Monday, May 22, 2017

Lid of the Pickle Jar Open

Hi Family!

There was an email that just came through blank.  Sorry about that.  The computer decided to be spazzy when I was sending another email.

It's been an exciting week down here in Queen Creek, AZ.  It all started last Monday, and we could tell it was going to be a good week because Satan was throwing everything he had to try to get us to not work.  We had stopped to check the mail, and my kick stand on my bike decided to give out.  So my bike fell over, and I'm just thinking, "No big deal," but fun joke: it was a big deal.  It messed up my breaks so the back wheel could not roll.
Without my bike we wouldn't be able to do much of anything, so the only solution was to take my bike to a member who could fix it.  But that was still a little way down the road, and I had a bike with a stationary back tire.  So what did we do, Family?  We carried the bike.  That was quite the adventure because here we are, two 5'3'' girls stubbornly trying to carry my bike and failing miserably.  After dropping it on my foot once or twice and many weird looks from onlookers, we finally make it to the member's home.  ANNNDDD... they weren't home.  But thankfully we have technology, so we could text them and they said they'd be back around 8.  Okay, we could just walk until then.  But wait.  Remember how I dropped my bike on my foot?  Now it was bleeding all over the place and I was just praying I wouldn't need stitches.  (Don't worry, Mom.  It looked a lot better once I cleaned it off and I did not need stitches.)  So now we went over to Bishop Potter's home to get a band-aid for my foot that may or may not need stitches.
By the time I'm all cleaned up, it's about 8, so we head back across the street so we could get my bike fixed.  We thought it was just the breaks.  It wasn't.  I had a bent rim too.  So now my bike had to go to another member's home for them to look at it (and I'm just grateful that I have members to help me in the first place), and long story summed up, we walked home and had only my bandaged foot to show for our attempt to go be missionaries.  On the bright side, the amazing members were able to fix up my bike and change my break pads, so it is working great.

So that was the start of our week. And now that Satan had given away how great of a week it would be, we were ready to go out and work.  We've been asking for referrals from everyone and now have some wonderful people who said they would be interested in hearing more about our message.  I also got another opportunity to speak Spanish this week.  I love the first time I get to do a Spanish OYM with a new companion because they are left just going, "How did that actually just happen?" (gift of tongues... that's how it happened.)  The lady I was talking to was very nice, but not interested.  But here's the thing.  My companion thinks I'm just good at talking in Spanish and being persistent, when really, I got to know the lady, she'd try to end the conversation, but I only really picked up on a word here and there of what she was saying (enough to know what she was generally saying, but I couldn't have relayed it word for word), so she'd try to end the conversation, and I would just be like, "I don't know how to respond to that, so I'll just keep talking about the Gospel!"  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

But that was just a small fun thing, and barely scratched the surface of all the miracles that happened.  First one, we had a dinner appointment with a less active family in our area (that's miracle number one because we never get to eat with less active families).  Then, (and take notes here) they invited a non-member friend to come have dinner with us too! What??  It was crazy!  The friend is named Nauhel, and he lives just across the street from this family.  He came with his friend Kaitlyn right as we were getting ready to share a message, so we just invited them, and they listened.  Our message was about prayer, and it went really well.  Then Kaitlyn and Nauhel start asking us questions about our missions.  We talked with them for a good while, and they both accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.  If nothing else, it was really nice to have an opportunity to get to talk with people not of our faith in a comfortable environment so they could see that missionaries are actually real people.  Then just to add a bonus miracle, Kaitlyn said she had moved and was now attending what she thought was an LDS church, and asked about that.  We told her she can just talk to the bishop, and he would be able to help her.

We also had a really incredible lesson with the Bishop's family in the ward we are white-washing.  We decided to teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because I love teaching it.  The Spirit was really strong as we taught, and the bishop's wife was all teary-eyed because of the sweet spirit, and it just went really well.  We had invited them to do a Family Mission Plan, and they were super motivated to do missionary work, and at the end they asked, "Is there anything we can do for you Sisters?" and I say, "Can we borrow a roll of toilet paper?"  I don't think anyone was expecting that--myself included.  But we were almost out, so now we have some more toilet paper.  Miracles.

