Missionary Miracles – Sisters Peterson and Pinto-Haynes

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Sister Peterson

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Sister Pinto-Haynes

[Shared with permission]

“And the miracles don’t stop there! We went to see Vanessa and Aidan (her 8 year old son) a few days later, and taught them about the promises we make when we get baptized. Vanessa needs to get married, and every time we’d try to commit her to a date, she’d say she wasn’t ready yet, that she still needed to get her answer. We went through the baptism interview questions with them both, and asked them to prepare together to be baptized on April 23. Aidan was more than happy to agree, and then Vanessa started nodding her head.

Her (future) mother-in-law said “That means you have to get married before April 23.” Vanessa nodded. She’s going to get married! And baptized! In two weeks!! That made us pretty happy. She’s going to talk to her fiance about it, and then they’ll talk to bishop about marrying them.

And that kept happening! There’s another lady we started teaching last week who has agreed to prepare for May 21. She also will need to get married. Another man agreed to talk with his fiancee about getting married so he can be baptized on May 28. Three weddings, and three baptisms! I guess the “big” obstacles really aren’t as big as we sometimes make them. WHEN PEOPLE FEEL THE SPIRIT THEY WANT TO CHANGE AND THEY’RE WILLING TO TAKE BIG STEPS TO GET THERE (emphasis added). (Sister Peterson on the Pima Rez)

Mission President’s Observation: Sister Peterson’s testimony is true! When you live worthy to have the Spirit – when you fill the measure of your missionary call, the Spirit WILL testify to those you work with that your invitations are from God -and they will want to change!

Missionary Miracles – Elders Ebisch and Herrera

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Elder Ebisch

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Elder Herrera

I have to tell you a miracle that took place in the last two weeks. Two weeks ago one Elder gave me a German Bokk of Mormon. I laughed at him and said: “how can I ever use this in Heber?”

But last week one of our members told me: “I was filling up a propane tank for somebody that just moved to Heber and I asked him where he’s from and he said Germany, so I told him that we have an Elder that is from Germany and that he would like to meet him.” I couldn’t believe it-a German in Heber?!

When we were doing service at the Senior that same week. Someone came into the entrance and for some reason I knew that this was the German man. He didn’t speak, he didn’t introduced himself. I just walked up to him and I spoke to him in German. And he looks at me (what was a little awkward for me because than I thought he is not the German guy they told me about). In my mind I already formed sentences in English so I could pretend that he didn’t understand me….😂

After this little moment of awkward silence he began to speak…. IN GERMAN! It was him. He was so happy to meet somebody that was from Germany. His wife who is very nice listened to us while we were speaking German. I introduced them to my companion and invited them to sit at our table. He told us that he is building a house here in Overgaard and that they are staying in a trailer in the RV Trailer Park in Heber. After talking a little bit they gave us their number. And we didn’t even had to ask! We said that we want to tell them a little bit about the church and Jesus Christ and they responded ‘yes, of course, we would love to.’ This is not the typical response for a German. This just cannot be a coincidence, President. You know president, I was praying for investigators for a pretty long time and now it happened.

We visited their home and we had a really good conversation. We stated our purpose and they are excited to hear the lessons. We will go with a member couple (he is our Elders Quorum President and his wife is from Japan) to their home and teach them the Restoration. This is a miracle! What we will do is that he will get the Book of Mormon in German and she gets one in English and we will let members (the couple) write their personal testimony in the book because personal connections with the members are so important for new investigators.

Missionary Stories – Sister Colina and Vautier; Elder O’Brien

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Sister Pendant

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Sister Colina

[Shared with permission of Sisters Colina and Vautier]  Note:  Sister Colina has recently been switched to French work – becoming our latest Sister to become tri-lingual (English, Spanish and French).

