It's surreal when I think of all that has happened since I sat on that plane at the front end of the biggest adventure of my life so far. I am overwhelmed with joy when I think of all of the experiences I've had since I first stepped foot, exhausted and jet-lagged, in the Preston MTC. I've been going through old planners this morning so I could give you an accounting of what I've done. I loved the letter Bapa wrote on his one year mark. Here’s my cheap imitation of his genius (which is okay because imitation is the best form of flattery):
Months in the field: 12
Miles walked in a skirt: roughly 2,000
Buses missed: must be more than that : )
Gospel conversations with strangers on the street and in buses: apx. 3,750
Rejections on the street: quadruple that (not bad--it’s because we are sisters and people are nicer to us.)
Appointments where we were stood up: 832
Lessons actually taught: 433
Times I bore my testimony: over 5,000
Prayers offered: innumerable
Prayers answered: each and every one in His timing
Baptisms witnessed: 7
Tender Mercies: too many to count
Miracles? Yes. Every day.
Sister Maughan and I had a humbling experience this week. The Lord reminded that although we can often feel the Spirit, it takes a lot of hard work to understand what it is saying. When we were planning for Tuesday we felt like there was something missing in the morning. We didn't have any appointments and so we had planned on street contacting in a neighboring town. We both felt unsettled, but nothing else was presenting itself. We prayed earnestly, searched all of our records, pondered, prayed some more, but we just couldn't put our finger on it! As we were getting on the bus to go to --- I had the impression, "Did you forget something at the church? Maybe you should go check." Well, Sister Maughan and I couldn't think of anything that we left at the church; so we got on the bus. A few minutes later we had a phone call from an unknown number.
"Hi. It's Hal ..." Hal...Hal.. "Hal Lewis. You met me near TESCO the other day."
Hal! We had felt the Spirit very strongly as we spoke to him. How could we forget?
"Hi, Hal! How can we help you?"
"I'm just wondering where you are. I've been waiting for half an hour and the church is locked."
We had an appointment to teach Hal for the first time! We were just kicking ourselves. We have that many contacts dodge us we just completely forgot. We promised we would be there in an hour if he could meet later. He said,
"Why would I go in an hour if you weren't here the first time?"
Really kicking ourselves. We just apologised and he agreed to come back. Well, he didn't. We went and set up and waited and waited and Hal stood us up. Giving us a taste of our own medicine, presumably. We were devastated! Now we were remembering how good we had felt about him when we stopped him. We were seeing how the Spirit was trying to direct us to the church but we were just too thick to get it. It was horribly frustrating!
However, knowing that we tried our hardest and the Lord works through our weaknesses, we prayed earnestly that we would get a second chance with Hal. The Lord let us be humbled for the night and the next day, Presto! Our prayers were answered! He answered his phone! We were able to teach him briefly about church and he came both to a ward BBQ on Saturday and church yesterday. He says he feels something there he's never experienced, which of course we know is the Spirit. We are teaching him the Restoration lesson tonight and we can't wait! His life is falling apart right now: family, job, everything. He's very humble and we are so grateful that he and the Lord both forgave us! Pray for him.
Moral of the story: the Lord is merciful!
Ralph needs your prayers! He is worthy to be baptised this weekend, but he's facing opposition from everyone in his life it seems. He wants it so badly but Satan is so against him. Due to several circumstances we felt it is best to push the baptism back. He has more light in his eyes, colour in his face and spring in his step. Truly wonderful to see! Please pray that he will be given strength beyond his own this week.
Sebastian is set on being baptised the 12th of August! He'll be great. His testimony is just blossoming!
I totally love this work!! Obviously this week has been a time for a bit of reflection, and I feel so grateful that the Lord has enabled me to become so much of the missionary I know I can be. It's a blessing. There is always a long way to go, which I recognise, but I thank the Lord for how far I've come.