What a week! So many great miracles and blessings I just have to go day by day on this one!
Monday- Spirit testifies!
Natasha came to Institute!
Patrick came early to his appointment and so I grabbed Sister Lambright to come help teach with me. We talked about the Holy Ghost and taught the Restoration because Sister Hoj and I had given him a 10 minute restoration lesson after general conference. He had read the Book of Mormon until 1 Nephi Chapter 9! and had sticky notes all over with all his questions.
I asked him if he had prayed about the Book of Mormon, and he hadn't. So about 15 minutes into the lesson we were on our knees and he offered a prayer to ask! He basically gave a brief overview of the chapters and Nephi's adventure going to get the plates! We were silent for a bit after the prayer and asked him how he felt. He took a deep breath and told us that he had never experienced something like that before and he felt really good! We allowed the spirit to guide him to answer his own questions and he was so pleased with himself!
Tuesday- Matt's on FIRE!
One of my favorite days of the week! Matt scheduled an appointment with us for one of his friends, Tyler. He was reading his Book of Mormon at the gym and Tyler came up and started asking him questions. Matt shared his testimony and invited him to learn from us and he agreed!
So Tuesday was the appointment. We taught a powerful restoration lesson and answered many of his questions! Matt bore a powerful testimony as well and answered one of his questions absolutely perfectly! Tyler was talking about how there are difference churches and they just all say the same thing and you can feel the spirit and he was really confused by that.
Well, Matt goes on to explain an analogy about a puzzle -and of course I loved this, me being the "puzzle hog" in the family ;) He talked about how we have this puzzle, but we don't have the box and we can't see the entire picture so it will take a lot longer. Without the picture we start putting together the pieces that seem to go together. Slowly we get little images. Maybe a tower here, a tractor there, a hill here... He then went on to explain how each of these little images represent a church and how they have truths to them and you will feel of the spirit. But our church has the box with the picture on it! We have the whole puzzle AND you can put it together much faster.
It just clicked in Tyler's head all that we were teaching him. He just kept thanking Matt, "Thanks man so much for telling me about this. How did I not know about any of this?" He was even about to tell Matt why it had taken him so long to talk to him about the Book of Mormon! His mind was just blown! He was speechless at so many times, and his mind was just racing with thoughts.
He told us that he had received a "Mormon Bible" from some missionaries a couple years ago. The Elders knocked on their door and told him, "You are going to need this one day, man." And then left! And this is the day that he needs it! He told us that he knew exactly where the Book of Mormon was in his house. "In the right drawer in the kitchen with the phone book." He had never opened it to read, but had taken it with him over the couple of times he had moved in the past years. Coincidence? I think not!
We asked him if he had any questions and if he would pray to know if the Book of Mormon was true and he responded, "During the lesson I would say little prayers in my head and ask questions. As soon as I was done, you would answer them in that instant." It was SO cool!
Sister Hoj and I got in the car to go to our next appointment and started screaming! We were so excited!
After the lesson with Tyler, Matt dropped him off at the gym and we went to go and visit Gabby! Matt has and is still going through similar trials with his family like she is and so we thought she would benefit from meeting him.
We basically just opened it up to a Q&A session for Gabby to ask Matt questions and for Matt to testify. The spirit was so strong as he answered each of her questions about being the only member in his family and the opposition he received from his parents in joining the church. He talked about being courageous and standing up for what you believe in. If you know its true, you can't back down. You have to be strong. He talked about how she may think or have doubts about enduring to the end, but if you study the scriptures, pray, and go to church the foundation will get stronger after baptism as you take that leap of faith.
It was perfect! Everything he said met every concern she shared with us. At the end of the question we asked her what she felt and thought, and she said with a smile, "I need to get baptized!" We hope that Matt's testimony and example will make a lasting impression and that she will implement his advice!
Wednesday- Learning and Learning
Plan of Salvation lesson with Matt and Nina. We found out earlier in the day that Tyler had read the chapter we assigned him (3 Nephi Chapter 11) within 15 minutes of us leaving! He absolutely LOVED it!
We had a great lesson and asked him to be baptized and he said, "yes! I would jump at the chance." We wanted to set a date with him, but he first wants to pray about what the right time will be for him to get baptized and so we will set one with him later.
We had to leave because it was getting very close to curfew! Tyler was sad that we couldn't teach him more! He just wants to learn and learn!
Thursday- Good Food and High Standards
We went over to Hermana Rodriguez house and she taught us how to make Gordita's! We even made our own tortillas! It was legit and SOOO good!
We had a lesson with John, a new investigator who we met on campus. Matt's friend Darron was talking to him about Evolution and then set up an appointment to meet with us. We taught him the Restoration, the tools and guides Heavenly Father blesses us as children with including prophets, scriptures, and our families. He is in a fraternity and was talking about how he just doesn't feel like doing the things that they do sometimes and he knows its wrong. He gets a bad feeling. He is searching and he agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon!
