Monday, May 23, 2011

Miracles have not ceased!

My birthday was wonderful! Thank you for the card! It arrived the day before : ) just in time. I felt very loved! Sister Gong and I had a little celebration: Spaghetti and a mint ice cream cake. I'll send you photos next week. My twenty second year promises to be full of miracles and great memories!

This week has been great especially with member work. They seem to be getting more and more excited about missionary work, which is the idea! Members are fellowshipping who never have before and have even received a member referral. The area presidency here has appointed the June fast as a special missionary fast. The challenge is for each member to fast for missionary work and then bring a friend to church the next Sunday. We are so excited! There are going to be miracles!

We already experienced a little one on Saturday. We were standing at a bus stop and Sister Gong was checking bus times. I was about to approach a passerby when I saw him smiling and suddenly realised he was approaching me! (This never happens in England, by the way. People are usually very private) He said, "Sorry to bother you, but do you know where the nearest Mormon church is?" Why, yes we do! As a matter of fact, we can even arrange a lift for you to join us there, a free Book of Mormon, lessons to explain what it teaches and a chance at eternal life! Would like cream with that? He's been searching for the truth his whole life. He's been to every other denomination under the sun. "I'm looking for the truth," he said, "and I think you may just have it." I told him we do!

Yesterday at sacrament meeting one of our Relief Society sisters, Sister Griffiths, spoke about the Good Samaritan. I always knew that it represented the Saviour and Atonement, but as I was reading my eyes were suddenly opened to how perfectly it describes the whole Plan of Salvation! I wish I had a lot of time to elaborate, but to be short I'll just lay out the symbols as I suddenly saw it (you can follow along in Luke 10): certain man: us (or Adam); Jerusalem: pre-earth life; Jericho (lowest city on earth): fallen world; journey: the Fall (Adam's or our personal fall); thieves: Satan and everything that entails; raiment: eternal life; ability to be in God's presence, etc.; half dead: while we're on earth, we've only experiences spiritual death- not physical yet; priest and levite: Law of Moses; Samaritan: Saviour; oil and wine: both symbols for the Atonement; inn: church, or wherever the Saviour takes care of us; second coming of the Samaritan: second coming of the Lord.

I haven't studied it extensively or anything, but I thought that is was such a perfect symbol for what the Saviour wants to do for us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Yes, it has been a rainy week!

We had the mission conference with Elder and Sister Packer on Tuesday. I received a lovely note, by the way, and a warm hug from Sister Packer. Thank you! What a tender mercy that truly was. I haven't the slightest idea why the Lord loves me so much. It's kind of mind-blowing sometimes.

NOTE: I had actually met Sister Packer at BYU Women's Conference a few weeks ago--we sat by each other in a class. Pretty amazing that out of 15,000 women I sat by Sister Packer who was going to see Molly a few days later! Yes, we are loved dearly and Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives!

The conference was so enlightening in many ways! He taught us the opposite of the teaching model, which is the learning model. In the process of learning, we: hear, remember, understand, apply and become. There are a few of our investigators who have plateaued in their progress and this model was an answer to my prayers! As I stood each of them against this model, I could see clearly where they were struggling. Now we can focus each of them on whichever part they are stuck on. Genius!

Later, Elder Packer opened it up for questions, so I pulled out my mental list. I knew I would only be able to ask one question, and I wanted to ask one that would really benefit Sister Gong as well. As I pondered about my questions I was taught by the Holy Ghost. As I considered each one I offered a silent prayer shall I ask him this? And suddenly the answer would just come to me! I haven't been taught by the Spirit with such clarity in a long time. Question after question my mind was enlightened and my several concerns were resolved. It was a great testimony to me of the power of revelation, as well as the power of deadlines. I really think that the Lord answered me because if He hadn't I would have asked Elder Packer! And He didn't want that time to be wasted. (It's the same reason we invite our investigators to set a baptismal date, even when they don't have an answer! If they plan on doing it, the Lord will have to tell them it's right or it isn't before it's too late.) I came out of that meeting with more trust in the Lord's ability to inspire me. I know He will answer our questions when we really need it.

It's time to refresh our teaching pool and find those who else the Lord has prepared. They are out there! I know they are out there. I feel it in my heart.

Sister Gong's English is really improving. It's great to see. The scary thing is that now she's beginning to say things just like me! I'd imagine it is similar to when your little child mimics you word for word and you suddenly realise that they are listening more closely than you thought! It's made me really analyse my approach in finding and teaching.