#1
Sis. Vautier, is the boldest most fearless, companion I’ve ever had. She literally talks to everyone in her path! Yet, she comes off as this sweet, innocent, and quiet, Tahitian women. As we were looking for a member’s home in an apartment, disappointed at our failure to find “Karina”, I turned around from the door we thought she lived at ready to go home. My companion in her broken Spanish yelled “wait! *points at the neighbors door, raises her eyebrows and says* Karina??” I reply, “no, we know she doesn’t live there!” She insists, and by this time I’ve learned to follow my companions promptings. I say “ok, fine”. She proceeds to knock. A young 20 something year old guy answers. She says “Karina?? Does she live here?” He apologetically says “no, sorry”. She then acts like her puppy just died saying “Oh my!, no Karina?! Oh, no, oh no!”…, then stops, smiles like she just had the best idea ever and says “Well, can we give you Karina’s invitation?” We talk with him for a while and learn that he’s actually been looking for a church, feeling a void in his heart, and wanting to meet with us. We have now taught him 3 times and he continues to want to know more. He’s been so kind, open, and courteous. I am stumped! To think it all just started with “Does Karina live here?”. Never doubt your companions promptings, especially when she’s a spiritual power house!

#2

We were again looking for a less active member. It was dark, sketchy, and I was a little paranoid and afraid. We walk up to the house and it’s totally barricaded. S. Vautier wants to keep trying. I tell her, sister, I don’t feel good about it. We start walking to the car and as we start getting in the neighbor pulls in next door. We sit, I sigh and say “You want to go talk to the neighbor don’t you.” She reply’s “Oui!”. Me: “Okay, let’s do it.” She approaches him the interaction starts very sketchily. With him responding dryly. After she said the name of who she was looking for he change completely. He brightens up and says “That’s me!”. We have an awesome conversation and learn that he’s actually working on coming back to church with his dad and they had been attending a family Ward together. He tells us how he’s been preparing to go on a mission but was wanting to see his dad come back to church first. It was so great to talk to him and get to know him. We now have a new less active to work with!

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Elder O’Brien

[Shared with permission from Elder O’Brien]

Well, I guess we did have one out of the ordinary experience, which just happened this morning. Before I talk about it though, let me just say I am truly grateful for the authority of the priesthood, and more so the power behind it. All 4 of us elders were starting to make some breakfast when a car pulls in to our place from the road. Apparently Elder Meza and Kapisi met with a lady yesterday who was concerned about evil spirits around and in her home. It was her who pulled up, along with her daughter, her daughter’s fiancĂ© and their three little girls. Her daughter and daughter’s fiancĂ© (Telesa and Roger) were literally seeing these evil spirits around them. Telesa and Roger were in tears by the time they got to the church. The whole car ride to the church, they said the spirits were hiding under their car seats taunting them.

I dealt with evil spirits in my first area. I am now grateful that I had gone through that because I was now able to speak knowledgeably with Telesa and Roger about how they can get rid of, and then keep themselves free from these things. The first big thing we did, was we gave them priesthood blessings of healing. In the blessing, we were allowed to command the evil spirits to leave from their bodies and to not harm them. After the blessing, I talked with them both a little bit about a story told by Pres. Sweeney to me of a missionary who brought an evil spirit into his mission home and the general authority that was visiting was able to cast it out with love. I also shared with them that we allow these dark forces to enter into us or around us through our own spiritual death by disobedience to God’s commandments (especially the word of wisdom, I have seen). Love is a repellent against these spirits.

Elder David A Bednar gave a really good example that I like to use from his “patterns of light” videos, I’ll paraphrase a little bit here to say what he said: Have you ever been in a completely dark room with no light coming in whatsoever? What happens when you strike a match in this pitch black room? You see light! Even the smallest light, the darkness will never overtake it. The darkness flees from the source of light.

Thinking of this example, consider the darkness to be the evil spirits, and then consider the light to be Christ’s love. It is by no coincidence that Christ’s Apostle John spoke of Christ as life and light:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” – John 1:4-5

After we helped Telesa and Roger learn what they can do to keep these spirits away, they both said that they could still see the spirits around them. However, they were cowering away from them. Just like that small flame among the darkness, the spirits were being kept at bay around these two people. It is my testimony of the priesthood, that God has given men a trust, a power from heaven to combat evil.

