Malo e lelei!! My new companion is Sister Liu! :) She is from Pittsburg, CA - the bay area. She is Tongan and full of the best one-two combo: Island love and love for the work. I love her! She is the oldest of 13 kids in her family. She is the leader of the pack. I love serving with her. She is HILARIOUS and we have the best time together.
She came right when Washington Fields needed her!! When we were in the car driving to our area for the first time I kept telling her of all the people that were going to benefit from her strong testimony and Polynesian characteristics - because a few days before we found a whole less-active Tongan family with a non-member Hawaiian in the home!!
Here's the story: Sister Calves and I had a ton of our appointments cancel one night and we had already tried all of our back-ups. I remembered hearing about a family named the "Katoas" from one of our ward mission leaders and it just popped up in my mind so we decided to go on over there. Kind of random. Before we went in we said a prayer and Sister Calves prayed that we would be able to find a new investigator. Now I have never heard anyone pray for that while entering into a home full of just a less-active family. But you never know I guess. That little french sister is full of faith because right when we walked in the Tongan mom greeted us and immediately this cute 22 yr old Hawaiian named Kalii came up to us and said "Hi sisters!" I just thought she was a daughter or something. So we went into the family room and started talking with them and then Kalii told us she wanted to be baptized and asked us what she has to do in order for that to happen. *jaws drop* "Well, ehem, uhm..." That's always a "catch you off guard" moment!! Anyway, long story short, Kalii has a baptismal date for Dec. 13. She is the girlfriend of the family's son - so we will have a little wedding before she gets baptized :)
I couldn't believe that right when we walked in she just started gravitating toward us and talking with us. She took the missionary discussions when she was living in North Dakota with some elders, and even though she wasn't prepared at all then to change, those elders really did prepare the way for her. We asked her what had changed between then and now, what suddenly sparked her interest in wanting to get baptized. The first thing she told us about was family prayer.
So here we are sitting in a less-actives home and their occasional family prayers that they said together had the BIGGEST impact on Kalii. the spirit of love and unity that she felt created this yearning within her to want to have more of that spirit in her every day life. She has the CUTEST baby named Lion. And she wants to do everything she can to be the best mother for him. She has kept all of her commitments and came to church for the first time last Sunday to all three meetings!!
What a miracle that was. And Sister Liu of course is just absolutely perfect for this family. They already have so many connections with one another!! In one of our lessons Kalii just kept telling us over and over again with tears in her eyes "Thank you for coming. Thank you for coming." She told us that she feels she has known us before - and I feel that I was sent here just for her!! I can't wait to see her again this week for our lesson!!!
I have found that when praying for one thing, Heavenly Father of course knows best and will answer us with another. there is a great description of this pattern by Elder Bednar:
"The stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 53: 56–58) prayed earnestly that God would strengthen and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. Interestingly, the answers to these prayers did not produce additional weapons or an increased number of troops. Instead, God granted these faithful warriors assurance that He would deliver them, peace to their souls, and great faith and hope for their deliverance in Him (see Alma 58:11). Thus, the sons of Helaman did take courage, were fixed with a determination to conquer, and did go forth with all of their might against the Lamanites (see Alma 58:12–13). Assurance, peace, faith, and hope initially might not seem like the blessings warriors in battle might want, but they were precisely the blessings these valiant young men needed to press forward and prevail physically and spiritually.
"Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience."
I love this!!!!! I have seen it time and time again throughout my mission. One of my favorite scriptures that relates to this trust we must have in the Lord is found in Doctrine & Covenants 123:17 "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
Much Love, Sister Martin
The typical missionary fridge.
Sister Liu opened it this morning and shouted at the top of her lungs, "THIS IS SO DEPRESSING!"