Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Well THAT Was Awkward

Friday night we pull up into a gas station to refuel just as a dude with multiple piercings and sketch gettup comes pulling up across from us, gets out and starts pumping. I finished cleaning the windshield, and just as I was getting into the car, I knew EXACTLY what my companion was going to say as we got in together:

 "I dare you to go give that guy a mormon.org card!" 

Rewind.........earlier that day I opened that can of worms by suggesting that we get creative with our finding efforts and push ourselves beyond our comfy comfort zones by using DARES. I know myself well enough to know I can't give up when competition is involved. 

Comes back to bite 'chya........#fail 

Gimme two.......devise a plan........k lezz do this. I kick myself outta the car, walk up to him, extend the mormon.org card in my hand and say, "Can we offer you a card today?" 

Before I can continue our contact approach, he looks down, and says, "Wait, so this is your number??" Horrified, I look down to realize I extended the card to him mormon.org side down, and instead, our cell phone number side up...........totally know what that just looked like. I'm not that kinda girl, I swear. 


 ummmmmmmmm..........oooooooooooooops.......... Awkwardly try to get outta that one. 

"Oh...no........not........well.....yea, it is...but......actually........we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.......and we want to share a message about Jesus Christ and His gospel. Would you be interested in learning more??" 

where's the back door, where's the back door?? 

But instead.......he pauses and then says, "Yea.....yea I would." 

He then gave us his number, address, and directions to his place, and told us he wanted to know more! Accidental hit-on to successful  HELP-ON. 


Got a good laugh over that one once we were back in the car. Getting out of your comfort zone can be SO awkward sometimes, but that's when things happen!!!!! (literally:) haha 

We saw more miracles this week when we went looking for more service opportunities in the area. We stopped by the hospital and started talking to one of the chaplain interns who was on his last day of the job.

Perfect timing, maybe??  

We started talking and an amazing conversation followed. (And get this, he's from Vermont! We east-coasters find each other:) He told us about the struggles of his "missionary work" and we in turn shared our experiences. In the end, we shared a Book of Mormon with him and left him with multiple passages to read, including Moroni 10:4 and 3 Nephi 11! 

 It was POWERFUL!!!! 

Walked away from that experiences sold on the idea that when you're in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, MIRACLES HAPPEN! Lives are changed, people receive truth, and God's work rolls on! 

On Tuesday, we went over and helped our 90 year-old friend, Yung, with her roses. We raked the flower beds while she sat and watched us (we convinced her she was "teaching" us how to rake--that's the only way she'd let us help her, bless her heart!!!). Half way through our raking, she covered her mouth and her eyes grew small. I looked over at her, only to realize that she was watching my companion and I while bubbling with laughter.

I called to her, laughing myself, and said, "What's so funny??" She called back, still giggling, 

 "You gills (girls), rake funny! So funny!" 

My companion and I just laughed, looked at each other, with no idea what she meant, and went back to work. hahaha! We continued to be entertained for the next two hours by occasional giggles and squeals from our little friend:) 

Before we left, Yung led us by the hand into her home, and gave us each a pot of flowers to thank us for helping her: 

"Sank you! Sank you! Flower for you! I have many, you have none......you take one. I very happy you come! Very happy! Sank you! Sank you!"  

So we walked the half mile back to our apartment, each carrying a large pot of flowers .....that's not weird at all:) Gah! We love her!!!! 

Our members are also working miracles here as well!!! On my first day here, a ward member took us out to eat at Panera. An older man sitting next to us seemed to be watching and listening to us closely as we prayed and then discussed our missionary efforts. After he was finished and started to leave, this amazing ward member quickly followed him, and offered him a mormon.org card. It included our number on the back and she gave him a quick intro to the church. He left, and we didn't think on it again until a week later when we got a phone call from him!!!!! We were f.l.o.o.r.e.d.!!!! 

We met with him this week and learned that he's from Serbia and when he lived there had a good friend who was a Mormon missionary. Bob, our new friend, remembered, "I'll always remember him. I wasn't interested then, but I am now. I have questions I want answers to." 

No effort is wasted?                  go figure.........its true:)!

And get this......he wants a member of our church who speaks Serbian to come translate the lessons for him. Welp.....the only member we've found (yea, still can't believe there's even ONE:) who speaks Serbian.....is a LESS ACTIVE. 

Hmmmmm....... fancy that ........... sounds like heaven's at work here:)!! We're on the scent now....time to convert AND re-activate.....at the same time. 


Aaaaaaannnndddd....the big news doesn't stop there......................... wait for it................................. 

JAMES IS GETTING BAPTIZED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is HUGE!!!!! After 20 YEARS of meeting with missionaries and never being baptized, JAMES IS THERE!!! He told us last night, "If you'd ask me a month ago if I'd even consider getting baptized, I'd have called you crazy! But now, I've never felt so much peace, direction, and hope in all my life!" He came to Easter Sunday services, stayed for all three hours, and realized he was home.....that this is what he's been searching for his whole life!

He's an incredible guy! He teaches us more than we teach him:) haha! He's decided on May 10th as his baptism day and we could. NOT. be. HAPPIER!!!! The WHOLE way home from our lesson last night, Sis Bishop and I were screaming!!! Windows down, singing "That's What Faith Can Do" at the top of our lungs, and giddy with joy.......IT DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THIS!!!!!! 

We are SO excited for him! He's doing it! He's getting baptized!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So the Lord's been good to us! We're seeing MIRACLES daily and losing ourselves in the work and fun (which this week included planting trees, biffing it in the doorway of a member's home (most a.w.k.w.a.r.d. moment of my missionary life), making meals for kids in Haiti, teaching the activity day girls about missionary work and in doing so making 30 new friends in one night (love them!!!), meeting Elder Sitati (the 70 from Kenya!), and oh yea....and being quoted in Stake Conference by Pres Woodbury.....that was a good day!:) 

So, finally....... lesson I learned this week: Believing that you have to endure trials alone, is denying the power of the Savior and His Atonement. Gethsemane's agony was real and infinitely deep. 

He went alone there, so that we don't have to. 

Relying on Him to help us through means that He did not suffer in vain. He is the ONLY way we can make it through, and through Him WE WILL!! 

"We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. 

"You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power." (Elder Bednar) 

This gospel brings hope! It brings peace! And it brings joy! IT IS TRUE!!!! 

Onward and upward, 

 Sister Anna Parker