This week went by so fast. It's probably been one of the fastest weeks in my entire 8 months of serving (8!!!!!!) We've been discouraged, but not nearly as much as we've been blessed! We had heaps of miracles!!
Miracle #1 Jenni has decided to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptised!
She's been putting it off forever because her doctor said she can't make any decisions because of her brain injury. But she knows this is what she needs to do. She rang us while we were walking back to our car from Newcastle Uni, and she said she wants to talk to us about baptism. Sister Weiss and I froze dead in our tracks. We told her we would be right over before our next appointment that evening. After we got off the phone, we dropped to our knees in the middle of the sidewalk and prayed to thank Heavenly Father, ask for His help and guidance to know what date we should set and how we're going to approach her. We were excited but so nervous. You never know what you're going to get with Jenni. She told us she told her family about her decision and she wants to be baptised. She feels like she's a part of the ward family already, but she just hasn't been baptised. We prayed about it and committed her to be baptised on March 21! She is SO ready. We left there feeling confident that she will be baptised, but also very confident and aware of the adversary against us. Sister Weiss and I looked at each other in the car and said we need to do ALL that we can to uplift her. It's amazing how hard Satan works...but we work harder. We still haven't figured out why he hasn't given up yet.
Part 2 of this miracle...We had a very depressing morning. We met with our investigator, Vicki, who lives in a shelter and her daughter was taken away from her, her oldest son has a mental disease from doing too much ice, and her other son brought home his 16 year old girlfriend of 2 days to move in with them. She's stressed and unsure of what to do in her life. We explained how the Atonement helps us and when we put our trust in God first, everything will work out. I know this concept is almost impossible to grasp when you're in such a hard temporal situation, but the Gospel will really bless your life. We left there not knowing how to help her if she wasn't willing to help herself. We were silent for an hour. Our day progressively got a tad better as we continued to work, and then we got Jenni's phone call!!
Miracle #2 Alex got baptised! She was taught by the elders. Alex is so prepared to receive the Gospel. She's probably the most prepared person I've met. She's 18, adorable, vegan, and so ready to go on a mission. We've had heaps of good talks with her about the Gospel and she sees it blessing her life already. She recognizes how important it is and she just wants to share it with everyone. Her baptismal service was really simple and beautiful. Evelyn Parkes (she's the most bold 9 year old you will ever meet) gave a smash talk on baptism. Then Bianca (recent convert who's coming off of methadone) gave a sweet talk too. Jenni gave a talk on Enduring to the End and killed it! (She's already giving talks and she's not even a member yet!) It was just a really nice service. Sister Weiss, Marlies (recently returned missionary), and I sang 'When I am Baptised'. We had a rough start, but it turned out okay. I made up this random alto part and it didn't completely suck!
Miracle #3 Shane Tarawa was taken off his respirator last Sunday, and everyone thought we were going to lose him, but now he's breathing on his own, out of ICU, and is recovering!! After much praying, fasting, and patience, the family is more at peace. It's amazing to see how much the family has grown spiritually throughout this entire journey. Elder Haleck of the Seventy will be meeting with the whole family before Stake conference this weekend, so that will be really cool. There are heaps of inactive and non-baptised members of that family, but they all know the Gospel is true. The ones that are active are incredible examples to us all. I hope this devotional will really help them recognise the spirit in their lives. I love the Tarawa's, they take such good care of us.
Miracle #4 Okay, it's not a huge miracle, but it's something exciting. We got permission to watch Meet the Mormons because it's coming to Newcastle in theatres! So tomorrow evening, we will be watching a movie in the theatre with popcorn. As a missionary, I cannot express how exciting this will be. #missionarylife
I also had heaps of good studying this week! Here are a couple things I really enjoyed reading
"Missionary work and the Atonement" - Elder Holland
"Beware of Pride" - Ezra Taft Benson
"Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness" - Quinton L. Cook
One of the biggest lessons I learned this week (and I've been learning everyday for the past 8 months) is endurance and obedience are key to success as a missionary. There are so many times where we just want to give up but we remember how important this work is and we continue to do it, no matter how tired, bored, stressed, or discouraged we are. When we are obedient and endure, we will be blessed and rewarded for our works. I see it everyday. Heavenly Father loves us and he's very aware of our needs. He knows what we are capable of and gives us the strength to do whatever it is that comes our way.
I hope you all have a great week! I love you heaps!!