Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Visalia Week 13 - Pain-Less, Tracting Like Crazy, 40 Day Challenge, "Sit for an hour" w/ Coloring Books, Sweet First Prayers, a Most Excellent Week!

All is well in Zion!

Sister Bolliger has not had an attack of pain in I think 1.5 weeks! It has been a good time. I feel nauseous but that is probably because of the insane responsibility that has been placed on my rather high head of hair.

Getting the loads of responsibility and becoming accountable for everything that happens in this area is something that is driving me on in the missionary work. And is it ever going on! Sister Lemalu and I are tracting like crazy and following the spirit--and my is it working! In deciding that I will follow every impression of the spirit, no matter how awkward, random, or inconvenient, we have been led to loads of new investigators and extended new baptismal dates! We have seen miracles as we've gone through the area book and followed up with former investigators and just generally been able to see the hand of the Lord guide us wherever we can go!

Sister Lemalu and I are doing a purification challenge. We started off by fasting on Sunday and writing down anything we felt we should that was infringing upon us feeling the Spirit. In trying to be humble, I pledged that I would write down and abstain from whatever I felt prompted. One of these included my Nacho voice. Which is super hard not to do...but I'm giving it up anyway! We will try our hardest to not do these things for the next forty days, showing our Heavenly Father, and covenanting with him that we will do whatever is necessary to be more receptive to find those people here that are ready for the gospel.

Yesterday, our first day of the forty days, was incredible! We went to an area where we had received a referral, but did not find her home. We had planned to tract around the area anyway, and began. No one was rude to us. Only one man didn't let us speak with him!! As we asked our inspired question, "How do you know that Jesus Christ loves you?" we were able to testify with Alma 7:11-12 that in the act of the Atonement Christ took upon himself not just our sins, but our pains and our afflictions, that he might better know how to succor his people. It was incredible! We found two new investigators, one in particular that I just have to mention. Cindy is the cutest girl I've ever seen. She was so excited that we stopped by to talk to her and as we were talking about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon she asked if there was a way that she could learn more. We answered in the affirmative, of course, and are taking her on a Church Tour on Thursday! We talked about her goals in life and how making decisions with the Lord is the best way to go! After giving her a Book of Mormon, we asked if we could pray with her. She then asked us to teach her. I whipped out my lime green stickies and began writing the simple formula. We then each took turns praying, with Cindy going last. And was it so tender! We found out that it was the first time she had prayed! She said she had just got home and wasn't usually home at this time, but couldn't wait to see us on Thursday. :) I got chills as we would talk and felt the Spirit confirm that she was who we had needed to find that night on that street!

I have been praying my knees out seeking direction for how to be an example to someone that has only been out six weeks less than myself. I don't really know what is going on. I am learning how to correct and how to guide and what is a rule and what is something that can slide or maybe doesn't need to be addressed in a grandiose way. I have been learning how to lead during lessons (something I actually already did..or rather hijacked), and have been teaching Sister Lemalu the ways of the mission. There are many many things that weren't addressed the way they should have been when she was trained so I'm having more of an experience of training than step-training. Hahaha. But such is the nature of the work. Lots of learning. Lots of flexibility!

We had some wonderful miracles on Sunday! We had two investigators at Church! Leon is my favorite black man at the moment, because we're teaching him of course, who is in a wheelchair because he was in a gun fight in 2002 and had part of his rear end shot off. He sits in a rather intense wheelchair with a catheter and the whole deal and has been taught by the missionaries for the last TWO YEARS. Well...no. That is not what we do. We were planning on doing a drop lesson--but he actually had progressed when we arrived! And has been steadily doing baby steps consistently! He had hemmed and hawed about church attendance because he is not supposed to be sitting for extended periods of time. In one rather bold move, at the end of our lesson last Thursday I said, "Leon. Guess how long you've been sitting here for this lesson? For one hour. Guess how long the first hour of church is? One hour. Leon, will you come to church, just for the first hour?" Taadaaa! It worked! He looked down, and then said, "Yeah, if y'all can find me a ride!" Then, he brought his two daughters and his two nieces to church. Three of them are seven years old and Sister Lemalu and I anticipated that they would have a hard time during sacrament meeting. Soo, in a very female display of forethought, we decided to make them coloring books from the Friend magazines. Some very helpful librarians copied about eight different pages for us for each girl and we prepared ourselves with two bags of crayons for the impending Sacrament test. And it worked! I felt like such a mother hovering over them, explaining when to fold our arms, when to be especially quiet, when the sacrament would be coming around, etc. I think I'll wait to give them the coloring books until after the sacrament though.. Anyways, it was great! We also had Chuck there, a former investigator that had no follow-up information. We decided to go and contact him and we found that he has already read the Book of Mormon and knows that it's true! We took him on a tour, committed him to baptism, which he accepted, and then invited him to church. And did he ever come! He had on his muddy cowboy boots, his magnifying glass with a special light up feature, and brought his ten-gallon hat. He loved High Priests group and it was just a splendid day! There were three others that were supposed to come, but we have plans to get them there again!

It's interesting having four of us share an apartment. Sister Hernandez and I thankfully have each other for strength and to feel the feelings of responsibility. Sister Lemalu and Sister Haglund (who so randomly lived above Rachel at the Belmont Apts) run around in the mornings, while Sister Hernandez and I hold our backs and cringe at the beginning stages of arthritis. Haha.

But, it has been a most excellent week. I have been practicing loving people and choosing not to be offended and working my hardest to not let any thought I have deprive me of the Spirit--and it has been working incredibly! This is, of course, after at least a half an hour of prayer each night as I desperately plead with the Lord to qualify me for the work and responsibility I have been given. And it's working! I am being blessed so much and am overwhelmed at the growth that I am experiencing.

Phew! My fingers hurt!!

My companion is the best. From Australia and just as tall as I am. What a change from the petite companions of last transfer!

I miss y'all lots!!!


Sister Bolliger - the younger

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