Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What. A. Week!

Hey all!

Man, this week was insane. So many crazy things happened. One guy we were teaching who I've talked about before who was sooo awesome, we put him on date for baptism and then he threw a curveball at us and said something I would have never expected to come from him. And thanks to that my mission president will probably transfer me. I'm almost certain of that at the end of this transfer, but he's keeping tabs on the situation and is prepared to do an emergency transfer if needs be. So that's awesome....NOT! Way to intrude on a week full of miracles.....

Here's the other crazy thing. So last week I talked about Myra and how awesome that experience was. Seriously, coolest thing ever. Her daughter Diane, who is 53, lives with her. I don't know if I've talked much about her, but her and Myra LOVE me! We really just have that connection and it is so amazing to me. Anyway, we went over on Friday and we were going to teach Myra and Diane and give Myra a baptismal date for September 13th. We went in and I don't even know what happened, but everything fell apart. I really do think family members may have said some things, and Satan definitely had his influence. I can't even explain to you all what was said but basically they said they didn't want any part of our religion and they just liked seeing and talking to me. We knew that, that was one of the things we were going to address; the fact that I wanted them to be converted to Christ, not to me. Everything went wrong, the Spirit wasn't there, and my heart literally broke. Before we left I asked to have each of their Books of Mormon and I wrote my testimony in both of them. Then we left. Sister Cartmell and her daughter were with us and they drove us back to Walmart where our car was parked and it was one of the saddest rides I could have ever imagined. After such a wonderful meeting just a few days before, how could that have even happened? It breaks my heart when things happen like this, and I felt I was losing the people I cared so much for, the people who I felt like I was in this area for. To go home and erase them from our plans in the coming week was heartbreaking. 

Luckily, the story doesn't end there. Saturday night we got a call from Diane and that was surprising in and of itself. She had said some hurtful things, which was totally out of character and it was mostly directed at Sister Taylor, which was frustrating because we are here for the same purpose, Diane just feels an even stronger bond with me. Anyway, she called and asked what time she should be ready for church in the morning. She had given us her word the other week that she would come to our church on the third Sunday and she was calling to let us know that she was a woman of her word and she would keep her promise to us. Well, she did. :) She came to church yesterday, and it was wonderful. Everything said was so perfect and things she really needed to hear. Right after she took the sacrament she whispered to me that she liked it there and wanted to come back. To every single person she met she went on for 5 minutes each telling them of how she met me and she knew it was for a reason and we have a very special bond and how great of a missionary I am and on and on and on. I could probably quote her word for word, haha. I think people were kind of annoyed, but it did make me feel special :) She told me I could start my own church and so many people would join because of my faith and such. Haha, clearly she doesn't understand my purpose yet or the Church. One day though :) The elders had a baptism after church and she stayed for that as well, super awesome! Myra wasn't able to attend church of the baptism, but with the progression now with Diane I am hoping we can continue to meet with and teach both of them. I felt bad when Diane was telling me of some of the trials and hard times in her life that she has had, and when she said all of the people she gets close to leave, because I know I will not be here forever. I truly could leave on a moment's notice and I want her to be converted to the gospel and understand why exactly she feels such a close bond with me. Like I've quoted in the past, when others look at me I really do hope that they see Christ. She is so close, her and Myra both, to understanding the gospel and I know that when they do realize it's true, it will be the most glorious moment. I thought it was for Myra last Sunday when we were over, but obviously there is something more that needs to happen I'm just trying to be patient with Heavenly Father's timing. He knows their needs more than I do, I just need to trust that. 

Alright, one more awesome miracle to write a novel about ;) So Saturday night we were walking in an area reminding some people we are teaching about church the next day and we saw a bunch of people on a porch so we went to go talk to them. Everyone left but one lady named Cindy. We taught her about the Restoration of the Gospel and she said she wanted to come to church the next day. Sweet! She told us how her son has Crohn's disease and is in the hospital in Augusta so she would be there, but would try and make it to at least part of church. She did! She made it to the second hour of church and she loved it! We had told her the night before about the priesthood authority and how if she wanted to son to receive a blessing we could have the elders go over to the hospital on Sunday. We made it happen. Two of the greatest elders I know went over and the they called us after it was done and told us how incredibly amazing the whole thing was. They said Cindy and her husband or someone was telling other family there that they'v been to a lot of churches, but there was just something different about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that they knew it was true. I guess the blessing was amazing and the elders are going to be teaching Cindy's aunt and other family members who live in Augusta. They said that Cindy was ready for baptism "like, tomorrow!" hahaha. Sooooo awesome. They couldn't believe we had just met her 24 hours before. She is planning to come to all of church next week and asked if we had a Bible study during the week so we told her about the Book of Mormon class we have on Thursday nights and the whole thing still just blows my mind. She is so prepared! The elders told us that when she was on the porch Saturday night all the family that was with her thought that we were Jehovah's Witnesses (a common mistake) and they all "ran away". But she decided to stay. In church when she introduced herself to everyone in Sunday school she about started crying and said that God sent Sister Taylor and I to her. That is true joy in missionary work, knowing that Heavenly Father really is using us as instruments in His hands to bring about His work, to answer the sincere prayers of others and bring answers and truth for those who are seeking it. It's so wonderful knowing that we can have these experiences all the time, because I did have them multiple times before I left on my mission. Even though it doesn't have to be like this, I do feel like it happens more on my "full-time mission". I will seek for opportunities when I get home as well, because being a missionary and having missionary experiences is the coolest ever!!  "Every member a missionary" is what David O. McKay once said and I know that if you strive for opportunities to share the gospel and to help others, that you will get them and you will be sooooo happy! It's the best feeling ever. 

I hope you were all able to see God's hand in your lives this week as well, when you're looking, you will see miracles! Trust God. "When you leave everything in God's hand, you will see God's hand in everything." He is in the details of our lives. 

Love you much!! :)
Sister Applegate

Sister Taylor and I with Sister Parrot in our ward :) She comes out to teach with us every Tuesday and she always takes us to Taco Bell for lunch. Cute huh! We love our Tuesday tradition!

Sister Taylor was eating pretzels and carrots and she found a giant one of each in both bags. Our lunch breaks are very entertaining... ;) One after the other though, it was funny

Ice cream for lunch!! Dang it gets hot here. :) 

Sean's baptism!! The elders have been teaching him, he's super awesome. A ward member was able to baptize him, so that was cool. Sean is the one to the right when looking at the picture, with longer hair. 

Pics from Sister J's camera from our last Pday together with the Cartmells

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