Wow...the atonement is real....................not only does it swallow up our spiritual and inner pains, but our physical ones as well.
Last p day I was really smart and played soccer on cement, bare footed...after about 2 minutes I thought, "hmmm my feet are a little toasty" so I stepped aside. Well I looked at my feet to find huge blood blisters on both feet, the hot Aussie sun on the cement toasted my feet right up haha, it seriously killed! I literally could like...not even walk; well I could but it was sooo painful. The worst part was, was that we have a car...but this week it had to go into the shops so we would be biking all week...Trying to be tough I tired to just keep going, but I just wanted to cry! Well the next morning during personal study I just thought, seriously Heavenly Father...how am I going to do this? I can hardly walk?!?! Well I went into our bedroom, knelt next to my bed and just prayed, and cried, and poured out my heart to Heavenly Father, telling him how badly I wanted to work, but how I was so unsure of how I could do it with my feet. Well I promised God i would talk with everyone he placed in my path and I would try my absolute hardest if he could just heal my feet enough to do so...and then continued on with my personal study...The time came for us to leave the home and start work and I literally FELT THE ATONEMENT TAKING PLACE as I found it sooooo much easier to walk! We got on our bikes and began to work, and I hardly even remembered my feet. That day was incredibly hot, and we had a TON of biking to do, but BOY DID THE MIRACLES SHOWER DOWN OR WHAT?!
It started when we had a lesson with a less active older lady, and her non member husband. They are welsh, super nice, and the woman has the sweetest, most tender testimony, but her stubborn husband (although he has been taught by missionaries heaps) is unwilling to 'change'. He said to us as we shared our message, "this just really isn't for me"- it was at this point the I could not restrain the spirit, and my mouth was opened as I told him, "Brother Smith, you may not think this is for you; but God knows this is for you and you cannot procrastinate, life is too fragile!" We then shared with him and he needs to prepare now to meet God, and the gospel is the way to prepare. He was left with not much to say. As the spirit moves us to be bold with those we teach, it also moves our mouths to express the deep and endless love that our Father in Heaven has for them! I'm so grateful for the spirit, for the spirit being the teacher, and also for a companion who is so in tune with the spirit- it truly is the spirit who does the converting! Something I was reminded of this week, is that I will not convert 1 person while on my mission...not 1!!!! It is our Heavenly Father who will do 100% of it. As a "teacher" (missionary, parent, Sunday school teacher, friend to someone who is struggling etc.) we each have the responsibility of allowing those we "teach" to feel the spirit, so the Lord can convert them and touch their hearts. That is all we need to do. It will never ever ever be the words we say that change ones heart, that's why the spirit is the most important part. Anyways after this powerful lesson with the Smith family we continued on and God placed some very, very, very special people in our path, who were ready for the restored gospel. But one of the smallest yet biggest tender mercies came, as we were biking up a huge hill in the heat, when the elders called. The zone leaders said they had a referral for us- it was a woman in her 20's who they had taught and committed to be baptised and SHE IS FROM SOUTH KOREA! At this point in had to stop my bike, and I just prayed and cried and prayed and cried as I thanked Heavenly Father for blessing me way more than I deserved that day! My companion talked to them while I just sat there and let my tears and sweat mix knowing that the atonement is real, and that prayers are heard! I love this work. I love pain- both physical and spiritual and I love knowing that we are never left comfortless. (regarding my feet...soooo much better now so no worries, but it was such a special experience to have and to learn from)
This week was also incredible because our investigating FAMILY of 7 came to church and absolutely loved it! I was trying my best to have faith that they would come, but was a little unsure....But MIRACLES HAPPEN! The kids who have been investigating and coming to church for years will be getting baptised in just 2 weeks, and we will continue working with the parents. They have had a colourful past but are getting things sorted. They will need to be married first and so we have a little road to travel with them, but I know that it will be so worth it in the end. Please keep the parents in your prayers, their names are Justin and Stacey (one is from New Zealand and the other is from Australia)- and they are just beautiful people, I'm so excited for them! Along with that miracle, we also saw 4 of the less actives we have been teaching, come to church as well. Seeing less actives come back is one of the sweetest thing, because it is not a number we report...which makes it even more meaningful. But it was just a wonderful Sunday yesterday and I was totally overcome with the spirit as we sand the hymn "I Stand all Amazed". I love of the last verse, "I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt, such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget? No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet. Oh it is wonderful that he should care for me enough to die for me! oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me". The Lord is definitely working within the hearts of his children and I feel so grateful to be able to see it.
Lastly, 2 more of our investigators Akram (50 yr old female) and Yashar (28 yr. male) committed to baptism- they are from Iran and just incredible! We have been teaching them for 2-3 weeks now and they have become our family. They used to be Muslim, but now love Jesus Christ as our Savior, not just a prophet. They have had some incredible experiences that have brought them to this truth, but i want to share one quick one with you. Th 15 yr old boy (Aresh- he will most likely be baptised as well, but he just wasn't at the lesson when we committed Akram and Yashar) was reading the BOM and asking God if it was true...he told us how he wasn't getting an answer, but we told him not to give up! Well the next day Aresh was in a TERRIBLE bike crash and his face was DESTROYED! But as we talked with him afterward, he told us how when he crashed 3 things came to his mind...his family, friends, AND THE BOOK OF MORMON! And for him it was at the point that he knew it was true. He told us, "I don't know why God had to answer my prayer that way, but i know it's true". haha- this family is amazing! They truly feel like family to me, and I am so excited for them to work towards the 14 of December, and then prepare to enter the temple. But if they want to be sealed in the temple, the dad Muhamed needs to be baptised, but he isn't make much progress now, please also keep him in your prayers so their family can enter together, to be sealed for time and all eternity! They truly are such humble people, who are so 'READY' and I feel so blessed to know them. Miracles are raining over here in Kwinana, and I wish I had time to tell you about all of them! My companion is amazing, so humble and so in tune with the spirit and I have learned so much from her- I feel so blessed to be in the position I am right now:) Ahhh I wish I had more time, but I have to get going! I love you guys. thank you for all your prayers, packages, letters, and emails, you are all wayyyyy to good to me:)