believe in God!”

We also had a really cool experience.  We have two investigators from Liberia that are very difficult to understand because of their heavy accents. Their names are Michael and Grace. They are married and must be in their mid-50’s. We have had 2 lessons so far with them and have had to move very slowly though the doctrine. We have been questioning whether they are getting anything out of our visits. We really don’t know how much they understand.

We went to their home with a member on Thursday this week to try once again to help them understand… Things started off pretty rocky, but we kept trying to explain. Suddenly the front door opened and Grace and Micheal’s daughter entered, pushing a stroller which held her baby. Immediately she stared yelling at her parents “What are they doing here?! I do NOT approve of this!!”  Grace said “Why? What is the problem?”  She continued yelling “Because these Mormons do NOT believe in God!!” She then turned to us and said “You will leave right now!”

We were silent and still.. I was praying that Grace and Micheal would stand up for us.

Grace said, in her heavy accent “These people DO believe in God. They are working for God, and they are teaching us about God. How can you say they don’t believe in God?” She then picked a Book of Mormon up off of the table and held it to her chest, saying “If God speaks, it must be written down. If he spoke to me, I would write a book too! What they are teaching is God’s word, and we will continue to receive them in OUR house. Now, you, please leave until we are done studying.”  The daughter was speechless and looked at Michael. He nodded in full agreement and said, with a tear in his eye, “Yes, please go.”

If hugging were allowed, I might have just leaped over the table right then and there and hugged her and him both! The Spirit re-entered the room and they turned to us, apologizing, and said “Please, continue!”  I find it hard to believe that Grace and Michael could have testified so boldly of our sacred calling as Christ’s representatives after our 2 1/2 struggles of lessons, unless they had felt the Holy Ghost when we came. It made me cherish living in obedience, and righteousness. Just as Preach My Gospel states, “others ability to receive your message will be influenced by your personal worthiness.”  My prayer is that all of us can maintain this example to those around us!  (Elder Burnside)

 

“Well, That Changes Things.”

We were at a members home and we were extending a challenge for them to think of people and to put in down on a list people that they can think about and that they know. It is something that the Ward missionary leader wanted us to do in that ward.  At the end we actually said to them that “We will be obedient missionaries, so if you think of anything we need to do to do that, let us know.” and the look on their faces totally changed (they were surprised!) and he said, “Well, that opens some doors.” So I just want to bear testimony, that as I pledged to be more obedient, a member saw that we were being serious, and that changed his attitude. It was a cool experience.  (Elder Graves)

 

“Wait, Wait, Wait!”

We met this amazing family! The Bahena Family. Juan and Yatziri are the little kids and they are just the most amazing miracle I have seen on my mission so far. They are progressing so fast and I just keep praying their Dad’s heart will be softened so they can come to church and then eventually be baptized. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and committed them to read and pray about it. Well we go the next day for a lesson and Juanito who is 11 says the opening prayer and then we start teaching and he goes “WAIT WAIT WAIT! I have to tell you about the dream I had last night. Last night I prayed and I asked for the Holy Ghost to tell me if the Book of Mormon was true. I fell asleep and then that night I had a dream. I dreamed that this man (He flips open the proselyting copy of the Book of Mormon and turns to the picture of Joseph Smith points to him) was writing something on these papers and I knew it was the book. Then I just felt that what he was writing was true, and then I woke up.”

I couldn’t stop the tears. The Lord really does work in amazing ways. Even an 11 year old boy was able to gain a testimony through a dream that the Book of Mormon was true. It was a miracle. We hadn’t ever showed him a picture of Joseph Smith before. We had just given him a copy of the Book of Mormon the day before. He was told by the Spirit in his dream that the man in the picture (Joseph Smith) was the one who translated the Book and it was true. I just melted. It was yet again another tender mercy. Heavenly Father is so aware of his children and he answers their prayers in his own time and in his own ways, but he answered little Juan’s prayer and he knows without a doubt that it is true. That was definitely the miracle from the week. (Sister Argyle)

Missionary Wisdom – Sister Freeman Delivers!

