October 8, 2014 Week #12 Transfers and marriage proposals

And the conclusion is……not getting transferred!! Or married (to

the several proposals I had this week–ha!)

Woohoo! I am so grateful and excited to be staying exactly where I am

with my stinkin awesome companion, Hermana Card!!! I love the Bronx. I

never want to leave. It is so beautiful and crazy and fun and busy and

incredible here.

10:7:142

Sister Wilkes from BYU

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Elder Smith and me at transfers! Shout out to Laguna Niguel Stake and the good ol’ days. (These days are considered good new days.)

Ok–the Lord lives and loves us. Do you even realize that?! He does!!

The one who created us, who designed the universe, the all-knowing GOD

is our Father!! And he loves us!! Unconditionally and ferociously. And

I just feel so humbled by that. Wow. My heart leapt within me as I

listened to all the conference talks and speakers bear witness of

Thomas S. Monson as the Lord’s prophet today and of Joseph Smith. But

my heart broke a little as I wondered why this, of all messages, was

being delivered over and over again.  This God, this true and loving

God, is ours! He is my king!! And it breaks my heart to think that

people are not remembering that He is real and loves us and is trying

to speak to us (through His prophets) and we aren’t paying attention!

Ahh! Pay attention, people! This is eternal life we’re talking about.

This is eternal joy and hope and glory and beauty for eternity!

Woo!

Alright, miracles happened this week. They always happen, but my eyes

are just opening up more and more to the grace and goodness and mercy

of God each day. It’s incredible. We are continuing to make progress

down here, visiting a lot of less active members, and meeting

absolutely incredible investigators along the way!

We had so many lessons fall through this week. I think this is normal,

but we have just had such a rocking and blessed 6 weeks, it was kind

of new and a bummer to be cancelled on and juked over and over. But

the Lord has a plan and He has blessed us so much as we tried our best

to make back up plans for our back plans and stay busy and work.

Here are a few highlights:

We decided to go to Maria’s house for a visit. She is the ROCKIN 92

year old. I was really excited about the lesson, and it went haywire

when her husband came home.  We were so stoked to meet him! But I

remember exactly how I felt when he walked in the room. I was

expecting the other half or this sweet, little, temple-going, faithful

sister. In walked a man–little, yes–but full of darkness. It was

tangible and eerie and so…unfamiliar. I kept looking at him to see

why I was distracted and didn’t feel good–was it his dark skin,

extreme underbite, skinniness?  No, it was the darkness inside of him.

I remember it so clearly, it was tangible, it was legitimate. It was

frightening. We were reading in Moses and talking about how Satan came

to tempt Moses (we were going to discuss how Moses had to tell the

adversary to “get thee hence” three times). He sat down with us, and

immediately started disputing all our words. He was arguing that there

was no devil, only our own negativity.  He went off on all his own

“philosophies” as he called them and cut us off every time we tried to

jump in. He was sealed in the temple to his wife, and they’ve been

married for 66 years, and I always wondered why I never saw him at

church.  I think it is totally fine to have thoughts and questions and

wonderings, but the way he presented them and argued with us so

“innocently”…it made my mouth taste sour and I felt the Spirit

withdraw.

That was the worst part of anything. I felt the Spirit go. And without

that, I am completely defenseless! The Spirit is what brings the

words, what makes you not be confounded, what protects us. And to be

completely honest, maybe it left me. I couldn’t understand all of his

words (he was using philosophical terms, which I don’t know in

Spanish), so I felt like I didn’t know what exactly was going on for

sure. But I didn’t feel good. He and his wife started arguing about

this and I felt so guilty–the lesson was my idea, if the missionaries

hadn’t come then there wouldn’t be an argument between this couple,

if, if, if.

It is AMAZING how fast the adversary can get in if you let him.

