"Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different--in happy ways--from the women of the world... Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and spiritual growth of the Church in the last days" President Spencer W. Kimball

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Day In Paradise aka Harlem!

Shot Calls! Once again Sister Fuimaono and I will be serving right here in the lovely Harlem 3 ward for at least the next 6 weeks and we are so so excited! The last few weeks have been so terrible with being sick and kicking whatever virus has been floating around our 6 sister pad, but have also been so great because we have just been so blessed to teach amazing investigators who are preparing themselves to receive the Gospel, such an opportunity! Along with that it looks like the weather is warming up! It is so great to see the sun and feel its warmth again. Utah doesn't hold a candle to this cold and I am so over it, but soon the treacherous summer will be around the corner and I will be hoping for sweater weather again, huh.

It is just so amazing this Gospel is. I received an email earlier today testifying of the power that the Book of Mormon possesses and I have to agree 100%. The sister that sent it was speaking of an experience that she has had the last week where she was able to read and share portions of the Book of Mormon to a couple of her investigators. That single experience led them to gain a testimony of many things that are essential to know to better understand the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a recent lesson we were having with one of our investigators he said he was praying to know if the things he was learning were true. He said that he knows that this year would be the year that he would be baptized and he knows of its importance but he didn't know which church would be the one. Last week at our appointment he stressed his necessity to learn quickly what it was he was to do, and so I asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon. As he hesitated to answer this question directly I promised him that the only way to know if it is or isn't is to read it. No greater knowledge can be gained about these things until the desire meets the faith required to do it. Read it. Then pray and you will receive your answer is what we told him, the Spirit will testify. This week he approached our appointment with a slight smirk on his face. He hasn't told us of his experience yet but the Spirit has definitely confirmed something for him.

Speaking of the Spirit another of our investigators, the one who bore testimony last week during sacrament meeting has often said something along the lines of "I just feel different with ya'll (she's a southern belle). I feel it when I'm at church and when I'm around other Mormons." This "it" that she is referring to is the Spirit! I love when people can sense and feel the difference. It just makes me so happy that they feel a portion of that Spirit that can be gained in full when they are baptized and receive that great gift. Recently I have personally been studying the Spirit of the Lord this last week and my studies have just been so revealing. I have learned such a great deal about the Holy Ghost; who he is and what he does (D&C 130:22, John 14:26). The most amazing part about it though is the fact that this member of the godhead has sacrificed his opportunity to have a body so that he can dwell with all of us if we ask for it. And it is that simple, as it states in Matthew 7:7-8, "knock and it shall be opened unto you." It is generally our choice whether to have this presence in our life or not and so it is. As Elder Boyd K. Packer stated in the book Hearing The Voice Of The Lord "The still small voice is difficult to describe to one who has never experienced it and is almost unnecessary to describe to one who has." When we feel it, we know. I know and am grateful for that knowledge. I love sharing that with others here in New York! Again, they really feel a difference.

Its been a great week. I am happy to be out here doing this work. One thing though, and you cant blame me for this, its the mission! I feel the missionary awkwardness creeping up on me, eke! I don't know how it happened or how I can avoid it so my best bet is to just give in. I have been told it is a natural part of eating, sleeping and drinking every moment of the Gospel. I guess that is just what happens, haha! And this is the best part, soon enough I'll be back in your life and it will then be your problem too! You can't say you're not looking forward to it... Genn! Haha, I just love you all! It is great to hear from you and know you are sharing these experiences with me. The time is flying by all too fast! I love you love you and wish you all a great week! Smooches!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wie Geht Es Dir?

Sometimes German just sneaks in there. I contacted this guy this week in German. It was so funny because as I approached him saying hello he responded with "Que Paso?" So of course I respond in Spanish only to be met with, "I dont speak Spanish." so then I asked if he spoke English where he said yes, but he had an accent. Of course I asked where he was from and viola! Germany! He was kind of laughing because 1. we were both in the dead center of Harlem, 2. as we shuffled through which language we were going to settle on, German was the choice, and 3. he didn't suspect any of the black people around there spoke his language (he told me it was an unusual surprise. I dont know if that was a complement or a not), anyways it was great!
Enough with that, so this Sunday was another miracle Sunday! It was Fast and Testimony Sunday so that doesn't always make for the best meetings, not that they aren't great but they sometimes aren't the greatest. Anyways remember that new investigator that I was speaking about last week, yeah her sweet spirit bore her testimony and it was the best thing I have ever seen and/or heard. I loved it and so did the ward who have to be the greatest ward in New York! They just support all of our investigators and love them!
Anyways life has been great! Its colder than all get out right now but we luckily have had great appointments to keep us somewhat inside and out of the windy cold. We have just been so blessed! Transfers are next week though and Im getting old in the area so we will see if I will stay or go. OH GOODNESS! Until then, I just love you all, love you love you. Thanks for all of your support and love

