August 11, 2015

Email No. 30


This week was absolutely INCREDIBLE. So, as usual! I am praying that my fingers will move quickly. 

First, let me tell you why this week was so blessed. Last Friday, while Sister Jensen and I were weekly planning, we felt very strongly that we needed to set a goal of 9 member present lessons. Previous to this, the most we had gotten was 4. So. We made some serious plans to accomplish this goal. We worked really hard and were, through the hand of the Lord, able the accomplish this goal. We were met with opposition around every corner. Members calling last minute and canceling, 3 lessons canceling. It was crazy. But. I know I know that the Lord blesses those who work hard and stay humble. What made it even cooler was that two nights ago, the assistants to the president sent out a voicemail to the whole mission basically calling us to repentance. This past week the average number of member present lessons per companionship, mission wide, was 0.5. Sad, right? So our zone leaders asked Sister Jensen and I to speak at both zone meetings and give a short training on member present lessons and using the members in this amazing work. It was pretty cool. And this week, we have set a goal for 10 member present lessons, so pray that we will be able to accomplish this goal. I know that as we do so, the Lord will bless us. 

During lunch on Tuesday, we decided to go to downtown Ellsworth and do a tiny bit of window shopping. I got the cutest journals. I write in them everyday and I just love it. It allows me to organize my thoughts and remember all the amazing things that the Lord has blest me with. Which is a lot to remember!

We were able to teach one of the less actives we are working with, Lin. She is originally from China. She has the cutest little twin boys, Zachary and Maxwell. We read from Moroni 6. After reading, she had a few questions about the Holy Ghost and how it works. And after that, she just looked at us and started tearing up. And she asked, "How do I teach my kids to be good?" She expressed that she wants to teach them and bring them up right. We told her that she is an amazing mother (which she is) and told her to continue to bring her children, and herself to church every week and she will bring them up just fine. Lin is the sweetest thing ever. 

We also got to teach Marion twice! The first time it was with Elle, Althea, and our recent convert (Marion's long time friend who actually referred us to Marion), Jeanette. They are both 88 and have known each other since they were born. Because they are both so old, they don't get out much, so they don't get to see each other. They haven't seem each other for years, so when we showed up with Jeanette, Marion was so so happy and just couldn't stop staring at Jeanette and giving her hugs and telling her how much she loved her. It was an absolutely incredible lesson. Marion knows that she wants to be baptized. She just wants to make sure that she is ready. She loves the Book of Mormon and all the pamphlets we give her. She just doesn't really feel that she is important enough to be baptized. She always tells us, in her adorable little voice, "This has to come through me." It isn't mean or anything, she always says that. We talked more about baptism and how it will bless her life. She kept asking Jeanette how she felt getting ready for baptism. Jeanette bore powerful testimony in her little old lady way, that she has never regretted getting baptized and is so so happy that she did. We sang "I am A Child of God" and Marion was tearing up the whole time. As we were leaving, Sister Jensen noticed a trail of cookies outside her house. She asked, "Marion, did you know that cookies are out here?" Marion replied, very matter of factly, "Those are for the crows!" Oh man, we just started dying laughing. It was hilarious. 

The second lesson we had with Marion was equally awesome. We went with a member, who Marion absolutely adores, Whitney. We talked about baptism again. We talked about how at church we can receive revelation and come to have our prayers answered. Sister Jensen felt inspired to sing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives". So we did. The whole time Marion was just crying and crying and smiling. When we finished. Marion just whispered, "Voices of angels. I just can't stop crying with joy! That was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard." We just smiled right back at her. Then, true to character, she says, "With voices like that I know where they get the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!" It was truly an amazing lesson. 

We also got to teach Bernie twice! The first lesson, we talked about how he was doing with the word of wisdom. He said that today he had a beer. His grandson was dying and it was his birthday and that's what he and his grandad used to do together so he had a beer. We were sad and told him that we were. He told us that he was going back to not having beer! He hasn't had one yet! So that is awesome. In that lesson, he told us that when he was talking to some people about how we visit with him, he heard that some people talk very poorly of us and they say, well, not very kind things. He tells us that he always defends us and always asks everybody that says mean things about us, "Have you ever talked to them? Do you even know them? They are the nicest people I have ever met." So it is nice to know that somebody sticks up for us. He is a crack up. When he was first asked to be baptized, he accepted and then quickly asked, "Can I bring my rubber duck in there with me?" So that is the kind of humor that Bernie has. We always joke with him about wearing a white shirt and tie to church because he doesn't really like to, but does anyways. We were talking with him and he asked, "Do you know if we have to wear a white shirt and tie in heaven? Because the one way I will is if it has USMC on it." (He is a Marine). It was so funny. 

