First of all let me just start off by saying that when we were in line to buy groceries today at Trader Joes a random Member from another Ward who we have never met came up to us and insisted that she pay for our groceries. Afterwards she told us to treat ourselves to something fun. So that was a great start to the day! Just know that even in this big city we see members everyday who are so nice to us and take care of us! :)
Today we are headed down to help someone move (seriously helping people move like everyday) and then hopefully to Chelsea's market. We went there with Riss and David last time we came and had crepes and walked around. I guess they decorate for Halloween, so since we have to be in by 5 on Halloween then we want to celebrate today :) hopefully it'll be fun!
This week has been SO good! No, we didn't have a baptism. No, we didn't find some solid new investigators. No, we didn't get any member referrals. No, we didn't pass out 100 copies of the Book of Mormon. And No, we didn't get to talk to any apostles this week. But we did have so many tender mercies that make the whole mission worth it.
We got to have interviews with our mission president this week, which was awesome! I just love President Morgan so much he is the best. We had a nice little chat. He told me I will probably be here another 2 months or so..so my fingers are crossed. He could just be saying that though. So we will see!
On Wednesday we were able to have a family home evening with the Davis girls (Sasha and Natasha), sister Macuilt, and the Lopez family. Brother Lopez was there, which is a miracle. He works a lot and every time we go to visit he is sleeping because he works night shifts at a well-known restaurant so he gets really tired. From the first day we met sister Lopez, 4 months ago, she asked us to pray for her family and pray that her husband will come back to church and get the priesthood. Each time we visit she asks us to keep praying for them. He doesn't speak much English but at FHE we told him the Spanish we know and he was impressed and happy we try. We read from the Book of Mormon with them in Spanish, and had his sons translate the rest. At the end of FHE he invited us over to have family night with them every Monday whenever we can. A couple weeks ago he was able to receive the Aaronic priesthood and then on Thursday we saw them coming out of the temple after doing baptisms together. What a blessing it was to see our prayers answered. The Lopez family is wonderful.
On Thursday we were able to go to Lioudmillas (Russian lady) with a member in Our Ward (Brittany) who served in Russia. We watched a video in Russian and then Brittany was able to translate the message we shared. We talked about praying and waiting for an answer with patience. We didn't think much of it, but then Brittany called us later and told us about Lioudmillas home attendant who was listening to our message and said she really enjoyed it and was in need of that. She told us about how after we left, Lioudmilla and the home attendant kept talking about the message we shared and how it touched their hearts and how they wanted to read more scriptures about it. It was neat to know that we were able to teach them by the Spirit.
Then Thursday and Friday were super rough. Everyone cancelled. Nobody would talk to us. People rejected us left and right. And nobody was home when we did look ups. We kept praying and praying to find someone. Then on the way back to the subway we saw a man selling those light up things that hunt plays with at the beach. So we decided to stop and talk to him. I was holding a Book of Mormon and after casually talking to him a bit he asked what it was. So we explained our purpose and what we do and told him about the Book of Mormon. He told us he needs religion in his life and that he has been struggling. He said he knows a religious family that is so intelligent and respects them a lot and it's what he needs. He asked for a Book of Mormon so we gave it to him and got his contact Info. He lives in the Bronx though but it was neat to hear his story and testify to him about how we can all change and that is why we are here. I know he will remember what we said to him. Even if we never see him again, we were still able to plant a seed in his heart.
So on Saturday we set out to recover from our tough week. As soon as I sat down on the train, the girl I sat by turned to me and said "you don't really believe it, do you?" You can imagine I was a little taken back. Not only did someone talk to me on the subway first, but they talked to me about the church. So I asked what she meant exactly. She proceeded to tell me that she grew up Orthodox Christian and that now she is much happier without God and that she finds it really hard to believe in God or believe in Jesus Christ. She said she likes to believe that we as humans are smart and that we can create our own good thoughts. She mentioned how she knows it says in the bible that all good things come from God but she said she doesn't believe that either because she is so happy without religion in her life. She told me about how her mom told her that God would never care about her or listen to her because she doesn't believe in shim anymore. She said it's much easier to live without rules and that it is not worth it to live by so many commandments and guidelines (although she does believe in the basic 10 commandments apparently). I was a bit taken back. But I was able to testify to her of the truthfulness of God and how He loves her and knows her. I talked to her about prayer and about how I came to know the gospel is true and God is real. For the rest of the train ride I was able to testify to her of so many different things that she needed to hear. The Spirit was definitely there. It was incredible. She thought it was neat and good to hear that God is still mindful of her even during her struggles. By the end she said "okay well Ya maybe it makes sense that there is a God but I don't know about Jesus Christ..." And then it was the end of the train ride so I went to give her my number and our card and she said she already follows a lot of Mormon blogs and they all have mormon.org on them. Her name is Mary though and she is 23. Although I may not ever see her again in this life, I feel so strongly that she will accept the gospel one day and come to know our Savior. She was so kind and the conversation we had was so good.
