WEEK ONE OF THE THREE MOST AMAZING WEEKS EVER
JUNE 2nd 2014
We Are Not Made For Endings!
In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions -- temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.
Sunday, after church, Hermana Walton and I walked right to the car, sat down, and sat in complete silence for about 10 seconds. The silence was soon cut short though because our excitement had to burst through the air! Let me just say, yesterday was unbelievable. It really put me in shock quite honestly. Every 5 seconds for the rest of the day, I kept turning to Hermana Walton and asking her, did this all really just happen? Here is the story:
The weekend of General Conference, almost two months ago, we received the worst text Hermana Walton and I have ever received. Arcelia, who might just be the most amazing person I have ever met, texted us saying that her husband had sent her an Anti-Mormon website and she wouldn't be talking with us anymore. This text came during the very first talk on Saturday morning and we had members arranged to pick her up for the next session. Our hearts broke, Hermana Walton and I couldn't hold back our tears. Arcelia and Michelle, during our first lesson with them told us they wanted to be baptized and we set a date. They both already had a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Then, all of a sudden, she was slipping out of our hands.
I was so anxious the rest of that day after the text, I just felt heartbroken. But then I remembered watching President Uctdorf's talk, "Grateful in Every Circumstance" and the words from my Heavenly Father entered right into my heart. I was refusing the idea that we wouldn't be meeting with Arcelia anymore. It seemed so unfair to me. Then a wave of comfort came. I started to understand that this wasn't the end for Arcelia and I needed to be so grateful to be part of her beginning. I am so grateful for prophets and how we hear the Lord's voice through them!
The words from that day have already proved to be true.
ARCELIA CAME TO CHURCH THIS SUNDAY!
I don't even know how this happened!
Oh wait, yes I do, the Lord is in the details of our lives!!
Here is how it happened! (All because of the Hand of the Lord, I would have given up much sooner.)
Tuesday we had an appointment set with a new investigator that we were 95% sure was going to go through. During planning the night before we felt that we should put Arcelia down as the back up plan.
We decided to go and visit Arcelia. We figured that either a miracle or a catastrophe would happen from this visit. Luckily it was a miracle! Arcelia opened the door, ushered us into her house, and started spewing off about all of her problems in life and how they got way, way worse once we stopped coming by. She was like, "Why haven't you come by for two months?!" Ummm... well, it was because you told us to not come by again, was my thought. She just continued on about how she is going to stop with the excuses and she knows she needs to come to church. Saturday night rolls around though and Arcelia texted us about how she wasn't going to go to church and we were so bummed. (Satan does anything to stop the best from coming!) We promised her that she would feel peace and I absolutely loved her reply. She said, "You know what, I'm coming." OH YEAH!! But I was still nervous that she wouldn't come. We had told her we would come by at 8 am to help her gather everything together for church and after texting and calling her to see if there was anyway she could come, but without a response we decided to still go by at 8. So we decided to knock. She answered and we asked, "Are you going to come to church?" Everyone was still in pajamas, and not meaning to sound rude, but she did look exhausted and so I was nervous that she was going to say no. However, she said yes with no hesitation!
We got there and she LOVED IT!! Not only that, but she got up and bore her testimony! She bore testimony that she knew Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is where she needed to be. She said, I know this is the perfect place for my family five different times! She invited everyone in the congregation to stop with the excuses because she knew that was something she needed to work on. She even closed, "In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen." To say the least, I was on cloud 9! Oh, and I almost forgot! In her testimony she was talking about how she is a less-active member but that she is going to be here every week. Ha ha, she is not even a member! I was pretty much dying laughing in my seat! I'm still confused on how she knows all of the Mormon lingo like "less active" and things of that sort. But hey, I can't complain! Long story short, everyone in the branch is obsessed with the newest family to come to the Branch!!
Now going back a few days... So, I'm going to do a re-cap of a whole lot of background information so you can all understand the immensity of the next miracle that happened! We received a Spanish referral from two different sets of missionaries at two different times, but he was crazy and then never home the other times we stopped by. One time when we stopped by, our potential's homeless friend was outside his door, we talked to him and had a lesson with him, and then the homeless friend gave us his number. We needed his number so we could call him back in a few hours to get the number of his friend, our potential, because we didn't have it. So when we called the homeless guy a Spanish speaker answered the phone. CRAZY RIGHT?! The Spanish guy's name is Abel and he was actually baptized in Mexico before moving here. We have set up times to meet with his family but they are never home or his wife is crazy mean and tells us to go away. So we called him on Wednesday to try and to set up something and he told us that it would have to be at church on Sunday because his wife doesn't want us in their house. Meet you Sunday... at church! Yes, just come to Church! He was SO PUMPED to come to Church! We told him that we would pass by at 8:30 so he and his daughter could follow us to church. Saturday night we called to remind him, but his wife answered the phone and told us that he wouldn't be home Sunday morning so we didn't need to pass by. She hates us. Anyways, we were so sad! So back to Sunday -- we were sitting in Relief Society and there is only 5 minutes left when the Elders look through the door and motion us to come out right now. We walked out to find the Elders standing with ABEL!! Abel introduced himself to us and my jaw probably hit the floor. He asked us why we didn't stop and we told him that we had called his phone and that his wife answered and told us not to come. He just kind of laughed and turned to the Elders and said, "Like I was saying, my wife doesn't want to come to church." Anyways, his wife was sitting out in the car and so we went and said HI to her. (Apparently, after leaving Mexico and coming here they went to church and got offended and so that is why they never came after.) She was really hesitant talking to us but we were just so excited! We asked her if we could give her a hug before she left. What did she do? She gave a big, dramatic, annoyed sigh and got out of the car so we could give her a hug. It was great!! We then turned to Abel and he took my hand with both of his hands and gave me the biggest, most happiest handshake ever with both of his hands AND THEN HE HUGGED ME. I was still in shock from the amazing day and the miracles to where I was slightly mortified, yet cared less at the same time. We have an FHE Activity tomorrow. We are excited to take them.
SO... This Story was long, so I borrowed half of it from Hermana Walton -- I love how she writes!
I wish I had like 20 hours to tell you all the amazing details! Arcelia is acting like a well seasoned member! During Relief Society she signed up to feed the Missionaries, signed up to bring a crock-pot of soup to the Stake Conference, and answered all the questions! Abel, came to church on his own! These things only happen because the Lord is so amazing and so merciful.
Moral on the story of my mission life... Be Patient!! Have FAITH!! The Lord has His work moving forward and no one is going to get lost along the way! Even though I don't understand how, Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. I love this Work! I love the Spirit! I love the Scriptures and I Love sharing it ALL everyday!!
I love my family, thank you for being the BEST! Shout out to Amy and Jon... Have fun in EUROPE!!
Love, Hermana Phipps
PS... Never, ever, ever, ever, ever entertain anti-mormon thoughts EVER! Not for a moment. Never listen or read them. They have an Evil Spirit about them (which makes sense because the source is definitely not from our Loving Heavenly Father). I know I can feel the difference when we talk to an investigator after they have been reading anti-mormon literature. It is scary honestly.
OH!... And Francisco is still doing so GREAT!! He is heading toward Baptism!!