This week we saw a lot of very special miracles, and were again driven to our knees often as well as offerings of gratitude fasts, for all the Heavenly Father is allowing us to experience! I truly feel so blessed to be a missionary in Western Australia at this time:)
This week we had a really special experience with a man from New Zealand, in his 50's, named Nara...this man is incredible! We had set up an appointment with him and when we arrived with the member (who was perfect for him), Nara came walking out to meet us with the biggest smile on his face! We asked "Nara, what's the massive smile all about?". Well we all sat down at the sweet little table he had prepared (which had his BOM waiting on;)) and he said "I did what you asked...I prayed". He then went on to tell us, that our loving Heavenly Father spoke to him in very clear words (in the Maori language) and gave him his answer...he said not only in the words he heard, did he receive his answer...but in a vision...and he KNOWS THIS IS TRUE! He told us that he knows this is the path that God needs him on, and that this is what his family needs! My companion and I were just squeezing each other's hands under the table, trying to contain our excitement, but at the same time almost in tears that his answer had come so clearly, and in a special way! Something my companion and I have been doing is so boldly telling people when we first meet them, that we ARE representatives of Jesus Christ and that the message we have is VERY important...then at the end of the lesson, with full confidence (in Heavenly Father) we promise that if they read, and pray with sincerity...they can receive an answer "tonight" if the Book of Mormon is true!!! We have found that when we do this will full faith in the Lord that he WILL reveal the truth of it unto them, then they DO get their answers, just as Nigel did! Who would want to trust two 20 yr old girls on a promise like that?!?!? IT's not us taking any part in these miracles, it's purely the Lord and he has simple just set us apart to do this work, which is why people often trust us and take our "challenge"...ahhhhhhh NARA IS AMAZING! guarantee he will be a stake president one day! and I can't wait to tell you about the visions he has, they are totally gospel and temple centered and he will have a better understanding of them one day...but they are sweet!!! Ahhh but my favorite thing about this, is his conversion did not take place as we were sitting there talking...but rather when he was on his own reading his scriptures and praying!!! I'm so grateful for that! Our lesson ended as we all kneeled under the stars, and Nara offered the sweetest prayer! His relationship with God is just beautiful, and I was so grateful to listen to his conversation with our heavenly father. We ended by doing the "HANGI" with Nara...it was way special! Google it and what the meaning is...it's something really special to them that is sweet to see when our investigators and members connect like none other!
Another miracle as with Shakia (investigator) and Costner (less active)! A young couple (Samoan and Maori) who are 18 and 19 yr. old, with a one yr. old daughter. Well they have been progressing like crazy and loving reading the book of Mormon. Well this week we went over with this sweet member who is incredible and has the most beautiful testimony with a lot of experience behind it! She is a mom who has been through quite a few challenges, including several marriages- so when we told her we would be teaching the couple about the Law of Chastity, she already started crying and was so excited (this is when we knew it was going to be REALLY good;)) Well we were a bit nervous about teaching this to an unmarried couple who already has a child, but we knew that we wouldn't be fulfilling our purpose if we didn't invite them to change and repent...so we taught it...oh my gosh...most beautiful lesson ever! So sacred, sister bailey and I couldn't scream this time;) It was taught what the Law of Chastity is, and how we live it...but the WHY part was just so special! The Savior was and is the reason for this special commandment, and by the end as we were asking questions to check for their understanding and feelings about it, they were able to express that this is something they feel is very important, and that it will help strengthen their relationship, as well as build their trust in one another...they committed to live it!!! can you believe that?!?! As hard as it may be, they committed...why? Because of the love the have for their Savior and Heavenly Father. The commandments are a beautiful thing that do not bind us down, but set us free when we live them! They are sacred, special, and beautiful, and I was so humbled to have been apart of such a spiritual lesson!
Side note: Shakia's brother Quentin (16 yr. old, investigator, big rugby player) was able to go to EFY this past week (even though he isn't a member) and is just doing amazing! He is loving the gospel, and is best mates with like all the Young men, it's amazing! We sat down with his parents (who we are slowly working our way into with;)) and they said that they have noticed a change in their kids for the better, and the love that they are making good friends with other kids who have great standards!!! ahhhhhh miracles are pourin' and the parents are slowly coming around (the dad has been reading the BOM!!!)
Sam was baptised on Saturday which was really sweet as well! She had the biggest smile on her face before, as she stood in the water, and as she was confirmed a member of Jesus Christ's Church, and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. She bore testimony at her baptism, and it was...words can't describe it...but it was a pure testimony. She testified of Jesus Christ, his atonement, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints...she was able to bear this kind of a pure testimony, because she reads the BOM everyday and prays daily! That's what does it! She is so strong, and it's just been the coolest to see her grow so much! She came to a lesson with us to teach some other investigators and bore testimony how it has brought her more happiness than she ever thought possible! how cool is that, a non member (waiting to be baptized) sharing her fervent testimony in lessons with other of God's children! I'm so grateful for Sam, her example, and diligent willingness to do whatever God needs her to! She accepted all the commandments so easily because she says, "I've seen God bless me so far, so I know he will keep doing it, aka keep keeping the commandments"...amazing example to me, she is! :)
Sister Bailey and I have just LOVED being able to read the Book Of Mormon with investigators in between appointments as follow up visits! We have them all kneel and pray with us, then open a random scripture and we all begin to read! WITHOUT FAIL the spirit has taught us the coolest lessons, every single time!!! (even when they open to a war chapter...the Lord teaches us miraculous things, that always seem to be tailored so well to each of our needs!) Yesterday as we did it with 2 of our friends, by the end they were just lit up. One said, "I'm so excited to read it now, and look for how I can relate to it!" :) haha perfect hey!? In that lesson we also talked about the importance of sincere prayer, and how when solid scripture study and sincere prayer work together, we draw near unto God and can have a great relationship with him... Well the closing prayer to that lesson was offered by the less active,who openly and freely talked with our Heavenly Father and said the sweetest things ever- one of my favourite things he said "I'm grateful that the sisters could come so we could get closer to God"...ahhhh nothing is better than hearing that...hearing that they are feeling the spirit enough to bring them closer to God!
It's been around 110 degrees, and we're loving our bikes! We have great tan lines, sunburns, and it's the greatest to feel that heat when we are fasting...literally the greatest! I love pain! I love the atonement and love bearing testimony of it...this week after teaching it to our sweet friend Rochelle (who is preparing to be baptized on Feb 22), we asked her how she felt after hearing about what Christ had done for her...she said "I want to change. I want to be better"...:) The atonement allows us to do so! I love my Savior, I love this work. God lives, and so does his son Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon IS true, and contains all what we need TODAY! It was written for us to read TODAY, at the exact time we flip to those pages...ahhhh we are so blessed! Now let us wear those pages out, and not let the Book of Mormon become of book full of words, but a guide to our Heavenly Father! My testimony is strengthened more and more each week, in the power within the Book of Mormon, I LOVE IT!!! and I love you guys too!!! Now a big fat shout out to the best dad ever! love you and happy 60th birthday! kidding dad;) happy 52nd xoxoxox (I'm sending you a letter dad) muah!