So first of all, this time last year I was just startin' out fresh in Nebraska. WHAT IS TIME/////
This weekend, we had stake conference, and I about lost mah MARBLES. It was the best thing ever! Could I haaaave a more spiritual high!?
Well maybe, but idk.
Let me just share a couple tidbits..
"The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph." "Our two biggest worries in this life need to be serving God and saving souls." "Don't settle for anything less than the eternal glory." "The world is irrelevant. Christ will not have the world define what happens in His church."
This week was a full one! We had exchanges, zone training here in Sioux City, and zone training in South Dakota! We were all over the place. We learned a whole lot, saw many miracles, and felt the hand of the Lord guiding us every step.
I'll share 2 of my favorite experiences from this week:
1. Ungor & Kirby. So before I got to Sioux City, the sisters had found this family. We started teaching them, and it went well for a few weeks, but it got to a point where they weren't progressing, they weren't understanding, and they weren't acting. We hated dropping them, but we did. Nothing was happening. I had a strong feeling though that their two kids, Ungor and Kirby, were going to be the ones truly affected by our visits. I remember telling Sister Castagnola one time, "It's going to be one of those cool stories where like in 10 years we'll get a call from some stake president and he'll be like, 'Remember me?'" Hahah for real, though, I think more than anything these two kids will remember our visits and the spirit they felt when they grow up.
Well this last week, we were in their neighborhood and saw the dad working outside. We decided to go say hi, and he told us to go inside. We waited a couple minutes for him to come join us, but when he never did, I had an idea. I told Kirby, the little girl, to go grab her brother. We spent the next 20 minutes or so going over the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon, teaching simple yet profound doctrine in a way an 8 year old and a 10 year old could understand. It was incredible - they are both usually fairly quiet and don't talk, but as we started, they came up with some of the coolest questions... "How do we know God is real? Did He create us? What happened to the prophets in this book?" When we explained what baptism was, the boy, Ungor, told us that baptism was how we could be safe and protected. They both said they wanted to be baptized. My heart broke a little, knowing the situation with their parents, but I had faith knowing that God would provide a way for them to be baptized in the future. At the end of the simple lesson, we asked them which pictures were their favorites. Kirby flipped to the one of the Savior appearing to the people in the Americas and Ungor chose the picture of Alma baptizing the people in the waters of Mormon. I was honestly speechless when they gave their reasons. "Because Christ is asking us to follow Him." "Because baptism is the first step to happiness."
We finished the lesson with a prayer - I whispered a simple prayer into Kirby's ear as she repeated it out loud. When we said amen, tears were streaming down Sister Castagnola's face and I couldn't help but feel the Spirit, causing my heart to pound rapidly in my chest.
Suffer the children to come unto me...
GOD HAS A PLAN FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS CHILDREN. NOT ONE SOUL IS LOST OR FORGOTTEN. EVEN THE CHILDREN.
2. Yaretd. This human is one of the best. I love her so much. I've talked about her before... she already has a strong testimony of the restored gospel, she was taught in Mexico and just loved it. Her goal for this year is to read the entire Book of Mormon with the sole purpose of learning more about Christ. Due to immigration and other complicated jazz, she can't be baptized right now. And because of that, she hasn't been coming to church as much as she probably should. SOOO that's where we're at with Yaretd. Teaching her is the best, it's so fun.
Well most every lesson, it's about 7pm and Dasha, her daughter, falls asleep and Yaretd, bless her heart, starts rubbin' her eyes and yawning by the end. SO I was like, "Hermana, we HAVE the come up with something different to teach them so they don't fall asleep!" LOL
So, I grabbed our box of unused Ensigns and Liahonas, some white printer paper, glue, and scissors. WE ARE MAKING COLLAGES OF OUR FUTURES. Hahah it was such a YW project but it was actually so fun. Dasha LOVED it and her two cousins, Neeshe and Shy were there too. Even the grandma and Yaretd made a collage! We all cut out pictures of some of our goals and put them all together.
We then presented them, and my heart was full when I saw Yaretd's. She had a picture of the temple, church, a couple walking towards the temple, a family, the Book of Mormon, and our Savior. She talked about how she wanted to have her family together forever. It was so special. God has plans in store for her, I can feel it.
The overall lesson this week?
God is aware of all of His children, no matter where they are. If you feel that you are lost, you aren't. He knows where you are and He will come to you. He will rescue you. He loves you. He knows our struggles and pains, but He also knows our strengths and our joys. He is with us because He loves us. He wants us to come home to Him.
Hermana Brie Gould
pictures: "Hermana, let's knock this house." "...how?" & the sunset in Iowa :) & this picture I took of a picture because my companion wouldn't send it to me... lol