Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014 Blue Springs, Missouri

Dear Family, 

I almost feel like I should have written about my MIRACLE BOMB week before reading all the emails because now I feel like my mind is all over the place. But I hope I can adequately express how truly blessed Sister Kang and I have been this week. I think it was seriously one of the best weeks of my mission. First of all because we could truly see the hand of the Lord in our work everyday and second because we could truly account for our incredible week and we blew our goals out of the water for the week. We had so many people placed in our path this week it was incredible. 

So, this week was our no car week. Basically just hit the pavement and asked the members for rides this week, and man did the members step up to help us out, it was incredible. On Tuesday we had exchanges. I was companions with Sister White in Blue Springs first area (my area), which was awesome because we served around each other in Kearney for 3 months, so it was like old times. We had all of these great plans lined up for the next day, and all of our appointments fell through, so we spent the morning re-planning our day and it was truly amazing to see how the Lord guided us throughout the day. We had originally planned to go to farther away areas, but since our plans fell through and so did our rides we decided to work around the area closest to our house. We ended up finding two new investigators and it was incredible how sister White and I were so unified in our doorstep teaching. The Spirit was truly manifest in our teaching. the first new investigator we found his name is C. He is in is 20's, just got laid off his construction job and has a 5 month old son and his girl-friend recently moved out. As we taught him the restoration you could see in his face how it clicked. He said he feels like he really connected with hearing about the great apostasy. He said he had never been taught about it, but how it makes so much sense. We set up a return appointment and now he is on baptismal date for October 18th, wohoo! In the evening Sister White and I tried to contact a former and she was very stand-offish and told us she only visits with people by appointment if they call first. I asked her for her number and she said I couldn't have it. However, as soon as I mentioned Sister Anderson (my MTC companion who opened the area for blue springs and first met this lady) she completely opened up, gave us her number and told us to call and she would love to visit with us, haha! It was nuts. Thank-goodness for sister Anderson and the MTC ;)

We also went next door to try a former name Y, a 19 year old guy named W answered the door. We told him who we were and asked him if he had ever heard of the Book of Mormon. He hadn't and so we explained it to him and taught him about Joseph Smith's experience. He asked us where our church was and said he wanted to come. Unfortunately, the time our church meeting was he had to work, but he said he is going to ask his boss for a sunday off to come check it out. We set up a return appointment. When we went back to teach him we found a team up last minute. Sister Frazier came with us, and as we walked up to the house a lady was walking out the door, it was Y the former we had originally wanted to contact when we found W. We had the most incredible discussion with her on her doorstep. She had faced a lot of abuse as a child and it just so happened that Sister Frazier could connect with similar experiences in her own life. The spirit truly guided us in the things that we shared with her, and we did our best to try and bring peace to her mind and help her see the kind of amazing daughter of God she has become despite the challenges and struggles she has gone through in her life. Each of us shed some tears and we asked if we could come back and share more. It was truly incredible how we had gone there with Sister Frazier hoping to teach W, but then Y was placed in our path and Sister Frazier was perfect for Y and we were able to share a little bit about God's love and plan for us. Seriously, best discussion ever and I just felt so much empathy and love for Y, a woman I didn't even know!! It was awesome! Sister Frazier invited Y to church because everything that we had talked about Sister Frazier said she was actually speaking on in sacrament meeting. 

On Saturday we were finally able to get in the F's home. They are Polynesian, but don't speak the language. A, the mom, is investigating the church and her husband L has been less active since he was 9 so he doesn't know anything. They have three kids from age 9-3. L doesn't have any faith and he is still trying to come to a decision of if God is real. At this point he is agnostic, believes in a higher power to an extent, but not sure if its God or some energy in the universe. He is a really smart and deep thinking guy. I love talking with him. We invited them to come to church and A and the kids came for the first time ever in the whole month and a half they have been learning from the sisters, but L stayed home. Sunday was CRAZY! So as soon as we walked in the building Sister Sika grabbed us and told us to come with her to the kitchen because there was a lady that walked into the church. It turned out that this lady, in her 30's, has been homeless for the last 3 days. She was in a really bad situation, drugs, abuse, etc. and decided to leave, but had nowhere to go. She walked all over blue springs last night and finally found our church building. She pushed the button pleading in her heart that the door would open, so she could finally find a safe place to crash and sleep. Well, the door opened. E said she just stood there completely shocked for a moment that the door automatically opened after having pushed the handi-capp button, and she came inside crying and crashed on the couch and went to sleep. When the Bishop from the other ward came to the building he was the first one here and he said he came through the same door that E (the homeless lady) come through, but it was locked and he had to use his key to unlock the door to get in the building. He said there is no way that door opened unless the Lord opened it for her, because he said that door was locked, he even double checked to make sure they were talking about the same door.

The auxiliary leaders found her some food and tried to make her feel welcome as they tried to figure out how they could help her. She stayed at church the full three hours and our Relief Society President and the Bishop were able to find out how they could help her. Sister Kang and I just listened to what she has gone through over the last few years and she has hit as rock bottom as you can get. But as we talked with her, and as everyone testified of the miracle and hand of God that was working in her life to have brought her here and allowed her to come into the church building, it was amazing to know that god was placing her on the right path back towards him and towards greater happiness and peace for her in her life. By the end of church she really had a completely different countenance than she had had at the very beginning of the day. The sacrament meeting talks were  perfect for her. The focus seemed to be overcoming adversity and trials in our life through the savior. In sunday school we watched finding faith in Christ. It was amazing. All the members were so welcoming to her. Even though she was dressed in jeans an old shirt and had a wool coat. Short hair, pink in the front and blond. Half of it was shaved off and she had a rag twisted around her hair. All the members reached out to her and tried to help her feel loved, even though they didn't know her and they didn't know her situation or background. It was incredible. I really hope that everything works out for E and that she will be able to remember the feelings she had as she was at church and that no matter where she is or where she goes that she will come back to the gospel. 

Well, I feel like I haven't adequately described the feelings and the spirit that was truly evident in each of these miracles this week, but it was amazing. I wish I could just send you a video from my brain to be able to help you truly experience these moments. Each week seems to have more and more miracles, even though this last week seemed to be a little more challenging than the last, but it just goes to show that no matter how easy or hard the week seems to be, if we are still working with all our might the Lord will bless us. It just seems that the blessings at this time or almost immediate rather than later down the road. Sister Kang and I are truly blessed and this weekend we are excited for K's baptism. We moved it up since her back and neck surgery is going to be the following week. She is so prepared. She has been reading the Book of Mormon for 2 years and has been taking the discussions for 4 months. She feels completely ready and excited and as outlined in Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 she has truly met all of those qualifications for baptism. She is amazing! I feel blessed to have been able to really be aware to how much the Lord was in every phase of the work this week and that Sister Kang and I were spiritually in tune enough to have followed the Spirit as it guided us in word and deed.

I hope things get better back home. I hope that everyone turns to the savior at this time for strength, comfort and peace. Find solace in knowing that God has a plan for everything and in a sense even a back-up plan to bless us. When we think we are going the right way and then we find we seem to have taken a wrong turn, Heavenly Father will put another turn on our path to take us in the right direction back towards the happiness, peace and blessings He wants to give us. I know that for sure. Sometimes that turn back in the right direction can seem really long and we have to go slow, but eventually we will get there. We just need to take one step at a time and allow our Savior to lead us. Everything has a purpose and every experience is something that we can learn from, no matter what. I love you all!

Sister Luening

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