Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Miracles in Medford

Hello my loved ones!! 

First of all...Happy 2 years to Court and Zack yesterday!! Ah and tell the Alstons congratulations on their mission call!! I am so excited for them! I could not imagine anyone more perfect to be working in a YSA than the Alstons!! You guys are going to be some of the greatest missionaries that Birmingham England has ever seen! 

Man this week was seriously just FULL of miracles!! So, on Wednesday we had transfers. My new area is Medford, New Jersey!!! And I LOVE IT HERE!! It's so beautiful! And definitely not what I expected NJ to be like. It's so foresty. And there is one part of our area called Medford Lakes and oh my gosh it's beautiful. If I were to ever live in NJ, Medford Lakes is where I would live. I love it, but it's also so different here. Like there's these random things called "Jug Handles" where when you are driving you have to turn right to go what the the heck?? It completely throws you off! I swear NJ just made driving more complicated than it needs to be. Anyway it's awesome here. I already love it. I love the area, I love the people and I love the ward! It's a military ward which is pretty cool. And there are so many young families in the ward and all the moms are about to have babies pretty soon. But it's cool to see how all of these military families work. 

So Sister Asi got called to be a Sister Training Leader, and she is now in Dover Delaware. My new companion is Sister Jolley and she is from Furth, Idaho! She is so sweet and adorable, and we work together really well! 

Anyway I'll just get right to everything that happened this week. So last Monday we were going to go have a lesson with Tony but then we got a call from him and he said that we better not dare even drive because there was a tornado warning and the weather was pretty bad. So we promised him that we wouldn't drive anywhere and we didn't we just finished packing for transfers. Tuesday we had to finish getting everything ready for the elders coming into the area, and we also got to go around and say goodbye to a few people. And all week I had been joking/not joking with Sister Asi that President was going to call and ask her to be a Sister Training Leader. And she kept telling me. "Stop, no he's not going to do that." And of course...Tuesday he called and called her to be a STL!! Well come Wednesday I had to say bye to Sister Asi which was so hard because she taught me so much and I didn't feel like I was done learning everything that I could from her. She taught me so much of what it is to be a hard working, diligent, and obedient full purpose missionary. And I know the Lord needs her to help other Sisters like she helped me. Anyway, after Sister Jolley and i loaded my stuff into the car we began heading for Medford. And in order to get to Medford you have to drive right through Philly to get there. It was so awesome!!! I have SO many pictures of the city now haha but I have to figure out where to go to send pictures. But fear not, pictures will be coming soon...or someday...whenever I can figure it out haha...

(Oh and yeah those pictures that Brittney and Dad got...I'll explain the background story to that)

So right as we are driving through the middle of the city, Sister Jolley and I got a few text messages on the phone from one of our investigators who's name is George. And it said "Sister Callaway, my daughter lives in California in Cottonwood. Not too far from Loomis." I read it and looked at Sister Jolley and was like "ummm why does this guy know where I'm from??" Sister Jolley just started laughing and wouldn't say anything more. Then he texted back and said "Brittney said she is proud of you." I was just freaking out and I was like Sister Jolley "why does this guy know this stuff?? Does he like know my family or something?!" She just laughed and then a while later George called and started naming off a bunch of other random correct facts about me. I was throughly weirded out by now...and then Sister Jolley said "okay George you can tell her now, she's getting creeped out" and so then George told me about how he used to be a Detective. And that he wants to know who he is dealing with and so therefore Facebook is his best friend. I felt a little relieved but still weirded out a bit haha. But we actually had a lessons with George that night. And so during the lesson George told me about himself. And oh my gosh he is so awesome!! I care for him so much already! And here's a little bit why, 

George has been meeting with the missionaries for a little over a year and half now. He has had all of the lessons, kept every commitment (with the exception of one because he lost the paper for it) and he has come to church faithfully every Sunday for the last year and a half. And when he's not in town to go to church he goes to the nearest one wherever he is. He would be baptized today if he could but there has just been some issues with some of his family members not wanting him to join the church. And legally he is to have permission of everyone in his family if he is to be baptized into the church. I cant say more than that though. And once he told me that I asked about all of the things that they have tried to do, like fasting and praying etc. and trust me, any and everything there is to done he and the ward have tried. And so I have added my prayers to the many that have and are being said in George's behalf so that he can be baptized into the church. He believes and knows with all of his heart and soul that the Church is true and he trusts Heavenly Father so deeply that he knows he will eventually become a member of the Lord's true Church.

