Monday, December 21, 2009

St. Petersburg - Week 11

Oh boy oh boy, did we have the most crazy Sunday ever yesterday. From the time we woke up to the time we fell into our bed from exhaustion, it was the best day ever. You know how I said last week that we were going to do whatever it took to get Mercy to church, well, we got her to church but it took a LOT of effort. :-) But it was sooooo worth it! We woke up early, thinking that we might have to drive up to Clearwater to help her get the lady that she takes care of in the car. So we were up, and ready for the phone call. We called her, and it turns out that Satan had worked on her car over night and it didn't want it to work, so we frantically called members that would be able to drive them. What makes it harder, is that she is outside our ward boundaries, but she has to attend our ward because she only speaks Spanish To find a member, Sunday morning that is willing to drive clear up to Clearwater and be able to have room for a 94 year old woman in a wheel chair. I was about to pull my hair out, but we quietly knelt in prayer amongst the turmoil. After the prayer we knew that a way would be prepared for her to attend church, and it was! A member so willingly picked them both up. She didn't have room for the wheel chair so we had that in our car, but oh my was it so special to look behind in the rear view mirror and see them on the way to church. We could also tell that there wasn't ANY conversation in the car since the member only spoke English. Sis Murray had some good laughs on the way to church, but we were all richly blessed.

Joel is amazing. He is a friend of the Bible genius, Raul that I told you about. We actually tracted into Joel. when walking next to him as he was carrying his laundry. I asked him if he would have time to hear a message about Jesus Christ. He said, "Orita? Yo dijo, por que no?” So we sat right outside the door of his mobile home and started with a prayer. There was something different and amazing about this lesson. Not that we don't have the spirit in our lessons, but in this lesson it was particularly strong. We taught the entire lesson and I was still feeling the spirit really strong and I thought in my head, "We need to act on this." I have never done this before but I knew we needed to. Hermana Murray shared Moroni's promise and then I bluntly asked him, “Do you have these three things (spoken of in Moroni's promise)?” He very humbly said, “I hope so.” Then I said, “Let's pray right now. Will you pray (orita), to know if the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fulness of the gospel." His hands started to shake because he was nervous, but he humbly knelt and bowed his head in prayer, and the spirit touched me in a way that I have never felt. I knew that he knew that it was true. We are teaching him again tonight, and we are really excited. We plan on giving a date for baptism and it is just so amazing to see how people are prepared. It is so amazing. God loves us soo much.

Lately we have been working with a less-active family in our ward. I can't remember how much I have told you about them, but they have been inactive for quite awhile now. Sister Murray and I have been visiting with them since I got here. She is from Venezuela, and her husband is American. They used to be so active, ward clerk, Sunday school teachers, the seemingly "perfect" couple. But after some personal events, they stopped attending. I have loved going over to their home and seeing the difference since our first visits. Sister C. has been a lot happier. Her husband even has pointed out to us that she laughs a lot more. She and I have inside jokes and I usually leave with a stomach ache from laughing so much with her. The last two visits with them we invited the Elders with us and really started to get Brother C. involved in the missionary work. He always says, "I know what I'm doing wrong, but I just keep doing it. I get ready for church in the morning, but I just sit around the house and don't go." So we have him giving our investigators rides. He doesn't speak that much Spanish, but he loves it. He needed to feel needed! This last Saturday we went over there with the elders for an authentic Venezuelan dinner. The dinner was great, but what was even better was the miracle that happened before we even got there. They have been having marital problems. It's personal and I don't need to go into details, but this is what Sis C. said at the dinner table, "I had so much fun with Tom today. We cooked together and just spent time together, and we laughed." Just that time together was so important. They were uniting in the service of the Lord and they were really excited to have us over.

Yesterday, after our hectic ordeal of getting Mercy to church, we arrived at church with about a minute to spare and still had to set up ALL of the translation equipment. STRESS!!!!! As I had my hands full of equipment and walking down the aisle, I felt a hand reach out and grab my arm, and I looked over and it was Brother and Sister C. !!! I let out a little scream and jumped almost dropping all the translation equipment. A lot of the people in the congregation laughed but I didn't even care. I was sooo happy! I put my arms around Sis. C. and gave her a big hug and shook Bro. C.'s hand. Oh it felt soooo good to look back at them in the congregation. I learned many important things from this. Lifelong principles. Members of the church need to know why they need the Savior in their lives. Bro. C. recognized it when he felt the spirit again. Also, they need to feel needed. Bro and Sis C. have united in the service of the Lord, forgotten about their previous problems and they are happier than I have ever seen them.

SERVE SERVE SERVE the Lord in whatever capacity you can. Losing yourself in serving others does "fix" the things that seem daunting in our lives. I know these things to be true. Through my service to Lord and those around me.

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

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