Wednesday, November 18, 2015

71 - Signs of the Good Times

Sister Lewis's hair change!!!

Two weeks in one! Let's jump right into it.

From full poof, to halfway straightened, to straight, to cut, to the request of having it halfway braided by Tanya Azotoh. 

She can now feel the breeze on her scalp for the first time in a long while!

While she was getting her hair done, I basically the whole time bottle feed the baby that Tanya was watching while he sat in his car seat.

 And she was watching the cutest little not-even-two-year-old girl! She loved to dance to the music on the T.V.!

Tanya was watching a lot of kids. As per usual. She hasn't been coming to church lately... I hope she gains a testimony soon and stops listening everyone else who isn't a member of the church.

And Bruce, he doesn't have a job anymore. His job pouring concrete has ended, as it's only a seasonal job, and he's right back to his unreasonable expectations of the church giving him a job. Oh no, he's not going to revert back to this without me setting him boldly straight. But he still doesn't understand, no matter how clear and bold you are. So there's that. All we can really do is pray that things will work out.

So, updates on the people that we have already been working with.

We saw Charity and Orlando last week a couple times. They are really in a position where we are relying lots on the Holy Ghost to let us know what to teach them. Every time we've brought something up about the need to stop smoking they agree that it's something they want and they talk about quitting, but it never actually happens. 

As I was thinking, I realized we hadn't talked about family in awhile, and that's something they really gravitate towards. So we read The Family Proclamation together. It was a good lesson, but something still seemed a little off with them, especially at the end, a little bit of unintentional contention between them dampened the spirit. We committed them to if they haven't already, start reading from the Book of Mormon.

We thought about the next lesson we would share. Sister Lewis came up having a lesson on the ten virgins. She even had a clay little lamp with a string wick that we could use as a visual. 

When we got to the lesson, Orlando and Charity were just coming home from spending the evening together by the Missouri river, their feet all muddy, especially Charity's and with collected driftwood in the back of their jeep. Good night of just fun we figured.

We ride up the elevator together and we start the lesson, and they expressed to us that the reason they were actually down at the river for the intent of reading their scriptures! They wanted to made it an event, combining it with one of their favorite things - nature - so that it wouldn't feel like a chore or assignment as scripture reading often can. And Charity remembered that I loved the book of Alma, which was flattering, so she opened up to Alma and found Chapter Five, one of the greatest chapters ever, and thought it was beautiful!

She also had a profound experience. Her head was really hurting on the way down to the river. A debilitating migraine was coming on. She asked Orlando to pray over her, that she had faith that he could stop the pain. He put his hands on the sides of her head and began to pray and her pain in her head subsided. She truly had an experience of the healing power of the priesthood, we pointed out to them. (Orlando is a member and is ordained a Priest. He just hasn't been active in church in his young adult years.)

Our lesson on the ten virgins went well. There wasn't contention this time. And Sister Lewis even felt inspired to give them the lamp that she had as a reminder to continue to fill their lamps with oil. I was so touched and proud of them for making it a point the read their scriptures that as I expressed my pride in them, Charity said, "aw, you have tears in your eyes." And indeed I did.

When I hugged Charity at the end of the lesson, the tears flowed, "I'm just so proud of you!"
"Aw, you're going to make me cry!"

It was a great moment. They promised they would be at church. But. They weren't. Charity wants to progress. But Orlando... we feel he's afraid. He knows that he needs to step up to the plate and get his act together and he's just afraid to do it. That's why it's so up and down with them. One day, he'll come to his full senses and humble himself and start being fully active again.

Vaasa! Our Russian investigator. There is a member who I will call Brother Brown. The browns are the members who live in lukenbill who had all the Africans over for dinner and are ward missionaries (Brother Brown is the assistant ward mission leader) and Brother Brown is African and Sister Brown is White, so their kids are brown! Hence the name I give them.

Anyway, Brother Brown can speak Russian! So cool! So he has been a great fellowshipper. And we finally recived the Russian Book of Mormon from the mission office, so we gave that to Vaasa and he has read the first twenty chapters! We had a lesson with Vaasa that we asked him all the baptismal questions. He was doin good, though showed a little hesitation when we explained about no tea and coffee, but when we asked the last question, 'are you ready to make the commitment to be baptized, his concerns gushed out of him, that he felt like it was all about baptism and that we have so many rules and he doesn't understand why this is the only true church. Sister Lewis opened her mouth and everything that she said was full of the Holy Ghost. It was full of comfort and love and neither of us knew how she did it, but the room was just filled with love as opposed to the concern that filled it before. Sister Lewis doesn't cry often, and she was moved to tears as we drove home. It was really something.

I haven't talked about this investigator yet, but we have worked with her before. 

I will call her Christen, because she has a lot of crosses in her house. 

She collects them. 

She is the mother of a recent convert of a little over a year who is super active and awesome and comes out with us all the time. 

And has a guinea pig.

We just haven't really known how to help Kristen, so we've been doing service for her, cleaning her house... and playing with the cute kittens. It's been good for her.

We saw Michelle again in Grenora, and her two step sons! Love those kids. Taught them the plan of salvation and they loved it.

We went and saw Korwa, who is now back from her week and a half trip to Utah with her husband, and we hadn't had dinner yet when we saw her and neither had she, so we all cooked dinner together!

