And I love it a lot.
Yesterday we were driving to dinner and neither of us knew where we were going and our GPS got all whacked out BUT hey we made it... ANNND on the way, we somehow wounded up in the middle of the most beautiful area of Sioux City, which I didn't even know existed, so that was nice. (pictures below)
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT OUR WEEK.
Actually there's too much.
SO LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT BERTHA.
The sister missionaries here have been teaching Bertha long before I got here, and she has never ONCE come to church. I was able to teach her once a long time again, like back in December, and then a few times in February. And then just recently, like starting in March, she became more of like a legit investigator. She had an accident at work which made her unable to go back, so she's home all the time (which means perfect for missionaries...). We had some incredibly powerful lessons with her, helping her understand and realize that she indeed does have strong faith and that that faith can bring about miracles.
Well one time, we asked her if the elders could come to give her a blessing. We had come the day before and she was in a neck brace. She told us how frustrated she was that the doctors didn't really know what was wrong with her, so they just put on a neck brace and gave her some medication. SO we brought up the priesthood blessing, and she said she would love one.
The elders - I am so grateful for priesthood holders dangit! - came and gave her a beautiful blessing. She said she felt at peace afterwards, and we continued to teach her the plan of salvation. She was absolutely amazed when we told her that before this life she lived with her Heavenly Father. She never knew! She was honestly without words, and just sat there, soaking it in.
We spent so much time and effort in these lessons, trying our best to help her continue to learn and feel that her faith was sufficient.
She didn't come to church that week. And she still says no to baptism.
At that point, I was like, "Ok, ok is all of this worth it right now? Is she actually going to progress??" We came to the conclusion that right now may not be her time, and so we decided to drop her. I KNOW IT SOUNDS HARSH but sometimes you have to do that as a missionary!
So we planned our last lesson with her and had a member and her daughter come with us.
And guess what? Something INCREDIBLE happened during this lesson.
God's plan was obviously different than ours! He had something prepared for this woman and her family. We get into the lesson and its just perfect, the spirit was so strong. The member, Penny, was just bearing solid, amazing testimony. But somehow along the way, the conversation got a little off topic... okay actually a lot off topic... and we completely lost the focus. We still don't know what happened haha but as time just continued on, I was starting to lose my patience as I felt the spirit leaving the room. The member was practically arguing with the husband about why they haven't come to church and why they aren't getting baptized and so many others things. It just wasn't the best situation. My companion was getting really antsy!
So Sister Castagnola just blurts out, "OK WE HAVE AN APPOINTMENT WE HAVE TO GET TO SO WE GOTTA WRAP THIS UP." hahaha everyone got all quiet.
And then I took that opportunity to be bold.
I looked at the husband, Salvador, and at Bertha and I just said, "We have come into your home, we have shared our message, and we know that you have felt the spirit. We know that this is what your family needs. We know that God sent us to bless your family. But we know that you will never know for yourselves in your don't do something. You will never feel the Holy Ghost testify to you if you never allow it to. You will never, ever know the truth if you never go to the source. We can't keep coming here just to share a spiritual message. Our purpose is to help others come unto Christ through baptism."
The room was quiet.
So we sang a hymn, said a prayer, and left.
AND GUESS WHAT.
She came to church! And not only did she come to church, but she participated in class, she regurgiated EVERYTHING we have ever taught her while we were in class as she helped answer other peoples questions, she told us that she recognized the miracles of that priesthood blessing because her doctors FINALLY found out what was wrong, and that she knew that good things ALWAYS happened after we would leave her house. She felt that what we were teaching her was actually changing her. She could feel it!
AND SHE SAID SHE WOULD BE BAPTIZED.
"Have miracles ceased? Nay."
Hermana Brie Gould