We have seen so many miracles!
I don't even know where to begin haha. I'll just go in order!So last Friday, we decided to call a lady named Pam. She was transferred to me by another sister who returned home. Pam had come here on a motorcoach last summer and had been taught by our sisters ever since. She was going through cancer treatment (brain tumor) at that time. Well I had called her in March and she was really happy, she said that she just went into remission and that they were going on a cruise and we could call her when she returns. We called her Friday and when she picked up, she was distraught and crying, to the point of hysterics. She said that the cancer came back and she just kept saying, I don't want to die! We felt so bad. We did what we could do to comfort her and then offered her a Priesthood blessing, which she really wanted. She said she was moving in to a long-term care facility on Sunday, so it was perfect timing that we called. We had our Zone Leaders call the bishop in that area to send Elders over to give her a blessing, and so the ward can go over and fellowship her. I know that's exactly what she needs right now and the blessing will give her peace. We were so thankful we were able to call her!A little later that day, we were on the square and were asked to take a lady through God's plan. So we meet her and she tells us that she served in St. George Visitor's Center. We talked about that and started God's Plan. The whole time, I felt prompted to ask her if she is struggling with anything. After it was over, we asked if there was something that she has been struggling with lately and she said yes and began to cry. She told us that she suffers from depression and anxiety and that she has struggled with it a lot. A little story popped into my head so I asked if she had ever heard how the best way to eat an elephant is and she smiled and said yes, one bite at a time. So we talked about how this is her elephant, and she needs to eat it one bite at a time. We were able to talk a little more and testify, the Spirit was so strong. We were so glad we were able to talk to her!
That night, Friday, we had just gotten on the square and were looking for someone/people that we knew we needed to talk to. We saw these pretty young guys with big hiking backpacks walking up the Christus so we said, them! So we walked up and began to talk to them. There were 3 of them, and they looked pretty rough! 1 of them is a hitchhiker, his name is Toupoc, that's what he does is hitchhike all over. 1 of them is a train hopper, I guess you could call it. He hops from train to train. His name is Hyde, They were homeless and dirty. The third used to do that, he used to be a traveler a few years ago but went into the army and then had just gotten out of prison and had met up with the other 2, his name is Cameron. We talked with them for a while and listened to the Christus narration. They all referred but we felt that Cameron was sincerely interested while the others were not as sincerely interested. It was really cool to talk to them, security kept walking by in case we needed them haha but we could feel the Spirit and the need that we had to be there. The story will continue later in the email...
On Saturday, we didn't have time to grab any dinner so we were eating at the Food Court. A Mall ecurity guy walked up to us and asked if we have any Swahili speaking sisters on Temple Square. We told him no but asked why and he said that there is a guard that he works with that always asks him questions, so he gave him a Book of Mormon is Swahili since that is his native language. I knew who he was talking about! I said, what's his name? And the guard said, Dominik. I knew it! I am not sure if you remember or if I even mentioned him, but way back in October I think it was, he had become Sister Mendoza and I's new investigator. Well we had tried to call him a ton of times. The first couple times he answered but was busy and then never answered after that so I had to drop him. Well come to find out from this security guard, he is still interested! So we are starting to call him again. He hasn't answered yet and doesn't return our messages, but we will keep calling him! It was so cool to see.
The next day, Sunday, we were on the square and 2 groups came up and asked us for a tour. One group were members who just moved here from Russia, and the other group were colleagues here for a conference from Las Vegas. We took them to the Temple Model and explained the Temple and the concept of Eternal Families. We took them to the Assembly hall and talked about the building and church, and ended at the Christus. The members kind of drifted off and left but the people from Las Vegas were really interested and asked a bunch of good questions. They were very friendly and open and agreed with the things we shared. They wanted Books of Mormon too, so we went down and got them Books of Mormon and 3 of them referred! One of them doesn't seem so sincere, but the other 2 do. We haven't been able to get a hold of one of them but the one we did get a hold of is Daniel. He really wanted to read the Book of Mormon. We have an appointment with him tomorrow, and we are so excited to see how his reading has gone and be able to try to answer questions that he has. He is really prepared, we could tell that God had prepared those 2 to receive the Gospel. We are going to invite him to be baptized on June 21st!
