Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dear family,

With all the P-day craziness last week, I totally forgot to give y'all the full low-down on all things Shirley. Man, I love her. She was raised by a physically and emotionally abusive mom who she ran away from at the age of 14. She spent about a year in a homeless shelter before making her way over to her father in Frankenstein, who converted to Mormonism while Shirley was living with her mom. Although inactive, his first thought was "Shirley needs to learn about the church!!" So he called the missionaries over. About a year passed with little progress towards baptism, and in one last attempt to "save" her, the elders handed her over to us...and the rest is history (: Getting to know that girl and being a part of her conversion process will definitely remain one of the highlights of my mission. She's more like a sister than an investigator—a lifelong friend, no doubt. 

And now for this week’s miracles... 

On Thursday, we were on a train today headed out to Eisenbach-Matzenbach to contact a referral. We sat down next to and talked with a guy from Thailand, who was visiting a friend in Kaiserslautern and was heading back home to Saarbrucken. We had to get off at Landstuhl to switch trains (which I've done about 100 times), and about 20 minutes into our conversation I noticed the train was stopped. So, I looked outside to make sure we weren't in Landstuhl and then kept talking because we weren't.


As the train started moving, I looked out the window again just in time to see the big "Landstuhl" sign behind us...not only had I not recognized this place that I've been to at least 6000 times, but I hadn't heard it called over the train intercom either. Thank goodness, because at that point we hadn't asked him for contact information or anything...we would have hopped off the train and he would have been gone and that would have been no bueno...which the Lord knew...so He worked his divine intervention magic and kept us on that train a little longer. (: Before getting off at the next stop about 30 seconds away, we got his email and number and he agreed to meet up with the missionaries in his area!!! 

Pretty sweet, huh?!? 
Haha, Just wait 'til you hear this next one. 

Last week, the elders over in Ramstein gave us the name and number of a lady who lives a couple villages down from them (they only work with Americans, so any Germans they find get handed over to us or the elders). We called her and set up an appointment...which went down in history as the most incredible lesson. On earth. Ever. 

I know what I'm about to tell you sounds...made up? Staged? Like we were being hoaxed? But I swear to you it was legit. Ready? Okay. 

We sat down and asked her about her religious background and she explained that she and her husband were Catolish, but her kids are Evangelish because she doesn't believe in people being baptized as babies. "It's a decision we should make when we're responsible to make it," she said "and babies are definitely not responsible." Her kids chose for themselves which religion they wanted to associate with...and we were like "oh my goodness, how neat! We believe that exact thing". 

Then she began to express some frustrations she has with her denomination. The church has so much money, and none of it goes to help the poor and needy. She said "you have the church leaders sitting on tons and tons of cash, while so many of their followers have absolutely nothing." Umm...fast offerings, anyone!? 

Then we talked about God, bore testimony that he's the literal father of our spirits with a body of flesh and bone. To which she responded "yes! The Catolish church teaches the trinity, but I've always known God and Christ were two different beings. And the scriptures teach that Christ is the express image of God...and Christ had a body, so of course God has a body, too!" Sister Whicker and I just looked at each other, wide-eyed and opened mouthed, with “did she really just say that?” expressions plastered on our faces. 

Then we started talking about prophets. We asked her if she believed the prophets she read about in the Bible were called of God and guess what she said… "Yes! Of course! And I believe there are prophets today, too!" then Sister Whicker and I paused, thinking she was going to go off on some crazy tangent about some next door neighbor prophet person, so we asked her who she believes the prophet(s) to be, to which she responded with something along the lines of "I don't know...but there must be. Why wouldn't God call prophets for us today when He has in the past? I WAS LIKE OHHHHHHH MY GOSH SOMEONE PINCH ME THERE IS NO WAY THIS LADY IS REAL.

But wait. It gets better. Finally, we got to (wait for it) JOSEPH SMITH. We began explaining who he was...and then Frau Perfect (Pretty fitting nickname, huh?) chimed in. 

"He...he lived in the country, didn't he?" 
"Yeah!" We responded. 
"And he was a farmer. And his family was really poor." 
“Yes, exactly...have you been reading about him?" We asked. 
"No....somehow I just know. He...he had a vision or something, didn't he?" 

...What was my reaction, you may ask?

I burst out laughing. 

Oh my gosh I'm such a mess. 
Don’t judge me. 

It was just the most ridiculously amazing lesson ever and all my excitement and bewilderment came out in the form of giggles (which I'm sure made a really, really good impression). 

Once I got a hold of myself, we showed a little bit of the restoration video, and afterwards asked her how she felt while she was watching it. And she said "This all just sounds so familiar to me—like this isn't the first time I'm hearing it." Then she asked us what she had to change in order to become a member. She doesn't smoke or drink (and I quote: "you're not in control when you do those things!!!"), she believes in being chaste...you name it, SHE ALREADY BELIEVES IT. I literally looked at her and was like "nothing. You have to change nothing, you are perfect." Hahaha she really is, though!!! We invited her to be baptized, and she said that she'd read in the Book of Mormon and pray to know if she's found the truth and then would most definitely be baptized if the answer is yes!!! AND IT WILL BE SO UMMM I THINK THIS CALLS FOR A CELEBRATION. 

I know that story sounds way too good to be true...BUT I SWEAR IT WAS REAL LIFE!!! goshhhhhh it was amazing. Alma 16:16-17 sums up EXACTLY what happened: 

16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming-- 
17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God. 

The Lord is opening minds and softening hearts!!! He's pouring out his spirit upon his children!! People are receiving his word with joy, so don't be afraid to share it!!!! 

I love y'all lots!! 
Hope you have a great week!!(: 



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