Wednesday, August 8, 2012

first exchanges, time going by

This week was a little more crazy because we started the exchanges with the sisters.  I went to Walnut Creek in the English program for a day, and it was a totally different experience to teach in English and contact in English.  The population and the neighborhood was just so different just by switching languages.  On the exchange, we did a service project and we dug holes for posts in a deck by hand.  It felt great to work in the yard (crazy, right?), but I was super sore for the next 2 days from shoveling.

I also went on my first exchange as the leader of the area.  I struggled a little getting around, but it was a great exchange and things went well. We taught a lesson to a woman whose family is all studying with another religion.  Her mother-in-law decided it would be a good idea to lecture us for 5 minutes straight on how to use the Bible and how we need to learn the Bible better (before we even said anything about any type of scripture or doctrine).  We thanked her for sharing and then sang a hymn and started teaching.  It was interesting to see how the daughter-in-law could tell the difference between the Spirit of the Lord and the spirit of contention. It's amazing to be a participant in this work, and to have the blessing of being able to help people feel the Spirit and understand the love of God through the gospel.

We had a great experience last night where we were truly able to be instruments in the Lord's hands.  We went to visit a member who is recently becoming active in the church.  We had planned to be at the Visitor's Center during that time with Angel, but he canceled so we were in our area instead.  We knocked on this sister's door, and when she opened it, it was clear that she'd been crying and was just about at the end of her rope. She let us in and started telling us about some truly awful things that have been happening with her daughter.  The look on her face was heartbreaking and she was literally in agony because of some of the choices her daughter had made.  We showed up at the right moment to be there to help her feel the Spirit.  She said she had started to think that maybe God had abandoned her, and then we dropped by.  We were able to read the scriptures with her and talk about the Atonement so the Spirit could bring her some peace.  It's so humbling to be put in the right place at the right time to help someone.  God has a plan for us, and that plan is eternal and bigger than we can imagine, but even the smallest moments day to day are a part of that plan too.  It was part of His plan that all of OUR plans fell through that night so we could be there to help this sister to remember that her Heavenly Father is aware of her.  It was a good reminder for me as well that God is aware of the work we are doing, and that what we do really does matter and make a difference.  Our area is struggling right now and our teaching pool is nearly dry, and it's been frustrating to see people feel the Spirit powerfully in a lesson and then turn around and reject the gospel.  Regardless of what others choose, this is the work of the Lord and it is the Savior's gospel that we are sharing.  Our encounter with this sister was a tender mercy and a good reminder of the healing power of the Holy Ghost and the Atonement, and of our role in being where the Lord needs us to share that healing power in the right moment.

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