Amazing. Within 5 minutes, I felt overwhelmed by darkness. It was

right in my face. And I wanted to get out, but I didn’t want to be

rude or misjudge the situation (I couldn’t fully understand). But this

isn’t the spirit. This was the adversary.  I remember thinking about

this as I sat in the little chair in their living room/bedroom/kitchen

looking at the giant tiger blanket on their bed, and then almost

laughing out loud as I began to see right through this falsity, this

mirage that Satan had so quickly laid before me. How quick I was to be

discouraged! I traced my feelings of sadness and discouragement and

they all came from the adversary via the blasphemy this man brought.

He brought darkness, and I felt confused. Darkness is confusion, only.

So if you are ever confused–like really deeply, not just about a math

concept or something–there is darkness afoot. Approach with caution

and DO NOT proceed until you have applied James 1:5 and go to the

source of all truth and ask. I didn’t do this in this situation. I felt

intimidated and a little weak in my ability to counter his arguments

with my Spanish.  But I have leaned that I should have.  And

therefore, I will do so next time. And I will keep my chin up.

The worst part was how my heart broke as Maria and her husband argued,

and at one point, Maria went off about how she prays so hard everyday

on her knees for her children to come back to church. She got all

teary and shaky and when she said “rodillos” I wanted to cry with her

as I pictured this 92 year old woman pleading with her Father for her

family on her knees. It was so sad. She was talking about her kids,

yes, but I know she was weeping for her husband–so lost in darkness.

How grateful I am for Hermana Card. She took a moment between his

breaths and the argument between Maria and him to say that we needed

to go and that she was going to give her testimony. She did so, and it

was so simple. She said that God lives, and as soon as she said that,

I felt the Spirit return and bear witness. God does live. He DOES

live. I know it.

This brought a whole new meaning to the verse in James that led Joseph

Smith to ask of God. When we lack wisdom, we are to ask God. Do not

rely on secular sources to answer your questions. Spiritual

questions deserve spiritual answers.  Go to the

source of all truth. Go to God. Ask him, and he will tell you–he

“giveth to all men liberally.” He will not upbraid. He will answer you!

And if you seek elsewhere, you will get lost in the

philosophies of man. “But as for me and my house, I will serve the

Lord.”  It was an incredible learning experience, especially when he

practically recited the verse that says “all is well in Zion, for

there is no devil.”

Go to God. Only. And come to know for yourself.

The Lord blessed us with many with opportunities to serve. For example, the

elders asked us to teach the Bible class at a local adult day care…

The adult day care was awesome!! So funny and just so random. We

taught Matthew 3-4 and the class was us outside with three ladies, all

with cigarettes on the table and lighters in hand. After our short

class, we went back into the building, and this awesome Mark

Anthony song  –I think it’s called “Vivir Mi Vida”–was playing and all

these sick people were dancing together!  It was so funny. I wanted

to break it down and DANCE–no wonder we can’t listen to that on our

missions.

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Adult Day Care and Vivir Mi Vida!

After that, we headed to Daisy’s for our lesson and when we got there

she didn’t really have too much time–or rather she had too many

distractions today. Her house is being repaired (where the holes are),

so there are workmen in and out and it’s loud.  This was kind of a

bummer, but it was good because she said how she doesn’t want there to

be distractions or problems. So that means she is serious. We gave her

a picture of Christ to remind her of the covenant she is going to make

with God and the commitment she has made now to prepare to be

baptized. She held it close. It was darling. I really love Daisy.

After Daisy that day, we went to a visit with Yenifer. She wasn’t

there–the first time ever. So we waited a minute, called and left a

message, then decided to go somewhere else.  Right when we got to the

bus stop, she called us and told us she saw us leaving (we were

walking a block or two ahead of her) and she said to come over. So, we

did. Ha, trial of faith! Anyway, we got in and chatted for a second

and then she said something like, “Alright, we’ll start. You’ll say

the prayer and we’re going to talk about how I can receive power and

help from God in my problems and afflictions.” Whoa. Did she have a

question prepared or what?! She even brought up fasting! Whoo! So we

talked about that. I thought it was great, even though I wasn’t very

prepared with anything to answer her question. But we had a nice

discussion and bore testimony. She needs to pray and read the

scriptures. She just needs to do it. It will bless her so much! We say

it over and over, but every one of us slips.

