Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Late 4th!

First off, this week I made a grown Polynesian man cry! (Story later in the letter)
Second off...Happy Late 4th of July everyone!!!!!!!

I'm not going to lie, I was certainly feeling a bit homesick yesterday knowing that everyone was outside enjoying their day with the family, having a bbq, watching the fireworks on grandma's lawn... but it's ok, I got to do something even better- the Lord's work!

We started our day with proselyting and had an app with our most awesomest investigator ever, Derek. He's just such a stud.. He stopped smoking, hasn't been smoking for a week, has completely cleaned up and is changing his life drastically...it's amazing, you can just see it in his eyes and through his actions his desires to do what is right. So he is doing amazing, and has a baptismal date for July 16th. I am just so super stoked for him, and for him to have this opportunity to just be cleansed and start anew with his life, even though he's already 50! Doesn't that just tell you how true and wonderful this Gospel it is? To know that no matter what we do in this life, or how bad it can be, we can ALWAYS be forgiven because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, that through him we can overcome anything! Even stopping smoking after doing it for 40 years. The power of this work is unstoppable, and the spirit that I am so blessed to have, is an ever constant companion to me, and for that I'm truly grateful.

We have another great investigator- her name is Tina- shes a mother and her husband is a member. They are both from Samoa I believe and just have such wonderful spirits about them.. Tina had been meeting with the missionaries before, so when we started meeting with her again she told us that when she knew we were coming by that she didn't even want anything to do with us, but that when her husband got her to watch the Testaments and to read some of the pamplets we gave her about the restoration, her heart was softened. As we taught, she just lit up and told us that day she wanted to be baptized. That she knew through baptism by the power and authority of God, she could be cleansed from all sin and start fresh, just like Derek... so she has committed to be baptized!!!! Her baptismal date is on July 10th. I am just so so so so happy and excited for her, and I already love her and her husband to death! They have the cutest little baby girl to, and I just die everytime I see her..
Oh cool story about her husband... he served in the Phillipines, and when he was there he and his companion were shot! They were in the hospital for months.. He told us that his companion ended up going home. He said that even though he was new in the mission field that being shot was no big deal haha, and kept on and served his full mission faithfully.. That just tells you how rock star solid this man is. Everytime we teach his wife you can just tell he adores and loves her with all his heart. He has never pushed anything on his wife and has allowed her to choose for herself what she wants. He is the hardest worker I know, and just such an example to me.

Ok, so the grown Polynesian man... he and his wife are separated, they have a boy- the husband is a less active and his wife and son have recently been baptized.. so we've been teaching him and his family- they come together- to help reactivate them in the Gospel.. long story short we talked a lot about setting goals and gaining a desire to overcome challenges in our life.. This man has an addiction to alcohol and smoking.. but he has a desire to change.. He's pretty stubborn sometimes, and can come off to be quite the meanie, but one night as we were teaching, I felt impressed to share a personal story of how I had to learn to let go of things, and to learn how to forgive. I told him it was hard for me to do, but that I realized I was only hurting myself by not letting go of the anger I felt for this situation.. As I talked about this, tears streamed down his face and he shared an experience that he had had that caused him to fall away from the church. We talked about how we can learn to forgive others, and that through forgiveness we will become happier than we have ever been before.. It was just such a neat experience for me. I thought because my companion is Polynesian, that the last person he'd want to hear from was this skinny little white girl that knows nothing about culture.... but alas, the spirit was able to speak through me, and he was humbled to hear me out. It was awesome.. 

On Saturday, I had an interesting experience at the visitors center. This lady and some guy walked in wanting a tour- they were super knowledgeable about the church, and knew a lot about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith... The lady even told me that she had read the Book of Mormon.. Well we started clearing up some misconceptions they had about our church and asked about the trinity.. I then told her that no, we believed in God, his son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost, and that they are all separate beings.. I then explained that Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and bones and we know that in Genesis, and in the Book of Mormon. We know that we are created in Gods image.. She was like, "oh honey, I don't think you know what you're talking about.." haha turns out she was Jehovah's witness and then started te belittle me to the max... hah it was quite the experience.. She told me all about how as apart of their church they go to bible school and know the bible inside and out so they know how to reason with people.. and was telling me that I didn't know my scriptures well enough, which was probably true, but then I said this, I said You know, I know it's important to have a knowledge of the scriptures, but if you do not feel what you know, than what good is it to you, or to anyone else? I said, we learn for ourselves and through the spirit if something is true, along with reading.. I said even though I don't know every scripture in the Book of Mormon or Bible, I do know that it is true by what I feel and by the confirmation I receive through the holy ghost.. at that juncture, I asked her if she was happy with her church, she then replied back in a very angry tone, "of course i'm happy.." hahaha, i'm glad she was convinced.. I think.. haha.. I know she loves her church, but she couldn't see that it's what you feel that matters most, not always what you know... 

It's crazy how small this world is.. I've served with so many people who know people in Bigfork, who know people in St. George.. my ward mission leader served in the same mission as greg winger and went on exchanges with him. A senior couple I work with know the Eddingtons from our ward in Bigfork.. it's just crazy how the Lord puts people together, and how they are constantly able to find connections to one another, no matter where you may be.. 

Even though many times, I feel extremely out of place because I'm pretty much the only white girl in my ward, I love the culture..... They feed me like there's no tomorrow and tell me all the time that I need to eat more, haha its funny.. I've definitely had my challenges and struggles as I've been out here. I can finally say that I have experience what it's like to feel homesick.. but, I know that what I am doing is the work of the Lord, that as I turn my will over to him, and do it gladly I will be blessed, and that I will be able to fulfill his work in all that I do.. I love this gospel so incredibly much. I know that it is true.. I was able to watch the Emma Smith movie today and just gained a greater appreciation for her and for the Prophet Joseph Smith and for the sacrifices they made to restore Jesus Christ's true gospel to the Earth once more. She was an amazing woman, and I honestly admire her so much. Joseph and Emma's direct descendents will be coming here to the visitors center on thursday, many of who are completely out of the church and know nothing about their rich heritage.. and it is up to us, as sisters there, to teach them about the great ancestors they come from.. What an honor to be able to teach them, but also what a nerve wracking experience. Haha. 

I'm doing well, the work is great, its super humid here, my hair is a disaster everyday, I'm certain i'm gaining weight, surprise surprise, I miss everyone like there's no tomorrow, but I KNOW that I am doing the right thing. I love it so stinkin' much! Do not, do not, give up on the Lord, press forward in all things, and you will be blessed. 

I love all of your guts!
Love, Sister Conrow  

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