Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Aidukaitis Miracle (Bayley)

So several months ago Elder Aidukaitis of the 70 came here to the (excuse me - THE) mission and discussed with us the importance of faith, amongst other things.  One thing he talked about in particular was setting a goal to baptize someone every week - because if we don't have the goal, why would God give us the actual?  Now obviously this mindset has taken some adjusting to - always setting a goal for a baptism even if we have no one to teach - but during his discussion Elder Aidukaitis shared a number of experiences in which missionaries have had the faith and goal for a baptism and people would randomly show up at church, or approach the missionaries themselves, or contact a member, all wanting to be baptized.  And then of course they were.  Such "Aidukaitis miracle stories" are the kind of stories you hear and think "do things like that actually happen?"  They seem so impossible, after all.  Well brothers and sisters, let me tell you - Aidukaitis miracles are real things, because Sister Stofferahn and I had one for ourselves just yesterday.

But more on that in a minute.  This week has been so crazy miracle filled, I don't know where to start - but I do know where to end, and that is with the Aidukaitis miracle.  But before that, allow me to tell you about Tuesday. 

This past Tuesday I was on exchanges with Hermana Williams, who is an absolutely amazing hermana who you may or may not recall was my companion for a weekend several transfers back.  Prior to the exchange, Hna Williams informed me that the Christlike attribute she wanted to focus on was charity, and in studying for it and preparing for the exchange I was a little unsure about how to best go about that - other than praying for charity, of course.  That always works.  But anyways, so Monday night (we had already exchanged at this point) I had to call the Zone Leaders for something and they happened to be on exchanges as well and Elder Roundy informed us that as part of their exchange, he and Elder Knebel had plans to contact as many people as possible (around 100) the next day and challenged us to see if we could contact more than them.  And then they put Bluebell ice cream on the table, and said that whoever lost would buy Bluebell for the winners.  And because I have this problem in which I'm completely incapable of turning down challenges, especially when there is ice cream involved...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.  So we told the elders there was no way they were going to beat us and they better get the ice cream ready now, and then promptly hung up the phone and dropped down on our knees asking Heavenly Father to help us overcome our awkwardness so we could contact the world the next day.  And in my prayer that night, I realized that this was an answer to my prayers about how we could focus on charity.  The answer was contacting!  It is easy, or at least easier, to love those people with whom we are closely working - be them investigators or members - but true charity is love of ALL men, including those complete strangers on the street who cuss you out and call you crazy.  So we prayed both Monday night and Tuesday morning for God to help us have charity for everyone we saw, and when we prayed we made a promise with God, in which we promised to stop and talk to every single person we saw, if He would help us by filling our mouths and making it less awkward so that they would feel the Spirit, not feel weirded out.  Did I mention that Tuesday morning dawned freezing cold and raining?  Yes, yes it did.  But we were determined!  And as soon as we walked out the door there was a woman walking passed our apartment, and with the words of our prayer still so clear in our minds we contacted her and felt such incredible love and desire for her welfare.  And we knew that God was going to help us out, so we mounted our bikes and went to work.  Over the course of the day, we contacted 42 people, but the true miracle was not in the number of people that we contacted but in the way in which we saw God's promise fulfilled - our mouths were filled, the contacts weren't even awkward (mostly - the time we talked to the guy standing in the middle of the street was a little odd, but nothing the Spirit couldn't smooth over), and as soon as we saw people we saw them as children of God and desired to help them discover the gospel.  And at the end of the night when we called the elders for our total count, we had totally creamed them.  42 contacts, a new understanding of charity, and Bluebell - pretty good haul for an exchange if you ask me.

Another miracle of this week happened when Sister Stofferahn and I went to check on an investigator we hadn't seen in a while and she informed us that she had watched both the Joseph Smith story and 17 Miracles on Netflix and wants to know more about temples.  We can help with that.

Then there was also the time where Sister Stofferahn and I stopped to contact this man watering his lawn, and after talking with him we learned that the Elders had just stopped and talked to him less than 15 minutes before we showed up.  He asked if we had it orchestrated like that, and we told him not at all - but that God probably did.  Two sets of missionaries contacting you within the course of an hour?  Coincidence? I think not.

I could go on and on and on...but email time is short, and I have an Aidukaitis miracle story still to tell.

So several weeks ago a member of our ward called us to inform us that she had given a Book of Mormon to her coworker and that after a number of gospel discussions her friend wanted to attend church with her.  That Sunday, we were sure to go up and introduce ourselves to the friend, Robin, who informed us that she was interested to see what this church was all about and that she had heard a lot of negative things but wanted to see for herself.  We asked her about taking the lessons, but she expressed that right now she just wanted to read the Book of Mormon and focus on that.  For the next couple of weeks she continued to come to church and ask us questions occasionally, but still wasn't ready for the lessons yet.  Just this past week, the member - Sister Lopez- called us and told us that Robin wanted to sit down for a lesson with us.  We arranged for a lesson immediately after church, and yesterday sat down with Robin and Sister Lopez and Sister Herrara (Sister Lopez's daughter, who is also a coworker of Robin's and who has been helping fellowship her).  As soon as we sat down, Robin informed us that she had read the entire Book of Mormon ("it's my new favorite book!") and most of the Doctrine and Covenants and that she felt like God had guided her here and this was the church for her.

Yes, that happened.

We commenced in teaching her the message of the Restoration, and she stopped occasionally and asked us to show her where that was in the Bible, and as soon as we did she would just shake her head in amazement and express her disbelief that she didn't know about this all sooner.  As we shared the Joseph Smith story, the spirit was SO strong and Robin told us that she knew this was all true and that she had been seeking after it for years.  When we invited her to be baptized she said, "yes, yes I will.  I can't wait."  I then opened my mouth and said that we would be holding a baptismal week.  Which wasn't necessarily what we had planned to say, but the Spirit does things like that sometimes.  And of course Robin agreed, and expressed the sooner the better, and that she has felt dried up for years but now has found the truth and is so hungry to learn more.  Since the only day she is able to meet is Sundays, we went over as much as we could of things right there, gave her the pamphlets to all the lessons, set up two phone lessons during the week, and made plans to finish teaching her Sunday morning before church and her baptism that afternoon.  Now if that doesn't qualify as an Aidukaitis MIRACLE, I don't know what does.

After Robin left, Sister Stofferahn and I dropped to our knees in prayers of gratitude.  There are not words to express the way we felt as we so clearly saw the hand of the Lord performing such an incredible miracle.  As Sister Stofferahn pointed out so well yesterday, this entire experience is a fulfillment of D&C 123:17: "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then may we stand still with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed."

Brothers and sisters, the gospel is true.  The Plan of Salvation is real.  The message of the Restoration is God's message to the world, and I can think of no better honor than to be called to serve to declare it to all nations, kindred, tongues, and people.

Sister Bayley Enright

 Our district! back row sis crump, me, elder huff, sis stoff, front row sis turpin, elder leftwich, elder knebel, elder sarchet

​Me, sistah stoff, elder huhane, and elder roundy with elder hansen of the 70 :D NBD

 ​Hna Williams and I celebrating being contacting champions with some hot chocolate

 ​Biking in the cold!

​My loverly companion :)

Another adventure from this week included our wrestling Max - a giant great dane who tried to eat us.  Not really.  But kind of.

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