Monday, January 20, 2014

Planting seeds

Dear Family,

This week was insane. Literally insane! So much that we had adversity at every corner so as to try to stop us, to the point of cutting our power, a dater dropping us and than with a prayed-for-miracle miraculously called us the next day having a spiritual manifestation it was all true. Even our sweet recent convert's mom passed away. Literally anything to try to throw us or get us down, it seemed.

But we wouldn't let it! We literally fought through every last thing-- including "Call Me Maybe" blazing on the speakers in the city as we both got a prompting at the same time to go pass down a neighborhood we'd never been to, both feeling like we'd find a certain family we saw ONE time on a DIFFERENT road. Well, we ignored the prompting until we got down the road leading away from that street, where we both confessed we had promptings to go back.

I said, "Ah mannnn it's uphill! Why didn't we say something up THERE?" to which we turned around and went back, awkwardly passing the people we just taught and going down the street we felt we should go.

In what had to have been the only open 5 second window, we saw the father coming down the road to get into his car, with which held their entire family. ... OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSE. They were about to go to a wedding, and it was the one moment they would have ever been outside their home that day.

We saw miracles beyond description this week. We have 8 people preparing to be baptized in the next 3 weeks, and we had 9 investigators at church. Two interviewed and ready for this weekend. And 6 new people excited to begin learning.

We have so many people to take care of that we are literally only concerned about their welfare-- we know each person by name, their life-story, and where they are on their journey to knowing the purpose they're here. Missionary work is not memorized and handed out in the same form to each person like a ticket. It's a process of understanding, listening, and helping that person see beyond what they currently do.

Everyone who reads this must know, that ANY missionary experience you ever have does not go wasted.

I taught a woman in April of 2013, as a brand new greenie. Her name was Dig. I taught her in her home, and her fluffy white dog. Those are the lessons I continued to remember having had taught as a greenie. As my greenie days were ending, Dig couldn't stop working on Sunday. She eventually decided she didn't have time for us. I kept in contact, or at least tried to, until she convinced me she really was satisfied worshipping at home without being baptized. But I felt like I could not let it end that way. I kept notes for whoever came back to the area once I left, and it read: "Do whatever you can to find her."

I got an email this morning from Sister Sahagun in Udon-- she sent me a picture with one line. "Do you remember Dig?"

It was a photo of her in splendor white.

She had come back to the church building one sunday, unannounced, and was ready now. She was just baptized this last weekend.

I feel the same with an experience I had with a woman named Somaay. One day I and three Relief Society sisters made our way down the street to see our investigator. We had walked. She wasn't free. Sister Suri's idea was the pray right there in the middle of the street. So we did. The next person we talked to, by the Relief Society president's pointed finger, was a massage therapist outside her store. Sitting to talk with her, we found out she had a Book of Mormon already, having already once talked to the sisters shortly before I arrive. But, she was not really open with us. She was completely disinterested in changing anything about her life.

She then spent the last 4 months watching me bike to that investigator's house. She watched the change in that woman's life. I waved to her each day we came. One day she got up from her store, came over and sat down with us as we taught, confessing she needed to know. What was it that she was missing here? We made an appointment last week and came back with her member friend. She knew it was all true. She accepted everything. She was hanging on the edge of every word, and committed to baptism right there. She came to church on sunday for the first time.

We never know what seeds we sow until they are reaped by those that follow us.

This last week an investigator of ours getting baptized on the 31st brought her whole family to church for the first time for all of them. She, her husband, and her two darling daughters wore there Sunday best, and arrived 30 minutes early for sacrament meeting.

The Lord's Work is Hastening beyond what I ever anticipated, expected, or thought I would ever take a part in. Elder Holland is known to say that, "No young man was ever as affected by their mission as I was."

Well, if that's his claim, this is mine: "No young WOMAN was ever as affected by their mission as I have been."

This has been and continues to be the platform on which my testimony firmly lies: a life consistent with gospel truths and study, an open heart and mind, a willingness to change and be changed, and a hunger to share.

May we all go feed the hungry. There are so many of us feasting but not opening doors for others to come and join. This week my parents were ushers at the brand new Gilbert Temple. I can quote from the scriptures my feelings: "And my soul longed to be there."

What I want for my Thai's is a temple. I want them to have a place of refuge. We are so close. With this wave of prepared people, I feel it, it's not far from their reach. The same goes for any region. The Lord said "The field is white." He did not say, "The field is white in Brazil only." This is Asia's time.

I am convinced there are so many people in Asia because God loves Asians. The field is bright white here, as bright as the future. Because "Faith is always pointed towards the future." -Holland

The future for Thailand is a temple. 
Sister Painter

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