I am SO incredibly happy right now!! I'm not even sure how to quite explain it... It just feels as if I have no worries, pains, or anything else holding me back. It's a freeing feeling! I've been thinking a lot about why all the sudden I feel like this - it's not that I wasn't happy before, I definitely was, but I just feel this exceeding joy! Which I guess is why I came out here in the first place... Just as it says in the scripture on my mission plaque!
Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. (Alma 36:24)
I think what has helped me with this is really trying to narrow down on where I stand in my relationship with God. A lot of "soul searching" I guess you would say. Looking at the big picture and not just the day to day perspective. I've learned so much out here and it's a little scary to think that I still have SO much more to learn and do. But when I look at it in the sense that there are great things in store along the way, that there are MIRACLES along the path, it makes everything so much more bearable and exciting. I try to wake up each and every day expecting great miracles.
When I'm able to wake up with that perspective I've realized that I go to bed reflecting on the miracles, be they large or small, that have happened throughout the day. I am able to reflect on God's love more and I feel that that leads me to being even more dependent on Him.
Yesterday in the VC Sister Archambault (whom I absolutely LOVE being with) and I had quite an interesting experience with a man that came in. We were both reading at the back desk since it was pretty slow in there and all the sudden this man comes in and rushes to the other side of the desk and pounds his fist down and exclaims "I want to be baptized! How can I get baptized?!"
Uhhh... we both look at one another.. look back at him... look at each other again... (he looked a little homeless and smelled heavily of cigarettes with coffee in hand). "Oh wonderful!! We would love to help you with that! How did you come to this decision?"
He then began to tell us of his whole life long story. He experienced many miracles himself and had been studying the Book of Mormon for about a year or so. He practically had the whole Bible memorized and a good part of the Book of Mormon and even some of the Doctrine & Covenants... He was basically teaching us!
We asked him what suddenly prompted him to come in that day, right then. He told us that he had studied the Articles of Faith all night and prayed and prayed over them because he had trouble accepting some things. He told us he received a confirming answer and that's why he knows he's finally ready. He had already watched every little video in the VC, read every plaque, etc. We quickly sent the referral to the elders in his area and began teaching him the missionary discussions while using the resources in the VC. But he already knew every single lesson... all about the priesthood, the temple, etc.
But he still was holding a cup of coffee in his hand. So we sat down in a circle and read the 89th section of Doctrine & Covenants. It was amazing to see the change in his face while reading and helping him understand the privilege we have of knowing how to make our bodies and spirits strong and healthy. He was a bit hesitant at first to give up coffee and tobacco, but we assured him he could do it. he committed to giving it up completely.
He told us to write our names down on a piece of paper so he could always be reminded of the experience he had there when tempted to use tobacco or drink coffee. We asked him to offer a prayer for us at the end. The spirit was so strong! It was amazing how willing this man was to submit to the will of God. It was amazing to sit their with my companion and the scriptures open testifying of our Savior and His love. When he walked out the door we watched him throw his coffee in the trash can.
I wish I could share all the experiences in the VC and in our area that we have every day... there are miracles constantly.
I know that when we leave our homes in the morning pleading with our Father in Heaven for the opportunity to share our testimony with those we encounter, He will surely give us it!! This scripture has given me much hope and strength in doing so:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)
I love all of you immensely!!
Love, Sister Martin