Starting that 100 day countdown, can you even believe it? I will forever be grateful for the chose I made to serve a mission for my heavenly Father.
"Opposition permits us to grow toward what our Heavenly Father would have us become." - Elder Dallin H. Oaks
So I have a rock-solid testimony of that quote after what I just experienced this week. Never have I experienced so much opposition in a short amount of time. From crazy, rude humans to my companion getting the flu to our top investigator dropping us out of nowhere... it was something else this week.
BUT I don't want to focus on any of that. I want to focus on what came AFTER all of the opposition. I know that God blesses those who not only endure but those who endure patiently and with full confidence in Him.
Last week we recieved a call from this lady in our branch, Sister Flory. She told us that she had a friend who needed help filling out some paperwork to try and adopt her granddaughters, and she asked us if we could come help her. She said it wasn't really a "referral" but kind of! Haha "kind of" is good enough for us! The first time we met with her, Martina, I sat with her at her kitchen table and helped her the best I could fill out some of her paperwork while Sister C entertained her little 3 year old daughter. It was hard! It was all in Spanish! But I'm telling you, the gift of tongues is real.
Half way through, we both got a little discouraged, and I felt the Holy Ghost prompt me to offer a prayer. I ignored the prompting, only because I didn't want to make Martina feel awkward by suggesting it. Well, the prompting kept coming back, stronger and stronger, so I was like, "Martina, esta bien si ofrecemos una oracion?" I explained a little bit about prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost and testified that I knew it would help. She agreed, so I offered a prayer. At the end of the visit, she told me that she felt peaceful and that everything would be okay, that she would be able to help her granddaughters. I invited her to offer a prayer of gratitude to end the visit as well as before going to bed. Just like a good missionary, I told her I would follow up! :)
We followed that same pattern for the next 4 visits - opening and ending with a prayer. Throughout the visit, I would try and relate whatever we were doing back to the gospel and back to God's love for families. I would bear testimony as often as I felt I could. On Saturday, I invited Martina to come to church.
And guess what.
SHE CAME TO CHURCH. And she loved it! She said she felt so good and so welcomed. The branch just loved her and loved her daughter, Alexia. It was amazing. We had only met her a week earlier and now she was at church and had agreed to take the lessons! SUCH A HUGE MIRACLE.
While we were at church, our investigator Yaretd and her family ALSO WALKED IN. I was sitting up on the piano, playing the sacrament hymn, and I couldn't help but cry. They both stayed for all three hours and participated in classes with everyone. Gosh dangit, it was so cool.
And the best part - if you can imagine it ANY better - we met Briana. First of all, so cool because she has a GREAT name.. :) But secondly, SHE IS THE GREATEST HUMAN. She was a referral from the elders from like forever ago that we were never able to contact. We finally met her and I'm so glad that we did.
She is 14 years old, loves to write and loves photography. #bestfriends
We started to get to know her, set expectations, etc. and she was just so open to the spirit and she was eating it up. She is so mature for her age - as we started teaching the Restoration, she kept saying how amazed she was. She understood the apostasy and said how much it made sense to her, that NOW she understood why there were so many churches in the world. When we shared the story of Joseph Smith, she was like, "Yeah, I totally believe that happened. I'm sure it did, it had to!" Annnnnd theeennn, when we went over the Book of Mormon, she was looking at it and said, "Wow, I feel special holding this in my hands!" SHE FEELS SPECIAL HOLDING THE BOOK OF MORMON. Is that not the most amazing thing!? We asked her to read 1 Nephi 1, focusing on Christ, and she asked, "Well, is it ok if I read more? I'm really interested!" hahaH YES.
At the end of the lesson, she said that she would be baptized and accepted a date for May 14th. She is so prepared and so excited.
God is so good, everyone. God loves His children. And He WILL fulfill His promises if we hold out faithful and endure.
I love you all so much. So so much.
Hermana Brie Gould
pictures: Alexia & crafts, selfie taken with my mission president BY my mission president, and crazy Journy