Monday, July 29, 2013

Now Is a Time For Faith, Not Fear

There are those weeks where all you can think is, "Why me." Where you need to draw upon strength from Heaven to be able to keep pushing along.
We started out the week by biking from Pass Christian to Bay Saint Louis to pick up our car. It had already been a rough morning - people slamming doors on us, getting yelled at, and placing no Books of Mormon. Then, came the miserable bike ride. It was about 102 degrees outside, 80% humidity, with hot and heavy winds pushing us back every time we pedaled. We had to bike through sand and grass because the sidewalks were in such disrepair and the roads were too dangerous to bike on. It was a struggle just to travel 10 feet. And we were expected to bike 20 miles. In these awful, wretched conditions. My companion kept periodically yelling out, "THIS SUCKS." Yes, yes it did. I began to question why we were doing this. Why we kept going. All I wanted to do was lay down and cry. Then, salvation came. 
Our wonderful Elders happened to be driving by. They pulled over, grabbed the bike rack, and gave us a ride to get our car. It was one of those moments where you could feel the Lord watching over you and providing in a moment of crisis. 
As the week went on, the adventures and hardships continued. On Wednesday, our Sister Training Leaders came by to do exchanges. So, Sister Jones went with Sister Jenkins and I went with Sister Tomisin. Sister Tomisin and I had the "opportunity" to tract next to the beach. Which means - every single house is raised on stilts. Which means stairs. Every. Single. House. It was miserable. I'm not going to lie. Utterly miserable. Once again, the Lord blessed us through His infinite mercy. We came up to this adorable home and knocked on the door.
There, a young girl answered, turned around and yelled, "Daddy! The missionaries are heeere!!!" Sister Tomisin and I were freaking out. How did this girl know we were missionaries?? We were let in and we started to celebrate - they're golden! They know we're missionaries! They let us in their home! Maybe we'll find an investigator today!!! Then... the little girl's father turned the corner. It was Brother Ladner - the ward clerk. Yes, we tracted into a member. Yet, it was such a blessing - he gave us something cool to drink and we got a break from all the stairs.
Later that night, once the Sister Training Leaders left, Sister Jones and I returned to our normal companionship and headed home. But. We forgot that we had loaned a key to the Sister Training Leaders... And they had already begun to head over to Ocean Springs an hour ago. After fretting for awhile, trying to find a key to no avail, we finally phoned the Sister Training Leaders and they had to turn around to bring us the key. At first, it wasn't fun. Sister Jones and I had to wait on the front porch to wait. After awhile of waiting, we began to just talk. I got to know Sister Jones in a way that I never had before. I felt like I was in a Southern vignette - relaxing on the front porch, listening to the frogs croak, watching the light bugs dance, talking with a friend, and feeling the heat soak into my skin. By the time the Sister Training Leaders returned, I was reluctant to go back into the apartment!
The next day brought more trials. If you recall, we were finally let into a woman's home because I played piano - Mimi. Throughout the 2 weeks, we had been intensely teaching her and even challenged her to be baptized! We had been so ecstatic about her progression! Yet, that morning, we received the most heart-breaking call. Mimi informed us that her husband no longer wanted her investigating the church and wanted her to stop seeing us immediately. I was heart broken. I could feel godly sorrow upon my shoulders. All Sister Jones and I could do was sit and cry over this wonderful woman. Never before had I felt this kind of heart break - it was completely unique and so difficult to work through.
Yet, we had to do what we had to do. We set out for the day to tract. And the Lord was certainly watching over us. We were able to meet an amazing woman, Muriel. Muriel had already read the Book of Mormon - her only issue was the darkened skin of the Laminates being called a "curse". She let us into her home and we sat down and talked to her for a good long time. Part way through the lesson, I started to freak out. She had so many issues with the church and blacks, I didn't know what to do. Finally, a voice came into my head saying, "Let me do my work." Instantly, I felt peace. I knew that the Lord had this. 
The Lord continued to bless us through the week - at the Pioneer Day picnic, John (someone we tracted into awhile ago) showed up with his family and we were able to get in and teach him later that day with the Turfitts (the ward mission leader and his adorable wife). There's no way to describe my excitement and love for John and his lovely wife, Erin. They've been reading the Book of Mormon and seem to believe almost all we say. We're hoping they'll keep listening!
Then, on Sunday, another lady, Ashley, we tracted into randomly showed up to church!! We were able to give her a Book of Mormon and set up a lesson with her! The amazing thing with Ashley is that when we met her, she stayed in the background cleaning while we talked to her sister. When we talked to Ashley, she informed us that there was something special she felt about us and wanted to turn her life around. What a blessing!!!
Yes, the work is hard. Yes, sometimes, we begin to doubt why we're doing this. Yet, Sister Jones and I were able to press onward, and let ourselves work. We adopted a new motto - "Now is a time for faith, not fear." It is truly a time to put all our faith into the Lord. We cannot doubt, we cannot step down, we cannot fear. In this day and age, everyone needs faith. 

All my love,

Sister Sarah Michéle Durrant

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