Monday, April 20, 2015

HALFWAY THERE-- wait whaaa?

This week has sufficiently been insane! I don't really know where to even start because I know that this will be a long one-- apologies in advance! 

April 23 will be my halfway mark in the mission and I honestly can't even believe it. It's really hard to explain time out here-- it feels like I blinked and I am already halfway, but at the same time, it feels like I have been out forever and this is just how life is going to be from now on. It is hard to explain and sometimes confuses me, but I think that is the best way I can describe it. I've definitely been having a lot of re-evaluations of my life though these past few days that are making me freak out a little bit. (Any other missionaries/RMs that have advice on how to handle this crazy mix of emotions would be gladly appreciated ;) 

But honestly I could not have asked for a better week to help me through this emotional little rollercoaster. So first of all my companions are the greatest people in the world for me right now. Hermana Johnson has been out 10 months and is an absolute powerhouse of a missionary. Hermana Davies came out with me and is sooo much fun I can honestly say having fun with her helps keep me sane. They knew each other before the mission, so we are all good friends now! This week they have been such a solid support system for me. 
Tuesday I had a hard day, and Wednesday I talked about it with Johnson and Davies and me and Hermana Davies just cried about it for a while- She felt the same way. We were both really overwhelmed with the idea of being halfway done with our missions and feeling like there was still so much improvements to be made with ourselves and not nearly enough time to actually be the kind of missionaries and people we wanted to. We both felt pretty inadequate for having been out here 9 months, and we had been struggling with motivation and positivity a bit. Yeah we were pretty hard on ourselves but we felt like all our thoughts like that were getting in the way of the work, so we felt selfish...etc. It was pretty bad. 
Our District Leader called us that night randomly and asked how we were, so we told him some of the struggles we had been having, and he said he would pray for us. We set the phone down to do nightly planning and right as we set it down, it started ringing again. It was the ASSISTANTS TO THE PRESIDENT. We answered and made awkward small talk for a minute and said that the real reason he called was because he had a spiritual thought for us. He told us that earlier today he was reading his scriptures and came across some verses that he knew he needed to share with someone but he didn't know who. So he pulled out a list of all the missionaries in all the areas and prayed about who to call... he chose to call us. Out of all the missionaries, he decided WE were the ones that needed a spiritual thought. The very day that we had an emotional breakdown feeling really down on ourselves. 
He read 2 Corinthians 4:5-9  
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, not of us. 
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. 
We are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken;
Cast down, but not destroyed. 
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 
He read those scriptures to us and told us he just felt like he needed to tell us that we were doing good work and that President was proud of us and loved us. I was blown away by how much Heavenly Father knows and loves each of His children. He knows exactly what we are going through and how He can help us feel loved. He inspired that AP to call us on the very day that we were at our lowest, to read to us a scripture that brought so much comfort to my heart. I am so grateful that Elder Mitchell didn't think twice about the inspiration he received- even though he has only met us one time, he wasn't afraid to call us and share what we needed to hear. I know that God's light HAS shined in my heart and that I am a servant of the Lord to preach Him--not myself. I was so grateful for that experience. 

We went to the temple as a zone the next day and I felt so much comfort and love. I found more scriptures that brought me so much peace and I really did feel guided to know what I needed to do and I felt like the temple was the place I needed to go to recommit myself to the Lord and tell Him that I was there to be His servant not to worry about myself. Since then things have gone much smoother. 

