Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter #59: "I am done TRYING, I can do this!"

The past couple weeks I have noticed that the Lord is giving me the opportunity to really apply all that I have been learning over the course of my mission. He is truly testing my patience, my humility, my charity, and my ability to be selfless. Over the course of my mission, I feel like I have really learned to love people. Now He is giving me the opportunity to find out if I really can love everyone, specifically the branch members and leaders that I am serving around. During my mission, I have become more selfless; now He is testing me to see if I really do care less about myself and more about others. We are working so hard to strengthen our trust and relationship with the branch members and hopefully we will start seeing positive changes very soon. If anything, the Lord has taught me a LOT recently about who I want (and don't want) to be when I return home from my mission. 

This last week, we had a fantastic MLC. I LOVED that the focus was on faith. It was exactly what we needed, as faith is something we have really been focusing on in our own area. I loved how you pointed out that our obedience needs to be infused with faith if we want to see miracles. And this week, we have seen SO many miracles! For the first time all transfer, we have been able to fill up a progress record with the names of solid investigators that we are working with. God is truly blessing us for the hard work that we've put in this transfer.

We had been trying to get in contact all week with an investigator that the YSA south sisters passed to us because they found out that he actually lived in our area. We talked to him a few times during the week but he wasn't ever able to meet up until Saturday night at 8:00, when we FINALLY got the opportunity to see him. Tom is INCREDIBLE. He told us all about the changes he'd made in his life, especially over the last 2 weeks since meeting the sisters...changes we hadn't even known about, since no one could get in contact with him! He had given up alcohol and weed, had broken off ties with bad friends, gotten a new job, and had even broken off an engagement. He then told us the one thing he was still struggling with was quitting smoking. He had gotten himself down to about 3 cigarettes a day and would be doing good each day until he'd go to work and would get stressed out and smell other peoples' cigarette smoke. In our companionship we have been focusing on remembering and applying past trainings we've received, so we decided to implement a training we received back in April. We decided to teach the Restoration and especially focus on how he can pray in faith like Joseph Smith and receive the power of God to break this addiction. After we shared the First Vision with him, the spirit was so powerful. We asked him if he had the faith like Joseph Smith to be able to receive the help he needed from God to stop smoking. He didn't even have to think twice about it before saying, "Yes, I KNOW that He can help me do this." We then asked him to pray and ask for the strength to quit smoking. He did so, and after his powerful prayer we asked him, "Tom, will you stop smoking?" He looked into our eyes and said, "I will. I will. I will! I am done TRYING, I can do this! I will never smoke again!" The spirit was so powerful. He then told us that he was all ready for his baptism the next day and that he even had family in town to see him get baptized. We knew the sisters had set him for baptism on the 8th, but he hadn't shown up for church on Sunday so we started to explain to him that he would need to wait to be baptized. Then, he surprised us by telling us that he HAD attended church with his grandparents...he had just attended an earlier ward! We excitedly told him that all he needed was to bring a towel for the next day, rushed home, and called up our ward mission leader. Tom was baptized yesterday! Miracle? Most definitely! We are so excited for this new life he's started and for the strength and testimony he will bring to his new ward! (He ended up being baptized into the family ward because that's where his grandparents are. It was a complicated situation...but most importantly, he got baptized!)

Also cool, I got to go on an exchange with Sister Gordon this week! It was fun to be with her again and to see how we both have changed and grown. 

Well, I can't believe time is going so fast... Austin's been on his mission for a YEAR now and is going to be training, I feel like I was just reading the email about him receiving his call! My goodness. We have Christmas conference this week and transfers next week. Things are going WAY too quickly for my liking.

Ooh! Before I forget, Sister Clayton and I are really excited for a cool opportunity that we are going to have later on this week! Some of you may have heard of the "Book of Mormon Musical." It's a production that is not in any way sponsored by or affiliated with the Church. Anyways, it is on tour and it's playing in Fort Lauderdale. Every performance is sold-out. What does that sound like to missionaries? A fantastic opportunity to talk to people about the REAL Book of Mormon and to hand out a whole lot of cards! :) For every performance, we have missionaries stationed outside the theater to contact people going in and out of the theater. The missionaries involved have been those who are actually serving in the Ft. Laud area, but Sis Clayton and I found out and reallllly wanted to go. So we asked and got permission and are going to be up there later this week! Woohoo!!

Love you all, enjoy the Christmas CDs for me,
Sister Dougal

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