Monday, September 14, 2015

72 - A Traveling Minister Drops In - Elder Renlund!

This week has been crazy with traveling! We only spent three days ONLY in Williston, though each day of the week we were in Williston for at least part of the 24 hours of that day. I think that's a record! Now to tell you about our travels.

Monday night we left for Minot to stay the night with the Minot Sisters because we were all driving to a tri-zone conference the next day. That night the northern lights were out! They were very faint against the city lights, but hey, now I can see I've seen them in person! So cool!

And it came to pass that the multitude [of missionaries] went forth, and thrust their hands into his... and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the [mission president], that should come.
--3 Nephi 11:15

Tuesday we drove to Bismarck in the morning for our zone conference with Elder Renlund, one of the presidency of the seventy. For those of you who don't know how awesome this title is, let me put it in perspective. There's the prophet, just one on the earth, Gods mouthpiece to give us direction. The prophet has twelve apostles. And just under the twelve apostles are the seventy, and being as Elder Renlund is in the presidency of the seventy, that means he's one of the three next in line to the apostles.

An honor to shake Elder Renlund's hand,
A blessing to have a personal interview with him.
We all shook his hands individually, and it is said that it was then that he decided which three missionaries he would interview personally, as is customary at these annual missionary meetings.

I say unto you, can ye look up to [a member of the seventy] at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
--Alma 5:19

As we were dismissed for lunch from the first half of the meeting, in the blink of an eye Elder Renlund was behind us, and he handed Sister Lewis and I a sheet of paper with a few questions printed on it entitled: Missionary Bio. ...were we...?..... We were! We were being interviewed by Elder Renlund! There is a 0.01% chance that someone is interviewed by one of the presidency of the seventy in their life time! And I NEVER thought I would be that person!

I'm really glad that Sister Lewis got to be interviewed though. She needed it more than I did. It brought her so much peace. For me it was really just super cool and such an honor. And I'm really glad she went first, because when he asked her if she had any questions for him, I realized that this was my shot, and that I better think of an awesome question in order to maximize this opportunity to talk with someone so close to God face to face! (The interviews were just in the chapel, and he interviewed people sitting up in the stand, while we waited on the front seats of the chapel, so we could hear if we paid attention.)

When it was my turn to be interviewed, he made the comment: "You have a beautiful countenance." I was touched. Nothing about the interview was earth shattering. It was just simple. And then came to question that I knew he would ask.

"Are there any questions you would like to ask me?

"First off, did you serve a mission?"


"Ok. So, when you went home, what were some goals that helped y-"

"The temple."

"Ok, the temple, yes."

"I was a mess when I got home. I was bad. I didn't date till nine months after. And still I was bad at it. But what helped me was going to the temple. I went once a week. And working helped too. But to answer your question a little better what I think I would have done more was use the sacrament. And prepare. Start thinking about it on Saturday, and sincere prayer on Sunday morning. You're so concerned so much on Sunday at church about others, investigators, who's there. And that's great, but when that sacrament hymn starts, it's time to focus. It's about you, your time. And after that, then you can go back to worrying about others. The sacrament is weekly-- this is how Christ set it up, so we can be spiritually fed. People are focused so much on how life is unfair to them and that the world is so messed up and why doesn't God fix it. But as we come closer to the Lord, we realize that life was most unfair to Him and everything else seems to not really matter."

What a privilege it was to have this interview and this answer.

Previous/current companions who were at the trizone meeting!
Also, seeing as many of my precious companions were in attendance of this meeting, I got a picture! And something that is super cool, a year ago at this point, Sister Gray and I were companions, and in Bismarck! Crazy.

And then the drive back. Four hours back, stopping in Minot to get our sleeping stuff back from the Sister's apartment, and listening to talks that Sister Lewis has by John Bytheway all the way home. 350 miles all in one day, and I drove all of it! I was pooped!

Our next adventure, Grenora on Thursday!

