I love you all! I hope you know that! First of all I have to wish Trav a happy birthday today!! I hope you have the best day ever! Try not to have too much fun without me though haha. Hm lets see well I'll just get right to it then!
Well unlike the week before this week was much more eventful, still a lot of canceled appointments but we had some other fun stuff happen! First of all earlier this week we went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders, I stayed here in Kutztown this time whereas last time I went to Reading, which is kinda super sketchy but it was awesome! Exchanges was fun and I love our STL's! Sister Wright and Sister Nielson are the best! Anyway, the day after exchanges Sister McCuen and I were out doing some finding we showed the #BecauseHeLives video to a few guys and gave them our cars with our number on it in case they were interested in learning more. Well later that night after an appointment we checked the phone and we got a text from a random number that said, "to the cute blonde with the skirt; you free Friday?"...I freaked out but Sister McCuen thought it was hilarious haha. So yep I kinda got asked out on a date on my mission which I didn't think I would ever happen but it was pretty funny.
Then on Friday after a good day we got a call from our STL's at 9:20 and they said they were on their way to our apartment and that they were spending the night. We said okay and then started freaking out thinking we were in trouble or something because that doesn't ever happen. Come to find out that someone had tried to break into their car and they just didn't feel safe for the night so they came to spend the night with us. It was fun to have them over for the night! But anyway onto the biggest event of this week which actually happened last night.
Yesterday we went out to do some finding before our dinner appointment. So we stopped on this one street that we hadn't tried before. We knocked on a few houses with no luck of anyone answering, and then came to one house where a very sweet woman answered the door. I told her who we were and she said with a big smile on her face "you know what? Let me grab my Bible and I would love to come and sit out here and chat with you ladies!"...and immediately after she said that, I knew what she was doing...yep! You guessed it! I experienced my first Bible bash yesterday! It was an interesting experience and let me tell you why. Right after Liz went inside I looked at Sister McCuen and she knew exactly what I was thinking, that we needed to leave, we're not suppose to Bible bash with anyone. Because it doesn't do anyone any good just to try and prove a point. But she insisted that we stay and so we did. We went back to the car and armed ourselves with the scriptures. As we walked back she came outside and sat with her sweet little family and we first asked her if we could share a short video with her about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We showed her the Because He Lives (which everybody should watch if you haven't seen it already) video just to invite the spirit, and she enjoyed it but then proceeded right on with telling us (in the kindest tone of voice possible) that we were going to hell for what we were teaching people, and that unless we listened to her we were inevitably going to be damned for teaching "false doctrine." And I swear it was like I just felt the spirit get right up and walk away or something. Because right when she started saying that of course the spirit wasn't going to be there anymore, and I didn't blame him! I didn't want to be there either! I wanted to follow him right off that porch! But Sister McCuen insisted that we stay. For reasons beyond me at that moment.
Liz went on to tell us many other things that she had supposedly learned of us and our church. And she even quoted Joseph Smith and from The Book of Mormon. But the way she was speaking of how she learned these things I knew without her even having to say it that her church had a class that taught against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So that whenever they came across us Mormons then they would be ready to try and argue with us. So I asked her how often she attended this class where they taught against us and she said "oh, every week!" I knew right then that her heart was pretty hardened to anything we had to say, but that doesn't mean that it can't be softened!
But anyway, I could also tell she had practiced these things. It sounded like rehearsal and repetition rather than her own words. She kept asking prodding questions to try and get us to talk about deep doctrine, which we werent about to get into, (that's hard enough for anyone to understand) so that she could try and come back with something to try and stump us. She continued on to say many many things against the Church and The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and anything else she could think of to bash on. Now I was just getting angry. Because I was not about to sit there and listen to someone bag on everything that I know is true and hold most dear and sacred. The anger I felt I knew on its own was a sign that the spirit was no longer there.
