Sunday, February 16, 2014

A week in the life as a missionary

November 4, 2013

Funny thing during Sacrament meeting. The two grandparents who only speak Spanish got up to bare their testimonies. So I got to take a break from translating to Spanish for those two testimonies, but right after them came a member who served his mission in Brazil (Brother Jarnagin) He started to bare his testimony in Portuguese. So I started translating into the headset microphone what he was saying, but I translated into English. I didn't realize until he switched over to English. Talk about embarrassing! They probably got a good laugh out of that one.
Monday evening Sister States and I took a good look and prayerfully discussed those we have been teaching. Non of which seem to want to make changes in their lives or really do anything that we leave with them to do. It looks like we are going to be transferring a lot of the work of fellow shipping over to the members. We have a new plan for getting the members excited for missionary work and also to help us become better teachers. This idea was inspired by our sister training leaders, but we are tweaking it a little. We have chosen a few families in the ward (made up of the auxiliary leaders, families with children serving missions, and families that have just moved in recently) to teach what we are calling practice lessons. They are going to be acting like a non-member friend that they have or will make up their own characters. We then go in a missionaries and treat them like they are these friends. The idea is that we are getting practice teaching the lessons according to peoples' needs and working together as a companionship. We are getting in to these peoples' homes and they are getting to be more and more comfortable with us. They are also feeling the spirit and they are receiving some revelation about how they can start working with these non-member friends and family members that they have. The idea is that they will get to the point with these friends that they can introduce them to the missionaries and the members and missionaries can work together to fellowship and teach these people. In quoting the council given to us by our prophet when he said, “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together … [and] labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work” (“Faith in the Work of Salvation” [address given at a special broadcast, June 23, 2013];

So far we have had two such practice meetings and both of them were very successful. The first one Sister Cotter was able to tell us more about the friend and some of the concerns that she has and some of the questions she has about how to take the next step. In our other practice lesson we had the help of a six year old girl, (one of the Hogan's daughter) as we taught her 9 year old brother who was acting as Jameson. It was so neat to watch as the nine year old would ask very good deep questions and the six year old would respond calmly and with perfect clarity.  She even threw in some personal experiences and some promised blessings as she was testifying. I love learning from the young children because they do keep it simple and they do have such great faith. Lately Sister States and I have been able to work with the primary children as they write their parts for the primary program. Many of them are so very prepared to serve missions right now. They are actively seeking for opportunities to share the Gospel with their friends and those around them because they know how it will make them happy. 

Some cute things that were said, "Your Heavenly Father loves you so much. More than your mom and your dad. More than two times as much as your mom and two times as much as your dad, together. And even times ten! He just loves you so much!" 
"I know that you can ask Heavenly Father and you will get an answer. You can know"
After the lesson we sat and talked with the family over some delicious muffins. The little girl came back with a plastic bag full of little toys and odds and ends. "These are for you! I know it's not a lot and it probably isn't the coolest things that you have ever gotten. But I just have so much stuff I have to just give it away some times." When Sister States said that it was special  the girl replied, "no, teaching Jameson was!" It is so true, that taking someone figuratively by the hand to bring them closer to Jesus Christ, brings so much happiness. It is truly a special experience and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to do it everyday all the time.

We did have the opportunity to rake leaves at the Jarnagin house. A very large pile! Come to find out they usually use a big tarp and just drag it to the forest behind their house. Hopefully they will be able to get that mountainous pile moved. They did take us to dinner at Panera Wednesday night and we had a really cool experience where Brother Jarnagin talked to one of the ladys about coming to church. She was from Brazil so he loved talking to her in Portuguese. They are planning to invite a few of their Lowell friends over with her. But being able to see their dad share the Gospel was really exciting for the Jarnagin children. 

Thursday was a bit rainy. We were able to meet only with a few people. Halloween is a big thing to some of these people. Amhurst seemed to really go all out. I also heard that Salem, Mass. is a really cool place to go for Halloween. As for us missionaries, we had to be home by six. Sister States and I read scriptures and marked them. I also made some pumpkin spice cookies that Kamber sent me. Then we had some fun with the mustaches that my family sent us. 

Love the glasses. They add to the mustache!

The whole apartment of sister missionaries

Sis States and Karee

got some lovely unibrows going on

more mustache fun!

got quite the comb over going on there!

We went to visit a lady in the ward who is in a nursing home. She has a lot of pain and seems to be suffering from memory loss. But she is still a great missionary and always looking for opportunities to share her beliefs. She told us that not many people get as many visitors as she does because of the church. We decided to sing her a few hymns. She absolutely loved it! Sister States is really great at harmonizing. Luckily she does know how to sing, otherwise Sister Janacke wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as she did. She wants us to come back every week and I think we might stop by a few other rooms to cheer some sad lonely people. 

This Sunday there were a lot of people at church, including a few less-active people that we happened to visit this week. It is so neat to see some one come back after so long. And watch them as they renew their covenants that they have made. It is definitely a special thing. I feel such a great love for these people. We all have problems and all have things that are stopping us from being better, but the grace of Christ is sufficient for all. I love that. 

That is about it for today. Tomorrow we will be going to Boston for a musical practice (I told you Sister States can sing!) Luckily for me Sister Miller who is serving there now set up an appointment to meet with Eridania. I am so excited!

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