Sister Freeman is maybe 5 foot 2 – and maybe a smidgen over 100 pounds.  But tough!  With that picture in mind, here is Sister Freeman’s companion, Sister Lakin’s description of what happened on a recent visit to a dollar store:

“Funny experience/joke of the week of course goes to Sister Freeman. We were at the 99cent store buying something and so we’re checking out and there’s a classic, big, tattooed, bearded biker guy behind us and he says, “You guys be careful out there. You’re on bikes right?” and we say, “Yeah” “Yeah be careful out there.” and Sister Freeman says, “We’ll be okay, we’re a lot scarier than you.” And he laughs and she says, “No, really! You should see how fast people run away when they see us coming.” That one got everyone laughing. It was so funny! She has such great people skills and is always just happy and funny. I love it!”

 

Bishop Allen – Paradise Foothills YSA Ward ♥♥ Elders Blanchard, Hawes and Sisters Crowther, Garrett!

Dear President Sweeney,

I just wanted to tell you something that I’m sure you already know.  Sister Crowther, Sister Garrett, Elder Blanchard, and Elder Hawes are AMAZINGLY AWESOME MISSIONARIES!  My counselor has been trying to get his neighbor’s 3 sons to come to FHE for the past year and a half.  The Sisters met the 3 sons for the first time at my counselor’s home and invited them to FHE.  All 3 showed up this last Monday night!  Also the Sisters are always asking me, “Who is not here or who would you like us to go see?  We will go visit them!”   Whenever I call the Sisters for help they are so anxious to serve!  They bring such a sweet spirit of Christ like love with them whenever they walk into our building.

I have called the Elders up more than once to help someone in need.  Each time this was their response with enthusiasm, “Absolutely, thank you so much for asking us.”  They then immediately go and take care of whatever I asked them to help with.  The last time was in the evening when they could have been heading home, yet they answered the same way with the same enthusiasm.  The Sisters are the same way.

These missionaries work tirelessly to bless as many people in our ward boundaries as possible.  Each time any one of the four shares their testimony with us you can feel the spirit and their love so strongly.  We have been told that our ward feels like a family and our 4 missionaries are a big part of why people feel that way.  I think of how blessed we are to have 4 incredible missionaries in our ward at the same time and as I was telling the sisters Monday night, “That is like the celestial kingdom for a bishop!”

Well, I really could go on and on about these missionaries but I know you are a very busy man.  Let me just say I love these missionaries and I feel so extremely blessed to have them in our ward.  Any chance you could leave them all in our ward until they complete their missions, I know, I have to share!J However, I did want you to know that we are grateful and feel blessed for every day you are inspired to leave them in our ward!!

Very sincerely with love and gratitude,

Bill Allen

Bishop of the Paradise Foothills YSA Ward

Missionary Wisdom – Sister McCashland

The downhill of the mission is hitting really hard now. I don’t want this great blessing to end! I am trying to work hard but then you have 6 different people ask you in one day “how long until you go home…” really people? It is like asking a woman their age…you just don’t do it. You ask how long they have been out and do the math in your head…silently….Sister McCashland

Missionary Miracles – 7.6.2014

Members and Missionaries Make a Great Team – Part 1
On Tuesday we had a really good Lesson with Brother Zieu and his daughter. Brother Zieu has been inactive for like 20 years. He was recently found because he had a heart attack and asked for a priesthood blessing (from a member). We didn’t have his records in our ward and he said his name was Larry.  Larry agreed to retake the missionary discussions and invited his nonmember daughter (Crystal) to take them with him. We had a great lesson with them (and a ward member joined us for the lesson)! He was being really noncommittal throughout the lesson, he wants it but isn’t sure if he is ready to put forth the effort. I felt a strong impression to be really bold with him. I looked at him and asked him if he wanted the blessings of being active. he said yes. So I told him that that will never happen if he keeps sitting on the fence. I asked if he was willing to Act! He sat up a little straighter and said yes!. So I committed them to come to church this sunday and to start reading the book of Mormon again. We were so excited when he walked into Sacrament meeting, both him and his daughter. Now his daughter is an investigator!  (Sister Morley)
 

