Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 19! "Hard Week of Miracles"

From 5/19/14

Hola Family and Friends!

HARD week. Hard stuff. But no one said the mission would be easy! It was also a week of MIRACLES.

President Utchdorf has said, "There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn...Brothers and sisters, even after the darkest night, the Savior of the world will lead you to a gradual, sweet, and bright dawn that will assuredly rise within you."

I know that this is true even though some moments it may be hard to live according to that faith. I know that God loves us very much. In fact, He loves us infinitely. It doesn't matter where we have gone, what we've done, where we've been, the trials we've gone through or are going through. I know He loves us and that He walks with us through the trials we face. I am grateful for trials because if we have trials, we can see how much God trusts and loves us. He trusts that we will patiently endure our trials with our faith firm in Jesus Christ. Through every single trial, we have the opportunity to progress and become like our Father in Heaven. What a great blessing trials can be! Trials can be exalting. I love the section in the Doctrine and Covenants that Joseph Smith wrote during a time of great persecution and trials, it's in D&C 128:22:

"Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever!"

From this week:
"We have seen many miracles in our area this week. On Saturday we had an appointment with a new investigator named 'P'. He invited us in and pointed to the pamphlet we had in our hands and said, 'I read the pamphlet that you two gave me. I really enjoyed it. I found it very interesting and honestly, it's convincing to me.'

We were surprised by his introduction and how well he greeted us. We immediately felt something special about P. He said that he is familiar with almost all other religions, but that not one of them has ever filled his spiritual hunger. Hermana C and I have been trying to be clear from the first visit that the investigator understands our purpose and expectations by inviting them to be baptized. We focused just on baptism for the first few minutes and invited him to follow Christ and be baptized. He wholeheartedly accepted!

I felt the Spirit so strongly as we began teaching the message of the Restoration. After Hna C shared the first vision, he looked very pensive and still. We asked him how he felt. He said, 'I feel really good. I feel peaceful.' We testified that the Spirit was telling him of the truthfulness of the restoration. He happily accepted each commitment and offered the last prayer. In the prayer he thanked Heavenly Father for sending us to him to share the gospel. We were touched by his simple and fervent prayer. It was a great blessing to be a part of that. 

Sunday after church, Hermana C and I headed out to visit a less active member that didn't go to church. We prayed and knocked on her door. She didn't answer and at the moment that we were about to leave, I thought of a recent convert named 'D'. The instant that her name came to my mind, Hermana C said out loud, 'D. She didn't go to church.' That was clear enough for us.

We walked straight away to D's home. Her children answered the door and let us in. D looked really discouraged and on the verge of crying. We tried to ask how we might help or if she wanted to share how she was feeling. She said that she was just fine. We looked at her and said, 'We were on our way to visit someone else but the Lord told us to come here instead.' :) She just smiled gratefully.

We decided to share a message that we had prepared for another member who wasn't home. We read from the Book of Mormon with their family in 3 Nefi 11 and 17 of when the Savior came to the Nephites and blessed, healed, and prayed for the Nephites. I love the part that says they all went forth one by one to Jesus Christ. The Savior's love for us is so great that He gives us of His love one by one, individually. After we read, we watched a short church video of this Book of Mormon story.

Then, there came into her home a great peace and sweet spirit. D turned to us and said that she needed to see that that day. She felt like the message was just for her, that God loves her and is aware of her needs. She said, 'Before you came here to visit me, I was feeling really sad and stressed. I was just thinking how I wished you could come to visit me and help me feel better by reading something from the scriptures. A story, a chapter, anything just so that I could feel better--then you came. Thank you for coming to see me. I know that I just need to keep trusting in God. I know that He is there.'

I was so touched by this experience. We testified to her that God loved her so much!!! He sent us to see her just to let her know that He knows. He knows what she's going through and hasn't once left her side. It was kind of like He was reminding her of that through our visit. It was really touching and sacred to see how the Lord can work through us to help His sons and daughters. 

All day yesterday, Hermana C and I felt like we were in the right place at the right time. We went to visit an 'old' new investigator. Every time we had gone by M's house in the past, she wasn't home. Yesterday we decided to visit her again and to our joy she was home.

Her 22 year old daughter answered the door and invited us out on her patio to visit. We talked with M for a bit to see how she was doing. She went into her house for a few minutes, then came out carefully holding the copy of the Book of Mormon we left with her many weeks ago. She told us that a few days before her daughter was asking about the curious 'Bible' she had and how she could have a copy for herself. We gave them each a copy of the Book of Mormon and M's daughter even joined us outside to talk.

We shared the message of the Restoration with them and there was a great feeling of the Spirit that entered. At one point during the lesson, it was almost as if I could step back from the conversation and just observe M and her daughter, Z. I loved how carefully they each held the Book of Mormon in their hands. I loved the sincerity and pure intent in their eyes. I found it amazing to see how the gospel was just laid right before their feet--after so many years of being separated from God's presence and the truth of the gospel. And then I thought for a moment how pleased Heavenly Father would be to see His children with what will bring them home to Him one day. That was also a very special experience.

We knelt together on their patio and Z offered a sincere, pure prayer. We asked her how she felt after and she said that it hurt to pray to a Being that she wasn't sure really existed. We felt the great faith she exercised even only having the desire to believe. Because like Alma taught, if she lets those desires work in her, that desire will become a seed of faith. That seed can grow to a great tree and bring forth fruits of joy and eternal happiness. All that begins with desire, which is what she demonstrated and exercised.

I am very grateful for the converting power of the Book of Mormon and how the Spirit testifies of the truthfulness of the gospel to those who are humble and to those who hearken to His teachings. 

This truthfully was a very hard week. The beginning of this week, we were faced with so much opposition. I know that the enemy works tirelessly to get us discouraged because if he can, he wins in a way. I know that I just have to truly trust in God and place my cares and worries at His feet. He has already paid the price and suffered for us, so that we might not suffer if we trust in Him. At the end of this week, it's almost as if the dawn finally came! We felt the love of our Heavenly Father so much.

I am grateful that the Lord trusts us to have trials and weaknesses so that we can be humble, repent and change, and in that way--to progress."

Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius

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