He is seriously so great! I am SO completely and utterly existed to keep working with him and hopefully through lots of prayer and hard work help to soften some hearts so that he can be baptized And the next day he said "Sister Callaway, I sent the pictures to Sister Bone and your dad." Hahaha he is the best! He wants to make sure that our families know we are doing well and that he appreciates out helping him. And so to return the favor he sends stuff to our families. He also feels like he needs to take care of the missionaries, and so he is constantly buying us food haha I told you...he is the best!! 

Then on Saturday we saw many many miracles!! We were tracting in a part of our area called Mt. Holly along this one street where we saw a yard sale going on, and so we decided to go "look around" but mostly it was just a sneaky tactic to go and talk to the ladies that were running it haha as we were talking they all said that they were catholic but still inquired as to what church we go to. They immediately knew us as Mormons and one of the women said "I knew some Mormons they used to rent from me." We asked what their names were and she said "Vancour" and we got so excited and told her that we knew them! We has just had dinner with them the two nights before. She just shook her head and said "are you serious? You Mormons are everywhere!" Haha but that was a small miracle and hopefully we can get some member missionary work going there. But before we left I bought something just to be nice so I bought this random pink jar for 50cents and I'm totally going to use to catch fireflies in!! haha anyway! Later that day we also had another miracle, we were out trying to find a potential investigator and it took us to the right address and so we began knocking and waited for quite some time but then no one answered the door. We started walking away when I just stopped and said to Sister Jolley "we should go back and knock one more time" and so we went right back and knocked again and a few moments later a man answered the door holding his little baby. We got to talking with him and we asked him if there would be a time that we could come and share the message of the restored gospel with him and his family and he said "well I've never given religion much thought but yeah you can come back on Monday." He was very nice and we were excited to come back and teach them. Walking away I was just jumping up and down I was so excited!! MIRACLE!! We had a lot of other miracles that day too but I'll just get right to yesterday at church. 

All week k was SO excited to go to church and to meet everyone!! And that morning at Ward Council I got to meet quite a few people and then one of the Bishops Councilors asked me if I would be willing to get up and bear my testimony/give a talk.......but I gladly accepted. He asked me to speak a little bit about the sabbath day. And once church started and after the sacrament was passed I was called up to "give my talk." and so I spoke about the most important thing that I could ever speak about and that is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To which I then bore my testimony of the Sacrament. Something I have learned and truly come to understand on my mission is the importance and sacredness of the Sacrament. I have met SO many people out here (members and nonmembers) who feel like they don't need to come to church because it's enough that they pray to God each day. Which is good too but the reason why we come to church is to strengthen our relationship with the savior and Heavenly Father. And one of the most important ways to do that is through the sacrament. Those few moments each Sunday where we are able to take the bread and water in remembrance of what the Son of God sacrificed himself for in our behalf. That perfect and infinite sacrifice that he made so that WE would have the opportunity to return and live with God again. I know now what a sacred experience the sacrament should be for us each Sunday and that is what it is for me. I feel closest during the week to my savior when I take the sacrament. I feel his love more fully and I appreciate his sacrifice he made for me more deeply. While I spoke I referenced Matt. 26 where the Savior is suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and when he asks His Apostles to sit and watch with Him. As He goes to bear every burden and every sin for everyone who would ever come to this earth. And He knew full well that He was the ONLY one that could do it, but He simply asked His Apostles to do the only thing that these mere mortal men could do, to sit and watch with Him that perhaps He might not feel so completely and entirely alone. But when He came back, He returned only to find that they had each fallen asleep. And the Savior asks them this questions, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?"...could they not at least wait with Him while He was suffering for them? And for ever other human being as well?...I related that to the sacrament as best as I could. Too often I feel that sometimes we don't always approach the sacrament like we should. Are we "spiritually asleep" while taking the sacrament? When we should be remembering exactly what the savior himself did for each and every one of us? I pray that we will all strive to approach the sacrament with a more humble attitude. And strive to strengthen our relationship with the Savior but trying to make the taking of the sacrament a spiritual experience every week. And also I'd like to point out that you young men who pass the sacrament, remember what a sacred privilege that is. To be the ones administering the sacrament to others and helping them to use the atonement. I bear my testimony that the power of the Atonement is real, and I pray that we will all strive to use it in our everyday lives. 
Ahh too many miracles and too little time! 
I love you all and I love this gospel more than anything!!
Until next week,

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