La plage de Toro in Paita,
It's all starting to wind down. But the only thing that's really winding down is my time left in this beautiful country, with these incredible people, speaking this charming language and doing the best work on this planet. Other than that, our lessons, meal appointments, talks, and busyness are all increasing. We seriously are so crazy busy it's unreal.
On Wednesday I will meet our new mission president, President Granger, for the first time. We are so very excited to meet him and see what plans he has in store for this work and this mission. And then, 2 minutes after I meet him, I'll be doing my final, end-of-mission interview with him. On Thursday we have our Mission Conference with both zones and oh la laaaa i cannot wait! We haven't had a zone conference since April. Our spirits are hungry. I'll bear my "final" testimony in front of all the missionaries. Hahah we'll see, it might just be crying at a pulpit. No, not really, but wowzers this week is going to be extremely emotional and it's only the beginning.
First things first, we had the most incredible miracle. Well, in fact its a miracle that happened a few months ago, but we just found out about it the other night. We were in the middle of a lesson with our MIRACLE family that we found doing porte-à-porte. It was the couple, two of their sons, a girlfriend, us and Bishop. Powerful. And it was the wildest lesson, because we covered essentially every principe because they just kept asking questions about tithing and eternal families and baptism and the Holy Ghost and the priesthood and oh so many things. And the Spirit was there and the atmosphere was open and safe and loving.
Basically, we were in the middle of a really good lesson. At one point, Bishop testified of miracles, specifically in response to sincere, righteous prayers. We felt prompted to let the Spirit hang in the air after his testimony and me and Sr Giles both stayed silent. No one spoke. Quietly, I asked if anyone had a thought or a question. And the 25-yr old son sat up and said he had something to say "not a question, but an experience really, maybe a testimony if I could say that. I know that miracles really happen..." He then said that he took the lessons at one point with the missionaries, separately from his parents, but then decided that without the support of his parents he wouldn't be able to continue. He stopped seeing the missionaries for a while. Then, one night, he prayed to Heavenly Father and said, "If this is really the path you want me to take, you have to help me. My parents have to be a part of this too. They need to accept this Gospel as well." A week later, we showed up at their house. We began to talk to his father. His father invited us back. At the next lesson, both his parents met with us. Now, 3 months later, his parents think about baptism every single day and are changing thier lives to be worthy to make this covenant with the Lord.
As he shared this story during the lesson, me and Sr Giles were both just sitting there, listening intently to find out when he had a miracle. The last thought in our minds was that we were involved in any way. When he said, "A week later, les sœurs showed up at our house..." my mouth literally fell open. We had no idea. The Lord is the perfect author of our lives. This family has been perfectly prepared. Every time I think about them I am overcome with gratitude that the Lord saw us as worthy enough servants to be the missionaries that found them and are now teaching them. That is a privilege that is greater than this life: it extends eternally. Being a missionary is a blessing greater than I could ever imagine, but being someone's missionary is something even more humbling and incredible and sacred. These people are a part of my eternity.
Last week, we weren't able to see my favorit mami because of her docteur's visits, so this week we were especially excited for our lesson with her. On Wedesday we taught her. And she loved it. She asked us if we could come back on Thursday and Friday too. Of course, we said YES. And thus we got to teach her three days in a row and she could feel the light and the peace of the Gospel returning in her life with more force at each lesson. It's not us who bring that light and peace. It's the truth and the Spirit. But we preach the truth and do our best to live worthy and teach worthy of the Spirit, and the Lord does the rest. It's marvelous.
Remember that Futunian family we sung with. I'll be honest. At first, I thought they would be short-time amis- I didn't think their heart was in it. But as always, it is not our job to judge who is ready or not. And happily, I was wrong. They now read the Book of Mormon together. They are feeling the Spirit and recognizing it. The husband has begun to stop fighting and swearing of his own iniative (aka the Spirit is beginning to touch and change his heart). They are now extremely in progress.
The miracles are real. If there are no miracles in your life, it's not the Lord's fault. He never lacks on His half of the bargain. If there are no miracles, then we need to evaluate our OWN faith and obedience. With our faith (the power) and obedience (the condition), miracles begin to fill our lives.
I love this work with all that I am. It is not just missionary work, it is the work of salvation. And how grateful I am that that work continues on for our entire life, because it is the most rewarding work in this world.
I love you dearly.
Be happy and be faithful.