Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16th


I'm on my 5th week in the field! It is so crazy to think that transfers are coming up next Wednesday! I'm hoping I stay in our same area, because we had some awesome things happen this last week! 

Awesome thing #1: Last Tuesday night, we were having dinner with a really fantastic member family named the Hadleys. The husband, Brother Hadley, was telling us about some of his mission experiences, especially those concerning "transfer sacrifices," something that his mission president had instituted in their mission where, every transfer, the mission president would present a different challenge for the missionaries. Sister Montgomery and I wanted to know more about what the sacrifices were, so Brother Hadley began to list a few. One transfer, it was reading the whole Book of Mormon in 6 weeks. Another transfer, it was only eating with members if there was a nonmember present at the dinner. This last challenge really interested me and I asked Brother Hadley how that had worked out. He said that it worked really well and they found a lot of great investigators that way. He then stopped and turned to his wife and said, "Honey, why don't we try to find someone to eat dinner with us and the missionaries next week?" The wife was a little nervous about it (they just moved into the area, she is VERY pregnant, and has three kids to take care of), so Sister Montgomery and I told them that we would do a fast for them to find someone prepared to hear the Gospel. They agreed to both pray and search. We fasted all of Wednesday and, thenext Sunday, were greeted by a very enthusiastic Sister Hadley. She said that she had met someone at the kiddie pool next to their apartment who had lived in the area for years and really wanted to get to know more people in the community. Sister Hadley had invited her for a BBQ to meet more people and had arranged for a lot of members in the area to come! So awesome! There is definitely a lot of power in fasting and praying. 

Awesome thing #2: WE GOT A REFERRAL! It was from Sister Montgomery's last companion. She sent us a text saying that there was an awesome guy named Mark that we needed to visit who worked as a plumber or cable guy and had helped a member out and seemed interested in the church. We went over there right away and knocked on his door. A guy opened and Sister Montgomery said, "Hey, are you a plumber?" Not exactly the best opening line, especially when his reply was no! haha. But, once we had confirmed that he was indeed Mark (and not a plumber),  we introduced ourselves and asked if he would be interested learning more about the church. He said he really would and gave us his number! We are going to call him tomorrow to set up an appointment! 

Awesome thing #3: We finally found out more about Edmund's background! He told us a lot about his life and how he became interested in seeking out God more. He even shared with us a poem that he had written about repentance (it is really good! Definitely "back page of Ensign" worthy). We also found out that he has not been reading the Book of Mormon lately and recommitted him to that. He leaves the second week of August and is still hesitant about being baptized before then, but we are going to follow the Spirit and see what happens! We are planning on teaching him more about Joseph Smith and modern day prophets this week with an emphasis on the ability that the Spirit has in confirming truth.

Awesome thing #4: One of the elders in our district has a Chinese investigator named Yuyu, who heard I am learning to speak
Chinese and really wants to teach me more about it! So I am going to meet with her this week and go over the 1st lesson with her in Chinese and she is going to assist me with tones and pronunciation! The elders said that she has a baptismal date for later this month, but is getting really nervous about it, so this could be a really great step to keep her grounded in the Gospel. 

Awesome thing #5: Saturday afternoon, as we were helping paint a less active member's house, I realized that I had a really painful bump on my eyebrow. I had no idea how I got it (I could not remember hitting my head or anything) and just tried to ignore it the rest of the day. However, when I woke up the next day, it had swelled a ton and was making it so I could not open my eye all the way. Monday morning, it was even bigger and was hurting, so I called the mission nurse and had to schedule a doctor's appointment. When I got there, the doctor took a look and said I had a staff infection. He gave me a prescription for some pills that I could pick up at a pharmacy near our apartment (Notice: This may not seem like it deserves to be on the "awesome thing" list, but bare with me...it gets better!). So, today, my companion and I stopped by the pharmacy and the lady at the counter told us to come back in 30 minutes. To use up some time, we went over to the store's bakery and bought some bread for lunch. We talked to the checker, Ropheal, for a little bit and he asked us about what church we were from. We told him a little about the LDS church and Sister Montgomery asked if he would like to learn more. He said he would and gave us his phone number to call him about it later this week! Staff infections are not exactly the best method of finding people, but whatever works! The Lord definitely knows what He's doing!

I got Mary's wedding invitation in the mail today! AND I LOVED IT! I was showing it to everyone I saw in the mission office and they all loved the design of the card and the gorgeous, gorgeous pictures of Mary and Michael! I am so sad I am missing the wedding (1 more month!!), but I am glad I'm being kept in the loop. Definitely keep me updated on wedding prep. 

Big news: One of the elders who came to San Diego the same day as me and was also waiting for a visa to Australia got his visa last Saturday! Hopefully that means mine is coming pretty soon! I figured out that the next transfer date for the Melbourne mission isJuly 30th, so if my visa comes in the next two weeks, I'll be in Australia by the end of this month! If not, I will probably be there around September 10th. Whatever happens, I have complete confidence that the Lord knows more than I do and He will make sure I am where I am suppose to be. 

Spiritual thought: I have really had a problem contacting people on the streets lately. It still feels so awkward to me and the people always seem like they are busy and really not interested. However, this last week, I was reading a conference talk called, "Come, All Ye Sons of God" by President Thomas S. Monson and was really struck by one of his points: Teach the truth with testimony. In this section, he quoted from 1 Peter 3:15, which states "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." I realized that, because I was hesitating to talk with people on the streets, I was missing out on an opportunity to testify of the reason for the joy I have. This reminded me of another scripture I had read, from D&C 4. It states: If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work. Missionary work is never easy. It was not simple for Ammon, Abinidi, Elijah, Christ's disciples, Joseph Smith or any other follower of Christ who has cried repentance throughout all time. It certainly was not easy for Christ, who was completely rejected and crucified. And whatever position we are serving in, as leaders, members, or missionaries, there will very rarely be an opportunity to share the Gospel that will not feel awkward. It all comes back to our desire. In a recent conference talk, Quentin L. Cook shares a scripture that he calls "one of the most profound verses in all of scripture," in which Alma proclaims, "If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" Are we truly converted? Have we truly tasted of the fruit of the Gospel? How much do we want to share what we have?  Do we have faith in the Savior and a sincere desire to gather his sheep? If so, He will call and sustain us to do His work and be His hands, no matter where we are. I know that as I testify and share the joy of the Gospel with more boldness, I will be strengthened and gain an even greater testimony of this Gospel.

I love you all! Glad my letters were well received! More are on their way today! 

With love,
Sister Sarah Bennion

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