This week has really been a week full of miracles. On Friday we had a Zone Meeting about our commitment as missionaries (perfect topic) and specific prayers. It was amazing and I think the biggest thing that I learned and took out of it was that there are people who are prepared, and there are people who are going to need more time and I am here to find those people that the Lord has prepared! Angels are preparing the hearts of the children of men and God knows His children!! He knows who I need to teach and find so if I am committed to going where He wants me to go, thats when I will be able to more effectively share the Restored gospel with those prepared. After that zone meeting I went on exchanges and the day went terrible!!! Every lesson that was set was a member present, and they ALL fell through and we didnt teach anyone. We had even had a dinner set up that cancelled on us-- we were pretty discouraged, but we had said a specific prayer at the beginning of the day that we would find someone prepared to receive the gospel. So we tried a few more potentials, contacted a TON, and then at the end of the night we were exhausted and starving. We were just planning on going to a taco truck on the way home, but it had started to rain, so we went to a restaurant instead. We ate really fast so we could get home on time, and as we were eating the rain kept getting worse. By the time we walked out to leave, this guy stopped us and said, "you might not want to go out there--there are flood warnings and its pretty dangerous" We said thanks, started walking away, then I just felt like we might as well give this guy a card. So I asked if we could leave him with a card, and we gave him a Because He Lives card. He said to us, "I cant believe it. I have been praying for MONTHS that someone would come help me get my faith back. I am the last one living in my family, I'm not dumb enough to take my own life, but all I do is sleep, work and drink beer." When we talked to him, he said, "Ya know what? I don't even want to drink anymore, I'm going to go buy a water. You can throw my beer away, I am done with that" He gave us all of his return information and said we could come by the next day. 
So we tried to leave but Heavenly Father sent us right back in there. The rain was coming down in sheets, the parking lot was completely flooded and there was no way we were leaving. So we went over and started talking to him again. He told us that when we had initially given him the card, he was confused that we didn't try and share more of the message with him, and that left him with a little bit of doubts, thinking that if God really wanted him to hear the message, we would have shared it right there (missionary fail on our part). But then we talked to him while it was flooding outside-- we knew it wasn't a coincidence that we had met up that day after months of him praying for help. We knew that God loved this guy and wanted him to hear that. We taught him the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, and extended a baptism date right then and there-- and he accepted and was SO grateful! He said, "No one ever has invited me to do something so good." He described the Spirit he felt like a presence--like when you were in a room and felt someone there with their arm on your shoulder but you looked around and no one was there. Ricky had spent 20 years in prison and said that this was the first night since he had been out that he wouldnt go to bed drunk. We read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon with him and asked him what the last 2 paragraphs meant to him and he said, "Well it makes me feel sad for anyone who doesn't accept this". He was SO happy and it strengthened my testimony SO MUCH that there really are prepared people out there! We may think that we have things figured out (a day fulll of plans and lessons) but ultimately, God will take us where we need to go. (Ricky came to church on Sunday and was more happy than anyone else there) He is in the other ward, so the other Hermanas will be teaching him, but I will be there for his baptism for sure! 

The next day-- We were contacting in these massive apartment complexes and there was a guy ordering food at a taco truck. We said hi, then kept walking... a second later we heard him yell out to us and HE asked US if we had anything he could read. He just assumed we were church people and said he thinks he had been to our church before! His name is Rodrigo! (Hermana Davies and Johnson had said a specific prayer last transfer and had been telling members to pray for someone named Rodrigo-- they had gone a couple weeks praying for it, then kind of gave up hope. BUT WE FOUND RODRIGO!) The only thing is that he is going to Mexico at the end of this week-- it makes me wonder what would've happened if theyd found him when they started praying for him. He is so awesome though. :) 

And the last crazy miracle like that, we were going over to Edgar and Janet's and this guy yelled out to us from his car, so we went over to him. He said that a couple years ago he had been meeting with missionaries and going to church every Sunday, but then he had to go to Mexico. He talked about what ward he had been in and a bunch of the members, and then said that he wanted to come back to church! He just got back from Mexico and had lost contact with the missionaries but then we walked past! It was so coool talking to him and I am excited to see him progress and go to church :) 

We also contacted into a family of formers that are all super legit and I wish that I could tell you all about them-- we haven't taught them yet, but we met them, gave them our numbers and they called us and invited us to go over and eat with them!! I am stoked to meet all these new people that I really feel like have been placed in our path! 

I am sorry this got so long! It's been quite the week. I still can't believe I am already halfway done with the mission-- I feel like I never thought this would happen, and now here I am. I know I still have so much learning and growing to do, but I am enjoying every minute the best I can. The church is so true! It brings genuine happiness into our lives and changes people's natures. I am so grateful for this opportunity!!! Heavenly Father lives and loves us!! 
I love yall! Thanks for the support :) 
Hermana Rogers

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