Members and Missionaries Make a Great Team – Part 2
Long story short, the little girl (Jaqueline) is getting baptized this coming month the mom (Selene) wants to learn more and wants to be baptized but didn’t set a date yet. Miracles? I know they are! Working with members is much more effective than working aloneWe’ve found that the activity of a member doesn’t apply to their ability to do missionary work. The Lord is still preparing the people around them to receive the Restored Gospel and that members can explain things often times better than we can. It was an amazing experience and we have a return appointment for this Friday.  (Elder Haney)

Members and Missionaries Make a Great Team – Part 3 – One Missionary (Sister Morley) in One Ward in One Week
On Thursday we met with another inactive lady and her nonmember family. We just received her records into our ward and bishop told us to go meet herWe went with the relief society president. Kristina just got remarried in May and moved into the ward boundaries. She was previously married in the temple 5 years ago but that ended badly and she hasn’t been active since. When we talked to her she was very interested in coming back to church and trying it again for her kids. She was a convert in her early 20’s and now she is 29. She has had a rough start but I’m glad she is open so giving church a try again.
We asked her husband (Dwayne) if he was willing to take the missionary discussions and he was very interested in it.  Two of their kids are also baptism age.  We were able to teach them last week and it went really well. Kristina came to church and she is really motivated to become active again. As we taught Dwayne, he didn’t really say much but we could tell that he was really interested and liked what he heard. Before we even taught very much I felt inspired to ask him how bringing this gospel into his life will bless his family? He gave a beautiful answer and right then I knew he was ready and so prepared. When we taught him the restoration it flowed naturally into the restoration of the priesthood and the power to baptize. I asked him right then if baptism was something that he desired. He said yes! He want’s to get baptized on July 19! The kids weren’t there for that lesson but Kristina said that the kids dad gave them permission to get baptized if that is what they want. So tonight we are going to teach the kids and invite them to be baptized with their step-dad. (two of them are baptism age). We just love this family so much and are excited for their progress in this church.

Part 4 – (Even when the lesson isn’t perfect, the Lord compensates!)
(see Part 1 for week 1) Yesterday we had another lesson with Larry and Crystal. They both came to church for the second time in a row! That was really exciting and this time they came for the full three hours! Crystal has been keeping more commitments than the majority of our investigators but she has been shy towards baptism. Yesterday during our planning we felt strongly they she was ready to accept a date. Sister Roberts and I role played for her and I had Sister Roberts practice giving the baptismal invite because I really felt like she should be the one to give it.
When we went to the lesson it was awkward… The members house we had it in kept talking too much and pulling the lesson in the wrong direction. But we would cut in and bring the lesson back. Even though it was not going as we had planned we still felt the Spirit prompting us to invite her to be baptized. We were teaching the plan of salvation and Sister Roberts was teaching about Earth life. She talked about the important covenants we need to make while on this Earth and then Sister Roberts asked Crystal if she would like to be baptized and covenant with her Father that she will always follow Him. Crystal said Yes! Crystal is also preparing to be baptized on July 19!. Even though everything seemed to go wrong in that lesson I am glad that we still followed the Spirit and followed through with what we were inspired to plan for her! We also invited her dad, Larry to prepare himself to be worthy to baptize her! He said he will work on that. (bishop told us that if Larry continues to come to church until then and show the desire that he can baptize his daughter!) 

Part 5
Another Miracle we saw this week was with Jennifer. We were on our way to a teaching appointment with Bruce (bringing a ward member with us). He lives right next to Jennifer. Well Jennifer’s son Ryan loves us and tagged along to listen to us teach. We taught the plan of salvation. Ryan realized he was late getting home so he left before we finished but took the pamphlet home with him. His mom, Jennifer was not happy that he came home a half hour late and so she took the pamphlet away from him and sent him to his room. Jennifer then read the pamphlet!
When we called to make an appointment, she didn’t answer as usual, and I didn’t even leave a message because I was going to try again later that day. Well for the first time ever Jennifer called us back! She invited us over to teach her entire family! We have been trying to teach them for a long time and it was finally going to happen! We went last Friday and she sat everyone down (ALL 7 Kids!) around the table and told them they were going to listen to hear us out. We taught them the plan of salvation! We invited them to come to church and they said they would hold family council for if they wanted to come. It was such a miracle to be able to teach them. And, we are going to go back and teach them more this Friday!