The second lesson we taught Bernie was absolutely amazing. We felt inspired to read the conference talk "Safety for the Soul" by Elder Holland. This is the talk where Elder Holland bears powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. Bernie has been having some trouble with gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith. After reading this talk, we asked how he felt. He was kind of quiet at first and then he said, "Everybody needs to read that talk!!" He went on and on about how amazing the talk was and how of every church had a copy of it, it might change some people's minds about the Mormons. He kept asking how he could get a copy and watch it. He said he is going to show it to his Jehovah Witness friends. It was an awesome, awesome lesson. The woman we took to that lesson was our recent convert, Marsha. When we were beading testimony of the Book of Mormon, she also bore testimony. She said that she felt drawn to the Book of Mormon more than she ever did the Bible and how much she loves it. It was an a,along testimony of the Book of Mormon, especially for someone who was only baptized a month ago. 

Speaking of Marsha! She had the coolest experience EVER. So previous to, and after being baptized, Marsha has had a really hard time with tithing. She would always ask if she could pay 5%, if she really did need to, so on and so forth. She didn't have a testimony of tithing, in summary. Last Friday (like two weeks ago Friday) we planned to have a lesson with her at the church on the Plan of Salvation. However, the Spirit took over and we ended up talking about Family History work. We got her all signed up and we even found her dad! She was freaking out and thought it was the coolest thing ever. The next day she texted us and said, "Sisters! I have the coolest miracle to tell you!! But I will wait until next Friday at our next lesson!" Fast forward to the next Wednesday, after Book of Mormon class: Marsha rushes over to us and tells us that she cannot wait any longer and that she needs to tell us her miracle RIGHT NOW. She said, "Last Friday, after our lesson, I had a dream. In that dream, my mother and father were holding each other's shoulders and were just crying. She didn't say anything to me, but I felt that she really really really wants me to get baptized for her! I can't explain why, and I don't know why, but now I know why we need to pay tithing! And I know why the temple is important! I used to think it was just a pretty building, but now I get it! When can I pay my tithing? Do they take checks? When can I meet with President Riggs to get my temple recommend?" Holy cow. It was amazing. She was crying and shaking with joy the whole time she was talking to us. It was awesome. 

This week at Community Meal, Ralph (the one who Mr. Krab's was created after) was standing next to Sister Jensen as she was getting some food for dinner. She had only a tiny piece of ham on her plate at the time and Ralph looked over at her and said, "Well geez. Don't over do it!" It was hilarious. There were a ton of people who came that week, so we had a ton of dishes to do. My hands were raisins by the end.

Oh my heavens! So one of the funniest things happened this week! We just recently figured out how to connect our phone through Bluetooth to our car so that we can talk without having to hold the phone on speaker. So we were just figuring out how to use it and put all the right settings on and we had to call a member, Charlene, to confirm plans for a lesson that day. Charlene is an older woman who is notorious for being a gabber and telling her whole life story in a matter of minutes. She is seriously one of my favorite people because I relate to her! Anyways, we were calling her from the car and we had a bit of difficulty connecting with her at first. It went on for a few minutes asking back and forth if we could hear one another. We asked her, "Charlene, can you hear us now?" To which she replied very resolutely, "No!" Holy cow. It was hilarious. We were just dying laughing. 

We also got to teach primary! We were talking about faith so Sister Jensen and I reenacted the Brother of Jared story, where God touches the stones and makes them glow. I wish we would have gotten it on video. It was absolutely hilarious. Sister Jensen stood on a chair behind the chalk board and I drew some stones and she touched them and then came out and I was the brother of Jared. The kids were laughing and laughing. But what was amazing was that they all understood faith so well. 

Taught Primary

Zone interviews were amazing. I got to see President and Sister Stoker, tons of missionaries and we just had an amazing time. During the meeting part, we talked about positivity. It. Was. Amazing. The zone leaders trained us on how we all need to first love New England, then we will love the New Englanders themselves. It was awesome. I really needed to hear it. Being positive is exactly what I have been trying to do on my mission. It is so contagious! We need to be positive. No matter if you are a missionary or not. 

Last night, we visited a less active, who has come back to church (we call them "rescues") Anyways, he had missed a few weeks of church because, as he told us, he was "in the courting phase" with this lady. Well! He came to church this past Sunday! He told us last night that he was so glad that he went and that he felt the Spirit so strong. He said that he is never going to let anything get in the way of him going to church again. He bore powerful testimony of the Savior and the impact that He had made on his own life. 

Friends, this gospel is where we can become our best selves. My favorite line right now from a song reads:

Once I was blind, but now I see. 
Once I was broken, 
but He healed me. 
When reason we lost, hope still remained. 
And life is beautiful. 
I'm changed. 

I have changed so much on my mission. But in every good way possible. I love this gospel. And I love all of you. 

Love (lots of love going on),
Sistah Sewell


Whitneeeyyyy (A favorite member in the area Grace is serving in)

SISTER STOKER (Grace's Mission President's wife)

Elder & Sister Seamons

Sister Sewell the "Bird Lady" :)

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