Monday, March 17, 2014

Feb 24: Joe the overall angel, and MIRACLE MAXINE

Let's begin this week with a tale. Actually, there are so many. But let's begin with Miracle M. Last week, we went finding. Huntin', if you will. We pulled up to an apartment complex where we both felt directed. We did the usual missionary creep-status thing, where we just kind of LOITER (but let's talk about how gross and weird that word is. Hey, hey, hey. Come onnn, now.) until someone shows up and gets in with their key. It sounds worse than it is. Really, I'm just doing the shifty-eyed stank face, "checking" "our" "teeexts" (picture me doing the Chris Farley quotation marks), and "looking over our planners" etc. and praying silently until someone comes a-walking. Trust me. It works FAST. So we get in the building, and with our entrance comes this wave of overwhelming you've-been-here-before-ness. I can't explain it, but I think Dad told me once that he felt that way walking somewhere on his mission... Either way. I knew I had dreamt about it pre-mission. It came back clear as day and slammed me. My heart started beating faster and I was feeling the Spirit SO strong. It kind of weirded me out. I told Sister B and we got soooo excited to go find out WHY I knew the apartment. We had a great night, found a few new investigators, but still no great explanation of the feeling, except that the night ended with a woman buzzing out on a scooter in front of us so fast and suddenly that I thought it was a SCOOTERING MURDERER and jumped ten feet, and then I was laughing and she was laughing, and then she scooted away before we could share the gospel... :/ So... whoops.

WELLL. Here's where we have a plot twist. We went back this Monday for a return appointment with some of our new investigators, L and Z. When we got there, there was a beautiful older, larger African-American woman named M. M radiates wisdom and love, and quietly listened as we talked with L and Z. She looked familiar to me, too. Over the course of the discussion, it came out that she had met with missionaries in the past. She mentioned having a Book of Mormon upstairs in her apartment, and having loved everything inside... EXCUSE me?! Never say that to two eager missionaries. Or, ALWAYS do. We were ON TOP OF THAT. She kept saying, "I could have talked to those missionaries for hours and hours before I moved." M was seventh-day adventist until she moved here in the eighties, at which point she couldn't find a branch of the church she had been a part of, which was very confusing for her... WORD, cutie pants. 

 As the lesson went on, she said, "Man. Every time I talk to the Mormons, I feel this warmth... and tingles..?" Our joint-teacher, Brother T, said, "Well, M, you know what that is, right?" She shook her head no. He said, "It's the Holy Spirit. It's how God is talking to you." She started crying and kept crying for the rest of the lesson. I can't describe how beautiful that was. I feel like the longer I'm on my mission, the less I know how to language it. Just the way we could tangibly see the Holy Ghost surround her in a knowing, loving embrace, as it whispered that truth. That she, M, heard from God. Often. Frequently. That He cared about her individually and wanted to direct her. As we shared Joseph Smith's story, she interrupted several times and said, "I know this is the one. I know this is what God has been trying to tell me. I know this is where I belong." She interrupted the baptismal invite at the end to say, "YES!" She will be baptized on March 22. :) :) :) !!!!!!!! HI. HELLO. We were ecstatic that night. We came home and I may or may not have done somersaults during nightly planning... you know how it is. We went back this week, and she looooves the Plan of Salvation. We also realized that she was the woman who nearly made me shart myself when she popped out on her scooter last week. She was RIGHT THERE. And we dropped the ball. And the Lord loves her and us enough, that He placed her IN a missionary discussion, to make sure she would get His message.

It was a tender and humbling experience, and a testimony to us that the Lord is able to do His work. What a blessing that He allows us this time and effort for the wonderful people like M, that He has been talking to all along. I think sometimes we forget that, when we think of missionary work, as members or as full-time missionaries. We look at the people around us and we feel like our invitations and testimonies will be abrupt. We forget about the Spirit guiding this work and guiding our lives, sometimes. This isn't new for these people. This is a call to that bright little light inside of them, this is a reminder of something already there. This is a pair of eye-glasses on someone already squinting and straining to see truly. The Lord doesn't need us as members or missionaries, to do everything. He simply needs us to be in the right place, listening to the right voice, doing the right thing. On vein of Elder Holland's talk, The First Great Commandment... If God wants miracles, i.e. prepared investigators, baptisms, changed hearts, personal earthquakes, He can make those happen. What He needs are disciples, people who love Him and love what He has commissioned us to do. He needs our faith. He needs our patience through trials of our faith. He needs that unfailing love. And then He will show forth that He really is over all. That He really is doing His work. We are just blessed by participating.