We went up with our relief society president again and WOW! So much success! Before going out there we had a lesson with someone who JUST moved down to Williston who used to live in Grenora, and they are awesome! And their daughter is almost of age to be baptized and she wants us to teach her the lessons AND later, wow, they called up their friend less actives who live in Grenora still and they are going to COME DOWN to Williston when we teach this family to get in on the lessons too, since they have a kid almost baptism age too!!! WHAT!? So cool!

We also saw a brother that works all the time and we just happened to catch him and make contact. He needed to go, but we talked for five minutes, and he's super nice, so that was awesome.

And then, trying this other family, the person we were looking for wasn't there BUT her DEAF mother was! And so I got to sign to her a little! 

We didn't get to stay and teach her though because we needed to teach Michelle and her family! 

The ones that we found miraculously on our first trip up to Grenora!

We taught the restoration to them. The kids are super excited, but that's ok. Man, I love this family! They just live so far away!

And the last adventure.

On Saturday there was the women's conference and the brand new Stanley building! 

No longer a branch, it's a ward! 

Yay growth! 

It was a great meeting, and the lunch was awesome. Such a great turn out! So glad we got to carpool so we could go.

But as for things that happened in Williston. There was a super fun Labor Day breakfast that Brother Manage organized and it was a great success, and we got a few contacts!

But the most awesome and inspired thing happened BEFORE the breakfast started.

...That which thou hast prayed to me... I have heard.
--2 Kings 19:20

We were sent with Brother Manage's card to go and get tons of milk, eggs, and syrup. So here we are, 6:45 in the morning and Walmart. We are just standing in the checkout line when someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn around and....



It was Goldin! She just got a job here! And I've been praying about her every night! I've been so concerned about how she's doing, if Sylver was still being a big jerk and was praying recently to know whether we should try her again!! AND THEN SHE APPEARS!!! Good thing! Because she moved! So we got her new address, she still lives in our area, and we set up a return appointment, and YES just, YES!!! I love Goldin so so much!

And there was a child of record baptism on Saturday, and Elias, and Grizzly, and Vaasa came! So so good for Vassa, and he pointed out that it was exactly the way Christ was baptized! He is seventy years old, so he is having a hard time accepting these new names from the Book of Mormon because he's just heard of only the bible names for so long. So it's a lot of re-explaining and re-promising, but it's ok. Once it clicks for him and the spirit penetrates his heart just right, he will be unwavering.

We also found a solid potential who will be an investigator come Tuesday. We found her in the Azonto's house- Tanya was braiding her hair. She is Liberian, and we invited her to church, and we had someone pick her up, and she was late for her ride, but she came! And she told the relief society president she'd be here next week!

Oh AND Bruce passed the sacrament for the first time this week! So different seeing him in a white shirt and tie after he was in such an African outfit last week. I was so so proud of Bruce.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted 
--Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Last awesome thing.

Fallah Got Baptized in Bismarck!
This baptism happened on August 29th, just under a month ago, in Bismarck. This is John, and when I found out he got baptized I was jumping up and down and I yelled and people thought I was goin' crazy.

You see, he was a BIG name when I was serving in Bismarck. Seriously, we tried SO hard to contact this guy, but he was out of town when I got there, and then he started not answering our phone calls ever thought we tried weekly, and he was living in an apartment when someone else was living who didn't want any contact, and it was a locked building at that, making it basically impossible, but we tried all we could while I was there! And suddenly, he's baptized! What!? I guess it just wasn't quite the time! But he's baptized now! Yay!

Yay! Till next week!

Sisters Staying Together until the "End"!
P.S.  Transfer calls just happened, and we didn't get one, which means Sister Lewis and I are staying and finishing our missions at the same time here! Like Mother like daughter! Sister Easter also finished her mission at the same time as her companion. Soooo we don't know what they are going to do with the area after we leave, weather it be to bring Elders in or new sisters, or if they will close it.... but the Lord knows what he's doing! We know that the prayer of the people here in our area have a lot to do with us staying together. We love them and they love us. It will be a great last transfer. I'm dying in Williston!!!

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