But prayers and scripture study is everything!

Miracle: After Yennifer, we hurried to Cesearia’s for dinner (like

every Friday night). It a so awesome and the Lord blessed us because

we always wait at least 15 minutes for the bus to get to her

apartment, which then takes an additional 20 to get there (usually).

That is if we take the normal bus.  But if we are lucky enough to

catch the limited bus–which makes fewer stops and therefore is

faster–it takes us about 8-10 minutes to get there. When we saw the

bus stop, the 36 bus was there!! A miracle. And then, the lights

turned red, so we could cross the streets. It was perfect!! The Lord is

so good!! We ran a block ahead, then ran across the street and just

made it perfectly. It was probably so funny to see these two white

girls running down the sidewalk and then crossing super quick, while

trying to get our bus passes out of our bags. Oh man, it was such a good

time. Victory! Bronx: 374 Hermanas: 32. Boo yah.

We looked up another investigator, Marcia, when one of our

appointments fell through. She immediately invited us in and showed us all of the plants she has in her

house–tomatoes, peppers, all types of herbs, strawberries, cilantro,

etc.  It was so awesome. I love that! It was kind of a bummer because

we, again, couldn’t really get a word in, but when there was a pause,

I was sure to try to rein it back in to gospel principles.  It was

semi-successful. It was a great experience, though, to be warmly

greeted by a total stranger and to bear testimony to her. I really

want her to come to church, but she insisted that she couldn’t because

she doesn’t have any nice clothes and “[does] not want the Lord to see

[her] that way.”  That kind of broke my heart–that she doesn’t have

any nice clothes, but mostly that she thinks she can’t come to church

because she doesn’t have them. I told her that the Lord does not care

what she looks like because he loves her unconditionally. She smiled

and said that she knows, but her mother taught her to always go to

church looking her best, and she didn’t have the money right now to

look her best. But she did promise us that she would come–she didn’t

say when exactly–but she promised she would come. I hope she does–we

will go over there and bring her!

Between conference sessions on Saturday, we had our investigators

bail on coming with us. This stunk. It did. We went over to Daisy’s

between sessions because we didn’t know she wasn’t coming, and she

told us that there was a shooting in the apartment upstairs (she lives

in the sketchiest of sketchy project buildings) the night before.

Someone shot their little boy and killed him. That breaks my heart. We

are going to bring the priesthood over ASAP to get her a blessing and

to strengthen and protect her home. The Lord protects us so much;

danger is always so close, but with Him at our side, we are always

protected. He is so real and mindful and careful and gentle with us. I

am so grateful to him for all the protection we have and with which we

are blessed.

Conference was awesome. The theme this time seemed to be prophets and

revelation. Protecting the sacred name of the prophet and having

testimony that he and the other leaders of the church are, indeed,

called of God. It was very powerful. I have a testimony that they are

called of God. I know it. I love them and I long for their words. An

apostle today said, “Do not take your love for the prophet and

apostles lightly. It is a gift from God and evidence of the realities

of their callings.”   That is so true! How could I love them so, so

much without even knowing them or meeting them? Only through the power

of the Holy Ghost and the gift of love, I have received a witness of

their callings as prophets of God.

My heart is so full to the Lord, my God, for the gift of tongues and

the interpretation of tongues. Seriously–my mind is blown, often

during lessons, when I am speaking and using more advanced grammar

without even realizing. It is incredible and I know it is Him. I have

been approaching my studies this week with the prayer in my heart that

if I work hard in my studies, use all my time to study and work, and

really try to learn the gospel and the language through the Spirit,

that the Lord will be more inclined to bless me. Or rather, I will be

more receptive to the blessing that He is trying to grant me. He is so

good!! He is so loving and kind. I am so grateful to Him for all He

has given me. I want to understand more, and I know that as I do, my

heart will grow and be even more full. I just love the gospel! It is

so true. Truly, “in this there is safety, in this there is peace.”

