I'm going to start this week with one of my absolute favorite moments from my mission! Brother Eugene Taylor WENT THROUGH THE TEMPLE!!! I can't even explain to you how hard I prayed for that to happen! With his health, I was praying that he would have the strength to be able to make it that morning. Sister McLaren and I got a ride down with one of the families in the ward and the moment we pulled into the parking lot, i knew that everything was going to be ok. It was such a special day. Eugene was baptized 30-40 years ago and went inactive shortly after his wife died 30 years ago. Then about 2 years ago, a wonderful sister missionary knocked on his door. He yelled at her because he thought she was a JW and she gave him a little sass because that's how she is and he decided he liked her and let her in. She came out for Christmas and for the session so I was able to meet her and spend some time with her. She said something good can come from my sass, cause it happened for her. :) WAHOO!!! Eugene's session was PACKED!! There are only 42 seats in the room and there were about 50 people there. I got to go through for Eugene's grandmother and what a special experience that was!:) After the session we went into the sealing room and waited for him. We were waiting for a while and Bishop leaned over and said "they just walked in. The spirits are here." We got to watch as Eugene was sealed to his wife, his parents, and his grandparents and Bishop was right! The spirits were there. My favorite part was watching Eugene's face as he was sealed to his wife. I've never seen a man so happy before. Except now he keeps talking about how he's ready to "go home" now. I'm not ready for him to do that. I was talking to Tairsa (the sister who found him after 30 years) about how I hope that I get to see someone that I teach go through the temple and she told me "Just treasure this moment, because you never know what will happen to the people you teach. I never thought Eugene would come back to church and I certainly never thought I'd be sitting in the temple for his endowment." I loved that! You never know what kind of seeds you plant and you never know when it's going to blossom.
HAPPY NEW YEARS!!! Holidays don't exist as a missionary except Christmas... haha (they almost seem like a waste of time now.. sad.. I know) --Brother Hernandez who was a less active member of the ward was hospitalized a couple days before New Years. His heart stopped and his brain function declined, so for New Years Eve Sister McLaren and I went and sat with Sister Hernandez at the hospital. She's been having such a hard time because he's non responsive. Since only 2 people are allowed in to see him at a time, she told us to just go back and see him. It was amazing because we were just talking to him. He's not awake and not responsive but we just talked to him and I pulled out my Book of Mormon and read Alma 40:23 to him and his eyes started to flutter and he started moving his arm. Then we sang the last two verses to "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and he just kept moving and as we said a prayer he had his hands all the way over his head. He knew we were there:) That was a sweet tender mercy.
One of the many things that I've learned as a missionary is that there has never been anything that has made me as happy as sharing the gospel. BUT there has also never been anything that has broken my heart so much. Before my mission, I did as many things as I could to keep myself from being vulnerable so that I wouldn't get hurt. I wanted to avoid as much pain as possible and kept my heart pretty reserved except on a few occasions. I learned pretty quickly, once getting into the mission field that that wasn't going to give me any success. I had to open my heart WIDE OPEN so that I could love these people the way our Heavenly Father loves these people, which is GREAT! I've never felt so much love for people I didn't know. As a missionary, the only way to touch these people is to give your love so freely, the way the Savior did (I'm still working on having more Christ-like love).. Having that kind of love for people is a spectacular thing. I've made friends that I'm going to have eternally. The only downfall is that it makes it very easy to have my heart broken. And when it hurts it REALLY HURTS!!:( If you couldn't already tell, i may have had a heart breaking story this week. Long, sad story short: we went and saw this lady, she was looking for religion, we taught her, she was acting super interested, set up a return appointment on her own, gave us her number and asked us to text her good passages from the Book of Mormon. The next day when we texted her passages, she tells us to never contact her again, delete her info, etc (dang agency). Talk about tearing someone's heart out, ripping it to pieces, throwing it on the ground, and stomping on it. I didn't get it.. And if I'm being honest, I may have had a Laman and Lemuel moment.. I was so frustrated that Sister McLaren and I have been working so hard and we've been working so well together, I've been exactly obedient and it just felt like NOTHING was working out! Satan started working his magic and was making me feel like what I'd done wasn't enough. Even though I'd done my best, it wasn't enough. That's a very discouraging feeling that doesn't just happen on a mission. What more could I be doing? Where was I falling short? One of the greatest things I learned from that was "Ok... so maybe there IS more that could've been done. But I did my best, and just because there's more to be done, doesn't mean that what we've done isn't enough." Sometimes life can be overwhelming and we feel like our efforts aren't enough but your efforts are enough. ALWAYS! If you rely on the Lord and do your best, your efforts will always be enough. It also taught me that miracles don't cease to be miracles if the next day it doesn't work out the way you planned. She was still a miracle (again... dang agency)
Last story which is tied for #1 on my funniest and on my least favorite mission moments lists. Friday we went in for our state inspection on the mom-mobile. All was well and we were cleared to go. Not even 2 hours later, the charging system (battery) light comes on on the dashboard. We called Elder Clement, the elder in the mission office in charge of cars, and told him about it. By this time, it was too late to take it back into the shop and he wanted us to take it to the dealership to be checked out because of the warrantee and it was closed for the night. Saturday was full of places to be and people to see so we couldn't take it in then so he told us to wait it out and try monday, it should be ok until then. (This is when being an hour and a half away from the mission office isn't fun...) Sunday, we drive it to church and it starts freaking out on the way there but we made it safely! Along the way, there were probably 2 or 3 other lights that came on... After church we decide that we're going to go see some people but we texted the Zone Leaders to make sure they had jumper cables just in case it died while we were somewhere. We make it about 4 miles down the road and it starts freaking out again so we pull off onto a side street and sit for a minute. Then the Car dies..... It dies... So we text the Elders so that they knew and could come help us. Now... A good missionary would use this as a missionary opportunity right? Of course. HAHA guess what street we were on? The street we'd tracted the day before and had MANY people who were NOT interested. It was also the street where sister McLaren and I slipped on black ice, I hyper-extended my knee, and she hit her tail bone pretty hard. In 24 hours, I've never hated one street so much. The elders came and jump started us and we didn't feel safe going to see anyone so we decided to follow them to the church. Right as we're about to turn into the church parking lot, 3 other lights including the brake light came on (our dashboard looked like a Christmas tree) and the mom-mobile broke down in the middle of the parking lot. WOW! That was such a miracle that it waited until we were safely in the parking lot and it taught me that the Lord doesn't just care about all these hundreds of thousands of people here in western NY but he cares about ME too! I sometimes forget that with how focused I am on the rest of His children but it was a good reminder. I also think He was trying to teach me humility because I Really didn't want to ask for help haha The Lord works in mysterious ways Hahaha And it's a good story that i can laugh about now.
Hope y'all have a cheerful week! LOVE YOU
Love Sister Amanda Nield