Later that day, we ran into Elida (A former investigator from a while back) who told us to come over Sunday. On Sunday we went to go visit her house. Then we got to teach a woman named Arily who has a wonderful family. We talked about prayer and the spirit was strong as we testified to her of the power of prayer and how prayer will help bless her family. It was so neat. I just want to teach her family. She might not be too ready just yet. But the seed has been planted. We will give her a bit of time to think about our message because I know she felt something. She will accept the gospel one day though.
When we got back from that lesson we went to the church to prepare for an APF (area proselyting activity) and a man walked in and wanted to know more. He said he has been searching for a church and wanted to try this one out. He asked how much he needed to pay to come to church. We explained that it was free and we were able to get his info and invite him to church on Sunday. However, he lives in queens so we will have to transfer him over there. But it was still awesome to plant another seed.
Then a little later we had an APF where we asked people how they have seen the hand of the Lord in their life. At one point a lady came up to us. She said "Sisters! It is soo good to see you. Thank you for being here. I am a member. I'm from LA and Utah. I have been working here in NY and I've had a really rough week. But God has helped me. I got busy working here and stopped going to church and acted as if I didn't need God. But he showed me the way back. And seeing you sisters reminds me of the many blessings from my mission in the DR." Then with tears streaming down her face she thanked us again for being there at that very moment for her. It was such a testimony to me that we are placed in people's path and whether they make it known to us or not, we are helping positively impact other people all the time.
So this past weekend was stake conference and it was amazing! I don't think I have ever been to a conference that was that good. Our stake president, President Buckner, is incredible and went all Elder Holland status and it was soo cooool. He was just like Elder Holland. Super powerful. On Saturday night we were told that we would be singing at conference on Sunday. So All the missionaries serving on the island of Manhattan (about 70) sat in the back and then we sang called to serve as we walked to the front and it was the coolest thing ever. It was so powerful and tons of people were crying and everyone was smiling so big. And then everyone joined in for the second verse and it was so loud in there. Mom if you were there, you would be crying haha. It was probably better than the musical number at my farewell too..
A couple days ago we were reading the Book of Mormon with Sister Macuilt and it's hard for her to understand. Reading it in Spanish is even harder for her though. But in English she doesn't understand a lot of the words. So after we read a chapter with her then we decided to retell her the story using different names to apply it to her life. As we were talking, she was smiling so big and just beaming. Afterwards she was like "wow! You make it so easy to understand! That was amazing." And It's moments like those that I live for and serve for. It was so wonderful to see her so happy because she finally understood the beginning of the Book of Mormon. I just love Sister Macuilt :)
We got to visit the girls from Utah again, Ariana and Amanda. They aren't toooo less active. They will come back soon I think. One of them said she will come and the other said no but they are nice. We gave their grandma a Book of Mormon in Spanish. Also, it turns out they live in a building with 8 apartments in the building and 3 of the 8 are members. Our Ward mission leader lives right next to the grandma. Coincidence? I think not. Haha so hopefully we can get her learning about the gospel, she is super nice and relaxed.
So back to stake conference, it was amazing. Did I mention how much I loved it? The topic was “Thy will be done.” No matter where we are at in life, we each need to come unto Christ today. We need to align His will with ours so that we are following Him. We have to be willing to let go of things, even good things. Like we learned in general conference, we have to choose the best things not just the good or better. So I've been thinking about what I can do to better align myself with Gods will. One thing I decided to do is learn to better listen to the spirit. I've been thinking about how I can tell when it's the spirit and not my own thought because a lot of times it requires going outside of my comfort zone to do something good. I believe that. One thing I hate is doing that first street contact of the day because we seem to always get rejected. I realized though, that after that first hard-core rejection of the day, I can do anything. I talk to everyone. Nothing matters anymore because we already got rejected haha so even though I feel like it's the spirit telling me to talk to someone so I do and then We get rejected, I know that I learned from it and that there is only progression left. Maybe that is my way of learning and overcoming that fear and that is how the Spirit teaches me. Everyday we need to take a second and think about what we can do to better align ourselves with Gods will so that we can receive eternal peace and joy.
I love you all so much! Be healthy and happy! Have a good week :)