This week, I have a couple of cool miracles that I want to share with you all.
The first one is about a woman named Mary-Ann. What a sweetheart she is. She first met us 8 weeks ago at church because her friend brought her one night and we just "happened" to be there because we had a meeting with the Bishop. Well we now know that it was definitely all planned by the Lord, nothing just "happens" out of coincidence. Well after our first encounter, she went off the radar and we got busy. But 3 weeks ago, we had a feeling to give her a call and we started meeting with her. She is humble and receptive. Well we had a lesson this past week and taught her the word of wisdom. She knew it was true and committed to live it right there. We asked her to bring all of the things that she would have to give up and she did. She laid it all right in front of us and told us she was done and that she was ready to get baptized...she said she would cut it cold turkey and give up coffee, tobacco and cigarettes. Well if any of you don't have an idea of how hard that is, it's ridiculously hard and usually you have to wean off of things (in a world where there are no miracles that is). We offered to give her a priesthood blessing. She said she needed that and we blessed her that she would have no more desire for those things and that the addictions would be completely healed. The next day, she had been offered every single one of those things by family and friends multiple times and she said that she had no desire to have it. She has had no withdrawals and is set to be baptized this weekend. The lesson I learned: When we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we always receive a witness in the form of a miracle. This woman had such great faith that God would help her quit, that He was able to fully heal her through His priesthood power. Modern day miracle if you ask me.
Second. We have been working through the members alot because that seems to be the most effective way to find those who are prepared....or the elect that "hear His voice" and are willing to listen and act. Well we went over a month ago to a members home, the McCrorys. We sat down and started talking. Well we asked who they knew that was ready. Well, Sister McCrory, being the spiritual giant she is, felt prompted to tell us about one of her friends that she had known for awhile. She didn't know if it was the right time, but we felt strongly about this woman. So being the "pushy" missionary I am...we pushed her to set something up so we could meet her friend. She told us to go to Staples and talk to her and we did. That's where we met Dee. :) She is an amazing woman. So nice and down to earth. She loves the Lord and wants to do what is right. Well that night we found out that 20 years ago in Shawnee she had met with mormon missionaries for a long time. They had planted seeds. Fast forward to last night. We were at the church with her and the McCrorys teaching the plan of salvation. We were talking about the Holy Ghost and the Spirit was SO STRONG in the room. We asked everyone how they felt. With tears in everyone's eyes, Dee said "I feel like my heart wants to burst out of my chest, I feel so strongly about all of this". We invited her to be baptized and she accepted this way "I will do whatever I need to do to be baptized as soon as possible. This is exactly where God has led me and I have never felt this much power". She is planning on getting baptized and entering into the covenant in February. What did I learn? God loves His Children and knows what they need when they need it. He never leaves us alone even if we leave Him alone for a time. His love is unfailing.
Third. Last week we had one of the coolest experiences I have had up to this point on my mission in a lesson. The elders before I got here had found a baptist preacher named "Brother Garfield". :) He is the MAN!! Feeds us every time we go over it seems like. Well I met him once the first week I was in Shawnee and we talked about the Book of Mormon. Well this past week we had another lesson (which was my second one, so I was still getting to know him). We were planning on reading from the Book of Mormon, but last minute change and we started teaching the Plan of Salvation. Without going into to much detail, it was a powerful lesson and the Spirit was almost tangible. Everyone was edified. At the very beginning we talked about the Pre-Earth life...."before the foundations of the world". We mentioned that God had a glorified and perfected body of flesh and bone. That hit home for him. Then we asked him a simple question that I think we need to ask ourselves on a regular basis. What is the purpose of life? Never have I seen the Spirit work the way it did after that question. It was silent for the longest time. He looked at us and said "That is a really good question, and I am unprepared to answer that completely right now". We then taught him the plan of salvation. At the end, he looked us in the eye and said "something is going on here, when I first invited yall in, I was planning on teaching you and just 'breaking bread' to be kind, but now the tables are turning. You are teaching me now, and I have never thought of these things like this" It was amazing. I firmly believe that we all take for granted the answers we have to the simple questions of "where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?" Without the restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith, we would not have those answers in the clarity that we have them today. What a blessing we have in our lives. Cherish it and feast upon it.
Well that's all I have time for. I hope you feel excited about this great work in which we are involved in. Stay positive. Stay hopeful. Most importantly keep believing. Jesus is our redeemer. We can choose to be lifted above our trials as we follow Him, learn of Him and take His yoke upon ourselves. I testify of that eternal truth.