Kamusta ulit mga minamahal!
Seriously I wish I knew Tagalog. Or Spanish. Or something, I just want to learn another language. I'll get learn one someday. I keep asking Sister Abana to translate things for me and I think she's getting tired of it haha. Anyway, this week...was a week! But we had another mini-missionary with us this week though. Her name is Sister Ramirez and she is from Vineland, NJ. It was so fun to have her with us! She is 16 and is planning on serving a mission. And I was just so impressed with her. This week the kids in Jersey didn't have school for a few days and so instead of spending her time off hanging out with her friends and what not she decided to come on a mini mission! She came on Wednesday night and stayed with us until yesterday after church. And we had lots of fun having her with us and we saw a few miracles too.
This week we had Zone Training and after Zone Training President and Sister Sikahema came to feed us all again. And I just love them. They are such amazing people. After we ate lunch we all had the opportunity to sit around and listen to President Sikahema share with us some things about his mission that he learned and things he still uses from him mission. And he spoke of how precious his mission was and is to him. He said that there is not a day that has gone by that he has not thought about something he has gained or learned from his mission. It was such a pleasure to be instructed by him again. He is a very humble man with a big heart and a strong testimony. And he also had a big part to play in the purchasing of the grounds of the Philadelphia temple. I'd invite you too look that story up on lds.org. It's a good story.
And cool experience too...so on Friday it is our weekly planning day. So after having a few lessons and then weekly planning...we decided to go out and do some finding again. We were in this one neighborhood and it was dark. And New Jersey is very woodsy so there's tons and tons of trees in our area. So anyway I was driving and as I was driving I noticed a woman walking on he side of the road by herself. I drove passed and then I had a thought that said, "you should go talk to her." I sat for a moment wondering about the prompting that just came and then it came again, "go talk to her." I thought that it would be weird because it was so dark outside. But it came again. "Go talk to her." So with that I obeyed and turned around we quickly got out to hopeful cross paths with her when we were just in time. I called out to her in a lighted area and we began talking with her. She was a kind woman and she introduced herself as Nicole and said she was from Russia. We got to talking with her and she said she attends a Russian Orthodox Church in Philly. When I introduced ourselves she said she'd never heard of the name of the church before and when I mentioned The Book of Mormon she said, "oh my gosh! That's so funny, my significant other was raised Mormon and he is from Arizona. He's not active but his family is and they are wonderful." She said that she has had a lot of interaction with the church throughout her life and loves how focused the church is on family. At first she said that she wouldn't really be interested but then I mentioned to her about The Family: A Proclomation To The World and invited her to read and she accepted. From this experience I just thought how funny it is how many times the lord has sent his spirit to prompt me to talk to someone only to find that that certain someone is themselves or is close to someone of the church who is not active. That has happened to me so many many times. And it just proves to me that the Lord will keep reaching out to his children who have fallen away. It reaffirmed to me the pattern of love and concern that the lord has and always will follow in reaching out to his children no matter what. And we will hopeful get to know them better! I'll keep you posted!
Then yesterday at church it was one of the best sacrament meetings I've had! It was a little different. The topic was about the importance of music and worship and someone got up and gave a short talk on the hymn they chose and then the congregation stood and we all sang that hymn. It was cool and so spiritual! And after church when Sister Ramirez left the family that came to pick her up has a daughter serving in the Roseville Ca mission. Her name is Sister Spears and she is serving in Roseville I guess. She also served in Lincoln. So look out for a sister Spears there!
And shortly I just want to take a minute to talk about the spirit real quick. And to share a pen experience I had yesterday. From the beginning of my mission though I have sought to try to recognize and understand the spirit. And I'm still learning. But I have gotten better. But an experience I had yesterday helps me to illustrate my point.
Last night we were in Mt. Holly preparing for an appointment we had. So we parked on High St. which is like the main st. Anyway, if you recall a few weeks ago I mentioned about one of our investigators with a date who like went totally anti and was saying awful things to us...yeah well yesterday was the day she was suppose to be baptized so it was a little bit of a sad day. But anyway, we were sitting there last night on high st. And that is right where this former investigator lives. It was dark by this time and also mind you we had been trying to contact her forever until she started saying horrible things to us. And for a while we didn't know if she still even lived there. But last night in the middle of my talking to Sister Abana I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Dawn (which is her name) walking up the sidewalk. I got all excited and my first instinct was the get out of the car and run up to her and ask her what happened. I was so excited to see her that I wanted to jump out of the car and talk to her right away. And right as I put my hand on the door handle to open the car door I felt the most subtle thought that stopped me and said "no." I immediately stopped and watched her walk inside. I thought, "well that was weird. Did I just postpone a prompting? Or worse, ignore one?" But then I realized that this was different. I now KNOW that for whatever reason that was the spirit warning me. And telling me not to talk to her. I don't know why. But I knew that whatever happened to her to dissuade her from learning about the gospel, it was not something good. And it would not have been good for us to get involved with it. I do t really know how to describe it but I know that that was different from just postponing a prompting. It was one of the most clear warnings from the spirit I've ever had. And it felt different too. I didn't understand it right away and I don't even know why I was not to speak to her last night but the spirit spoke and I obeyed.
I share this experience to make this point; we NEED to learn to listen to the spirit. Because it will guide us safely back to our Heavenly home. It will protect us. It will warn us. It will lead us along the straight and narrow path. We need to learn To recognize it. To understand it. There is an entire chapter in preach My Gospel devoted to this subject for which I am eternally grateful. And it's not just called "feeling the spirit." It's called "Recognizing and Understanding the Spirit." Because the spirit speaks to all of us in different ways. I love being a missionary one reason because of the spirit that I feel daily. I'm still learning how to recognize it, and I am striving daily to remain worthy of it. We NEED the spirit in everything that we do. One of my favorite verses in The Book of Mormon that describes what the spirit sounds like is in Helaman 5:30-31
"30 And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul--
31 And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse--"
And another verse from 3 Nephi 11:3,
"3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn."
I just love how it is described as a still small voice. I invite you all to strive to remain worthy, or of need be to become worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It is the best feeling in the world to have the spirit with you. I love this gospel and my savior and Heavenly Father with all that I have and am.
Love you all!! Until next week!
~Sister Amy Elizabeth Callaway~