But the adversity still came, and Sister Rogers was really sad as a friend she had grown to love said she did not want to take the lessons anymore.  Her friend, Julia, said she loved the church, but because her husband was so against it, she needed to stop for now.  We were very sad about Julia, but we knew Satan couldn't distract us because we had an even bigger miracle ahead: a baptism.  Sister Rogers and Sister Conrad (Sister Roger's last companion) had been teaching a boy named Fuzzy.  (His name is actually Andreas, but Fuzzy is his nickname.) Fuzzy has a really cool story.  He is a senior in high school, and he had been dating our bishop's daughter, Autumn.  One day, Fuzzy and Autumn were doing homework together, and Autumn invited him to an activity.  He said he didn't want to go, but last minute changed his mind.  He went to the activity and had a really fun time, came to church with Autumn, and eventually he decided he wanted to take the missionary lessons.  I came to the area just in time to get to teach him the final lesson before he was baptized, and he had such an amazing understanding of everything he had been taught.  It was evident in the way that he answered questions that he was not just doing this for Autumn.  Fuzzy had felt the Spirit and knew that this is what he wanted in his life.

His baptismal service was incredible.  Almost his entire class was there.  I'm guessing there were probably 150 people in attendance.  There were so many that we had to move into the chapel for everything except the baptismal ordinance. He was confirmed the next day, and he was just beaming.  It was adorable--like when a little kid gets baptized.  Fuzzy's friends had said that over the process of him learning about the church, he seemed different--happier.  Now that Fuzzy has made this promise with his Heavenly Father, I am so excited to get to know him better as we get to teach him the new member lessons.  I'm also just in awe of Autumn and how amazing she is.  I don't think it ever crossed her mind when she was inviting him to an activity that this is where it would lead, but it is such an incredible blessing to have been part of this experience, even though it was for such a short time.

I'll just finish up with something I learned this week.  I have been reading through the October 2016 General Conference Ensign and continue reading el Libro de Mormón.  I was reading a talk about prayer, and it made a comment about the windows of heaven being opened.  Immediately, I just got an image of my mind of Heavenly Father with a pickle jar, which sounds weird, but hear me out.  When Heavenly Father gives us blessings, it's not like He hit the pickle jar with a knife so it can be opened and it's just kind of there.  It's not even like He mostly unscrewed the lid and some of the juice leaks out.  When Heavenly Father blesses us, it's like the lid is completely off the pickle jar and He has turned the bottle upside-down.  And as I was reading in 3 Nefi, I saw a really cool example of that.

I'm at the part where the Savior has been born, and the Nephites are getting really good at their talent of becoming wicked really fast.  There are a small number of righteous Nephites, and the land is infested with Gadianton robbers who have nothing better to do but cause mayhem.  Giddianhi, the current leader of the robbers sends a letter to the leader of the Nephites threatening them that either they can surrender to them, or they will just come wipe out the Nephites. This is how the Nephites react:

"Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni (the leader of the Nephite army): Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands. But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands."

This must have seemed so backwards to the Nephites.  Why should they wait until they are attacking in their own home?  Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to keep the battle away from our families?  But they went along with it.  The story continues: "And it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places, and began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate."

I got to that part and it was like an action movie in my head and I was freaking out a little.  That would be terrifying.  Here they all are in one group in the middle of the land while the robbers are taking over all of their homes.  But because they trusted the Lord, the very next verse we find out why they were instructed to do this: "But behold, there were no wild beasts nor game in those lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and there was no game for the robbers save it were in the wilderness.  And the robbers could not exist save it were in the wilderness, for the want of food; for the Nephites had left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks and their herds and all their substance, and they were in one body.  Therefore, there was no chance for the robbers to plunder and to obtain food."

I don't know about anyone else, but I did not see that coming.  Plot twist.  But it really showed me that the Lord does bless us as we follow His counsel.  Even though it didn't make sense, it was exactly what needed to happen so the Nephites could protect their families.   I have a testimony of that.  God cares about us.  And as much as we want others to have the happiness that comes with the fullness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father wants them to have that even more.  He is ready to bless us with the lid off the pickle jar.  I love being a missionary where I get to learn these things.  And Family, I love you!
Sister Emily

1001 N Burk Street
Gilbert, AZ

This was probably the most sane way I tried to carry my bike

Painting Curbs


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