Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23rd

First transfer: completed! I really can't believe I have been in the mission field for 6 weeks! It feels like I just got here yesterday....and at the same time, like I've been here forever haha. Mission problems. 

This week went well; we had some great things happen! I got to meet with Yuyu (the elders' Chinese investigator who agreed to teach me some Chinese) and she is the nicest person on Earth! She is helping me make my sentences sound more natural. She also helped me learn how to explain sin to Chinese people (because she said they do not really understand completely what sin means. She said a lot of them assume that sin is just another word for crimes). After about 45 mins of teaching, she started asking a few questions about the Gospel and we were able to address a lot of her concerns about being baptized. It was a really great opportunity and the elders were so grateful to get more information. 

Edmund has not been progressing as much lately and so Sister Montgomery and I decided to do a fast to understand what was keeping him from being baptized. At the end of our fast, we felt like we were suppose to go over the first few baptismal questions with him. We went to the meeting and Edmund seemed really down. He said that he had recently had a job interview and he did not get a call back. We talked to him for a while and then, after praying, we asked him the first baptismal question: Do you believe that God is our Eternal Father? He sighed and said, "I don't really know." Ouch. Back to square one. We talked about God is our loving Heavenly Father more and asked him if he wanted a blessing, because he really seemed down. He agreed and, later that week, the elders gave him a blessing. This Sunday, you definitely could see a change in him. He was much happier and he wore a suit and tie for the first time! Just goes to show, answers do not always come in the way we want, but they definitely come. 

Last Saturday, our stake threw a Pioneer day party with a huge dinner and games. We were heading to it, when we ran into Maria for the first time in two weeks. Maria was the investigator with the garden that loved talking about Jesus. We had gone to her house a lot in the last couple weeks and she was never home and never called us back, so we had reluctantly dropped her. But she yelled to us from across the parking lot and waved us over. We talked to her for a bit and invited her to the Pioneer Day party. She accepted and came with us! We got to introduce her to a lot of ward members and even gave her a short tour of the chapel. As we were heading home, she said, "You know what, I am going to surprise you guys by showing up to your church sometime!" 

After the Pioneer Day celebration, we planned for the next day and started preparing for bed when we got a phone call. It was from the stake high counselor. He said that he was giving a talk in our ward tomorrow and the person he was speaking with had to drop out at the last moment, so he was wondering if we could speak instead! Because we had two meetings in the morning the next day, we only had an hour to prepare our talks, but they both turned out really well. It really forced us to rely on the Spirit haha. 

My talk was about becoming reconverted to the Gospel. It was based a little bit off Elder Bednar's talk, "Converted Unto the Lord." In this talk, Bednar mentions an interaction that Jesus has with Peter during the Last Supper, in which He said to His head disciple: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to … sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Bednar goes on to point out that Christ is saying this to the same man that gave such the powerful witness that Jesus was "Christ, son of the living God." We all need to seek to become more converted. We need to constantly be seeking to strengthen our testimonies and seek out spiritual experiences. Just going to church is not enough. Even just having a testimony is not enough. We need to recommit to the Gospel regularly and that starts with a desire to change anything that is not in harmony with the Lord, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, and coming unto Him. 

Update from last week: We are meeting with Rophael today and Marc on Wednesday! I'll let you know how it goes! And my eye is doing MUCH better; I took the antibiotics and it went down in a few days. THANK GOODNESS. I still haven't gotten my visa. But, I did get an email this week that said that the minute my visa came in, the mission president would be notified and call me. I personally don't think if it will come in time for me to get to Australia by July 30th, so I will probably be spending the next 6 weeks in this area and I feel like it will really help me. It is definitely a hard area to crack; not a lot of people want to hear about the Gospel or are willing to change, but we know that there is someone out there waiting for the Gospel, whether they know it or not. And we're going to find them! I am so grateful for the Lord for giving me mountains to climb and forcing me to rely on Him always. 

Mom, I got your package today! And I LOVE that you included the skirt! I was just wishing I had brought it last week! You are such a mind reader. 

I love you all and you are in my prayers! 

-Sister Sarah Bennion

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