She said many things against us, to which for everything she said I had a scripture in The Book of Mormon to throw right back at her if I really wanted to (which i did) but I held myself back because I knew I shouldn't. It wouldn't have done her or us any good anyway because she didn't care, her heart was so hardened to anything we had to tell her and the spirit wasn't there to testify of the truth because it had already been driven away. But this whole incident went on for a good while, and she said a lot of things. But one thing we talked about in particular caught most of my attention. She kept asking how we had come to believe that these things were true and Sister McCuen simply said "because the Holy Ghost has confirmed it to us in our hearts." And then Liz went on to again tell us that we were wrong. And that we can't know and feel things with out hearts. That our hearts are deceitful and we can't trust them, and that the only thing we can rely on is the Bible. And just as she said that these verses came to my mind
"And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught." (2 Nephi 33:1-2)
I didn't read them to her they just came to my mind and taught me something very important. I told her how it is by the word of God and by the power of the Holy Ghost that we can know the truth of these things. And she no it is only by the word of God that we can know anything.
Eventually I had had enough and it got to the point where I stood up as if I were ready to leave and did the only thing that I could think to do. The very thing that Alma himself said to do, "seeing no way...save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them." (Alma 4:19) and so that's what I did. I just bore my testimony of the truth of The Book of Mormon, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and most importantly the divinity of the Savior Himself.
Now I wish I could tell you that at this point that I bore this super powerful and awesome testimony and that I completely confounded her! Softened her heart and now she is getting baptized!!...that would've been so awesome I'm not going to lie haha...but nevertheless, that isn't at all how it happened...Rather, Little Amy Callaway who was scared half to death of the entire situation, mustered up whatever courage she could to stand up, and stumbling over her words, managed to stammer out her most simple testimony of the things she knew were absolutely true. I told her to take my words for what they were, but we challenged her to read the Bible and The Book of Mormon together.
Liz challenged us to study the Bible more and so I thought "deal! I do that already!" We promised her that we would, and since she challenged us We again challenged her to read the entire Book of Mormon and not just go off of whatever people tell her. I had her read Moroni 10:3-5, she accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon and then hoping she would have the last word she again told us that unless we changed our ways that we were going to hell, and that at judgement day we are going to be accountable for the things we are doing. And I told her that he's we were and at least I know that the things we are doing are right and I will not be ashamed to be known of the works I am doing for my Savior. And so before we left I read these verses to her :
"And now, my beloved brethren...and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye--for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day." (2 Nephi 33:10-12)
And with that, we hugged her and turned around and left. Once we got into the car I wish i could say that we carried on our merry little way and didn't let it bother us. But in all honesty we got into the car and I broke down...Now! First and foremost you must know that even with that, nothing she could have said would EVER shake my testimony. EVER. But what bothered me was that I felt like I couldn't defend my Savior and his gospel in the way that it deserves to be defended. Once again I felt so unqualified and inadequate to do this work. But, as I was sitting there these verses from the Bible came to my mind,
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also."(John 15:18-20)
But despite my inadequacies I knew I did my best with what I could. And I found comfort in this truth,
"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." (3 Nephi 5:13)
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am grateful to have been called of Him, I am grateful that He called me, despite all of my many many many weaknesses and that He is trusting me with this call. But, you don't have to have a name tag pinned on your shirt to be a missionary. Remember that. We are all disciples of Jesus Christ, if we choose to follow Him with full purpose of heart. Yesterday at church a talk was given in Sacrament Meeting about our discipleship.
After this whole experience I could only think of the words of Elder Holland from a few of his talks that I wanted to share...
I have been asked many times why I came on a mission. And here is my simple answer as to why. Because I love Jesus Christ. And I love Him more than anything.
"You may wonder if it is worth it to take a courageous moral stand in high school or to go on a mission only to have your most cherished beliefs reviled or to strive against much in society that sometimes ridicules a life of religious devotion. Yes, it is worth it!...Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them."
(The Cost—and Blessings—of Discipleship)
"What I need... are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world...My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty."(The First Great Commandment)
So with that I leave you with this question, what are you willing to do for your discipleship?
Well I love you all so very much! Please look for ways to come unto Christ this week :)
~Sister Amy Callaway~
P.s. I like apple pie...
Oh and sorry I didn't take any pictures this week! I promise I will next week :)