First off, TARYN IS PREGNANT!!!!!! I knew that I was going to hear that news while on my mission :) That is so exciting!! I am going crazy right now. Taryn and Jason CONGRATS!!! You are going to be such a CUTE family! Taryn and Jason I would love to hear it from you! Tell me about it! Hope to hear from you. Goodness I am so proud of my whole family. You're all the best! Good job on the Spudman everyone. That's fun that the Forsyths were able to do it too! I'm glad you all had a good Pioneer Day together. Sounds like everyone is happy!
So I feel like I say this every week - and it is true every time I say it - but this week truly was an amazing one. We had so many amazing experiences on the streets, in lessons, on exchanges, at church... The spirit was our guide in every part of the work. I don't even know what I want to share because there were so many small little miracles that happened! I guess you'll have to read my journal someday :)
We went on exchanges, and I went to Mississauga with Sister Stoddard while Sister Von Niederhausern stayed in Toronto with Sister Hsiung. Craziest thing that happened was the first night. We got in bed, she turned the lights out and it was pitch black.... What else? It was completely silent. I layed there in awe for a little while just soaking it in. Haha those are two things that you do NOT experience in Toronto. The city lights light up your room all night, and there is no such thing as silence, wherever you are. It was very different and it was so much fun being in a car area again for a day. Brought back great memories :) Sister Stoddard is amazing. She really taught me how to teach so simply that no one can misunderstand. And she is the epitome of finding joy in the work. Haha you will never find a perkier person. We had so much fun teaching and contacting together. Both of us LOVE talking to people on the street so we were going crazy! Running after people on bikes, catching people in their cars... we talked to a lot of amazing people!!! The best thing ever was sharing the first vision with people on the streets. It's amazing how you can feel the spirit so strong even on the side of the street with noise all around you.
Our District Leader instructed us on how to be more personable in our contacting, and not being missionary robots. I've been working really hard on that and it is making the WORLD of difference. I am talking to people the same way I would talk in a normal situation and it is that much more comfortable to bring in the gospel too. Haha there is this old Jamaican man that we say hi to every time we walk on Eglinton street. Yesterday we went up to him and I said, "Okay. So I've decided something.. Are you ready to here what my decision is?" He was confused and said yes. "So I've decided that you need to come to church with us. Because we think you are awesome, and our friends in the church need to meet you." He laughed and FINALLY agreed to saying he would come. And what else? He FINALLY gave us his number to call him!! 1 1/2 transfers worth of persistence :)
A couple weeks ago, I sat on the bus by this 60 year old man named L... and invited him to church. He came last week, loved it, and we began teaching him this past week. In our first lesson with him, things were going well as we taught him the restoration. He is so prepared and was loving everything we were saying. When we got to the part of Joseph Smith, the environment changed. Things felt so peaceful and I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. We shared the first vision with him. It took us probably a minute and a half as we paused throughout and let the spirit touch him. Immediately after, Sister Von asked L... if he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. After he thought for a second, with so much conviction in his voice, he said yes. I have felt so much love for L.... as we have been teaching him this past week. He is preparing to be baptized on August 17th and he is doing everything it takes! He is so special. Sadly, Sister Von and I found out yesterday that he doesn't live in our ward boundaries, so we had to tell him that he was going to be taught by other missionaries and go to another ward. He understood but it was no doubt the hardest thing I've had to do on my mission. I KNOW we knew each other before this life, and I feel so grateful that Sister Von and I were able to introduce him to the gospel!
Some thing that I have come to feel this week: As we begin to teach people, our goal should not be to help them know the facts. Our goal should be to help them feel the truth. We must teach so simply that they can not misunderstand. When that is the case, then we leave room to help them receive an answer. That is the most important thing. Because when we receive an answer from God, we want to feel it more. We will do whatever it takes to feel it again. Even if that means giving up coffee or turning off a tv show :)
Through the experience Sister Von and I had with L...., I DO KNOW for myself that Joseph Smith's first vision experience is the most powerful piece to our unique message as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It shows that the Son of God and our Heavenly Father whom we love so much are two separate entities and they appeared to a humble, truth-seeking boy in a grove of trees in 1820. Miracles have not ceased. God continues to speak to His children through a living prophet today. We can be baptized and make covenants with God by His power and permission, the Priesthood. We CAN change. We CAN start again. We CAN feel peace. I know that God loves ALL His children. No one is exempt from feeling His spirit if they choose to seek it. How grateful I am for His Plan. But most especially, right now, I can not fully express my gratitude for Joseph Smith choosing to kneel down and ask God a question.
I love you all. Thank you so much for you examples. Congrats again Taryn and Jason! Have a great week everyone! Keep your standards!!