Beautiful. HOW beautiful is this earth and all that inhabits it?!? I love this beautiful earth. I love the creatures and the ocean currents and the winds and temperatures and the variety of it all.
I just got back from the Natural History Museum–can you tell? Loved it. Need to go back because, well, there was simply not enough time to relish it all. Not even enough time to skim through it all!
This week has been so amazing. The Lord is blessing us so much as we move forward and especially sprint to the finish for Sister Fansler. She got sick this weekend, so we slowed down and had to be in a little bit, but even with those sick days, we have seen so much improvement and growth. I’m so happy.
We missed Celin both times last week–she missed the appointment for the first time ever. I called her on Saturday and asked how she was. NOT GOOD. A long conversation short, she told us that she wasn’t sure about the whole thing. Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon. The Church. I stopped her and reminded her of all those times she had felt the Spirit witness of the truthfulness of it all. I hung up the phone and immediately started fasting.
Sunday was tough….Sister Fansler barely made it through one hour of sacrament meeting. We missed the rest of the day at church and Cristina, Oscar, Yesica, and Hugo had all not come. We went home and I felt like all of our investigators were falling off the earth! Celin, and then her whole family–M.I.A. Sunday was a quiet afternoon.
Monday, too–we did make it over to Joanne’s. She had come to church and we missed her. We had dropped by earlier that week because we felt impressed to add Alma 33-34 to her reading. She had read it, and then at church she stayed for the second hour (extremely rare). The class was all about the Atonement. It was, apparently, just incredible. She was so touched, and had come prepared to the class because she had just read the chapters that the teacher focused on. We met with her and she was so pleased. I just looked at her….an eternigator….and said, “Joanne, what is holding you up? You know this is true.” She looked at us and nodded. She said she doesn’t know if she can be faithful all the way. “Can I really do it?” We talked about forgiveness and repentance. About enduring to the end, and effort. We talked about perfection–or lack of it–in the lives of us “members” of the Church.
She is praying about a baptismal date. I’m so stoked.
We also met with a woman named Cynthia–Cindy. She is a sweetheart, and the first legit member referral I’ve had on my mission (I think). She is going through a lot–health wise, emotionally, etc. Attempted suicide a little bit ago, off of work because of handicap–has six brain aneurism “time bombs” in her head just growing large enough until they can be surgically removed. Abusive relationship, in the middle of a divorce. As she told us about it all, the way her fingers and hands moved and twirled and played and jittered told me a lot about how uncomfortable and anxious she was. It was such a touching lesson though–I know the Spirit was with us and helping us the whole time. Random scriptures and words came, and they touched her heart every time. We taught about the Plan of Salvation, and Sister Fansler opened to 2 Nephi 2:23-25. Cindy just sat there with tears in her eyes. “I’m really glad you picked that one,” she said. We talked about joy and the purpose of life, and she expressed how it all seemed too distant for her. That she’ll be doing well, and then forget and then fall off the band wagon. We talked about how we remember. Why we remember.
Later, I quoted the scripture in Alma (41?)–not a hair of your head shall be lost, every limb and joint back to its proper and perfect frame. She sat back and stared at me. “It’s funny you say that because…..when I had to get my treatment, they cut my hair. I used to have long hair (gesturing to her mid back). And then they shaved part of my head and….I had to shave the rest of it.” It broke her heart that she had to shave her head and lose her hair. She loved her hair. “Now, I have it all back! It’s almost all grown back.” And it was–she looked good. But I could tell the way she grabbed and caressed her hair how much it meant to her. And then hearing that scripture–it just touched her heart so much. I was so grateful that it came to my mind. It went into her heart. We left the lesson with so much hope–we all did. Cindy was so so grateful to have us over. So so grateful to meet us. We’re seeing her again Friday.
Celin–I was so nervous about it a few days ago, but going in yesterday….I just felt calm. I knew she was going to say some hard things (she was thinking about giving up/dropping us). She told us how she thought some church was better than no church, so they were going to go to the Catholic Church on the corner by her house. Poughkeepsie is so far for her. And she doesn’t have a car. It is always tricky to get her a ride. She was so discouraged. We talked things through, and tried to direct her to the Book of Mormon. She is still fully on board with the Book of Mormon and studying and learning. Still wants to know. Just needs her license. At the end, Sister Fansler bore a long and powerful testimony. After, Celin was quiet for a moment. I asked her how she felt when Sister Fansler had spoken, and she said, “I don’t know, there is something. I feel….weird. A good weird. Like something is encouraging me or motivating me. Lifting me.” I looked at her and explained that those feelings were the Holy Ghost confirming the truth of what Sister Fansler said. The Spirit comes in that soft and quiet way.
I could see the wheels turning and things clicking for her. She was finally getting it. Realizing the answer that had been there all along. She is planning on coming to our church this and every week. Wow. The Spirit is the only thing that matters. Ever.
Love you so so much!!