Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Field is White! (Bayley)

This week was a highly eventful week for so many reasons, a pretty major one being that we said farewell to President and Sister Crawford.  Which was...basically the WORST THING EVER.
Let me explain how important a mission president and a mission president's wife (mission mom) are to a missionary.

Being a missionary is simultaneously the most amazing thing in the entire world and also the best refiner's fire God ever concocted.  You see so many miracles, and you see God's hand in all things, and you also see so much opposition and the terrible effects of agency used badly.  It's the real deal out here.  And did I mention that during this time you are basically alone?  Not in the sense of physically alone (your companion takes care of that) but as for all those people you had before your mission to turn to for comfort and help and also to just escape reality with - they're all gone (I mean, you can still write them and whatnot - but whereas in college my mom was more than likely to receive at least daily phone calls from me, here that just ain't happening).  So that's different, and sometimes hard.  Enter mission president and mission mom.  Your mission president and mission mom become your parents away from home.  They see your divine potential and all your strengths the way your parents do, and they encourage you and support you and help you through everything.  They love you.  They teach you.  You come to look up to them and respect them and love them and develop such an amazing unique relationship with this couple that is *your* mission president and his wife.

And then they leave.

So yeah.  I may or may not have definitely cried when they came around for their final goodbyes, where we all sang "Ye Elders of Israel" and knelt in prayer together.  And then we got to hug both of them, which President Crawford explained as such: "so when a missionary goes home, as we put them on the plane we get to hug them - both of us.  Which means Sister Crawford gets to hug the elders too, and I get to hug the sisters too.  So that's what we are going to do here before we go.  So if that's gonna freak anyone out, just say so now."  Haha!  I love President and Sister Crawford so much, and though saying goodbye was hard, I know I will stay in touch with them long after my mission, and what's more I am excited to get to meet my new mission mom and dad - President and Sister Drake.  Who have wicked cool last name, so that's always a good start.  I know they are going to be amazing, and I am so excited to get to meet them.

But anyways, besides that whole ordeal, this week was full of all kinds of miracles and odd missionary stories, so let's get going.

This past week I went on exchanges in La Porte with dear Sister McQueen.  I love exchanges, you get to learn so much from other missionaries, you get to experience another area - really the only downside is coming home to find all your Cocoa Pebbles have been eaten in your absence.  But that's fixable.  Sister McQueen and I have so much fun together too.  On this particular exchange, we were out biking talking to everyone and this one guy we were talking to told us to talk to this girl, Nicole, who worked at Dollar General.  So we biked on over to Dollar General without really taking any thought for how exactly we were gonna pull this contact off - because after all, it's a little creepy to just walk into a store and go up to some girl and be like "hi are you Nicole - some random guy on the street sent us here."  Yeah, definitely creepy.  So we had to break out our missionary-stalker tool belt for this one.  Once in the store, we looked around and saw that the girl at the cash register had a nametag that read "Nicole."  We then retreated into an aisle to plan an approach that would be effective and as non-creepy as possible.  In the end, we decided that the best way to go about it would be to purchase something (obviously a box of Oreos) and then at the cash register be like "oh hey - you're Nicole?  Crazy thing we were just talking to this guy..."

And it actually worked.

Turns out the guy was her father-in-law and she was very open to hearing our message and we exchanged phone numbers and left a pamphlet and went home with a box of Oreos (that may or may not have been entirely consumed by the end of the exchange).  Can't get much better than that.
Another story.

So we are teaching these two boys, Ethan and Ty, who are the grandsons of a member of our bishopric, and who are seriously so incredible.  They have the best questions, and are so genuinely interested, and Ethan had already read the whole Book of Mormon before we even started teaching them (Ethan is 15, and Ty is 12).  True story.  So earlier in the week, we were teaching about the priesthood about were explaining all about how Joseph Smith had received the priesthood from Peter, James, and John (who had received it from Jesus Christ) and then he in turn passed it down and passed it down so that the priesthood is still on the earth today and everybody can have access to it and as a matter of fact their grandpa held the priesthood.  And when we explained this, Ty's mouth dropped open and he went "WHAT?!" then, looking at Bro. Racicot, exclaimed, "Grandpa you have the POWER OF GOD THAT JESUS HAD???!!" Basically it was the best reaction ever to hearing about the restoration of the priesthood - everyone should react like that, honestly.  Some other gems from that lesson include when we explained that a prophet was "the mouthpiece of God" and Ty went "like dentures?" and also when we were talking about baptism.  Now, Bro. Racicot had told us in advance that he didn't really want us to talk about baptism and invite them to be baptized and all that, but we're missionaries and we kinda can't help it, but rather than doing like a super bold "WILL YOU be baptized" since that's what Bro. Racicot didn't want, we just sort of explained how we had the priesthood which was the power of God to be baptized by his authority and were all "so this is our offer, to be baptized by that power" and Ty politely raised his hand and was all "um, yes ma'am, I'd like to take you up on that offer."  Haha!  They are such awesome kids, and I am so excited to keep working with them.

Ok, one last miracle story.

Earlier this week we received a phone call from the Spanish elders who had met this lady named LaVenia who wanted for English missionaries to come by and teach her.  So they gave us her contact info and we gave her a call and set up a time to meet at the library.  Though we didn't know it when we met, it turns out that she walked almost 4 miles in the rain to meet us for that appointment.  As we sat talking with her, she told us all about how she has known a lot of Mormons and has always noticed a "special light" about them, and that actually her boyfriend is a member and has taught her a lot about the church and basically she just feels like her entire life God has been "leading her to Mormonism."  We taught her about the Restoration, and as we shared the Joseph Smith story she started to cry and told us that she knew it was all true, and that she felt so much like Joseph Smith did and that she has been in darkness and now it is time to come into the light.  She told us she would do whatever was needed to follow this path, and so we invited her to baptized and she agreed to July 20 as her date.  It seriously was so amazing, I don't know if I've ever met someone so prepared to receive this gospel.  What a testimony builder of the way in which Heavenly Father is preparing souls around us all the time - and how important it is that we be ready and prepared for when he needs us to bring those souls to him.

Love yall so much.  Keep being awesome and don't let the excuse of "it's summer!" keep you from church because seriously. Just go.

Love,
Sister Bayley Enright

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