When I was with Hermana Jane, I contacted a lady, named Dawn, who seemed interested at first about what we had to say. I began to talk to her as Hermana Jane talked to her friend. While introducing The Book of Mormon to her she began to yell at me, telling me that it wasn't the bible. As I explained what it was and that they went hand in hand, I kept my calm and gave her a copy for her to find out for herself. I told her that I would return in a few days and follow up on her reading.
I kept my promise. A few days later I followed up. During this discussion she was a little less aggressive. She said it wasn't horrible, but it still wasn't the bible. I told her to keep reading and we'd follow up soon.
We hadn't seen her in quite a while, but this Wednesday presented another opportunity to talk to her about The Book of Mormon again. I was slightly nervous to approach her this time, but as I did Heavenly Father set the mood and allowed the Spirit to be there.
As I started the conversation with a genuine, "Hello, Dawn!" the first words out of her mouth were, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry for that day that I yelled at you." I told her not to worry about it, it was in the past, and that all was forgiven. She denied my forgiveness and kept saying that it was "such a horrible thing to do" and "it's not ok".
It began raining, and luckily I had my umbrella. I pulled it out to share with her as we stood on the sidewalk. She said she had read "the book" and that she liked it. She loves to learn about God and how people can be better. She has seen a lot of bad things in the world, but that she was glad that "there are people like us."
I could tell she wanted to continue our discussion, but we were going to be late for an appointment, so I invited her to walk with us. On the way, her attitude had completely changed. She treated me with such respect and reverence...just like a queen.
When we got to our appointment, we stopped in front of a nursing home. She asked us why we were here. We had planned to visit an elderly member who couldn't come to church anymore. The fact that we spent our time serving touched her. She sheepishly asked if she could come with us. She said it's what she really loves to do and that the man that she is living with doesn't let her because she's not home all the time. She seemed determined to make it one of her goals. We accepted! She eagerly gave us her number and made us call her right then to make sure she had ours. She asked us to save the number for her because she didn't know how, but that she could call us when needed.
As we said goodbye, she again apologized for being so rude to me the first time. For me, everything was forgiven. I gently grabbed her arm, looked her straight in the eyes and told her that I had forgiven her, God had forgiven her and now she needed to forgive herself. Tears welled up in her eyes. I gave her a hug and told her that I loved her.
It was amazing. I felt the love of the Savior right then and it stayed with me for the rest of the day as we spent our hours serving those around us. It was truly incredible. We'll be calling her later this week to have her come with us.
One of the greatest days on my mission. I was on an exchange with my best friend, Hermana Weinstock again. I love her so much. Heavenly Father blessed us both and made it possible for us to be together for her last exchange.
It was very special experience to be together again, but we also had special experiences in every lesson. I could feel God's power working through both of us. And just like old times, we worked HARD.
We came home both spiritually exhausted and physically exhausted from the events of the day but SO happy. Sleeping didn't come easy.....of course ;) We're best friends, who sleeps when two best friends are together? ;)
As we were talking she expressed her concerns about going home this transfer. She began to cry. It has been really hard for her to express her feelings openly with her companion. She said that she thinks "this exchange was more for her so that she could talk with her best friend about her feelings". I am so grateful for that day. I love her so much. Really there aren't words for how much I love her. She is my BEST friend. Heavenly Father knew that we needed each other in Princeton, and also that we would need each other here in the Jersey City Heights. My heart was so filled with gratitude and love the whole time we were together. I can't wait to see her again after the mission!
|Me and Hermana Weistock|
Friday Morning. We were DEAD tired, but still so happy that we were together.
Saturday morning we were on our way to the temple! We had reactivated one of the members in our ward and had helped him prepare to get his endowments. We boarded the bus with a few of the members and travelled all the way to Manhattan, New York (only about a 40 minute bus ride from where we live). Even though I had felt God's love for me all week long, I had prayed to be able to feel God's love again as I went into the temple. As I walked into the dressing room to get ready, I felt it. I felt it so powerfully that I began to cry. I know God loves me. It is undeniable.
|Sister Duke, Me, Enrique Chavez at the Manhattan Temple|
Later on in the day, we had a bit of a struggle. It was the day before Nicolas' baptism. The night of his interview. 20 minutes before the lesson....he texts us. "Hey Sisters, I don't think I want to be baptized tomorrow." My heart was broken. We had watched him come so far. We had a lesson with him instead of his interview. He says that he can't feel God's love. He is genuinely afraid of God. We believe he has felt God's love, but has a hard time recognizing it. We are still trying to help him get baptized, and have set him on date again for this next Sunday.
I know this gospel blesses families. I know that it blesses lives. I know this not only because I have seen it in every single one of the lives I have taught, but in my own life as well. I know that the closer we come to God, the happier we are.
I love you all and will talk to you next week!