After a wonderful experience at the temple, Vanessa, one of our most faithful team-ups, got her mission call! We were gathered at her friend's house as she opened it and the lucky gal is headed to the Florida Orlando mission Spanish speaking!!! She leaves in less than a month, and we are so excited for her!
Are you ready for a pretty cool lesson experience? Here it comes! There's a family that we're working with where the father is a less active member, his wife is Catholic, and his oldest son hasn't been baptized. We've been working with his son for a very long time, and he'd be put on a baptismal date and fall off, then put on a baptismal date and fall off. He knows the doctrine and he has a firm testimony, he just hasn't come to church in years! We have lessons with the father and the son every Thursday afternoon (the mother doesn't like being in for the lessons), and Sister da Silva and I were racking our brains trying to figure out what we could teach! He knew every single missionary lesson like the back of his hand. What could we do to help him prepare for baptism? We studied and prayed and studied some more, but what we ended up doing isn't a lesson at all.
So we ended up meeting at the church building rather than their home because all of our team-ups cancelled. And that ended up being perfect! They hadn't been to church in a while, so teaching in the church building helped them get re familiarized with the building, and on top of that, they were able to feel the Spirit. We started talking about the importance of goal setting and how it helps us reach our true potential. The son has made it very clear that he wants to be baptized, he just gets nervous whenever the date approaches because he doesn't know if he's ready. We asked him what some things were that would help him feel ready. As he threw out ideas, we wrote them down: Attend church every Sunday, read in the Book of Mormon for five minutes a day, and pray twice a day. These were his own ideas! We told him that we knew that those three things would definitely prepare him for baptism! And we promised we'd to the same things;) But the best part of the lesson was when the father, who hadn't prayed in front of the missionaries in forever, volunteered to close with a prayer. The Spirit is definitely working in that family. Though they didn't come to church Sunday, there's always this week. I love them so much and I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a part of their family!
We had another VERY spiritual experience this week: We met an Apostle of the Lord! Elder D. Todd Christofferson visited the entire California Riverside mission! We never gather together a whole mission, so it was so wonderful to see my friends from all corners of the CRM. Before we heard from him, President announced that a double quartet of missionaries would provide a musical number accompanied by Hermana Babb. Little did President know, Sister Mullen had prepared the ENTIRE MISSION to join in the song the second verse! You could feel the whole dynamic in the room shift as 150+ missionaries sang in unity Faith in Every Footstep. Our goal was to make President Mullen cry. We succeeded.
Hearing Elder Christofferson and other members of the Seventy personally minister to us was a chance of a lifetime. We all thought they had planned sermons to give, but instead they each bore testimony! It was hours of testimony! It was so wonderful, and we even got to ask them questions! (I didn't ask anything because President warned us not to ask stupid questions and all the questions I come up with are pretty lame) But Elder Christofferson, first of all, has very soft hands. Second, he's the most hilarious man ever. He was cracking jokes here and there and everywhere! I testify that he was a man of God. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to hear his solemn witness that Christ truly lives and the He is our Savior.
Here's another cool experience! We were out contacting referrals when the Spirit mentioned to Sister da Silva that we needed to see Jaron, a referral from a while back. She didn't remember his address, but the Spirit guided her and we found the house! We go up to the door with our team-up and knock. He was home! He told us that he grew up with Mormons and that one of his friends even gave him a Book of Mormon. We continued talking and he made the comment, "I just don't understand why the single most important event in human history was exclusive to the middle east." Our team-up, Sister Turner, quickly said, "Well the answer to that thought is actually in the Book of Mormon! Could we share it with you?" He agreed! Jaron headed back inside the house to get the Book of Mormon that his high school friend had given to him. He brought it back out and though it was covered in dust, it was finally being read! I could see as he flipped though the pages that his friend had written a testimony in the front cover. We read part of 3 Nephi 11 together and it made complete sense to him! Though he doesn't want us to come back, a seed was planted. You never know what good you can do.
This morning we played kick ball. It was super duper fun and I love my zone and the missionaries I serve with! I love all y'all! Keep on keepin' on!
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. - Thomas Moore