Continuation of Cameron...So Sunday afternoon, we called him to see how everything was going and see if he was still interested in learning more. He was! We were able to teach him the Restoration. He said that he would be in Salt Lake until Wednesday because he is moving up to Ogden, where he is receiving help from the Homeless Veteran Affairs, he will be in temporary housing. We realized that he was still here in Salt Lake, so we asked him to come to the Square and we could give him a Book of Mormon. We had a lesson with him on the Square, we solidified the Restoration. He believes it and doesn't have any problems with it. We explained the Book of Mormon more and he wants to read it all. He said that he had a 20 year sentence for something he didn't do, but that when it was changed to 4, and he was released, he knew that it was God, and that God had something prepared for him, and he thinks it could be this church. We were walking outside and he went to put the Book of Mormon into his backpack and pulled out his cigarettes and mentioned that he wished he wouldn't have stated smoking again once he was released from Prison. We told him that it was a commandment from God not to smoke, so that we can have healthy bodies and feel the Holy Ghost. We made him throw one cigarette away, and then told him he could smoke what was left but that he couldn't buy any more. He promised he would do that. Also, we invited him to be baptized on June 21stand he said yes! We're not sure how that will work with probation, he will have to go through the mission president up in Ogden, but we hope that a miracle will happen and that he will be able to be baptized on the 21st.
Later that day, we were walking on the Square and felt prompted to talk to this couple sitting down outside the Temple. We walked up and said how are you? And they said, Oh, not good. We asked why and they said that their little granddaughter who was just a couple days old had just been released from the hospital because there was nothing left they could do for her, and her parents (their daughter and her husband) had just texted them telling them that they had decided to bring her home so she could die. They had decided that the best place they could go was the Temple. So they came and sat outside the Temple. They were pretty emotional but we could tell that they were members and could see the big picture. We reminded them of the Plan of Salvation and they said that's what they have been thinking of all day. We told them how she was needed in the Spirit World right now as a missionary, and to picture her with a name tag on. The man said that he just lost his brother a week before who was not a member and began to cry. We told him that his granddaughter is up in the Spirit World teaching his brother right now, and that she was needed to bring their family all together. That gave them great peace and joy to know that their granddaughter was teaching him, and that their family will be together forever. They were so sweet, and such examples to us. The first place they went was the temple! What an example.
On Monday we called Megan. She is such a rock star. She said that she has no doubts that the church is true and that if she were baptized tomorrow she would never be able to deny that it is true. All her friends and all her family members tell her that she is doing something stupid and that the church isn't true, but she doesn't listen. She defends the church and continues doing what she knows is right. So her new baptismal date is June 14th! Which is right before she goes on vacation, so that will be a great time to be baptized and begin a new journey before a literal journey is began. She is going to meet with local missionaries to prepare her for that! She is so prepared!
Monday we had another lesson with Cameron on the Square. We focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how all things are possible through Him and we can be forgiven of sins. We talked about baptism and covenants. We talked about the Temple and why he should prepare for it. We talked about setting goals and being surrounded by good influences. We gave him a ton of gum that will help him not smoke. He was really grateful, I don't think that he has been given a gift in a very long time. We invited him to go to institute up in Ogden, and since I went there, I told him the address and when classes are. It was wild! Haha. We told him to go and to make good friends that will help him at this time in his life. It dawned on me to ask him the address of the house he will be living in and he told me and I audibly gasped haha he is in my old singles ward boundries! So Bishop Story is going to be his bishop. How crazy is that? I told him to go to church on Sunday and find Bishop Story and tell him that I sent him. There isn't a better ward for him he will fit in perfectly and Bishop Story will be able to help him so much. I am so excited! What a miracle! It was one of those "did that really just happen?" moments. If that isn't a testimony that I need to be serving here, then I don't know what is.
On Tuesday, Elder Don R. Clarke from the Seventy came to our mission again for a Mission Tour. He was here in December but came again as they usually do. It was really really good. It gave us such a desire to do all the things he shared with us. The spirit was so strong and I learned so much. One of the things that he shared that I love is how RM's come home and go inactive. They have this strong testimony where they say I know, but then they forget. He told us how we can NEVER forget. I will never forget because I know that the First Vision happened. It really, really happened. He told us how everyone needs their own sacred grove to receive answers to prayers, and that there is a difference between begging and praying. Another thins he said, "exceptional faith, exceptional action." He said a lot of great things! He told us that out of all the missions in the US & Canada, Temple Square had the highest number of baptisms in the month of April!! How cool is that! And who says we are just seed planters?! It was a great mission tour and I love rereading those notes. I wish I could type them all up in this email. Haha. The Missionary Department also came for part of it (I thought they were going to give us iPads but not yet haha), they decided to pilot something in our mission. They came out with a new pass-along card. It's a free download of the Book of Mormon onto an iPad or iPhone or Android. It has a QR code that can be scanned and an automatic download of the Book of Mormon begins. It's pretty cool! Especially for all of those who come here on business and don't want to take a Book of Mormon because they don't want to add anything heavy. Well this adds nothing! haha. It's pretty cool.