We decided to drop in on an investigator, Eldemira, and have a lesson.

She is so awesome. She insisted on feeding us and made us sandwiches

with ham, cheese, and butter. Ha–I love that butter is so big here.

We shared Heleman 5:12 with her and testified of Jesus Christ as our

rock and savior. She believes in Christ and loves Mormons–especially

the missionaries. She really had only good things to say as she went

on and on about how we serve and live and don’t condemn and are kind

etc. She really went on and on. I was so excited because I thought she

would want to get baptized or come to church, but no–neither, in

fact. She made it very clear that she doesn’t go to church, but she

loves to listen to the messages. This is always so hard; many people

think that just believing is good and serving at home is fine. And it

totally is! But they restrict themselves to the downpour of blessings

the Lord is raining down on them when they do this. It’s like an

umbrella (President Uchtdorf said this in the Women’s Conference last

week). It makes me sad. But I am grateful that I got to meet her. She

really liked me and Hermana Card. She told me, specifically, several

times how she wants her son to marry me. He is 36 and she went and got

him from his room to come meet us. Ha! She brought up her hopes of our

marriage I think 5 or 6 times. Ha! Thanks. But it was

nice I guess because she said that she wants that because (besides

calling me white and beautiful a lot) we are good and modest and clean

and don’t have pounds of makeup on and are genuine. It was very sweet.

But…no thanks (ha!).

Miracle: a few days ago, after some less active lookups, we found

ourselves with two options: we could have gone back up to Grand

Concourse to walk down 7 blocks and then turn right to go down a

street, or we could continue down the street and walk along Gerard,

which is less busy but with which we are less familiar, and walk 7 blocks

down and then turn left up the street. I randomly felt like suggesting

the latter. And so we went.

As we walked, we passed a group of people passing the opposite way and

smiled and said hi. One of them stopped and said, “Oh my gosh! Elders!

I have NEVER in my life seen female elders!” She went on and was

literally yelling by the time she was referring to us (we were

talking) and as we stopped and turned, we saw a large black woman

exclaiming to the world that we were female elders (bless her heart).

She started walking toward us, and we started walking to her–with

caution because we’ve found out that, indeed, tons of people know

about the missionaries, and many of these people are totally

insane/crazy. But she wasn’t. Nope, she is AWESOME. Her name is

Kimberlah. She goes by Kim and has a booming voice and big, beautiful

teeth. She is awesome! She walked right up to us and shook our hands

and told us that she used to get taught by the elders and was about

“this close” (as she held her hand up to demonstrate a centimeter) to

getting baptized. She told us how she “even went to the temple down

there in D.C.” And how she “got right down there and touched that

beautiful wall.”  She was so golden. We got her information and she

just went off about how her life was so much better when she read the

Book of Mormon and had the missionaries over and everything. She asked

for pamphlets on Joseph Smith (I only had Spanish). When I brought up

General Conference, she brought her hand to her forehead and said, “I

missed the conference?! I can’t believe it!” She has been living in

Manhattan and just moved to the Bronx 5 weeks ago. She said that she

thinks God is trying to show her a sign because she has seen the

missionaries about 4 times and how she felt like she needed to go into

a store two times on this street (Gerard), but she didn’t know why.

“And now I know! I was supposed to bump into you girls!” (Talking

about the timing of our encounter). I felt the same exact way.

Oh, I felt like my heart would burst. I am so grateful!  It was so

awesome. The English missionaries are meeting with her. Oh, the Lord

is so good!

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Happy to meet Kimberlah!

The Lord lives. That’s all I have to say about that. He loves us. And

He is always the answer. Seek Him–it’s not hard–and I promise, as He

did, that you will find Him.

Hermana Boud

10:7:143

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