LAST TRANSFER CALL:
Sister Archambault and I will be staying in the area... BUT... our area will be split into two areas now and we'll both be training!! Eeee I'm so excited! Sister Archambault and her greenie will be taking half the stake (6 wards) and my greenie and I will be taking the other half! And we are called to serve back in the visitor center (which I am also SO excited about! I haven't served there in almost 6 moths!) so we'll go back to spending half our day in the area and half the day in the visitors center. We had a ton of work going on here in the whole Washington Fields stake in the last few weeks. This is the first time ever that the stake is being split into two areas! It's hard to leave the other six wards and the people that we were teaching together... but it will be nice to just focus on 6 wards instead of 12 all at once. It's crazy because for my last transfer all I wanted was to stay in Washington Fields, to train, and to be back in the VC!! Sister Archambault and I will still be sister training leaders, just solo ones.
We don't know exactly who were training yet until this Wednesday. I have to pack today but we still haven't found a solid apartment sooooo... hopefully a miracle will happen with that.
SPEAKING OF MIRACLES!!
Oh my goodness I feel I have so much to update you all on it's crazy! I don't know if I can fit it into one email!
So first thing first - Sister Archambault and I have been praying like crazy to find more of God's children that are prepared to enter into the covenant of baptism. A few weeks ago we were on splits and all of Sister Archambaults lessons cancelled so they went to go contact some referrals. One was a media referral of a woman named Callie. She is in her twenties and has a little girl. We had tried her seriously like 5 times the week before and never got an answer. She felt inspired to go there after all her backups fell through. When she showed up to the door, Callie answered and said that she had been waiting for us. She told her that she has wanted to be baptized for a few months now and that she wants us to come back. We both went to the appointment the next day and Callie asked that golden question, "What do I need to do to be baptized?" She wanted to start with the first discussion right away - the Restoration. As we bore testimony of Joseph Smith, Callie opened up and told us that the morning before we came to her door, she had been praying to know if the church was true and if she should still follow through on her desire to be baptized. She said that when we knocked on the door that night, she knew that it wasn't the neighborhood friends coming over or anything else, she knew that it was going to be an answer to her prayer. She told us that for almost an hour after the conversation we had at the doorstep, she felt a constant warmth with her. She knew her prayer had been answered. The whole lesson I was trying to hold back tears - the spirit was there, no doubt about it. When we officially committed her to a baptismal date that first lesson, she told us that she knew this is what she needed to do and there was no going back - the decision had been made. She told us, "This is a permanent thing. I've already made my mind up." Her boyfriend who is a member, Cody, has been helping her and teaching her and bringing her to church. They are both just amazing. I feel that I learn more from Callie in the lessons than she probably learns from us! We always look forward to going over there. Her baptism date is set for May 9th.
Remember Vincent Lynch? One of our recent converts who I was teaching before I left for Manti. The one who was a lawyer for the longest time in Florida and left because of the lack of spirituality he was feeling back there and moved here. The one who got the priesthood the other week. Well, his good friend Alan, who he has been taking to church, met with us a week ago. We had a lesson with Vincent and Alan in their fellowshippers home. Alan doesn't know a whole lot about the church, he was raised as a Southern Baptist. But Vincent has been helping him a lot. We taught Alan the Restoration that first lesson. In the past when we were teaching Vincent the restoration before he was baptized, he had a LOT of concerns about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. We had some really spiritual lessons and experiences with helping him to gain a witness of the truthfulness of those two things. In the lesson with Alan, we asked Vincent to share the story of Joseph Smith. it was so uplifting to hear his testimony from where it was then, to where it is now about the restoration of the gospel. Vincent had a huge smile on his face the whole lesson. You could see the joy and excitement in his face in sharing these truths with such a close friend. Alan told us that he believed the message we shared was true and that he wanted to continue to progress. He told us that he felt so at peace when we talk about the gospel and he has seen the change that it's brought into Vincent's life. He accepted a baptismal date of . Alan said the closing prayer for us and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. he thanked God for sending his friend, Vincent, to introduce him to this new way of life. He thanked God for the spirit of peace he felt in the room. He said other things in his prayer that were so touching. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. These two men, Alan and Vincent, are in their 50's. And they are such an inspiring example to me of seeking after righteousness.
