Monday, August 16, 2010

" great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" -D&C 18:16

It has been an INCREDIBLE week!  I'm not just saying that either.  How I wish that you could hear Amanda's testimony.  On Tuesday evening she was interviewed by President Bush, a member in the mission presidency.  We all met at the church.  She is so happy (always) and gave us giant hugs when we walked in.  We sat in a room and visited with President Bush before she was interviewed.  He asked her to tell him a little bit about herself.  She started off with why she is here and then just led into her answers to prayer, the feeling she gets at church, and the peace she feels reading the book of mormon.  Then she talked about when she first met Sisters at temple square.  She said she and her husband were talking about getting a divorce because he didn't like the idea of her being at Cornell for a year.  Well, they planned to go one last vacation before the divorce, and one of the places they visited was Salt Lake City and temple square.  She went on to say that she met a Sister from Taiwan who bore testimony to her that the family is central to God's plan for us to be happy.  Then she said the Sister missionary gave her a Chinese Book of Mormon and they filled out a referral card with her Ithaca address on it :)  I still remember receiving the text message from Salt Lake with Amanda's address on it.  We planned her into our day and I met her sweet husband, daughter, and herself.  We taught a short lesson and her husband just loved it.  He can't speak english but she can and so she translated.  He went back to China two days later with their daughter and has since finished the Chinese Book of Mormon that was given to them at Temple Square and wants to be baptized too.  Amanda told President Bush, "Now that I know the family is so important to God, I know my husband and I can be happy and live together with our daughter forever.  We do not want to divorce now."  It was amazing, Mom!  Heavenly Father led them to Salt Lake to save their marriage and be able to come to know that they can live together forever as a cute little family.  Anyways, long story short we exited, she was interviewed, and of course was found worthy.  We then moved forward with the baptismal plans for the weekend.

Saturday morning at 11:00 was the baptism.  It was beautiful.  The spirit was just overwhelming.  She wanted to take pictures of everything to send her husband.  She said she skyped with him that morning and they prayed together before she came to the church.  A woman she loves in the R.S. sang "I Heard Him Come" which was really good.  The baptism was performed by the member in the ward that studies a few doors down from her office.  He also confirmed her yesterday.  Everything was just perfect.  Perfect.  She glows!  She stood and bore her testimony after she changed her clothes.  She went on for ten minutes and blew every one away.  She began and said, "I am so happy inside.  I cannot explain what I feel because it is so good."  But of course she couldn't contain herself and started bearing her sweet testimony with so much conviction, "Before I came here I signed a paper that I would not join any church organization, but I am not afraid.  I will tell them I believe in God.  I will tell them I believe in Joseph Smith."  I was thinking, "uh oh."  ha ha.  Because she is so strong, she will share the gospel when she returns in December.  She is going to be influential to the growth of the church there.  I swear she's going to be in the General R.S. Presidency one day.  It was just a fabulous day and I am so happy.  She loves the principles of the gospel and the book of mormon so much.

I feel so blessed to be a part of this life changing and eternal work.  I constantly think to myself how loving Heavenly Father is to allow us to be a part of it.  If he could, he wouldn't use us, but I am so so so grateful he does.  Living the gospel can bring us from depths of sadness to the greatest happiness.  I know that the Savior wants us to be happy and that is why he provided us with a way to gain that happiness.

People do not even realize how amazing a mission is.  I wouldn't have stayed home for all the money in the world having now seen and felt the happiness serving brings.  And it's a win win situation because Heavenly Father will always bless his missionaries when they get back and also the happiness we feel comes from seeing others gain their happiness.  Sister Goettsche and I were up until 3:30 last night lying in our beds talking about how we cannot even believe every girl isn't serving a mission.  She has had incredible spiritual experiences leading up to this point and a lot are similar to mine, just knowing NY is exactly where we needed to be.  It was literally like God was pulling me here with a big fat heavy rope, and I could not deny the spiritual witness knowing I was needed here.  It is confirmed to me every day through others showing their gratitude for the message.  It is all the spirit working through us though.  We do nothing.  We just open our mouth and stay worthy and study and love the people and Heavenly Father blesses us to see miracles.

One more thing that has just been confirmed to me, the fulfilling of God's promises in patriarchal blessings.  There is this phrase in my blessing that talks about those I teach on my mission and it says, "Great joy will be yours as they extend to you their gratitude for your willingness to teach them those eternal principles which will bring them happiness far beyond their realization."  That is so real too.  Those I've come to love and teach have expressed so much gratitude to me and I know it's all because of Heavenly Father allowing me to be an instrument.  I love God and know he's aware of us and all the details in our lives.

Well, we have to go.  I'll write home today.  I love you!  Have a good week! 

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