Well hello there my darling family. (:
(side note: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAL!!!!!!!!! I don't know if you read this, but just in case...Enjoy your 22nd birthday...I LOVE YOU! Hopefully my little, makeshift card arrived on time.)
This week has been so great. Hard. And emotionally trying. And disappointing. And frustrating. That all comes with missionary work. But it has still been great. I see the hand of God. I see Him working in the lives of those that we meet. I see Him working in my life to help me.
Here in South Euclid we meet so many people who are willing to at least talk to us. They, for the most part, love Jesus. Even the Buddhist man we met Saturday let us right in to his house to talk with him and his elderly mom a little bit about The Book of Mormon. (turns out, he did most of the talking...but that's okay...he now has The Book of Mormon and wants to read it.)
The trial? Follow through. The perks of serving in the ghetto, as they say.
We will open up our planners to days fully planned with appointments.
Unfortunately, we are lucky if one or two of them actually go through.
This week, however, our persistence was justified. We met with a ton of people that we have been trying to see for like....three weeks. People who had cancelled appointments or simply stood us up. And we finally we met with them! It was awesome! Just when I felt like giving up on them, Heavenly Father pushed me one more time. "Don't give up on my children. They are precious in My eyes. They are imperfect, just like you are...give them one more chance."
We finally met with "Mandy". 21. College student. Loves to party. But really wants to strengthen that relationship with God. She knows the influences at home and within her friend group are not helping in that desire. She wants to fill her life with things that bring her closer to God.
"Sue". A single mom. Son-Bryan (11). Daughter-Simone (8). Simone was one of the precious girls we met in the apartment complex a few weeks ago. Angela's relationship with God is strong. She knows prayers are answered because of some very powerful experiences (ex. strangers giving her money when she was wondering how she would get food for her kids; getting custody of her children...) Her children know very little about God because Angela wants them to make their own decision. But, Simone really wanted us to come, so she allowed. OH MY GOSH I LOVE THEM!! These children are so smart. SO SO smart. and kind. and respectful. and..can I keep them?! Seriously, they melt my heart. Their questions were so sincere. As we were leaving, Simone quietly stated with great excitement, "I am going to start reading...right.now." Angela has some hesitations but is also excited to meet again. Experiences in the past have led her to be closed to people and religion. But she said she has a lot to think and pray about...which is great. As we really take time to ponder and pray, Heavenly Father can then reveal truth to us! I know that is what will happen with sweet Angela!
"Jan". Also a single mother. Javiana and Jazzman from last week. Her life seems crazy. Her kids are crazy...but I love them, too. They are so excited about God and following Him.
Anyways, all I am trying to say is...I love these people. I am so glad Heavenly Father never gives up on us. He is willing to give us chance after chance after chance. I am sure sometimes He gets a bit frustrated (just like I am sure you, Mom and Dad, have been frustrated with me before
), but all He desires is for us to be HAPPY!!! The commandments He gives us through prophets, modern and ancient, are only to help us attain happiness. I KNOW that.
All I want to do is help other people know that. Alas, I can not force any one...they must experience this truth themselves. Just like I had to.
I love love love love love love LOVE you.
PS. HAPPY VALENTINES DAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS. I will try really hard to send pictures next week...these computers are funky and perhaps not compatible with my camera? I don't know......anyways, I love you!