Monday, August 12, 2013

Hallelujah Jesus!

This week has just been a whirlwind. I cannot even begin to tell you all the crazy experiences I've had! First off, Mississippi is nuts. My companion and I just enjoy people watching because it's just endless entertainment. Who needs television when you have the Mississippians to watch?
Our week started out pretty slow - not many people would listen to us (as per usual) and we were working hard to get our numbers up a bit. This week, we tracted door to door for almost 9 hours. It was great fun though!
Wednesday, after District Development Meeting, we all went to do a service project at Velia's home. Velia is definitely unique. She served in the military for years and you can tell just by her rough demeanour. She's very distracted and it's difficult to get a word in. She isn't an investigator or anything - just someone that we were recommended to go help out. But why did she need help, you may ask? Well. About a year ago, her home burnt down (for the second time, mind you) and she's been living on the empty lot ever since. During that time, she's accumilated a lot of junk. The city has been getting angry with her, telling her to clear it up or else the lot would be condemned. It got down to the wire this week and she was told that if she didn't clean it up by Friday, the lot would be destroyed. In come the missionaires to the rescue!
When we first drove up though, my jaw dropped. I couldn't even imagine something like this to my wildest imagination. Velia is a hard-core hoarder. There was mountains of just garbage everywhere. There were certain places that we could walk and there had to be a path way just so we could get through. It was horrendous. I was cringing. Sister Jones was cringing. All of the Elders had wide eyes and we were terrified of what we were about to do. She immediately set us to work clearing out a shed.
Basically, we would pull trash out of the shed and move it to another pile. Then we'd move that pile to another pile. Then that pile to ANOTHER pile. Whenever we'd try to trash something, Velia would run up and say, "Oh. I need that! Keep that!" Who needs construction fencing? Velia. Who needs an old, wheel-less baby carriage? Velia.
On the bright side, I finally got to meet oak-tree cockroaches and venomous snakes! Oak-tree cockroaches are the creepiest things I've ever seen. They are about the size of a wallet and will fly at you if you aggravate them. On top of that, they make a really forebodding ticking noise whenever you approach them. There were hundred of them in that shed. I'll never be the same. Ever. After moving around trash for four hours, we all went to a member's house and just collapsed there.
Yet, the next day was probably the best day I've had in a long time. About 3 weeks ago, Sister Jones and I tracted into a wonderful lady, Sue. She had just moved here from New York with her young son to start over and to get away from her horrid ex-husband. She came here with absolutely nothing to start her life completely over. I hold so much admiration for her courage and strength to be able to do so. We were finally able to meet with her on Thursday and teach her a lesson.
As the lesson went on, I could see tears in her eyes. I told her that Heavenly Father was mindful of her and was helping her find that light at the end of the tunnel. I could tell that something was moving in her and I could feel the Spirit choking the room - I had chills down my spine and my feet were tingling. Once we finished the Restoration lesson, I turned to her and asked her if she wanted to be baptized into our church by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of God.
Sue looked up and right away, without hesitation, said, "Yes!" We set her baptisimal date for three weeks from now and she expressed that she wanted us to come at least twice a week! My heart soared right then and there. She was so ready. All she wanted was to hear the restored gospel and find that hope at the end of her long tunnel. Nothing could stop my smiling that day - we finally had someone who wanted to be baptized! I love Sue so much and her strength. I've never seen someone weather the storms that life brings with as much finess as she had done. I could feel Heavenly Father's joy when she agreed to baptism - another one of his daughters was coming home.
For Friday, we had an appointment set up with John and Erin. At last minute, though, Erin gave us a call and asked if we would like to come to dinner with her and her in-laws. Of couse, we said yes - it showed that they were beginning to trust us a little bit more! Yet, once we got there, we found out that John wasn't coming and that his mother wanted to talk to us. Sister Jones and I looked at each other with eyes wide from fear - John had told us how his mother knew the bible even more than he did (which was a ton)!
His mother trapped us in the back and started attacking our religion. She told us how our church was wrong because Joseph Smith came out of no where and was a nobody who couldn't receive revelation from God. When we asked her why couldn't he have received revelation, she said that no one can receive revelation except for a prophet! Then she went on about how the Catholic church was the only true church because it had been around since the time of Jesus and how it must be right because of that. So, then, we asked her how she knew that the Bible was true if she couldn't receive personal revelation. She said, "Well, I know that the Bible is true because the Catholic church is true. If you believe in the Catholic church, you believe in the Bible!"
We then showed her James 1:5, "If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God." She turned to us and said, "You can't ask God for answers." I was completely dumbfounded. I just sat there in silence, trying to figure out where this woman was coming from. Sister Jones was getting really angry and was starting to argue with her, trying to get John's mom to see it our way. Finally, I turned to her and said, "Look. This conversation is getting way too heated for my tastes. We both have our views and we are completely entitled to them. I know without a doubt in my heart that this church is God's kingdom here on earth and I know that it is true. I know that it is ruled by Jesus Christ himself. Yet, I cannot make you believe that. I don't want to argue with you about this. If you happen to change your mind and want to find out more, I'd be happy to teach you. But we did not come to bible bash." John's mom just looked at me after I said that and finally agreed and changed the subject.
When we walked away, Sister Jones was practically steaming, she was so angry. But I personally felt that it was just fine that she had those views, even though I didn't agree with them. Needless to say, it was certainly an interesting night. After we talked with the mom, everything seemed to go just smoothly and everyone got along just fine.
By the end of the week, we were completely exhausted from tracting. So, Sister Jones and I decided to try a different approach to find people. Here in Bay Saint Louis, they do this activity called Second Saturday. Basically, every second Saturday of the month, the stores on Main Street open up late and have refreshments out. People from all over come to this event to mill around and talk with friends while shopping. Sister Jones and I took advantage of this opportunity and set up on a near-by park bench with a giant sign that said "Ask the Mormon Missionaires" on one side and on the other side it read "Hallelujah Jesus!". I danced around with the sign while Sister Jones tried to talk to passerbys and hand out copies of the Book of Mormon. Half way through the day, we managed to get the other 4 Elders in our district to come help us. I'm sure we were quite the sight - a teeny blond girl dancing with a sign that said "Hallelujah Jesus" with 5 other people dressed up to the 9s handing out pamphlets that had Jesus on the front, shouting out to people, "Are you happy? Have you heard about the Book of Mormon? Let me tell you more about Jesus!"
By the end of the night, my arms were killing me and we were all dead tired. Sadly, not much came out of it - we only managed to place one Book of Mormon, but it was certainly an experience that I'd definitely be willing to try again.
Throughout these 2 months here in the South, I've gained a stronger testimony than I had from growing up in the church for 19 years. I've now realized how much my Lord trusts me to be a missionary here. He trusts me enough to not be shaken, despite all those who attack my religion. He trusts me enough to have courage to tell everyone of the true churhc. He trusts me enough to keep going, even when people slam door after door in my face. He trusts me enough to be diligent to find those who are looking for the truth in the midst of all these false religions. I love my Lord, my God. I wouldn't ask for anything different.

All my love,

Sister Sarah Michéle Durrant

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

No comments:

Post a Comment