Wow! There is so much to catch you up on! A few more details about this transfer to start:
Sister Doherty isn't the only one transferred to the island; we also got one of my favourite senior couples, the Canons! I served alongside the Canons in Manchester for over four months, so it has been so fun being with them again. They already love the island, especially because they have ancestors from here. Like me, the Canons finish their mission in five weeks.
Sister Doherty is adjusting very nicely. We get along well and have lots in common (like our favourite colour: tiffany blue : ) She almost died when I said that! so fun)
They had all the new missionaries give their testimony at church. Sister Doherty’s testimony was so perfect and I know everyone just loves her already! She talked about how she was first introduced to the church by a friend from school. This friend has a gorgeous family, apparently, and Sister Doherty told her, "I don't know what it is, but you Mormons are just always so good-looking!" Her friend later gave her a Book of Mormon that said in the front, "Your key to being good-looking." She made a few more friends at church and then started seeing missionaries everywhere. It didn't take too long after that for her to accept lessons and after two months she was baptised. She is so excited to give back to the Lord by serving as a missionary. That was sixteen months ago, and we worked out that by the end of her mission she will have been a full-time missionary longer than she's been an ordinary member!
It’s always great to bring a new sister to the ward because it is like seeing it with new eyes again. I love this ward so much and I can see how we have impacted them positively. Every time I got to introduce her to a ward-member I was just overwhelmed by how much love I feel for each of them! Truly the greatest miracle I've seen on my mission is how my capacity to love has enlarged.
Yesterday, Jane Whitmore brought her YSA daughter to church and we were able to set up a lesson with her! We’ll be seeing her tonight and I’m so excited. We saw Corinne and she’s coming along slowly but steadily. She looks up all of the cross-references in her dusty old Bible and she has connected that since she started meeting with us she feels a lot better emotionally. She loves the Spirit and it is slowly healing her heart. She is scared to come to church, so please pray for her! We also taught a former investigator, Karl Bronfield, who we hope will begin to progress. Other than that, we have made several good contacts while tracting and we are hoping to see miracles. We have been praying and pondering over a baptismal goal for the transfer! Can’t wait to see what it is : )
Speaking of miracles, I've made them a topic of study this week. What would you do if someone told you they believe in God and the Bible, but they don't believe that those kind of miracles happen today? What would you do if a member of the Church told you that? Unfortunately, I have known it to happen. Moroni saw our day and he saw these people. You have to read what he says to them!
And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles. Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God? Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought? (Mormon 9:15-17)
So often we are oblivious to the miracles that are happening all around us. I have to agree with Moroni! Who is to say that the creation of the Earth is not a profound miracle? Or the fact that the planets are in perfect orbit around the sun as to enable life to exist on the Earth? Or the fact that we can put a seed in the ground and it grows into a tree?
The Bible Dictionary says, “Miracles should not be regarded as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power. Some lower law was in each case superseded by the action of a higher... they are [only] wonders, marvels, because of the effect produced on those who saw them.”
We have the choice to see miracles in our lives and many times that choice is simply acknowledging them. But on top of acknowledging the miracles that we already have, Moroni teaches us that our faith has a direct effect on the miracles we experience.
And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust. Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth. (Moroni 9:19-21)
And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God. (Ether 12:18)
Even when He was on the Earth, Christ could not work miracles that superseded the faith of those involved. This was most apparent when he returned to his “own country” where it is said, And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6:5-6)
God has not changed. His power is still real in as much as we allow Him to work in our lives. I truly know that. There are so many people in the ward at the moment with health problems it breaks my heart. We had a funeral last week of the still-born baby of one of my favourite members. She was seven months along and they have no idea what happened. We had permission to go as I am the acting ward pianist and it was so special. I am so, so grateful for our knowledge of the Plan of Salvation!!
As we have shared our thoughts about miracles with the families of the ward one by one we've really seen a light come back to their faces. We are doing everything we can to uplift and encourage them. I know that we cannot ask the Lord for miracles that are against his will, but better to ask for too much than live so far below our spiritual privileges. And besides, even if we were to overstep our bounds, we would be in the best company, even that of the Saviour who asked for His own miracle but submitted to His Father’s will, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Let each of us resolve to have the faith to see miracles this week. Let us bring our Father joy as we allow Him to bless us!