Arizona Scottsdale Mission – 3.21.2016 Arrivals

 

On a cloudy and cool Monday, March 21, the Arizona Scottsdale Mission welcomed 11 new missionaries. These missionaries arrived 1/2 from Mexico City where they had been learning Spanish and 1/2 from Provo – with one (Elder Sefo) arriving a few weeks earlier from the Provo MTC. Picking up the new Elders and Sisters were Pres. and Sister Sweeney accompanied by Elder and Sister Espinoza – a newly arrived senior couple who are laboring in a Spanish branch in the mission.

These Elders and Sisters are a GREAT group – with 6 learning Spanish, one learning English (Elder Sefo form Samoa). Elder Hamson comes from a basketball family and arrived literally towering over the Sisters as they came up the concourse (see picture). One of our Sisters is a recent convert – and the only member in her family. Still another cared for her Mom through an illness that eventually took her life – but through which this Sister developed extraordinary spirituality and charity. They are powerful!

After getting picked up and a sack lunch in the van, the group went to the Mesa Temple and Visitor’s Center where they got acquainted with the interactive displays and had their pictures taken – followed by a brief testimony meeting. Then back to the Mission Office and Home for orientation by the office staff. The highlight of the day came next as they joined a cadre of experienced missionaries for first-time contacting in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Dinner was prepared by Elder and Sister Adams – a visa-waiting senior missionary couple (they got their visa to India during transfer week and are now in India)of meatballs and rice with some yummy oriental sauces accompanied by veges and a salad. We strive to give missionaries meals that reflect wise food choices – all prepared to be budget conscious. Exactly what they have to do the as missionaries.

The evening closed with some videos of Elder Holland teaching driver safety and Pres. Eyring and Elder Holland teaching on Missionary Work and the Atonement.

Tuesday morning started early as all arriving missionaries and their chaperon’s met at the chapel next to the Mission Home at 6:00 a.m. for isometric exercises and basketball. After breakfast of crepes, they assembled for some additional driver training followed by instruction by the Assistants and Pres and Sister Sweeney on how to be successful as Trainers – and Trainees. By 11:00 a.m. the new companionships were announced – and after lunch driving tests – then off to their new areas and teaching appointments.

This is an extraordinary group! We’re super excited to welcome them and see them grow and progress!

Departures 3.21.2016

On a beautiful spring Arizona evening, the 6 Sisters and one Elder that constituted the March departing group gathered at the Mission Home and office for farewell interviews and their farewell dinner and testimony meeting. Sister Bass and Elder and Sister Porter met them as they arrived and processed them for departure – turn in the loved/hated Tiwi card, weighed baggage and helped them re-pack as needed and expressed love and support for these wonderful departing missionaries.

Before dinner at 6:00 p.m., the Sisters decided to do an impromptu pyramid (see picture)! That’s bravery!

Dinner was prepared by Elder and Sister Adams – and enjoyed by all. Elder and Sister Adams are on their way to India and so they prepared food that could be found in India (meatballs over rice with sauces, veges and salad). It turned out splendid – and root beer floats topped things off (not sure you can find root beer there!).

After dinner we held a family home evening where each missionary was able to ask questions of Pres. and Sister Sweeney – and these were great questions. But like the Las Vegas commercials, “what’s asked in the Mission Home departure FHE stays in the Mission Home!” The focus of the night was the road ahead and staying faithful during the journey. The departing testimonies were heartfelt and will be remembered – as will these missionaries – in the hearts of Pres and Sister Sweeney.

After a pretty short sleep, the Elders and Sisters were taken to the airport at 5:30 a.m. – bound for many parts of the country and home. These missionaries started and ended their missions with us – and we love them as our own.