Well, right after the mission tour we were dying to go on the square, we were on fire! Haha So we go over to this old man sitting down and begin to talk to him. He looked a little scary but we tried to look past that. He began to talk about his mother and how she is the only woman who was ever good to him and how he hates this church because when he was younger, his mormon girlfriend's bishop wrote him a letter and told him her was gay or something. it really didn't make sense. He got really loud about it and really mean and stood up and began to yell at us about how he doesn't like the church and he's jabbing his finger in our faces. I looked around for a sister I could give a sign to, but there were none. I prayed security would walk by and I look over, and one of them was coming out of one of their booths. I gave him the sign and he nodded and came over and dismissed us while him and another guard talked to him. It wasn't that bad of a situation, we were just really sad for him. My companion was pretty upset so I was going to suggest that we go pray, but then we got to the flagpole and there is this old couple there. We started talking to them, and they asked us if we were the sisters that would take them on a tour, so we said, well we can be! We began the tour, and they were really sweet! The man is one of those old men that have a twinkle in their eye, I love those old guys! Their names are Gay and Gene (Eugene). They were strong Christians that know the bible, but they were really open. They were so so so prepared! I have never felt the Spirit so strongly on a tour before. We took them to the Temple Model and talked about Eternal Families. They had great questions. We took them into the North Visitor's Center down to the basement and taught them the Restoration. They were very open and everything made sense to them. I got to recount the story of the First Vision and tell them in Joseph's Smith's words what happened. The Spirit was so so strong! Gene said, wow, you must study that a lot. We got to testify and say yes, we do study it a lot because it is near and dear to us, we know that it happened, it really really happened. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how it is so important in knowing that what Joseph saw is true so that they can know for themselves. and they said that they want to read it, and that they were going to buy one but that they were going on a cruise after this. It was perfect that we got those new pass-along cars because I said, well you can actually download a free copy if you scan this. Gay said oh perfect! How did you know I have a smartphone? I am a website designer. Haha she is so cute. Well we invited them right there to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to know if it is true and they said oh yes, we will do that. We took them to the Christus and they loved it the moment they walked in, they teared up. Gene said, do you know the significance of the Beehive? My companion started to say that it doesn't have anything to do with the doctrine but he broke through and said oh but it has everything to do with the doctrine. He went on to say how it symbolizes industrialization and humans working together and how we need other people in our life, and he said this really long beautiful thing, I don't know where it was from, but it was beautiful! He sounded like an apostle and I had a little mini-vision of him in the Temple being a Temple worker! It was sweet. He got emotional and tried to give us a hug haha. We played the narration and testified and invited them to be baptized and they said yes! Then they decided that they would take paper copies of the Book of Mormon after all since they can't really use their phone when they're out in the ocean. I don't really know how to describe the bond that we all had. Their bodies were old, but we knew that our spirits and their spirits were the same age, and I know that I knew them in the preexistence. We are so excited to teach them when they return home on June 7th. We want to give them a baptismal date of June 21st! That tour was one of the best moments of the entire mission.
Yesterday we didn't get to teach much, we had to get a ton of Fleet things done, and then when we were going to teach, a sister got in a little fender bender with another car so we had to go down to the scene and take pictures and fill out a bunch of paperwork. I had no idea what I was doing because I never had to do it before so I was just running around like a crazy woman haha my poor companion. But we got it all done and everything worked out. The sisters were totally fine and there was very minor damage.
Tim is doing great and is going to hold FHE with his grandson and maybe granddaughter!
It has been a week of miracles hasn't it? I am so thankful to be a missionary! I am thankful to be on Temple Square. I have really been wanting to go outbound, but this week has really shown me that I need to be here right now, that Heavenly Father needs me to meet people that He has prepared. It has just been so great being able to teach the Gospel to people, I love it.
Thanks for reading my novel! I love you all,