And I got pictures of all her gorgeous Cambodian pictures on the wall which I've been wanting the excuse to capture for a long time!

Speaking of meals...

I forgot to mention last week that we ate with Brother Jolly again!

Doesn't that steak and red snapper on top of dirty rice look like it belongs in a cook book?

Grizzly shaved lol so he's not as grizzlyish anymore, but that's ok. He has been helping out Elias a lot with finding a job! But Grizzly is also super paranoid about whether Elias is legal or not. So silly. And it more seems like Elias is his 'project.' But, yeah. And Grizzly's fed us a lot lately, gluten free hamburgers and pizza! But he's also gotten super defensive since we had the Law of Chasity lesson. He is justifying porn as 'self medication' because of his past. Which is not cool. And just yeah. He's justifying a lot. But now he's off in Dickinson going to trucking school. Hope he does well.

Elias has been frustrating too. Awesome, but frustrating. We couldn't get a hold of him for the longest time! And then, miracles happened and we were able to see bishop for a brief second and know what time he is free and then we finally saw Elias and he was free too and we were like, "ok! You are having your worthiness interview for the priesthood in an hour!" And on Sunday he received the priesthood from Brother Witt! Yay! He's been awesome coming to lessons with us. But he's also been really unreasonably needy with rides and blah blah blah and that's been frustrating.

New investigator time!

We have five new investigators as of this past two weeks! Wow! That's the most we've found ever since Sister Lewis and I became companions! Heavenly Father is really blessing us. Four of them are African, Three are specifically from Liberia. 

The one who's not from Liberia, I will call Guru, because he kind of sounds like an Indian Guru.

One of the Liberians is super prepared because he was going to the church and meeting with the missionaries in Australia, but didn't have the chance to get baptized before he came here, so we will surely see him baptized before we leave the mission field! He has crazy facial hair, so I will call him Jaffar. He actually lived in Phoenix, Arizona for two years before he moved here!

The other two Liberians are both named Precious and they both live on the same floor, and we met them both at the Azotoh's, who also live on the same floor! 

And the other investigator is deaf! I will call her Memory, because she has distant memories of a babysitter singing her a melody about the ocean and her mom having a conversation with the neighbor outside as she cried before she went completely deaf at age 3 due to contracting meningitis. Memory is the mother of a less active who lives in Grenora, who we actually first met right before we went a few weeks ago the second time we went to Grenora. We met her briefly before our lesson with Michelle, but we had our lesson with Michelle in like, five minutes from us knocking on the door! I was so bummed, I wanted to talk with her more- she was deaf! I felt such a connection to her and was so sad she lived all the way in Grenora.

Well. Something SUPER COOL. There are two less active families who know the church is true and they both lived in Grenora so it was hard to make it to church. One family is Memory's daughter's family and the other family just moved here to Williston! I will call them the Far family and the Near family respectively. Both of the families have kids that are baptism age or almost to age eight and they both wanted to have their kids take the lessons, and the Far family is willing to drive down on the weekends to receive the lessons! And being as I know sign language, they bring Memory down too! Sister Lewis teaches the many kids while I interpret for Memory! We had our first lesson and dinner last Saturday and we are going to teach all the lessons over the span of all the Saturdays till the end of the transfer! It's an amazing experience! 

And we've talked to people in the ward, and we can have the resources available (people who know a little and have degrees in deaf communications and people who have a desire to learn from scratch) an interpreter  or two trained to translate church for her for when I'm gone! Heavenly Father loves all of His children so much!

And last thing to talk about because it's all I have time for. This Sunday was AWESOME! We gave our final testimonies in sacrament meeting, seeing as for both of us it's our last fast Sunday as missionaries. Guru also bore his testimony (first time at church)! 

And a less active family came, a family who we've taught a couple times and they've fed us once and Sister Nelson, I'll call her, would tell us outright that they had no excuse for not coming to church. We call them to repentance to no avail. They never came to church though they said all the time they would. We knew it had to be from the members that they would start coming to church again. We sent her visiting teacher on a mission. It worked.

The Nelson kids for some reason just adore us, the sisters, or well, me since I'm the only one they know. I excited to see two of the young boys were getting up (I think because they saw us get up partly). One of them just talked about pumpkins and how they had fun and the pumpkin patch and how he is thankful that God let him have fun. And then! Sister Nelson got up and bore her testimony, saying that it was her second time ever bearing her testimony in church and that Heavenly Father has placed all the members of the ward in her life this past week and it was an undeniable sign to her and they will make an increased effort to be much better at coming to church! YAY! It was amazing!

And when Guru was in gospel principles sitting next to us, he made a comment, "It feels like there is a bubbling volcano inside of me. I leaned over and explained, "that burning feeling is the spirit. Hymn number two. The spirit of God like a fire is burning." "Yes. Thank you God." He was amazed at church. He has been to many churches, but never has felt the spirit like this.

As for how I am personally, I'm definitely mentally preparing to go home for better or worse. I'm trying to still stay consecrated, but I do find myself singing per say, the opening line to Lion king when I see the sun looking cool when I resisted the urge before. It's just little things like that. So I know it's not 'good' but I don't think it's bad, idk. That's where I'm at. I'm glad that we are companions for our last transfer of our missions to support each other. 

So that's all for this entry! Until next week!

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