Tuesday, January 6, 2015

All You Need is LOVE

Thursday morning, our phone rang and we picked up the call from our zone leaders, "Hey sisters, how would you like to get a foster kid?"

*awkward silence and confused comp glances*

"......a mini missionary, sisters....a mini missionary." Oh that:) We hung up all jitters excitement because just two days before, I'd been telling Sis Green how much I'd love to host a mini missionary before the end of my mission. God answers prayers:)

The next day, we drove down to Chicago to pick her up and she spent the next two days with us! And it was AMAZING! We joked that it was like getting a new pet......we had to pick up her bed (an air mattress from a member), go shopping for her food, and we teased her about getting a new leash:).....I know...we're mean;). Elli, our mini, was a lot of fun, and we spent most of our time together sharing laughs and finding the fun in our work. 

And we WORKED! We had more teaching appointments in those two days, than the entire first half of the week combined! Our first night, we went over to a less-active's home to drop off some frozen meals, spent some time with the family, and then returned to our car. Right before we were about to drive away, a man came walking down the street, and the conversation in the car went as follows: 

"Whoa....that's a HUGE wad of cash he's carrying..."

"Oh gosh....I think that other guy saw it..."

"Wait....is he stopping to talk to him??"

"Oh my gosh...are those....??"

And then our mini yells,"Oh my gosh! It's a DRUG DEAL!!!! Drive! Drive! Drive! Oh gosh....don't make eye contact! Oh gosh...I just made eye contact! AH! He saw me!! Guys!!"

Sis Green and I couldn't stop laughing!! Man.....it was by far one of the BEST moments of that exchange:) We were half a block down the street before she stopped gripping the back of my seat and ended up laughing along with us!! hahaha! 

Welcome to Chicago.......

The actual highlight of our week, though, was our lesson with the Villegas family. The father and his brother are members, though the wife isn't and we decided to stop by to get to know them better and invite them to church. Our initial visit went well and they invited us to come back the next day to do a "refreshers course" on the gospel for them since they readily admitted that they've drifted far off the path. 

When we came back the next day, we shared the Plan of Salvation with them, and they asked a lot of questions (including REALLY deep questions like "is there progression or repentance within the three kingdoms of glory?"). We did our best to give them answers, and ultimately the spirit took over and they began opening up to us about their desire to return, to find relief from guilt, shame, and the results of sin, and to find peace--true and lasting peace--in their lives. It was one of those moments where my heart just ached for them.

Here we were, sitting a smoke and weed-stenched room, across from two men with multiple piercings and gages and a woman stamped with tattoos, with beer and alcohol bottles on the floor, and yet I LOVED it. I loved them. The look in their eyes as they asked, "Can God really take away my sin?" was a look I will NEVER forget! Everything in me just wanted to take away that pain, and the love that came into my heart from Him, I wished more than anything that I could somehow convey to them. 

I took the opportunity to look straight back into their eyes, and promise them that God had His hand outstretched to them still. I promised them that they could become clean again, find peace of mind, and return to Him and be welcomed back into His arms. Ricardo, the brother, sat there with his brows furrowed, but after I'd finished testifying to him, he sat there for a few moments and then responded, "I believe you."

We got back to the car after that lesson and just looked at each other, smiling. That was one of those lessons where you know that the spirit was there, and that they felt it. I knew that they were touched. The Spirit had witnessed to them, and though perhaps small, they'd taken a step to come closer to Him. AHHH!!! This gospel is SO true.....and it is SO badly needed in the lives of EVERY ONE of God's children!! I was filled with gratitude that night as I knelt to pray, for the opportunity to bring His message of peace, hope, and love to the Villegas family and ultimately to every person I meet!! It's just like the white handbook reads, 

"How great is [our] call!" 

The rest of our week consisted of NOT staying up until 12am on New Years Eve (I second what a zone leader once told me: "late nights are for losers...at least on the mission"......yep, that's our excuse:), painting a 78 year old woman's nails for service, being out-numbered in a game of teenage mutant ninja turtles with three little boys in the ward and coming home with multiple bruises (it's ok though... it was totally worth it;), challenging another investigator to baptism and her ACCEPTING our invitation(!!!), and dropping more cookies off at fire departments where the guys ask, "Yea, can we get a stack of your cards? We'll give them out to the whole house!" 

Well, I guess:)

(And then they gave us a tour of the entire station.....and accepted the invitation to visit mormon.org.......but that's another story:)

All in all, it's been a good week! The Lord is definitely blessing us and we're seeing His hand in our lives daily! Thanks for your prayers and love! Till next week!!

Onward and upward,

Sister Anna Parker

(and here's pictures as promised....you're welcome:)

(some of these are old....but better late than never, right??)
Christmas packages waiting to be opened!!

Santa socks from the Green family:)
Christmas selfies.....don't ask me what my companion's doing:) lolz

caroling at the Kris Kringle market......ok at this point we're actually NOT singing,.......we're taking selfies, but it's whatevs:)
photo break from singing

Christmas with Sis Silski!! We put together mini cardboard chapels......that's how we Christmas;)

Our FOSTER KID!!!! (a.k.a. Elli, our mini missionary:)
Yep....we made it a special occasion and made crepes, bacon, and eggs.......#domesticpride