We were also able to have a wonderful lesson on baptism and the Holy Ghost with C, the single mom of four we've been working with. Ahhhh MAN. Good lessons. YES. She really connected with the older couple we brought with us, and as the brother gave her a priesthood blessing and promised her blessings, I was so touched. God loves that daughter. And every child of His with whom we speak. The Lord promised to bless her as she continues reading the Book of Mormon, that the elements will rearrange and her desire to smoke will be taken from her. Heavenly Father expressed His gratitude for her seeking Him, stating that His hand has been outstretched all her life. She set a date for March 29th! We are so excited for her!!!! MIRACLES.

Our baptism this weekend was beautiful. Sister C. was so ready! She radiated joy and peace, and couldn't stop smiling, even the literal second she came back up out of the water. It was tender to see both the love and urgency in her husbands eyes as she was confirmed on Sunday, and he sat out of the circle. We are very excited for his re-baptism this summer, and are so grateful for the good blessing it has been from Heavenly Father to see how intricately woven our lives are. How she found Christ, but not Christ's church, and Brother C. grew up in Christ's church, but couldn't find an understanding or relationship with Christ. And when they came together, they found both. They found their way home, together. It was a lot of twists and turns, but He got them there. God is a God of miracles. I know that He loves each of us. I know He is over all. I know that as we express faith, Christ can carry us as far as is needed. I know we are helpless without His Atonement. I love Him! I love telling everyone.

What else? It snowed 2 feet this week. I mean straight-up dumped. The family we live with is out of town, so now I am pleased to announce that I can successfully navigate a snow-blower. We were cooped inside for a day and a half while we were on exchanges. :/ Awkward. Sorry, Eagan sisters.... so... what did you learn from watching me update the area book and call every less-active and potential...? Good. I hope that was good for you. :/ Hahah BYE. But really, the worst part is when the snow plow comes by, because then you have like four feet deep by five feet wide snow drifts at the very bottom of your drive-way that CAN'T be snow-blowed. So shoveled it. While my companion dug out the car. I'm still sore. Minne-snow-ta. You little scamp. I love it here. :)

Finally... a funny story. We went on another impromptu road-trip to Wisconsin. PRESCOTT, Wisconsin to be exact. We were trying to find a member referral that we felt prompted to visit. That member referral turned into an hour and half of lost-ness, on country dirt roads, many of which HAD THE SAME NAME AS THE OTHERS. We prayed and prayed and prayed and took turn after turn after turn that ended up being NOT the referral. And it always ended with a pleasant exchange, a planted seed, and another twenty minutes back out on the road. I mean, it was just snow and occasional dairy farms, far as the eye could see. Everything stereotypical and hilarious that you can imagine. Then we finally found her, and she wasn't at all interested. And I guess what I learned from that is, that there is purpose in everything. :) Planting seeds is just as good. We don't have to know why always. We just have to obey, and we're happy. And we were!

AND ALSO THAT WE SHOULD LISTEN BETTER TO PROMPTINGS BECAUSE LISTEN TO THIS. We were flipping around on yet another wrong road, and the thought came to me, just get out and back her. Oh, yeah. Have I told you guys that? As missionaries, you stand behind the vehicle and back it up like you're one of Darth Vader's white guys in the Death Star hanger. And you do this, every time someone is in reverse. Even an inch or so. It's GREAT. Often, I like to throw in a little dancing to spice it up. Pretty good. Anyways. It was SOOOO cold and there was so much drifting snow that I thought, ehhh, better not. Sister Breedlove went to flip around and the SIDE OF THE ROAD GAVE OUT. No. Like, our tires were half buried and the front of our car rested on the snow. Awww, nah. So I turned to her and said, as she said at the same time, "I knew we should've backed." She'd had the prompting, too. :/

So THEN. I get out to push her back on the road, which I have done a couple times the past few weeks. I get outside the car in the snow, lean in to push, and all the sudden I drop two and a half feet. Hahahahaha. No. Imagine Sister Breedlove behind the wheel watching my little beanie-d head drop two and half feet below the car. Spoiler alert: Hidden irrigation ditch. Not the warmest. Not the easiest to get out of. Hahahaha. I literally grabbed the hood of the car and pulled myself back up out of it. It was up to my mid-thigh, people. We were laughing so hard we were crying. So we prayed, and decided we would walk up the road aways to the next house. We switched from our classy church boots to our snow boots and locked things up to head out, silently praying we could find help. We weren't two feet away from the car before a truck came down the road, with an angel driving. 

His name was J, and he'd looked out his window right as we turned and got stuck. (I didn't ask if he saw the rest, but for his sake, I kinda hope so. It was prrrretty quality.) And he'd just had a feeling to look. He came with his truck, shimmied under our car in his OVERALLS over his HOODIE and whistled, "whooooo-weeeee... looks like we gotta hitch-er upppp." We got his information for the elders. Way to be better than us and listen to promptings. He was an overall angel! Like. As in. An angel wearing over-alls and also... just overall, a pretty good guy. So.

Anyway. It's. REAL important to listen to promptings. :) Hahaha. Lesson learned. I hope you all have the best week! I love you!

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