Sunday, July 1, 2018

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (March 5, 2018)

Dear Friends and Family, 

What a marvelous week! We have seen SO many miracles and have seen the hand of God working in our lives as he guides us to help his children in need there's not enough time to share them all but I'll give you the highlights. 
On Wednesday we had some extra time, and felt prompted to leave a few scriptures and uplifting messages on a members door. We saw her the next day and she was overjoyed, saying that we were the answer to her prayers, as she had been preparing to go to the temple and felt unsure because she wasn't receiving a lot of support, but when she saw our notes with the scrpitures, it was a huge comfort and she immediately knew she was making the right decision. 
A couple weeks ago we got a note from a Hispanic member, saying he was told about a member family who recently moved to Kasson and needed some help. So we called them last week, turns out they didn't need help with the move, but that they aren't actually members and were interested in having us come over to share a message with them. We got to go on Tuesday night, and they are incredible! The mom's sister was baptized a few years ago, and she was there, and the mom and her kids just got here from Mexico, and they were all sitting on the couch listening intently. Her son is only 8 but he was so excited about the Book of Mormon, when we gave them a copy he started reading it before we even left. We are so excited to start teaching them!

There is a referral we got a couple months ago before I even got to this area, and it turns out it's from one of the Elders in my zone at the MTC, who is from Rochester for one of his friends and their family. We have been trying so hard to get in contact with this family for months, and have had no success, meeting someone at the door a couple of times but they were never available. So on Wednesday we had decided we were going to try one more time then stop trying for a while if there was no one home. And the mother was home and excited to see us! She let us in, and apologized that we had had to stop by so many times because they were so busy. She knew we had been trying to stop by, and the friend who is on a mission has been emailing her. Her husband passed away a couple of years ago, and it has been a big trial for their family, and her children have a lot of questions. They are active in their own religion, but she feels good about having us come over to talk and talk about the questions they have. She told us "I feel like Jesus has been knocking on my door, you two stopping by so much, and I need to let him in." It was so cool to see that God has been preparing them, and there was a reason we had to stop by so many times with what we thought was without success, but that it really is all part of God's bigger plan. 

Then miracles with Janet! She came to the fireside last week, but up until Thursday we hadn't had contact with her, and we were starting to get a little worried. We decided to stop by really quick on Thursday night and try to say hi and set up another appointment. Her kids opened the door and they were so excited to see us! Janet told us we could come in, so we sat down for a little bit and talked about the fireside and asked if she had any questions. As we were getting ready to go, Hna Davis asked if she could share a scripture. I had the thought come to my mind, "if only we had known we would have gotten in we could have done the lesson we had planned" and I thought back to weekly planning, and remembered that we had decided we were going to invite her to be baptized again if she came to the fireside. And the Spirit immediately confirmed that was what we needed to do. I tried to think of every justification in my mind why we should wait, but the Holy Ghost is very persistent, and insisted that now was the perfect moment to extend that invitation. So I prayed for all the heavenly help I could, and identified the spirit in the room, and at the fireside, and Hna Davis caught on so we testifed of the power of the Holy Ghost to lead us to truth, and how many of the converts who shared their testimonies came to know the truthfulness of the gospel by the power of the Holy Ghost. Then, "We will be holding a baptismal service on April 14th, as you come to know the truth of these things by the power of the Holy Ghost will you prepare to be baptized on that day?" And without missing a beat she said yes!! And she was excited. She asked a couple of questions about baptism and how it works, and we explained and invited her to pray about the date, and she was still confident in her response. It was incredible and I am so grateful for the promptings of the spirit. 

And that's not all! She told us she would have work off this Sunday, so yesterday they came to church!! It was so exciting, our members did an amazing job making her feel welcome, I think we sent everyone in sacrament meeting over to say hi to her. It was all new and very different to her, but we think she enjoyed it. 

But wait, there's more! There is a really awesome young family in our ward set a goal a few months ago that by March 1, they were going to find someone for the missionaries to teach. They are one of the families we invited to come fellowship Janet at the fireside last week, and they were a huge help in helping her and her kids feel welcome. On March 1 they texted us and told us they were going out as a family that night to give it one more shot, and asked us to pray for them. And that night was the night we got in with Janet, and she accepted a baptisml date and told us she would be able to come to church. The next morning we texted that family and told them we weren't sure how their night had gone, but had seen incredible miracles especially with Janet, and thanked them for all  their help, knowing we couldn't have done it without them. We didn't hear back from them for the rest of the, but yesterday in Sacrament meeting the wife got up and bore her testimony about how they hadn't seen what they thought to be success that night, but when they received our text the next morning it lifted their spirits, because even if they hadn't seen success in the way they thought, there had been miracles thanks to their help, and she was crying, and we were crying, and it was incredible to see how all of God's timing let up to that perfect moment. 

This week the same topic has been coming up, in talking with missionaries and members about missionary work, and the importance of knowing what our purpose is and how we're supposed to measure success. In Moses 1:39 we learn that God's purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" And a lot of times we get discouraged as missionaries and as members, because we think that is our purpose. When someone doesn't listen, when someone doesn't choose to get baptized, we feel like we have failed. When our friends or family fall away from the church or make bad decisions, we feel like we have failed. Because we measuring ourself against that purpose, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of others. God does not expect that from us, and when we measure ourself against that standard we will always, always fall short. But we don't have to. In Matthew 22:37-39 we learn our role is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Heavenly Father would never ask us to take others salvation upon our shoulders. Someone much greater and much better than us, even the Lord Jesus Christ, already did that. All that he has asked us to do is love him, and love others. We, as children of God, will always have our agency, and as heartbreaking it may be at times, we can't control others actions when they choose to walk away. But how wonderful that we're all just supposed to love them, not judge, just love, and God will take care of the rest. 

Thanks for all the love and support! Have a wonderful week!

Hermana Meredith

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