Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16th 2014

Hey y'all!
I love that y'all get to be involved in service. My testimony has grown greatly this week on unglamorous service. In the work of Salvation as well as in life, we don't often get to see the fruit of our labors. I remember Mrs. Williams and Mrs. LaFontain telling the freshmen team of teachers that we wouldn't see the results of our teaching, but the junior teachers would start to see it when they got our students. As a covenant making and keeping people, we promise things to God without fully understanding God's part of the promise. When the scriptures speak of thrones, kingdoms, principalities, I don't really get what that means. I have learned that I don't have to understand God's part, I just have to understand my part. Sometimes my part is not glamorous, but I'm ready to run whatever errand the Lord needs.

We were blessed to find promising new investigators this week through tracting. The Bosley family is AWESOME We talked the dad after knocking his house, and his questions were great. He is fulfilling the vision of the South by recognizing holes in the other churches. His twin 15 year olds came home at the perfect time. We taught them about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. They were so receptive.They asked great questions and said it seemed true. We invited the to pray individually and as a family about it and we set a return appointment for Saturday. This was Thursday. The zone leaders called us that night and asked what our plans were for Saturday. We told them all we had scheduled so far was a lesson with an awesome family, a lesson with another new investigator we found in that same area, and a service project for a family in the ward. They said " you want to cancel all your appointments for that day and come to Columbiana for a service deal?" Sister Hall and I looked at each other and tried to figure out a way to negotiate moving some of our appointments and only coming for half the day. God ended up providing a way, and we moved/canceled our appointments and arrived in Columbiana at 7:30am with three other sets of sisters and three sets of elders. It was for the Alabama Historical Association. They had a big conference at the Methodist church an we helped set up, prepare, and serve breakfast and lunch and clean up. In between meals there wasn't much for us to do, so we made some calls and conversed with the other missionaries. It was actually really nice to be around all the other missionaries, so I wasn't complaining. After lunch, Sister Hall and I were assigned to stand outside the arts council building and hold up a sign that said "Trolley Stop" for the trolley that came every half hour. Again, lots of down time, we were doing this in the heart of the city, so we could be proactive in talking to people, but we weren't allowed to proselyte unless people asked questions. I did practice a few twirls with the trolley sign, having been inspired by a happy young man we met sign dancing for an insurance company. He loves his job. I told Sister Hall after a good lesson we had with him on the Book of Mormon that I think I would enjoy his job, and that might be something I look into on returning to Phoenix. Wish granted--I got to try my hand at it on my mission. (Limited, obviously I can't go too crazy while I'm in a skirt with a name tag). I was enjoying myself, but during the time when no one was passing, Sister Hall commented that it was a lot of time away from our proselyting area to not be doing missionary work. She said something like "Sister Sheffer, I know how your mind works, is it killing you not to be doing work?" I was actually enjoying myself, and a year ago, the situation probably would have bothered me, but after over a year of adapting to the slow pace of the South, and taking advice from my missionary leaders to take a chill pill, I wasn't really bothered. A volunteer, who we learned was a member passed through and told us how huge this service was. He said the church had been working for years trying to establish a good reputation in the community, and through persistent service, had made it. For this event, the mayor specifically requested young, lds missionaries. He loves the missionaries. It was a big deal, that we didn't offer service for this event, but were invited to come. The mayor and staff were very grateful. That made us feel better about the day lost in proselyting since right after service we had the adult session of Stake Conference. Service softens stony souls.

There was a less active sister we decided to visit. Turns out she's not really less active, she just can't get to church with some health issues. Her husband had been out of town for a few weeks, and she was feeling very lonely. During our visit, we talked very little. I was fascinated by her, and just asked questions about her background and her testimony. Both her husband and her only son have become anti, but she stays strong in the gospel. We bore testimony to her very briefly, and set a time to come help her organize a closet. When we came that day she was in much better spirits. She told us she was amazed at how one single visit from us had given her hope she hadn't felt for a long time and completely changed her perspective on things. That was certainly not us, we didn't even do anything. She told us that we carry a powerful spirit and it changed the atmosphere in her home for good. She then told us the excruciating pain she had been dealing with in a foot had miraculously subsided. She said, "You know who did that, girls!" We certainly do know who did that. God is so loving. I love this woman and am excited to get her more involved in the work.

Yesterday, we had a lesson with a part member family. We had been praying for them, and I really felt impressed that the mother just needed to feel love. Before the lesson, I decided to tackle dishes. Sister Hall talked with them while I did it, because I couldn't multi-task for this very well. Ever dish I picked up had 3-5 little scurrying roaches. I finished, swept the kitchen picked up trash. She was very grateful. God blessed us to feel greater love for her. The love in that room was almost tangible. That experience along with the lesson was exactly what Sister Hall and I needed. For some reason, both of us felt a little downhearted and homesick. Serving other people and bearing testimony is ALWAYS the perfect antidote.

We felt prompted earlier last week to text a lady in the ward. She let us know that her 13 yr old daughter was having a hard time with some things. We asked what we could bring for her and she said a lesson on acceptance and purpose would be good. We arranged a time and showed up. We knew this girl had been having some health issues and figured that she's 13 and trying to understand these issues and all the insecurities that come at that age. We were wrong. She had gotten in trouble at school and her mom and her boyfriend from the words of his mouth, "invited the sister missionaries to come help (their) family." He then used the word "intervention." We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we were happy the boyfriend who is not a member had that kind of trust and confidence in us. I was so grateful for Sister Hall who has a gift for relating to people. I had never had that kind of experience for myself except in parent/student meetings as a teacher. Interesting experience. I was happy to get out of there. I want that family to be eternal so badly.

There were some other cool experiences, but the member's iPad I'm using since the library is closed freezes every few minutes so this is a long process. I'll close with one of the greatest spiritual experiences I have ever had. Crazy enough, it was in a role play. None of our investigators are progressing, so for this role play, I last minute decided to just be Liz--myself. I invited Sister Hall to practice teaching the restoration on me. I had real questions, but they faded as she continued to teach. When she got to the Joseph Smith story and the Book of Mormon and told me about how Christ came to America, I couldn't hold the tears back. This message is so true, and it resonated so deep, like something I had always known. Like most missionaries who were born into the church, I wonder how I would respond to missionaries and the lessons had I not grown up hearing the gospel.  I feel so blessed to have this gospel in my life. "Called to know the richness of His gospel." This work is so real. A high councilor over missionary work talked about the reality of the work and testified of how every single person in that conference could get up and share an experience of how th had a part in the work. There was a lady we met who didn't want to take our card--it was a really funny conversation. She finally said, "OK, had it not been for this neat mormon I met on a plane two weeks ago, I wouldn't care to check this out." We won't see most of the fruit of our labors until the next life, but they are plenteous and sweet. Alma 32:42-43.

Love y'all,

Sister Liz Sheffer

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