Hello Friends and Family!
What a blessing it was to be able to Skype home for Christmas. Christmas in England was wonderful and I am sad it is over. The Spirit of Christmas lives on though. I hope we can all can find ways to keep the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts and let it reflect in our actions as we look forward to 2014. Can you believe 2013 is coming to a close? So many wonderful things happened this year and I know wonderful things will continue next year.
In one of my last emails I talked about how we should expect miracles. Well, I am still on a miracle kick and I had a really inspiring personal study this week about miracles. First things first, our mission has a goal each year for the number of baptism we hope to reach. I don't know how close we will get this year since the totals aren't in yet. Setting goals for the number of baptisms we want is great but we, or at least I, need to be careful with having the right reasons to baptize. I was feeling like I was letting the mission down since we did not have a baptism as we had hoped we would this month nor do we have anyone dated for baptism yet. During personal study the other day, a thought came to my head in the form of a scripture. It is the scripture that talks about Captain Moroni and his army and how they made a banner that listed the reasons why they were fighting in war. First on that list is God. Then the Spirit brought back to my remembrance something I have already learned from reading this scripture and asked me ''what is your motivation?'' In other words, I had to ask myself what it was that motivates me to be a missionary and share the gospel. Do I have the right motivation to find, teach, and baptize? Am I doing it for God and because I love Him or am I doing it because I want the honor of being a good missionary in the sight of others? Recently, it might have been the latter. After this inspiration, however, I desire to change my attitude. I want to find, teach , and baptize because I love my Heavenly Father and I want my works to glorify Him and I want others to find eternal joy. I have thought about C Minor and how I have sort of given up hope for him to be baptized while I am here in Liverpool. I read in Mormon 9 which talks about how God is a God of miracles. He always has been and He always will be. Just because C Minor isn't going to be baptized this month doesn't mean Heavenly Father's miracles and blessings for him will cease. Wanting to learn a little bit more about miracles, I looked up its definition in the Bible Dictionary. It states:
''Miracles were and are a response to faith.'' ''They were never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith.''
I have realized that I stopped praying specifically for C Minor and I need to continue to pray earnestly and then act in order for God to work miracles in his behalf. It is great to expect miracles but we cannot forget how they come about. I know that C Minor's soul is precious in the sight of God and I want him to be baptized because it will lead him to the eternal blessing of Eternal life. Just because 2013 has a mission baptismal goal we may not accomplish does not mean I should not expect that in 2014 the work will stop. There is still time for the Lord to work mighty miracles. There is no deadline to His work. He can and will make things happen when we do our part.
On that note, I was able to see many miracles this week. The majority of them being that Sister Loh and I were lead to those that have been prepared at this moment to learn about the gospel. The miracle I would like to share with you is how I finally talked to this man I saw a few weeks ago on a bus. I wanted to talk to him the first time I saw him, but never had the chance. I spotted him on the bus we were on and we ended up getting off the same stop. He has an adorable 3 year old daughter and this second time I saw him, he was with his daughter again. I was nervous to talk to him but I felt that Heavenly Father had placed him in our path again for a reason. We started talking to him and he was super nice. After introducing who we were he went on to tell us about how he had this spiritual awakening about a year or two ago that changed his life. As soon as he shared that I knew that he was prepared and could feel in my heart that he is ready for baptism. I had this same impression when we met our now recent convert, Kirk. We had a wonderful conversation about the gospel and taught him on the spot while we were waiting for our next bus. Right after we closed a prayer with him, the next bus we were all waiting for came. The timing of everything could not have been more perfect. We invited him to church and he said he would come. He did not come to church but we called him last night and asked if we could meet with him and share more. He agreed and told us he told his girlfriend about what we shared with him and she is interested as well! Oh boy! I am so excited to see what will come from this :)
Ok, wait. I have one more miracle I want to share. There were many non-members at church yesterday because there were baptisms this weekend. One of them looked oddly familiar but not because I had met him at the baptism. Turns out I met him on the street while on exchange with Sister Hansen ( a sister in my district). We had been handing out pass along cards with the church address on them as we walked to an appointment. He told Sister Hansen that we had invited him to church and so he came. Woah there. Never underestimate the power of inviting people to church. One day they might just show up out of the blue!
It always seems like a flood of miracles always happen at the end of a transfer. I have been in Liverpool forever and have felt a desire to leave but now I realize how much I love this area because of the members and those we get to teach. Dilemma at its finest.
Yesterday at church, one of the teachers asked some really great questions that I want all of you to ask yourself as well as we reflect the upcoming new year:
What blessings did you receive this year?
What blessings did you miss out on?
What blessings do you look forward to having in 2014?
What ever blessings you hope to receive in 2014 can be yours if you make it your focus. If there were some blessings we missed out on, we have the opportunity to receive them if it is our desire. May 2014 be a year full of blessings and miracles.
Wo ai ni men,
Boxing day (Dec 26th) with the Jones
Christmas Eve at the Romeros by their Christmas tree
Monkey Bread Yum!