Monday, November 18, 2013

"All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith."

Talofa lava!
Mm. This week was fantastic. PACKED with miracles and tender mercies, despite many disappointments.
First off, we had a Mission Conference on Saturday. All the missionaries in mission came to one chapel to listen to and have discussion with the Mission Presidency and 4 of the 7 Stake Presidents in the mission. Powerful, powerful meeting, my friends. Loads of revelation. What stood out to me was that the Lord is mindful of everybody. He knows his children. He cares about what we care about. He is in the details of our lives.
Elder Aguilar and I have been working our tails off to find new people to teach. We're convinced that if we try to exhaust every resource we have, the Lord will guide us to people who are ready to hear the gospel. So far, it's happening.
Miracle #1: Wednesday. We went by to see Poe and schedule an appointment with him and his wife whom he wants baptized. Our appointments with him have been falling through for weeks. We knocked at his door. Bam. Shearlet, his wife, answered. It was our first time meeting her. Before we said anything, she was already asking when we could meet.
Miracle #2: Wednesday. We brought Ross out with us. Ross is awesome and he's preparing for his own missionary service. We went to Redlands and Loma Linda to see a former investigator (someone who used to meet with missionaries), but the family said to come back later, which they've said many times. We were about to leave the complex when E. Aguilar and Ross noticed a sister from the Ward, standing out in the complex courtyard. She hid her cigarette away as we came up to her. We talked for a bit to ask how she was doing, then asked if she knew any other Samoan families in the area. She gave us three apartments to try! :O THREE! Answer to prayer. So we went to work:
Apt.1: Probably one of the coolest things that's happened to me. A young man, probably 19 or 20, opens the door. In the very moment I saw him my mind flashed to memories from my first transfer, when I served in Redlands and Loma Linda. I knew him. Months ago I had met him in the same complex courtyard. He looked sad, but as we spoke with him he would smile slightly (I love making people smile; it's probably one of my favorite things in the world to do). We gave him a pass-along card and a pamphlet to read. We saw him a few other times as we worked in that area, but each time he would tell us that he would ask his mom if his family could meet with us. At the time, I didn't know he was Samoan, and I had no idea I would serve in a Samoan ward. This time, I couldn't remember his name. But I reached out my hand to greet him anyways and it just came out of my mouth: "Skyler!" We spoke briefly and set up a time to see his family on Sunday. Incredible. 
Apt. 2: A lady answered the door. We didn't have to say much before she said, "I have some family who are Mormons." We set up a time to meet.
Apt. 3: A lady cracked the door open and said the people we were looking for were in Hawaii. We asked when they'd be back, but she just closed the door. We're used to that. You win some, you lose some, haha. I'm just grateful that we met so many people. :)
Miracle #3: Uilisone is a less active member that we've beening stopping by to see for months. Everytime we came he would either quietly close the real door behind the screen door (because every CA home has a screen door), not answer, or very briefly answer. But lately every time we could talk to him we would tell him that he is loved, he is important, and he is needed. Finally, on Friday, he opened the door again. we talked through his screen door as usual, but we really tried to listen to him. We tried to understand him. He spoke with us about the Church. Before we left, we asked if we could share some scriptures. We shared some of Mosiah 5 and prayed with him. It was the first lesson I've ever taught that I wasn't able to see who I was teaching. Funny stuff. :)  
Miracle #4: POE CAME TO CHURCH! Not only that, but he came in a white shirt and tie. With his long hair in a bun. Crazy. He had stopped coming because someone told him to be more neat and comely.So much more happened than I have time to write about. I also prayed in Sacrament meeting in Samoan, which was cool.
Anyway, this work is true. the Book of Mormon is true. Being a missionary is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I love it beyond expression. I love my Savior. I know He lives.
Elder Judd