Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Gospel Brings Blessings!

Dearest Family and Friends!

How was your guys' week?? Fantastic I hope! I swear something great always happens on Monday after email time and then I have to wait a whole week to tell y'all about it. Last Monday I guess most of the East/South got his with a good thunderstorm. And guess who was right in the middle of it? We were! We actually had a lot of fun though. The thunder and lightning was pretty insane, but I loved the rain. A couple of streets flooded and we all played in it :) Good thing it happened on P Day because we stay indoors and play anyway so missionary work wasn't affected too much. I honestly had a lot of fun with all of us chilling in sweats and playing games for a few hours. We got some good laughs too, Sister Turner slipped in one of the flooded roads and it was hilarious. She also fell in the Ray Charles memorial statue/fountain, so we're always getting a kick out of the things she does :) There's no rain or warning sirens going off right now, but I'm starting to hear thunder so maybe we'll be lucky and have a repeat of last Monday!

So this week had its ups and downs. To start with, Micheal will no longer be baptized this weekend, which means he will not be confirmed on Easter Sunday
 :( Saddest moment of my life....he was so close! The main reason was smoking, he kept delaying what we referred to as his "kiss me goodbye cigarette". Hopefully he already smoked it and is done! We know he can succeed, and I know he wants this. We're not giving up on him. Everyone we meet we know are our brothers and sisters and guess what? You don't give up on family! We know Micheal will be able to quit smoking and be baptized. The important thing is that we wait until he absolutely ready-we never force baptism on anyone. I would rather have a baptismal date postponed for a short time rather than not have these people with us in heaven.

This week had some great moments in it too! We met with Alex and we got the chance to teach him about the Plan of Salvation; about Christ's Atonement and because of that Atonement, we all have the chance to be resurrected and live with God again, WITH our families. Families are eternal. Our Heavenly Father is so loving that he placed each and every one of us in a family to learn and grow, to strengthen each other and make it through the hard times, as well as enjoy the good times. He gave us the Plan of Salvation, His Son, because having a family to love and be loved by is something He wanted us to have for eternity, not for our short time on earth. There are so many people here, members, investigators, missionaries that come from homes and families that people wouldn't describe as perfect. Sadly, many refer to them as 'broken homes.' There is something to learn from every situation. There are chances to use the Atonement. Each member of the family has a divine responsibility to help and life one another. They talked about it in Conference and I've been hearing a lot about it since. But honestly, look outside your immediate family as well. Look at who you've been blessed with! You have a ward family, a church family. Our Heavenly Father loves each of us so much that we were a family from the beginning, and we will be a family forever! Back to Alex though, ha ha. We found out that he has a one year old daughter who lives up in Atlanta (with her mother, I'm guessing), and he also told us his dad passed away four days before his high school graduation. He's 22 years old. It really was perfect timing for this lesson, he kept saying how it all made such perfect sense and just loved it. We also brought him a Book of Mormon. I just marvel at his sincerity and the way he kept thanking us for the book. He was so sincere and said "Thank you for bringing this to me, really, thank you so much" and it was really awesome. He's another person who has been searching for the truth and was prepared by God to receive us. He's ready! We need to set a baptism date for him. As we talked about the Book of Mormon, he said he might not have time every day to read it because he's down to the last couple weeks before college finals and has a lot to do. I'm going to tell y'all what I told him: I promise you, each of you, that if you take the time to read from the Book of Mormon and pray every day, your day will be so much better. You will still have a million things to get done and your life may be chaotic, but there will be a greater sense of peace and calmness throughout your day. Maybe not peace on the outside, but peace on the inside. You know, where it actually counts! :) Start with reading one verse if you have to. It makes a difference, and over time you will have the desire to read more and more and your days, oh my just watch the blessings pour in!

Another cool thing this week-Richard and Natalie! Natalie is the 8 year old girl who wants to get baptized. Richard is her dad, who is a less active member of the Church and her mom is a devout Catholic. Richard never received the Priesthood, and we have been talking about him getting it so that he can be the one to baptize Natalie. In his home on Saturday I asked him if he wants the Priesthood. I told him of the blessings of it, how it will be a great blessing and strength to him and his family. He said he does want it, and when they came to church on Sunday we had the Bishop talk to him and he has an interview on Wednesday! I absolutely love seeing the progress this family is making, this man is coming back into full activity in the Church because of his wonderful daughter. He's going to hold the Priesthood authority of God, and in doing so bless his family immensely. The Priesthood has been one of the greatest blessings in my life and I can't imagine life without it. I am so grateful that I grew up in a home with a father who was worthy to hold and exercise the Priesthood authority of God, as well as have friends and elders here who are worthy. The Priesthood makes it possible for us to be baptized by the authority of God and have that baptism recognized on earth and in heaven. It also makes it possible to receive blessings, both of comfort and healing. Some of my most earnest prayers have been answered through a Priesthood blessing, and for that I am so grateful.

Men, always be worthy of the Priesthood! You never know when someone will need you to use it. There's a Mormon message, I can't remember what it's called, but it tells of an incident of young boys playing football during a rainstorm and one boy get struck by lightning and a young man, maybe 18 or 19 who helps coach, gives him a Priesthood blessing on the field as others are performing CPR. It's one of my top favorites by far. Do me a favor and go watch it. You can get to Mormon Messages from LDS.org, on the left-hand side. The Priesthood is the greatest thing we have. It is what makes our Church different and unique. It is what makes it Christ's Church, because we have Christ's authority. The Priesthood was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith after it was lost when Christ and all of his Apostles were killed. That I know. By having the Priesthood restored, the fullness of the gospel, everything Christ established, is back on the earth. How blessed are we to know this, and, to be a part of it. Now comes the responsibility of sharing this knowledge. Nothing will be more sad to me than to have to face someone I knew on earth in the next life, and have them look me in the eye, and ask me why I knew what I did, and didn't tell them. Don't let that happen. I want happy reunions! But whether or not people accept to hear this great message, love them. Give your full effort, whether or not they accept. It's like with Micheal and many other people; I can't bear to lose them so I will do everything in my power not to let them slip away.

All my love,
Sister Applegate

Rainstorm/flood last Monday, my awesome new blanket, and Sister Turner hit her year mark on the 10th! Look who's one! :)

 what we're doing with our hands/arms is making the letters T, W and Z. I think. It kind of worked. Stands for Tifton West Zone

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