Sunday, July 28, 2013

Any time I get to share my love for the gospel with a complete stranger - that is a miracle (July 15)

Wow. Here I am again writing you all about another amazing week here in Mesa Arizona. I
Saying good bye to
 Hermana Schwartz
normally plan out things I want to highlight from the seek, but I didn't have time so my thoughts will probably be a little scattered. First I just want to say that I am soooo blessed. You're probably getting tire of hearing that, but I just can't believe how wonderful and amazing my mission has been so far. It truly has been a gift from Heavenly Father. I am sad because Hermana Schwartz goes home tomorrow!! Take good care of her and go to her homecoming talk!! I will miss my little Georgia peach soo much! She has been an amazing example for me and has really helped all of the sisters in the vc to catch the vision of the work that can be done here. I know there is so much potential to do good here at the visitors center.

I will tell you one of my vc miracles of the week. So Saturdays are always extremely busy because there are always about a million weddings going on - which is great though because we love to be busy! So anyways, Sister Pickett had just gone into the back on our lunch break when Hermana Valladares came and told us they needed us to give a tour. So we ruched out and met this sweet young couple named Karl and Stephanie. They were in town visiting from up north (northern Arizona) and their friends told them that they needed to come in and see the Visitors Center while they were here. They said that they felt a great spirit here and wanted to learn more of what our church was all about. So Sister Pickett and I took them first over to our new exhibit and we were planning on taking them to some other places too, but because we were so busy Sister Pickett got stuck taking another group through the exhibit- so I was on my own, but of course I wasn't really on my own. You can always rely on the spirit to be with you and to help you when you are doing missionary work :) As I was trying to decide where to take them next I felt that I needed to get to know them a little better so I asked them questions about their beliefs. They both expressed beautiful testimonies of the Savior Jesus Christ and then I felt strongly impressed to take them over to the Book of Mormon display. I testified to them that as a fellow Christian I have come to know my Savior on an even more intimate level through reading The Book of Mormon. I testified to them that it truly was another witness of Jesus Christ. I invited them to read it and they said they would. Now this is when it starts to get really cool. We were walking around the display checking out all the different languages when we came to a kiosk that has a list of questions that you can select and then it answers them from scriptures in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I invited them to select a question that stood out to them and they selected "What does God's plan mean for me?". At the end of the little presentation thing I asked them what their thoughts were. Their answers kind of surprised me. They said they didn't know God had a plan for them and they thought it was comforting to know that this life isn't the end of it. That was like music to my ears :) I took them over to the family proclamation display and we read about how we are all sons and daughters of God and that we lived with Him before this life. It was amazing to see the spirit work on them. Their hearts were softened and they kept asking more and more questions and responded each time with "wow that's good to know" or "I've always wondered about that". I testified to them that these precious truths have been restored to us today in their fullness and that they are only found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I then invited them to more fully follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized. The spirit was so strong and you could just see the sincerity in their eyes as they said they would. I LOVE being a missionary. I then got their information and told them I would be sending their local missionaries to come and teach them more and help prepare them to make the covenant of baptism. AMAZING. I am just so grateful that Heavenly Father allows me to witness His work in action. How cool is it that I get to see these kinds of miracles every day?! Not all miracles are as big and amazing as that, but they are still miracles none the less. I feel like any time I get to share my love for the gospel with a complete stranger- that is a miracle :)

So James. James! He is so awesome!! We had 2 lessons with him this week and I am so proud of Sister Pickett she invited him to be baptized in the first lesson on August 3rd :) Way to go Sister Pickett!! I just can't believe how much Heavenly Father is blessing us lately. We have so many awesome investigators and more just keep coming! The thing that I think is amazing about James and his situation is that the ward has just adopted him right in. They love him! We got a text from one member saying thank you for letting him be a part & introducing him to James. He said that he has already become one of his best friends :) so precious! I absolutely LOVE my area. I would be ok if I stayed here for the rest of my mission haha but that most likely will not happen. I just love working with YSA's! We were having some struggles with it at first and so I talked to President Jenkins about it (he was a stake President of a singles stake for 5 years. dang.) he said one main thing is to just focus on their strengths and build on those. Commitment is the main thing we have been struggling with. That is one thing I want to be sure that I make a part of my nature. I want to be a commitment keeper. I want people to know that they can count on me and that when I say I am going to do something I really mean it and I will do it the very best that I can. I never realized how important that is. Anyways where was I... oh so that has been our big focus, just loving them and helping them build on their strengths. At first I really didn't know what that meant, but as I prayed about it I totally felt like Heavenly Father was giving us opportunities to really help build the ward.

Hermana Gomm's return home
That is something I have gained a huge testimony of. Prayer! You don't know what to do or how to do it? Pray! I was reading today in Helaman 5 talking about Nephi and Lehi and when they were in the prison yadda yadda yadda... well I love the part where the Nephite dissenter Aminadab tells the people, "you must repent and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ.". Interesting. We have to pray until we have faith. Pray until you get the answer. Don't just pray once and give up saying you tried, but really put your heart and soul into it. I have seen this so many times in my mission. I am just a simple and normal little person, yet I have been given this task and really this authority to go and teach these people. Wow. Sometimes I literally have NO idea what I am going to do or what I need to do to help the area grow, but as I have prayed I have received answers. We are seeing the blessings of hard work. I love it! It is just so amazing to see the ward catch onto the missionary spirit. You just feel the love growing among the members as their love for the Savior and the gospel grows. Anyways, I love you all soo much!! Oh did I tell you we got transfer news? Sister Pickett and I are staying another transfer! Woohoo!!! This is the longest I have ever been in an area before and I am Ssooooo happy :) 

Keep up the good work familia! I love you all sooo much!!!! Christopher keep up the good work prepping for your mission! Mom I am soo glad you had such a great time in Texas! Too bad you couldn't stay just a little longer to have been there for Hermana Gomm's homecoming! Hope all goes well with the house and all the craziness you guys are involved in.

You are all in my prayers! Love you!

Sister Hamstead