The next miracle I wanted to share is about a couple in their 70's named the Hennes. They are a non-member couple.The first time we went to their home we talked at the doorstep. They were a little abrasive and standoff-ish. Had some questions about the Word of Wisdom, the temple, and the Book of Mormon. He has a neighbor that gave him the Book of Mormon and let's just say he wasn't too impressed and felt he was just reading about a lot of wars. They refused to let us schedule a time to come back and read the book with them. So about a week later, we just randomly swung by anyway and went to see how they were doing. They actually let us IN their home, but we just stood and answered a few more questions for them and once again, bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. We asked them at the end of that short visit if there was anything we could do for them and Mr. Henne jokingly said, "You could build my shed for me." We jumped at the offer and a few days later we went over to build their shed. And lets just say that I am so very grateful that Sister Archambault is my companion because she was able to read those instructions and put that thing together like none other. I attempted to read the instructions but it seemed like it was practically in a foreign language so I just visited with Sister Henne and played with their cute dog :) And then Mrs. Henne accidently fell in their freezing pool... but that's a whole different story... Anyway, they were so touched by our willingness to help (and Sis. Archamabults ability to help) that they wanted us to come back for DINNER!! Mr. Henne said, "i just really love visiting with you two gals! Put us in your schedule for 2 hours on Saturday night for dinner!" Well, our schedule doesn't really permit us to have a 2 dinner hour appointment, but we couldn't believe it had gotten to the point where they wanted us to come back! So we had a great dinner with them Saturday night. At the end we explained that it was typical of our dinner visits to share a spiritual thought at the end. We shared Alma 7:11-12. We bore testimony of the purpose of Christ in our lives and we asked them in what ways they were able to strengthen their relationship with Christ. It was then that Mrs. Henne mentioned that she tries to pray every day. She then looked down to the ground and said with tears, "But at times, I don't feel worthy to pray. I don't feel worthy for Christ." We showed her a picture of Christ holding the lamb and taught her about the love of Christ and the redeeming power of His atonement. We asked them how Christ had supported them in their trials before. Mr. Henne responded with a near death experience he had and a very spiritual moment that accompanied it. As tears streamed down his cheeks he explained how he had never shared this with his wife before, but that it was something he will never forget. We were able to testify of the Plan of Salvation and the purpose of our lives here on earth.
It's these moments that I live for, that I labor for and pray for and love.
Seeing hearts soften, minds enlightened and lives changed in these experiences we've had recently is indeed an answer to prayer and fasting. And without a doubt is the hand of God extended in love to His children.
In my personal study I have been reading in the book of Alma where Ammon and Aaron take part in teaching King Lamoni and his father. Because of the service and persistence of Ammon and Aaron in teaching these two kings, a once wicked and ferocious people were now a converted people. In Alma , Ammon is overcome with joy because of the answers to their prayers that they had received and the spirit of the Lord that was poured out upon the Lamanites, resulting in thousands of conversions. Ammon "fell upon his knees, and began to pour out his soul in prayer and thanksgiving to God for what he had done for his brethren; and he was also overpowered with joy."
I could never relate more to a verse of scripture. My heart is full with gratitude for the marvelous work that the Lord is bringing forth in Washington Fields. When I was called to come back and serve here, I literally felt like I was being called to Ammonihah again. I was fearful that like the time before, there would be no work, no progression, no seeds to harvest. But with great patience, faith, and diligence, we have finally seen the fruits of the efforts of all who have served here. There is no such thing as a "dead" area. I want to leave off with the words of Ammon is Alma 26:
"35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has allpower, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people... yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us...
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of everypeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."
I love you all :)