Monday, November 4, 2013

I Stand All Amazed

Pumpkin carving on P-Day
Sister Patterson carved Jesus

First of all, can you say "World Series Champs?!" Go Red Sox! :) That's pretty incredible that it's the first time they won the World Series at home since 1938. Only a couple of days after the game, they had Red Sox World Series Champions merchandise out at stores.
Well this week we decided to drop a couple of people since they weren't progressing, including Brother Jack. We established our purpose to them, and that we are still here if they want us to teach them, but we haven't heard back. We are running low on investigators, which is a little nerve-racking, but we are still trying to do the best we can. We went through our whole ward list with the Elders to see who is active, who is less active, and who does not want to be contacted. We have a good start to continue planning visits and drop-by's to reactivate members in our ward area.
I'm still working on finding the balance of working hard, but not working too hard, and being smart about CF. I've had some experiences on the mission where my health was at risk, and I have tried my best to stay away from certain situations, but some have come up not under my control. The Lord has extended his merciful hand and protection during these times.

On Wednesday, I came down with a sore throat and fatigue that lasted a couple of days, so Sister Patterson and I were able to rest it out on Halloween. I was tested for strep to be safe but I believe I was just fighting something off. We also came across a stressful situation on Saturday, where one member's home who we visited for the first time smelled strongly of smoke, and told us of things she was offended about when we visited her. I decided I could not be there for the dinner appointment she scheduled, but didn't know what to say about the smoke. We left a message that we would be on splits with members, and then tried to find a couple of members to go on splits with, since the Sister Missionaries who we originally planned to go with said they couldn't. One was able to go with Sister Patterson since she was Visiting Teaching companions with the member we were visiting. However, it was difficult to find another because taking a member at the last minute because it would be most people's dinner time/it would take time away from family time. We then got a phone call from another member, who said she got a call from "a member who was offended" that we had to go on splits. We then explained to her the situation with my Cystic Fibrosis and how I couldn't be there because the smoke was overwhelming. She understood, then apologized about the time Sister Gledhill and I went over to her house about a month ago--the foster children she was taking care of had MRSA--a skin-based staph infection, which at the time I told her was one of the most dangerous staph infections CF Patients could catch. She later looked up the info and saw how dangerous it was.  She also explained how their foster girls have been gone for a couple of weeks and she completely disinfected the whole house. It was a sad situation. Looking back on that situation, it was definitely a miracle that I did not catch MRSA, as it is very contagious. I know the Lord was watching out for me at the time.
Amidst all the complicated drama, Sister Patterson gave the perfect quote about the whole situation "I wish that in these times, when you're afraid to say something because they might get offended that Jesus could just come in and tell them, and they couldn't get offended...because He's Jesus!" We both got a good laugh. :)
Anyways, the Sister from our ward saved the day, as she called the other member and explained about my CF and why we had to go on splits, and then we got a phone call from the Sister who was going to have us over. She apologized and said she was not offended and was very nice about it, and explained that her neighbors are very heavy smokers, so it drifts over. The appointment ended up being dropped, and I was relieved!
#lifeasacfer #itwastoomuchdrama #CysterRoy
However, we had an experience that made up for that first half of the day of desperate phone calls and texts sent out. That night, we dropped by a former Investigator, Suzanne's home to check up on her.  She is very old and frail, and a little bit crazy, but enjoys company. We planned to sing hymns to her as we normally do, but right as we got to the door, two men were there visiting, wearing dress shirts and pants.
Then Suzanne called us in. So there was Sister Patterson and I--two Mormon Missionaries--and two fellow strangers from another church, all to visit Suzanne to see how she was doing. The two men asked what church we were from, and we told them what church we were from and that our congregation met out in another town. They nodded, but kept asking more about our beliefs. It turns out they were from a local 7th Evangelical church, and as the night progressed, we helped answer their question of who Joseph Smith was by teaching the fundamentals of the Restoration. We also answered more questions they had about where we go after this life and what our purpose is. They asked how we know our truths, and they were surprised when I explained how we ask our Heavenly Father in prayer, and receive answers ourselves through the feelings that come through the Spirit. We also taught about how although the Bible is true in every aspect, it can be interpreted in so many ways, and how we have the Book of Mormon to support everything that is in the Bible as it contains the fullness of the Gospel, bearing another witness Heavenly Father shows his love to everyone in the world and that Jesus is the Christ. I wish I could explain the strong feeling of the spirit that was there in Suzanne's home as Sister Patterson and I bore our testimonies on the Book of Mormon.
We felt bad for originally coming to see Suzanne as we four missionaries were discussing religious topics as she had no clue what was going on. We finally sang I Stand all Amazed before we left. We gave the other missionaries a Book of Mormon, a few pamphlets, and our contact info.
Last but not least, I have a strong testimony of the power that can come through music. It's definitely something I want to look into more and develop more after the mission because it can uplift, heal, comfort, and provide assurance. After we completed a Book of Mormon scripture study with Jose last night, we began making plans for his upcoming baptism. His date got moved to November 23rd (right after possible transfers...) and we gave him a start for his program. Once we mentioned that he would need to choose opening and closing hymns and a possible musical number, he kept trying to pick out the songs his grandmother would sing to him, but couldn't remember them since she would sing them in Spanish. Jose's mom then started to hum a tune of one that was always sung, which happened to be I Stand all Amazed. 
Sister Patterson offered for us to sing it, so we opened her tiny hymn book and began singing a capella. As the strong, powerful witness of the words filled the home, we looked up after singing the first verse. Jose and his mom's eyes were in tears, so we continued. We all knew that Jose's grandma was there. We've heard stories of her astounding faith and example. We could feel how proud she was for Jose's example as he leads his family back on the right course. After we finished singing, we sat in silence to absorb how we all felt. When we then spoke with them about coming back and becoming active again, and setting the temple as a goal, Sister Patterson pointed out that she thought she could hear Jose's sister Adrianna, singing the hymn from her bedroom, which meant a lot since we've had a difficult time having her participate in the discussions and lessons with us.
It was one incredible visit at their home. After we left, Jose sent a very sweet text, which included, "I am really thankful you taught my family the scriptures and you guys are the reason we are all back together. Thanks." I'll admit that last night was by far one of the sweetest memories from my mission so far. I sure hope I will be able to attend his baptism and I am astounded by the progress he is making and how much of an example he is to those around him, especially his family, only at age 11.
 I am thankful for the ways my Heavenly Father is watching out for me. I am amazed my health was not affected by being exposed to MRSA, as it is one of the deadly infections for CF patients, and I know that I am watched out for each day as long as I do my best.  I want to express how grateful I am for the Savior's merciful hand in my life. His Atonement is not a story we hear--it was the most powerful act of love that has ever been done. His Atoning sacrifice allows us all to continually come closer to Him, no matter our shortcomings, mistakes, or regrets. I know I am in His hands.

Much love,
Sister Roy

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