So this week really was a week of miracles. I'm going to try to remember everything the best I can because I don't have my journal with me today. First of all, I want you to know that everyone here is praying for Alexa. For some reason this week I have felt an extra need to pray harder for you and Alexa. I have been thinking about you a lot and really keeping you in my prayers. Also the missionaries here are praying for Alexa as well. I admit that it has been hard but can I just say how much my testimony has been strengthened because of all this? I know the power of prayer works. I know that because of Jesus Christ and because of His role in our family and our lives, we have a strong foundation and cannot fall (Helaman 5:12). I know he is watching over us and I have felt his hand in my life more than ever.
Last night we had another lesson with Franchesca. I have been worried about her because of different things and I honestly wasn't sure if she would be OK for baptism for different reasons. Last night we went over the baptism interview questions and discussed each one in detail. She has been praying and she says she feels peace about being baptized and wants to follow Jesus Christ. We discussed the importance of the commitment she would be making and asked if she was willing to do that. She said that she was and I think she finally understands the importance of reading the Book of Mormon because she knows it's a true book and she needs to understand it more. At the end I was able to bear my testimony with her. I don't remember exactly what I said to her but I know I talked about Helaman 5:12 and bore my testimony about what building our foundation on the rock of our Redeemer has done for me personally and for my family. The spirit in that room was stronger than it had ever been and I could see in her eyes that she could feel it. When I was done, Sis Patlingrao bore a powerful testimony as well which added to it. After she was done I asked Franchesca, "What do you feel right now?" "I feel like God is here" she said. I think that was the most powerful moment I have had. "God is here" I said. Then I was able to explain about the Holy Ghost and how after baptism she would be able to receive that gift to feel God with her always as she followed Him. We still have a few details to set up but I think her baptism for Saturday is still going through. Thankfully, I am a visitor center sister and will be able to stay in contact with her and set everything up with her bishop and the missionaries in her area when she goes back to Peru on Mon.
Speaking of blessings of being in the Visitor Center, I never knew how amazing it really would be to be here, especially with this new program. So the first day we started the new program we met this old couple from Washington who were about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. He was raised in one religion and she was raised in another and they tried Methodist for a few years but they are moving now and wanted to find another church. I asked if they had tried the LDS church and they said "no, maybe we will though." They agreed to have the missionaries come bring them a Book of Mormon and teach them more and they kept saying things like, "I'm so glad we left the villages early to come here" and "you made our day with this." I just told them I was glad too and they made my day:) On the tram ride back they asked "do you get many people like us?" meaning willing and excited to learn more. "yes" I said, "That's why I love what I get to do!" God's hand is in this work so much and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to see these miracles. And the best part is that I now get to stay in contact with them and see them to baptism and beyond! I also had a miracle on the phone with a lady from Mississippi who called in about United Health Care or something. When I told her who I was she said "Oh I've heard about Y'all on TV! What is it Y'all do?" "Teach people more about Jesus Christ" I said. "Oh that so good! I love Jesus Christ! He just means everythin to me." :)Well long story short, she agreed to have the missionaries come and she said "I really wanna talk with you some more too!" So I'll definitely be in touch as well:). It seems like I've seen tons of miracles like that this week but I think the biggest one happened on Sunday.
So Sunday night I was on shift in the Visitor Center and was a little put out by it cause I had to miss the Fireside that was going on with our Mission President in one of the theater rooms. I was just giving tours and all and a couple walks in wanting to go through the presentation of Gods Plan for His Family. We talked with them for a bit and then took them through the 15 min presentation. After we asked them about what they felt and all that and that is when we found out that the young man, Chris, was actually investigating the church. I asked how long he had been investigating and he said 6mths. Apparently he had come in to this visitor center 6mths ago (He lives on the Island) and had self referred to see the missionaries. Well the missionaries had visited him 3 times and he said next Sunday was going to be his first Sunday to go to church (he was really excited about it). Then his friend asked if there were lessons that the missionaries were supposed to be teaching him cause apparently the 3 times he met with them they didn't really teach him much. They only shared a short message and then played pool! They then asked if it were possible for us to teach them here today. Thankfully with this new program with us being their "official" missionaries since we can contact and teach them throughout the whole process we were able to tell them "definitely" So we had them fill out our guest cards with our information, and we also asked if there was anyone else they thought could use this message and each of them referred 2 people! Also on the guest card of Chris where it asks for religion he put "Mormon":)!!!!! We ended up teaching the beginning of the first lesson right there and then they said that if it was OK they wouldn't mind driving here for us to continue teaching them. So we set up an appt. for them to come tonight! It was so amazing. The whole time we were teaching him I kept thinking how he reminded me so much of Brandon. He is definitely so prepared from God and, as he put on the comment part of his guest card, is so "Excited to learn more." He told us "I don't want to go through the motions so I'm going to have some questions." "Good!" we said "That is why we are here! We don't want you to just go through the motions. We are here to help you understand and learn more so you can discover for yourself that this is true. Write down questions that you think of and ask us, we love questions:)" He also said he loves reading and will start reading the Book of Mormon. No idea why this guy hasn't been to church or isn't baptized yet after 6 mths! But that just makes me happier that we have this new program here at the VC. The missionaries in their areas are going to have to take these referrals we send a bit more seriously! It is estimated that 1/3 of everyone who joins the church started investigating because of a Visitor Center. That number is now expected to go up to over 1/2! The work of God will go forth boldly and nobly!
I love this work. I love seeing Gods hand in my life and in the lives of those around me, including my family. I love you all so much! This church is so true. Believe it or not, this was a hard week for me. Spiritually and mentally I felt depressed and physically I have been sick (yes mom I actually bought pineapple juice). There are certain things I have been kinda having a hard time with and so I adopted a new motto. "Pray always lest ye enter into temptation." Prayer works! Heavenly Father hears me and answers me in ways that I don't expect but am so grateful for. I am so grateful for the Atonement. I have been seeing it work in the lives of investigators and less-actives alike. Its real. Heavenly Father loves His children so much! I love you so much. I pray for you always. My sweet companion and now all the sisters here are praying for you. I think we are all being made strong through this. Thank you for raising us to be close to Jesus Christ. Thank you for teaching us to have that strong foundation.