Today is ABSOLUTELY B E A U T I F U L. It is 55 degrees and SUNNY! Sister Seader and I are definitely going to take advantage of it and go for an HOUR RUN (YESSSSSSS) through the State Park that is near our apartment. YAY! Ah we are so excited we can hardly stand it. ha ha.
Alright, I have some apologizing to do.
First off, H A P P Y BE-LATED to Jacob Ronald Crowley and Megan Ann Marchbanks! Gosh, I totally forgot to mention that in last weeks email :/ BUT! I did send both of you letters, sooooo I hope that they found their way to you and on time. :)
Second off, C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S to the NEWLY-WEDS -----> Ashely & Ivan Brooks and Sierra & Taylor Bell!!! I saw a few pics on my feed on FB and you all looked STUNNING! I hope that the day was magical and perfect for both couples. Yay for weddings! Love you and congrats and best wishes for your futures together!!
Alright, nitty gritty time.
---> Saratoga Springs is home to the HORSE RACING. The horse track is basically our backyard. During race season there is about a 70,000+ influx of people. Missionaries say it's insane here during the summa.
---> Broadway Street reminds me of Lanaville street in Ceske Budejovice. There's lots of stores and people. It's awesome.
---> The Saratoga State Park is just down the road from us and they have naturaly spring water wells all over.
Sister Seader is AAHHHHHH-MAAZZZINNNNGGGG. She is 20 years old, from Poulsbo, Washington, 3 kids in her family -- 1 older sister who is married, 1 younger -- She LOVES TO RUN. She is a heaven sent. We are bound and determined to get back in shape together. She studied at BYU-I for a year and worked at a ZOO in Virginia before her mission. How cool is that? Everything about her is so tiny, petite and dainty even her mannerisms. During our first comp study together we started to sing the hymn and I swear I could only hear myself and I look up and she is basically whispering. haha! I told her that that was enough of that and she needed to sing louder. She plays the PIANO TOO! We decided that we are going to learn a duet together! We are so excited. It will be sweet. She has been serving here in Saratoga Springs for 4 1/2 months now. Oh and she also LOVES squirrels. Hahahah she gets the biggest kick out of them and the things they do. They are quite funny creatures.
I loveee love lovee Sister Seader. We have laughed so much together already and we are not even a week into the transfer. I have a feeling the next 5 weeks are going to be some good ones with her.
There is sooo much happening here! I walked into a gold mine. I feel so lucky. We have about 10 solid gators of which I have only met like half of ha but it's awesome. We are staying super busy, which is always a good good thing. The night I got to Toga we had a dinner appointment with the Stokes, a member family, and Bro Stokes had invited a friend over from work. His name is Joshua and he is aboutttt, oh I dunno, 30 ish. He's been going through a rough time lately and has been visiting with Brother Stokes at work about how he just needs and wants more positive influence in his life. Bro Stokes being the AMAZING MEMBER MISSIONARY that he is proceeded to tell him about the Gospel and how he had the perfect people for him to talk to... the missionaries. :)
We did some HTBT with Josh and let him just tell us about himself and vent about what he's dealing with right now. He is currently separated from his wife who has recently filed for divorce. He has two little girls too who are with the mom so that's been really hard on him. Because of everything going on he has acquired some anxiety and depression and can't find joy in life anymore. He talked a lot about how he can't make sense of things and has a hard time explaining what he is feeling and thinking and how nobody can understand. Oddly enough, I felt I had an instant connection with Josh. I told him a little bit about my life that past year and some of my own struggle with depression and anxiety. I then bore testimony of how there is one person who understands EVERYTHING --- All the why's, why not's, the could have been's, etc.--- who is God, our loving Heavenly Father and that He has a perfect knowledge and perfect plan for us. And that there is another person who also understands everything we feel and go through, which is our Savior Jesus Christ. I shared one my very favorite scriptures with him that I fall back on a lot in my own life.
Mosiah 4:9. It reads, "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."
I know with all my heart that both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know a whole lot more then we do. If we can but believe, trust and exercise our faith in Them, then I know that all of our hardships and trials will make sense to us one day, whether it be in this life or the next.
The lesson went really well and he warmed up to us a lot. We set up again forat the Stokes' again. Keep Josh in your prayers for us!
Understanding how God works in Mysterious Ways
So, the spiritual experience that I would like to share with ya'll this week actually goes back to our night at the Stokes'
Just as Joshua was getting ready to leave, we were inviting him to read the Book of Mormon and while he does so, pray to find answers to some of the "Why's" in his life right now.
He started to say how he has so much bearing/weighing him down right now that he just doesn't know if he can add one more thing to his to-do list. Meanwhile, Brother Stokes comes sprinting down the stairs
and says, "Josh, you may see reading and praying as another burden weighing you down, BUT really those are the things that are going to bear you up and help balance out your life in a way that will help you deal with everything you are going through in a much better and peaceful way."
Brother Stokes is the Man.
It's so true! I have such a strong testimony of Brother Stokes wisdom. And now his wisdom is going to tie in to God's mysterious works....
All the while we were teaching Joshua, he kept repeating the phrase, "God works in mysterious ways." I finished in the Book of Mormon this past week and have since started in the Doctrine and covenants. I was reading in Section 5. In section 5 the Lord is calling Joseph Smith and Martin Harries to repentance particularly because of the loss of the 116 pages. in verses 24 it reads,
"Behold, I saw unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see."
After reading this I kept hearing Joshua in my head, "God works in mysterious ways." Something that I desire is to know and recognize when God is working in mysterious ways in my own life and in our work as missionaries. My question then was, "Well, how am I going to do that?" The verse above answers it perfectly. If we bow down to Him, and humble ourselves in mighty prayer and faith with real intent then Heavenly Father will reveal to us through the Holy Ghost and personal revelelation His mysterious and marvelous works. It's a beautiful thing really.
I would like to invite all of YOU to ponderize D&Cand strive to see how Heavenly Father is mysteriously working in your own lives. I'll be expecting reports back next week. :)
I know that God lives. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be cleansed from all sin. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, I love him so much! I know that He loves all of us perfectly and knows exactly how to comfort us when we are down. Turn to Him and see the miracle of the Atonement work in your life.
Mam Vas Radi Mockrat!!! Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers. I feel them on a daily basis. You all are my heroes!
Have a fantastic week! :)
I met Ocho's long lost brother LEO this past week. Oh my goodness I could not stop smiling the
rest of the evening. Such a tender mercy!! Give the Och a big hug for me! :)