Thursday, December 11, 2014

I am working very hard to make sure this next week is the best one yet on my mission. Yesterday, we had eight appointments, which is practically unheard of in this mission! We have been working with several member families to try to go caroling, but unfortunately the rain put an end to our plans. However, I think it has made me become more determined. We will carol this week! Music can testify to our hearts of the Savior, and the spirit can soften any heart. I am excited to go sing the carols of the season and bring glad tidings to all of these people.

We have also really been using #heisthegift in our every day interactions. Tracting this week has not really been fruitful because people are busy, but whenever we are in members or investigator's homes, we always pull it up. It is such a powerful tool. Every time, right at the end of the video, the Spirit testifies with incredible strength. It does not matter what type of environment we are in. Homes that are clean or messy, loud or quiet, member or non-member; the Spirit still enters into the room. I love being able to witness this occur in so many settings. I feel so blessed to be a missionary at this time!

This past week, Sister Sim and I fasted and prayed for our investigator, Margi, to receive confirmation for her baptismal date (12/20) by Dec 6th. Unfortunately, on Friday Margi forgot and when she was gifted a cup of coffee, she drank it before remembering. Ah! Such a bummer. When I was thinking about what this would mean for her, I remembered Elder Falabella's training about involving the whole family. I encouraged Margi to pray about if her baptismal date should be the 27th, or Jan 2nd, and then as soon as she decides, to tell her family. I feel that as she involves her family, they will become more serious about their mother's/wife's commitment, and it could soften their hearts. Also, they can be a support to her through this time of the year when it is common to drink alcohol and have coffee. I know that miracles will happen when a family is united, and I just want the best for them!

Exchanges were this week, and I was in our Area with Sister Lee from Korea. She was so fun to be with, and a joy! One of my favorite things about Exchanges is a chance to serve another Sister. I think it is so fun, and so I loved cooking for her, and helping her with little things. She was so fun, and we had some pretty funny experiences that night. When we were tracting, we were in Fall City, and actually ran into a man who' wife was Community of Christ and went to college at Graceland in Lamoni, Iowa. I seriously was thinking, "Will these experiences keep on happening? What are the odds?!" It was pretty cool. Also, there were a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses that we tracted into since we were right by the Kingdom Hall. It was so funny, by the end of the night I had been asked thirteen times if I knew that Jesus was not born on Dec 25th! I am now quite familiar with their doctrine, and hopefully one day they might be curious and want to learn more. 

Something that has been really cool this week is an event that is going on in Bellevue. It is called, the Festival of the Nativity. It is held in the Stake Center, and for two weeks the building is decorated and filled to the brim with Nativities and features about Jesus Christ. There are 523 Nativities from 128 different countries, and there are 360 live poinsettias and 100 Christmas trees. It is held in an open-house style, where people can come walk in and enjoy the presentation. Also, every day there are performances from different local congregations, and it was so fun to listen to them! We went to help host this Saturday, and we had a little station where we talked to people about #heisthegift and to members about missionary work. It was so fun! There was also a brother and sister in their teens that were performing later that day that kept us company and very entertained. It was a great experience, and we are going again this weekend with investigators and to help host again!

I feel very blessed this past week to be in this Area. This week I have had several experiences where I know the Lord put me here for a purpose and a reason. Two times this week, I used German while I was teaching. The first time, we were tracting in the suburbs of Snoqualmie, and we ran into a man who I found out, was born and raised in Bavaria! As soon as he shared that tidbit of information, I said kind of quietly, "Deutsch?" He responded, and then engaged in a ten minute long conversation in German! Poor Sister Sim! She said later that she didn't mind since she did it to me with Korean, but still. When I was talking to him, we found we had many things in common, even though he was 71 and I am 20. But is was delightful talking to him, and I found out he loves music. We invited him to the different musical events this season, and even though he was not interested, he said that if I would not have started talking to him in German, he would have "closed us out with rudeness"! So, I consider that a success. 

Then, we were teaching someone this week who has been struggling, and found out that the couple had lived in Germany for eight years! Upon learning that I knew German as well, the husband then spoke to me all about the things he misses in Germany, Switzerland and just Europe in general. I was committed to visit Switzerland as soon as I can, since he was so shocked I had never seen the beauty of the mountains and the hills. 

Now another thing that really touched me this week was the testimonies borne in Fast and Testimony Meeting. One sister, who was the former Bishop's wife, told about how her past Saturday had gone. She was feeling a little overwhelmed because her husband was constantly gone, and her kids were acting up, and she had said a little prayer. Then, the missionaries (us!) had stopped by, and had shared a message with her and her family. She then talked about how the Spirit came into her home, and helped her to feel better. Then, two other testimonies were borne about us!!! It was incredible!

Then, yesterday we were helping a young mother in the Ward with a project, and she told us this story. So, the previous Friday, this sister was feeling a little overwhelmed. She wanted to be a good member missionary to her neighbor that was kind of interested in the Gospel, but she had this huge project to do and wanted to take care of her kids, and just had a lot going on. In the next hour, the neighbor ended up coming over and offered to help take care of her kids so the mom could put the baby down for a nap. Gratefully, she accepted and in that moment, decided to do some missionary work. She offered to have the neighbor come over for lunch in return for the favor, and was going to talk about the Gospel. So, about an hour later the neighbor is over, the kids are playing in the other room, and the young mom is trying to think of how to share the Gospel with her. She said she was kind of sad because she knew that now because she was spending time doing missionary work, she would not be able to finish the project in time. Then, ring! The missionaries are here! (us!) She said that we came over at the perfect time, shared the Gospel with her neighbor, and then gave her inspiration on what more she could do for her neighbor. Then, we offered to help the young mom with anything she needed doing, much to her delight, so we set up a time to come back and help her with the project. She said that we were just in the right place at the right time, and was exactly what she needed! 

I felt this helped to grow my testimony because I had been praying to help recognize the Lord's hand in my life. I did not really feel like He was leading me, and I wanted to make sure we were doing what He wanted us to do. So now I feel so blessed because with these members sharing these experiences, I can greater recognize our being lead by the Lord. 

To me, to hear these members talk about me just brings such happiness to my heart. I will admit, I was really, really sad to leave downtown Seattle. I just loved everyone there, and it was a little disheartening to think about ending my mission in a Ward where the members would not really know me, and no one would really care when I left. But, this week it seems like there are little moments sprinkled throughout the day where people express their appreciation towards us. It brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. I know that I am meant to be here, and I feel so blessed for the many experiences I have had on my mission. 

Love you all, and see you soon!

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