Best Week EVER!

Hi everyone!!

This week was FANTASTIC!!! First of all, I found out that my investigator from Strasburg (the woman who felt the spirit super strong at church and who has a pet pig) was baptized!! Her name is Trish and she has the most amazing faith of anyone I know!

On Wednesday and Thursday, Elder Soares of the Seventy came and spoke to our mission! Basically he called us to repentance for a few hours haha. Sister Wick and I were sitting right in the front row, so it was pretty intense! He told us, “You are good. You are very good. But you can do much better.” I was just like okay I will repent of everything!! And oh my goodness ever since he left, it’s been CRAZY.

As soon as the last meeting with Elder Soares was over, I pulled out my white handbook (the little manual of all the missionary rules) and a colored pencil and started highlighting everything I’m not being exactly obedient to. Then in the car as we drove back to our area, Sister Wick and I talked about everything that stood out to us from the meetings. The biggest things we thought of were working hard at night, talking to everyone, and achieving our goals.

Our first test was Thursday evening. Up to this point in the transfer, our nights hadn’t been very effective. Mostly we would try dropping by the same less-active members night after night, but they would either never be home or always be busy. Not a very good use of time, but we thought it was weird to tract at night. By the time we got to go work after the meeting on Thursday, it was 7pm, so we still had two hours and we didn’t have any lessons planned. We tried to visit some people, but they weren’t home. So per Elder Soares’ advice, we knocked on their neighbors’ doors and said, “Hi, do you know your neighbors over here? For some reason they are not home; do you know if they’re okay or if they need any help? No? Well we actually were going to share an amazing message about Jesus Christ and how faith in Him helps us through our trials. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” And no one thought we were weird!! (Or at least they didn’t show it:D) We got to give someone a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it!

That same night, we were driving to a different area at about 8:30pm when we passed a little side street. I was driving, and for some reason I felt drawn to it. I kept driving past a couple more streets, but the feeling just stayed, so I blurted out, “What was that street??” Sister Wick was so confused. I turned the car around and turned onto the little street and started driving down it. When I reached the other end, I parked. Sister Wick said, “You better figure out why we’re here!” and I was like, “I have no idea!” and she was like, “PRAY!!” so I prayed. And after I prayed, the only thing I could think of to do was to get out and walk down the street, so I told Sister Wick and she said, “Good. During the prayer I just kept hearing ‘get out and walk’ over and over!” So we got out and walked. I just knew somehow which side of the street to go down. And a few houses down, Sister Wick pointed at a house and was like, “look a cat!” and she likes cats so she went to go pet it. On the porch, we looked at each other and then Sister Wick rang the doorbell real quick. And this guy answered and we started talking to him and he shared some of his beliefs and we gave him a Book of Mormon and committed him to read a chapter that applied to him and he’s going to do it and we’re seeing him again this week!!!!!!! It was so cool!!!!!! We got back in the car afterward and said a thank you prayer:) It was especially amazing because I hadn’t felt the Spirit guiding me as much lately and had kind of been struggling with it. I think that I was able to have this experience because I tried so hard to immediately follow what Elder Soares had taught:) So follow the brethren!!

The next day was incredible. Elder Soares had said that we needed to talk to everyone (we had only been talking to almost everyone) and we needed to achieve the goals we set each day for how many lessons, new investigators, etc. So we went out to work and just talked to every single person we saw! And it was like everyone was interested!!! There is this family who is moving and we’re probably going to come help them, there’s this Russian gentleman who we’re going to get a Russian Book of Mormon for, it was just amazing!

Just so you know, I’m really awkward at talking to people. Like super awkward. Haha there was a lady getting home from somewhere and it was my turn to talk, so I said, “Hey, we’re going around asking people about their relationship with Jesus Christ, so uh.. what is..uh your relationship. With Jesus Christ.” And she started talking to us and we’re going by next Friday! What? But seriously I’m so awkward. In the Doctrine and Covenants, God promises us that if we open our mouths, they will be filled. I open my mouth and weird stuff comes out. So I think for me, the promise means that when I open my mouth, it’s filled with the Spirit and not with eloquent words. Haha:)

We were heading back to our car to go to dinner when Sister Wick spotted some teenagers at a park a ways away. So we went over there and started talking to them! We had an amazing discussion with three of them. At one point, one of the guys said, “So I hear Mormons have a lot of rules.” We waited. Then he said, “What if you already broke them?” We were able to teach him about the Atonement and how Christ heals us so we can be clean. He didn’t have a religious background, so he was just soaking it all in, and I could see how much he wanted to be free of guilt and shame for mistakes he had made. We taught him about baptism and about how it makes us clean. We’re meeting with him this week! And there was a girl there who was so hungry to know about The Book of Mormon. She’s studied the Bible a lot, and she was so focused on us as we explained about how we have another testament of Jesus Christ. When we gave her a Book of Mormon, she started reading it right then and there! And later I remembered that for the meeting with Elder Soares, we had been asked to come fasting. And I had felt impressed to fast for the youth in the area.

That evening, it was 7:30> and we hadn’t reached all of our goals. We still had a goal of teaching a little missionary lesson to an active member and of teaching a new investigator WITH a member present. (The one we had planned for the day had fallen through.) The only thing we could think of to do was to go to a member family who had told us about their friend who might be interested. Our plan was to teach the family and then go with them to their friend and teach them. Sounds like kind of a stretch, right? Well we wanted to reach our goals. Elder Soares had told us that we had to. So before we went and knocked on the members’ door, we prayed for a miracle. Then we went and knocked. They were home, so we told them our plan and asked if they were okay with doing that.. and they said no. My heart dropped. But they said we could teach them a member lesson. So went in and started to teach them, but I had no idea how we were going to reach our goal. As we were teaching them, their daughter walked in with two college friends. They said hi and went downstairs, and then the son who had been listening to our lesson said, “Well there go your non-members.” Sister Wick and I felt severely chastised by this 14-year-old boy. After we finished the lesson, the son said, “I’m going to go get my sister’s friends so you can teach them.” And he marched downstairs! Sister Wick and I were kind of dumbfounded. And we were even more so when he marched back up with one of the friends!! So we taught this guy about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, gave him a copy, and invited him to read it. He said he would! It was the coolest thing ever!! He’s not a new investigator because he actually lives kind of far away, but it was still a miracle:)

Oh my goodness it’s just been an incredible week. There have been so many other little miracles all over the place that I don’t have time to tell you about all of them. But I KNOW that the Lord is directing His work. I know that Heavenly Father is there. He is truly our Father and He is aware of and loves each one of His children. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lived and died and lives again so that someday, we can go home to our Father. I know that the gospel of Christ is on the earth today, restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. God still speaks through prophets. He still answers prayers.

I am so grateful to be able to share this message, my testimony, with the people here! And I hope you guys take every opportunity to share it as well!

I love you all:)

Sister Stratford

P.S. This Wednesday is transfers, and I’m staying! Sister Wick is leaving me (sad!) but my new companion, Sister Smithson, was in my district when I was in Strasburg and I love her so much!!


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