Monday, September 30, 2013

After the Storm

Transfers were this week! In all honesty, I was very sad to see Sister Jones leave. We had became great friends - but it was time for a change and to shake things up a bit here in Pass Christian. On Tuesday, Sister Devenport finally came! She is so very sweet and demure. I see a lot of myself in her and we have very similar personalities. She's from Payson, Utah and has already been out for nine months! I'm confident that this transfer will get along very smoothly and that things will get done.

On Wednesday, we got the change to meet as a brand new district. Two of our elders, Elder Green and Elder Christofferson were transferred out along with Sister Jones. To replace the elders, two new sisters came in - Sister Keyes and Sister Harr! Now, we have a district that comprises of two elders and four sisters - a nice change from the mainly male domination! Our district leader is Elder Martin and I can already tell that he will be an excellent district leader. He appears to be a wonderful missionary and loves us all (in a completely appropriate way). Because of District Development Meeting along with all the unpacking, not much work got done. But that's okay! It was a great opportunity to get to know my new district.

Thursday morning, we got a referral from All the way out in the Kill - a good 30 minute drive from our apartment. Sister Devenport and I had to throw all our plans out the window to go contact this referral. Who turned out to not be interested in the least. But, I found the blessings in it because it gave us a change to go visit Sister Snow, a less active in our ward. I believe I mentioned her a few months ago - Sister Jones and I met her and had the opportunity to talk to her. When Sister Devenport and I came, she was home and we got to teach her a lesson about patience. Then, we got her to commit to coming to church on Sunday! Afterward, we got to visit a less-active part member family, the Hattons. They're both very kind and very giving. They actually told us that they've been thinking a lot lately about going back to church. There were definitely blessings in the referral that day. 

Later that night was the turning point of our week - we got to go teach John and his family about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (curious as to what it is? Read 3 Nephi 31 to understand it all)! The whole lesson, John basically talked himself through it all and taught himself. All Sister Devenport and I did was provide gentle guidance (which is ideal) and pointed him in the right direction. Eventually, it got to the point where his wife flat out asked him, "Do you believe in the Book of Mormon?" John didn't say he believed in it, but at the same time, we could tell that he didn't want to deny of it's divinity. His wife maintained that the Catholic faith was the true and only faith, but John seemed to begin to think differently. We could tell that he was starting to feel the strength of the true gospel and feel its truthfulness because he refused to deny it.

We also got the opportunity to teach Jeff, a member's boyfriend. We've been teaching him for awhile, but it appeared that not much progress had been made. Yet, this week, he finally opened up to us and we were able to have a break through. I won't go into it, but the Spirit in the room was so strong and real, I felt as if I could've cut through it with a butter knife. We talked about General Conference and how it was coming up, and he anxiously checked his planner to be sure that he would be free those two days to hear the prophet's voice. We were both so ecstatic to see him finally feel the spirit and realize how much it can help him out.

As I took Sister Devenport around the area to show her what there was, we headed into a nearby neighborhood that Sister Jones and I had a few potentials in from a few months ago who never answered the door. I decided that we should try Angela's house one last time before writing her off. We walked up to the door and knocked on it. Lo, and behold, she answered! She let us in and grabbed her Book of Mormon - that Sister Jones and I gave her back in July. We started asking her how her reading had gone and Angela said, "It's gone good. I'm in Chapter 19 of Neffi." Instantly, I was quite impressed! Most of the time, people hadn't read very much. Then, she looked at us and said, "I know it's true." 
WHAT. My fingers were tingling. My heart was racing. She knew it. She knew it was true. We hadn't seen her for months, we had only met her at the doorstep. And she knew it was true! I couldn't believe it. Heavenly Father had prepared her for this moment. He had been guiding her and watching over her and protecting her. Helping her come to the realization that the Book of Mormon was true. 
We instantly started talking about the truthfulness of it and elaborated more upon it. Then, Angela asked us, "What do you guys believe about prophets? I have a friend who attends the church down the road and the pastor says he's a prophet. But that just doesn't sit right with me. I don't think he's a prophet." Again, I had to keep my jaw from dropping. She was so very susceptible to the spirit, she could tell something wasn't right. As the lesson went on, we asked her to be baptized and she instantly agreed. I couldn't be more happy!

The very best part of the week though was Sunday. As we pulled up into the parking lot, there was Dominic, all dressed up and ready to go to church. Domonic! If y'all don't remember, we taught him a few weeks ago and we basically dropped him because he wasn't listening to a word we said. And then! We saw Jeff walk into the chapel. Shortly after, John's face appeared in the doorway. Finally, we saw Sister Snow meander into the room. Three investigators in church. One less active. My heart was fit to burst. There's no way to describe my feelings except for pure, absolute joy. Biting my lip was all I could do to keep from tearing up. 
During Sunday School (where I was roped into teaching at the very last minute), each and every single one of them participated and had something to contribute to the lesson. They all seemed to have felt the Spirit there within the walls of the church building. My joy is full - I could go home right now and feel as if I made a difference as a missionary. I wouldn't want anything else. Three of our investigators in church. There isn't a better feeling. 

There is definitely peace after the storm. There is sunshine after the darkness. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Last week was one of my most difficult weeks in the mission field. And now, I couldn't be more happy than I am at this very moment. I promise to all of you that are struggling, that feel your hearts failing, that are experiencing hardships - there is hope. There is light. There is an end. Heavenly Father is mindful of you and He is watching over you. He has not, will not, nor ever shall forsake you. You are loved. And there will be an end to the pain. There is light, joy, and happiness ahead. Keep your chin up and remember - you are a son or daughter of a king. 
All my love,

Sister Sarah Michèle Durrant

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