Monday, July 22, 2013

Infestation of the Elder Kittens

This week has been a bit of a whirl wind. There hasn't been a day that's gone by when it hasn't rained. Yet, it rains differently here than it does in the West. Without warning, it'll hit. Dark clouds will roll in and thunder shakes the houses. The streets flood within seconds and people duck for cover. The rain drops come down huge and hard - it sounds like hail and it stings your back.
I do love the rain here though. It makes you want to curl up with a good book and a cat on your lap. Alas, we must continue to press forward and work hard. No breaks for us.
Our car had to be taken in Wednesday because the Zone Leaders, who had the car before us, left a giant scratch on the side. We've been on bikes ever since. Yes, bikes. To most, that doesn't sound too bad. Try biking our area. Everyday, we need to bike 10 miles, over bridges, hills, and dirt roads just to get to our area to prosylete. Then, once we bike to our area, we need to bike another 4 miles to get to a street where we haven't tracted yet. That's fourteen miles just getting there. On bikes. My knees aches, my thighs sting, and my back is sore. But it was sooo worth it.
We met this wonderful lady, Margie, on one of our biking excursions. She had been apart of the Church a long time ago, but went inactive. She was full of heartache and sorrow - life had gotten her down. I can't even begin to elaborate on what she's gone through without tearing up. She had recently lost her 3rd husband and her only daughter. Sister Jones and I sat down with her and just listened. Once Margie brought up these devestating deaths, an overwhelming feeling came over me. I knew, without a doubt in my heart, that her late husbands and daughter was there in that room. They were there, waiting for her. Cheering for her. Urging her. Chills ran down my spine and I began to cry. These people loved Margie so much and I could feel it. The room was saturated with these departed people. Sadly, Margie didn't recognize it. She said she'd consider returning to church, yet she wasn't sure if it was right for her. My heart ached when I heard that. All I wanted in that moment was for Margie to come back. All I wanted was for her to recognize that her husband and daughter were in that room. I cannot accurately express what I felt in that moment, but I have never felt a greater love towards someone, nor had I ever felt so much joy and love from those who walked before me.
Along with the biking, we had the change to visit Mimi again. If you recall, she is a sweet musician who finally let us in last week. Sister Jones and I were able to set up a return appointment and talk to her once more the other day. We walked in, and she sat us down. Mimi then went along and taught herself the Plan of Happiness from the pamphlet that we had given her previously. Sister Jones and I basically listened to what she read and bore testimony. Then, we turned to her and asked her if she believed what we were teaching was true. "Yes," she said. My heart began to pound. Then, we asked her the load-bearing question.
"Will you be baptized by the proper authority?"
"Of course," Mimi replied. Sister Jones and I sat there. Completely awe-struck. We didn't know how to reply. My fingers were tingling and I had to restrain myself from cheering. Then, Mimi's eyes grew huge. "Oh. Wait. You mean into your church? I'm not sure if I'm ready for that."
Despair. Complete and utter despair. We then got into a huge conversation about why she wouldn't be ready. In the end, we found out that her husband was totally opposed to our church and that she would lose her only source of income if she joined our church. Yet, Sister Jones and I are determined to work with Mimi and help her understand how greatly her life will be blessed if she takes that leap of faith. Mimi knows this is true. She believes in everything we've said. She just needs that courage now. The kind of courage one can only get if they lean on the Lord and ask for his help. Luckily, tomorrow, we have scheduled a church tour with her and we are praying with all our might that this might help urge her along.
But, the Lord knows what Mimi needs and we will rely on Him.
One thing I love about Mimi - she does "prayer talk". It's a huge thing here in the South. I began our closing prayer with her and all of a sudden, she utters a "Yes Lord." I didn't know what to do. I had to bite my tounge to keep from laughing. Then, as I went on, I heard a "PRAISE". My sides were hurting from trying to not laugh. By the end of my prayer, I had heard about 3 "Yes Lord"s, 2 "Thank you Baby Jesus"s 1 "Praise" and 5 "That's it"s. I love the South.
To liften our spirits, we went tracting a bit. Somehow, someone let us into their home. John. What an incredible man. He has 2 adorable children and the sweetest wife. He was willing to listen to what we had to say and seemed interested in learning more. John is a Catholic and really knows his stuff. Sister Jones and I were able to place a Book of Mormon and came back the next day. He had read in 3rd Nephi 11 (which I highly recommend) and came armed with questions. The whole time, we were answering questions left and right - some we need to go look up on our own and find out. John seems so good and he really has an open heart. I know that he has been prepared by the Lord and is just waiting for that "Aha" moment. I hope that we can get it to him. 
In other news, our Elders have picked up a particularly... interesting habit. About two weeks ago, Sister Jones and I were in the car with the other 4 elders in the back. All of a sudden, we hear a single meow. I didn't know what to think at first. So we just kept going. Soon enough, the meowing grew louder and more frequenct. Then, I felt something on my back. I turned around and there were all four of our elders - scratching my back, licking their hands - hissing and meowing.
Later that night, we got a phone call from one of them. Since we were in the middle of planning, we didn't get a chance to answer it and sent it straight to voicemail. They left a voice message and the whole message was them meowing "Jingle Bells" "Hark, Ye Herald Angels Sing" and "Call Me Maybe". My word. This meowing has now persisted for over 2 weeks. 2 weeks. I feel like Old McDonald "A meow here, a meow there, everywhere a meow meow meow." Elders.
Well, time is running short. I just want you all to know that the Lord loves each of you. He has a hand in your life and is watching over and protecting you. Everyday, I see my Lord in what I do. I thank him for my blessings and I witness miracles every moment. Find those tender mercies and I promise that life won't seem so hard.

All my love,

Sister Sarah Michéle Durrant

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