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slushing Around In The City

This week has definitely been a week of miracles! Sister Fuimaono and myself took on the Alma 32 challenge to see what "fruit" we could grow this week...and yep, definitely didn't have "room enough to receive it!"
Let's talk about it. So late last week we got a phone message from this dear girl who had been coming to Church with a member friend. She exclaimed in the message that she knew it was weird that she was calling but thought she should see about meeting with us to learn more about the Church. Of course being on the receiving end of this message, it was like music to our ears. What an opportunity she was "twisting our arms" to partake. So we set up an appointment for early Sunday morning before church.
Flash forward to that Sunday, we had an amazing first meeting with her where she came equipped with questions that absolutely showed that she had been thinking about meeting with us for a while. It soon became evident that she has been preparing herself to a possible commitment of baptism but was afraid because of the negative feedback she had been experiencing from family and friends. After meeting with her though, she agreed that this was something she really wanted to invest the time in learning about because she just couldn't deny the way she was feeling. It was such a opportunity to teach someone who really was wanting to know if all that was promised in scripture was true.
So we ushered her and her friend to Sacrament meeting where we knew our recent convert Danilda would be speaking. And what an event that was! Hands down the best meeting I have ever attended! Let me explain a bit. So beautiful feisty Danilda gets up to the pulpit swinging her hair and preparing everyone for her conversion story: "Brothers and sisters, please excuse me. This is my first talk in English so if my sentences dont make sense, just wait for the next one and maybe it will." Of course everyone is relaxed and even laughing at this point. She continues: "So, I grew up Catholic and always have been trying to find God. I have had my bouts with other religions searching for a place where I knew God knew me and accepted me for who I was as well as where I knew He would want me to be. About 7 months ago two cute little guys knocked on my door. I guess they were looking for some other guy named Ramon or something but as I told them they had the wrong house they asked if they could teach me about the Gospel. I was flattered and immediately invited them in...two cute little Mormon boys, of course! So as they began to enter they then asked if I was alone, where I of course I said yes. They then exclaimed they needed a 3rd person to be there for them to teach me. I was shocked! Two guys couldn't handle me?! I need three!?"
As she went on she explained: "...they kept inviting people over to my house where I could incorporate myself into their life, but little did I know they were inviting me into theirs." It was such a great talk, where she was so excited that she lost her marker in her scriptures and lost what she wanted to share. No fuss though because the concluding speaker referenced the following. "In Alma 19 a woman named Abish..." where Danilda immediately runs over to where Sister Fuimaono and myself were sitting. She, in amazement exclaimed "That is what I wanted to read to everyone! This is amazing!" As she made her way back to her seat she began telling everyone around her.
What a great experience...but Im not done. As soon as Toby said "and I say these things..." Danilda jumps up in the middle of the congregation and yells raising her hand, "I have something to say!" As Brother Brien from the bishopric encourages her to come forward she resistantly does as she explains herself: "I prayed to God this morning to help me find something to read to you people today, and guess what it was?! Alma 19! And the crazy part is, Toby was not in my bed this morning so it had to be the esSpirit! It this is not the true church than I dont know what is!"
It was an awesome to say the least. The Spirit was there, we had comic relief and investigators in the congregation, many of whom are struggling to see that conversion is a real thing that happens everyday, haha! It was great. Brother Brien closed with, "My wife who's pregnant with a baby girl, and I were laying in bed this morning and to my surprise Toby was not in our bed either, but Abish Brien, I dont know that might have to be the name. What a day of miracles, lets close this meeting!"
What a great day Sunday was! What a week of miracles it has been. Our investigator met with us last night in a followup appointment where she left in tears knowing that the Lord has a plan for her that can help her feel the joy that is intended in life! Unfortunately Im out of time now, but I am so greatful for the people we meet each day and also having an influence in their life. I love each and every one of you, sorry for the novel but you know I couldnt let you go without sharing this story! Love you love you! Have a great week!