I think I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I will never be perfect. It's taken me twenty-one years to admit that! How grateful I am that the Lord accepts my sacrifice anyway. There's nothing quite like falling into bed at 10:30 with aching legs and a battered testimony but then feeling the Lord's love wash over you. There's nothing quite like knowing you've done your best.

Gathering the Saints

Tender mercy yesterday: We found lilacs! Perfect for Mothers' Day. Wish I could have sent them to you, Mum. A photo was the best I could do. They smelled beautiful.

Thank you for the uplifting Skype call yesterday. I am so blessed to have you as a family! The rest of the evening was wonderful. The Abrechts fed us pasta after which we shared with them a message about missionary work. They committed to give four copies of the Book of Mormon out before the end of the month. Stellar family. Then we took Jane and Ralph to a fireside. Well, technically, Brother Knipe (the stake patriarch) took all of us. It was President and Sister Packer! President and Sister Bullock began by bearing brief testimonies about missionary work (which was my favorite part: I'm sorry I'm biased!) and then Sister Packer spoke of being an example and Elder Packer spoke about the miracle of the Plan of Salvation. Ralph especially loved it. He felt the spirit and I know that he loves gathering with the saints! We arrived home just in time and planned for today.

Tonight we have the sisters from Liverpool staying at our flat so they can come to the Conference in the morning, so we have mattresses all over the place! The office elders dropped them off. Anyway, guess who the Liverpool sisters are now? None other than my beloved Sister Lau and Sister Shen!! I cannot wait to see them.

The month is full of mission get-togethers. Next week we will be having Specialised Zone Trainings (where President and the Assistants will teach us how to be more effective missionaries) and the week after that we are doing a Sports' Day. Did I tell you about the one at Thanksgiving? It's basically a day where we all come together and play sports. Taking a day to just play hard is a great emotional release! The best part about Sports' Day is that all the sisters come together. It's so great.

Funny story: last week we were tracting and this little boy answered the door. He saw my tag and said, "Gran! The Sister Davises are here!" Who knew that there was a religion named after me? :) It was cute.

May 3 and Working Hard!

The work continues to move forward in Manchester! We are seeing many miracles each and every day. Satan is also aware of this and we were really hit this week with adversity! Disguised as two nasty colds. But, I believe we are fully recovered and back on the road again. The reason it took us a while to get better is because Sister Gong was so insistent that we not stay in and miss our appointments. It came the point where I just had to put my foot down because we weren't getting better, but it was great to see her enthusiasm for our investigators and her concern for their needs! Just for the record, I really love them, too.

We have seen real progress with some investigators that I thought we would be dropping this week. John came to church for the second time! He's facing a lot of fears every day and I am beginning to see how strong his faith really is. He says "not yet" to the baptismal commitment every time, but he's obviously thinking about it! It's a miracle to be a part of this.

We are having a movie night with all of our investigators and recent converts tonight! We'll be watching The Testaments. I am excited :)

NOTE: Here's a picture of Molly and Sister Gong at the temple in Preston. I love the fact that they match!

The church is most definitely true. I am sorry it's a short week : S My faith is strong and I will e-mail you a long one next week.

With God nothing is impossible

Sister Gong is twenty three. She met the missionaries while doing an internship in Washington DC two years ago. She received a testimony after two weeks of reading the Book of Mormon. This is her third transfer and second area. She is beautiful and tough as nails and I really love her. She so skinny but has this voracious appetite! It amazes me.

We have the largest teaching pool I've had yet on my mission. This is a great ward to serve in! We are seeing lots of miracles!

Henry is in his forties. He's read the entire Book of Mormon but is afraid to pray about it (because he already knows it's true and doesn't want to change his life). He is Catholic and is deathly afraid of what his family and friends will think if he "joins the Mormon church".

Shelly is in her twenties. She is very closed about her past, but loves the feeling at church. She is struggling with depression and claims she doesn't always understand what is being taught. I think she understands more than she lets on.

There are more, but I'm running out of time!

I was able to attend a session at the temple yesterday and saw one of my favourite members from Lancaster! It taught me that you never know who you are impacting! It was really good to catch up with Sister Rae.

Got a letter from Nanny. She said that she hears a difference in me in the e-mails. It's good to hear, but hard to see! The only difference I detect is that I feel stronger than I did at the beginning of my mission. I actually have learned a lot about self-mastery. The interesting thing is that I think I have changed, but I feel the same because I think I am becoming more myself than I was before. This is who I really am : ) Does that make sense? If anyone asked me what my greatest accomplishment in life has been, I would definitely say the last nine months. I cannot believe that I have done what I have. Truly with the Lord nothing is impossible.