He told us that he knew a lot of Mormons from high school and his dad was a teacher. He said, "Mormons are just a cut above the rest... you just have great higher standards." Such a wonderful compliment.
Friday- Gas Station Creeps
So we finally get things prepared and ready to post fliers for the Daily Dose Program (English Classes for those who speak Spanish). But it was already pretty late and dark. We needed to get our mission standard of 15 Invitation to Learn so we went to some Hispanic restaurants to invite people and ask if we could put up our fliers. We also tried some other "spanish hot spots"!
On the way home though we stopped at some of the sketchiest gas stations in town. It was definitely an adventure...
First gas station, this black guy was literally waiting for us to get out of the car... after waiting to see if he was going to leave and didn't, we got out of the car. He said "Hi" to us and then a truck pulling out yells out his window, "Man! Leave those ladies alone!"
Second gas station. The "spanish hot spot" is around the corner at the water filling station and apparently where they all like to go and drink. We go inside to ask if we could put the fliers up and get a yes. So we go around the corner and invite this man to the class. After talking to him he asks, "En Ingles, Como se dice, Hasta la Vista?" And we respond, "See you later!" And he says, "Well then, Hasta la Vista Babay!"
Saturday- In the World, but not of the World
We volunteered at a mud run, The Great Muddy Escape, due to all the prisons here. We have these super bright yellow shirts that we wear for service. Well apparently its an inspired color because everyone thought we were in charge but we were just volunteers! They put us in charge of the starting line for all the heats and making announcements! Well our purpose was met because everyone who was there saw us!
Later that day, we got a little bit lost out in the country...the GPS took us to the wrong place and there was no cell phone service at all. We were a bit frustrated because we had just wasted a ton of miles and we couldn't call anyone to get the right directions. However, God knows how to get us out of frustration--He makes us laugh.
So there we were, on a road, LITERALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE when a man on an ATV drives up in front of our car waving a bright orange flag, signaling for us to stop. Then we see a huge sea of people coming up the road riding horses and in trailers, kinda like floats with 20-30 people on the back. Hermana Hoj and I look at each other speechless and are just like "What in the world is going on!?" And I tell her, "Get your camera out! We gotta film this!"
We were stuck there just watching everyone pass by. It was seriously just a huge crowd of black people riding their horses, drinking beer, and listening to terrible music. Basically just partying down this tiny back street in the middle of nowhere. What?! We were laughing so hard. A few miles down the road we pass the marquee in front of a Baptist Church: "Tailgate Extravaganza." Bingo. Only in Texas.
For dinner attended my first ever fish fry! It was awesome! Fried fish, onions, bananas, oreos... mmmm good!
Sunday- Books of Mormon's all around!
Gabby came to church!
Ate Venison for the first time at the Cortez home for Lela's birthday! It was SOOOO good!
Last week Sunday we had stopped by a Spanish members home in trinity (Favian Aguilar) and set up an appointment to come back the next sunday to meet the family.
We didn't know what to expect so we prepared a short thought and were planning to get to know the family. His wife, Annie, Carmen (11 year-old daughter), and 3 year-old son were there. We sat and got to know them. She didn't seem to know anything about the church. Slowly we were getting information about them and telling them about what we do as missionaries in teaching and providing service... Finally I asked her if she would like to learn more and take the lessons. She said YES! and he daughter as well! Actually they all wanted to learn!
We come to find out that Brother Aguilar was baptized when he was 12 and after his parents divorced the family stopped going to church. His wife Annie didn't really grow up going to church and didn't know really anything about the Bible even. They all wanted Book of Mormons and Bibles! We ran out to the car to go and get them some books and Sister Hoj and I just had the hugest smiles on our face!
We gave a brief overview of the Book of Mormon because it was already late and read Moroni's promise. They each shared with us, even Carmen experiences where they have felt the Holy Ghost. I promised them that as they read the Book of Mormon together as a family that they would continue to have these experiences. Annie then turns to her daughter and us and says, "Carmen has wanted to get baptized. I do too." It was music to my ears and I was a bit in shock of happiness, but once I could I said, "Well we can definitely take care of that!" And the mom says looking at her daughter, "We could even get baptized together on the same day!" The spirit was sooo strong when she said that. I know its going to happen. And how cool would it be if Brother Aguilar can baptize them!
The spirit was so strong and I just love that family so much! They are so excited to read the Book of Mormon. Carmen already really interested in it and reading on her own! It was such a great way to end the Sabbath Day!
I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father with blessing me with such a wonderful week! Hope y'all had a great week as well!
Making Gorditas with Hermana Rodriguez
Fish Fry & Fried Oreos
Matching cowgirl boots with Lela & Emma
|On the way to the Aguilar's- Lake Livingston|
Ashton Family with their commitment to write or draw their testimony in a Book of Mormon!
The Great Muddy Escape