Sunday, June 22, 2014


JUNE 9, 2014


   Seriously!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am still freaking out! Ever since mom mentioned that I had a surprise coming for me I was trying to figure it out. I finally got it down to a guess, but let me tell you -- I wasn't even close AND THE NEWS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE DREAMED OF!! Actually, my companion totally guessed it before I did! Ha ha! But luckily she just said, "Oh I THINK I know what it is!" So it was totally a surprise. My outburst of joy the second I read it was so much fun! I don't think I can imagine being any happier! I can't wait until I get to meet him!
   So this week was very interesting! Ha ha, I guess it always is interesting but still that is just the perfect word to describe this week!
   So our favorite family Arcelia and clan are doing wonderful! BIG NEWS! Arcelia might just actually be a member! Ha ha! Who knew?! When we first were meeting with her almost 3 months ago she said that she hadn't been to church (that she knew of) since she was 5 when she would go with her great grandma. On Friday, we taught the third lesson 'The Gospel' and were explaining what a baptism was like to her kids and she said, I really think I might be a member! She then explained the baptism and it sounded just like the Restored way of doing a baptism! We are working on finding her records now!
   Hermana Walton and I were talking about it and we decided that it is the biggest blessing to have her already be a member! We learned that her husband doesn't just dislike Mormons, he just dislikes anyone who isn't "Christian." He returns from working in North Dakota in about two weeks and we can't wait to meet him officially and tell him the glad news about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families! Having Arcelia already a member will help out because she can testify that everything we do is focused on Jesus Christ and what it means to her to be a member!
   The Lord really does have a plan for us! As I was thinking about this whole situation I just really felt so grateful that because two missionaries 20 years ago baptized a sweet little 11 year old, two more missionaries are able to work with her and her family and help them get to the temple. Especially exciting is Arcelia's daughter Michelle. Michelle might be one of my most favorite people in the entire world! She is 15 years old, knows Spanish and English perfectly, and really is one of the most amazing youth I have ever met! I feel like Hermana Walton, Michelle and I are best friends forever! When we taught about baptism, she took the picture we were showing to her siblings and held it and looked right at it for the rest of the lesson. You could just tell that she REALLY wants to follow Christ's example. 
   Please pray that we can have the right words to say to Arcelia's family as her husband comes home. I can tell that Heavenly Father is rooting for them to get to the temple! 
   It is quite peculiar how the Lord has guided us to multiple of the same situations! We are currently praying for MULTIPLE families where one spouse is completely excited about the Gospel and the other will have nothing to do with it. It is a hard situation to be in! Especially as a missionary! All I want to do is let them hear the gospel and have them be united by its spirit, but we have to be respectful of those who are just not ready yet. Sometimes it is kind of hard because I just don't know what to do! Hermana Walton and I are praying hard and we are getting answers! We really are depending on the Lord with each step we take!
   On Saturday we met with one of the families that are in this situation. Abel and Maria were baptized into the Church in their 20's in Mexico but haven't been to church in countless years. Abel is the Spanish speaker we miraculously got his number for and he is so excited to hear from us every time we call him. He showed up to church on Sunday even when his wife tried to stop it from happening. On Saturday, we had an appointment set up so we went over with our favorite missionary mom -- Hermana Torres (the wife of our Ward Mission Leader who really is the mom of all the missionaries in the Branch). We planned to teach the Restoration focusing on how the Gospel blesses families and help Maria to realize the joys the Gospel will bring to her family as she comes back. But when we got there Maria was gone and because Abel gets really sick sometimes, he was asleep, but their son (whom we have never met) answered the door.
   Ha ha, I was my awkward self as usual and in meeting Aaron, the son, I started spouting out all the random facts I have gathered about him before even introducing myself! Ha ha! It caught his attention though! I said, "Oh, you must be Aaron! How was graduating from High School yesterday!" And also about five other random details that he was super confused that I knew about. Well, he went on to tell us how his parents wouldn't be able to meet with us, but then he said the best phrase ever, "But could you tell me a bit about what makes your church what it is?" I said, "Yes, we sure can if you let us in!"
   WE WENT IN! Aaron went on to tell us how his member friend had been telling him about the church two weeks ago! What his friend had been saying really caught his attention. He told us about how in the moment he was really confused by all the different churches and how he is searching to find what God really wants him to know. He says that he likes reading the Bible, but he is just nervous that it was translated too many times and he wants to feel that it has all of God's truth We taught him about the Book of Mormon and all through the lesson he said, "This makes so much sense! I have been looking for a way to find God's word in a pure form!" He also said, "I have heard that when you read the Book of Mormon you can find all the answers to life's questions and not always just by the words you read, but by thoughts that come to your head. And, I heard that as you read it you feel this good, bright happy feeling."
   Basically, Hermana Walton and I were having the time of our life teaching this lesson! We just basically got to testify to everything he was saying! But in the middle of it, his mom came home. We immediately stopped the lesson to invite her over to join, but she wasn't happy. I felt so bad! She declined to come over. Afterward I felt so uneasy about it. After leaving the lesson, we were talking to someone on the street and she walked past heading to the park.
   After finishing speaking to the woman on the street, I turned to ask Sister Walton if we should go and apologize to Maria. We went to talk to her and she told us that she doesn't want us coming over to the house. We just promised her blessings from the gospel and asked her permission to visit with her husband and she would be invited to join with us anytime. She declined and we just kept testifying, but she was firm.
   On Sunday I was a bit upset. I wondered if we just hadn't gone over to apologize, could we have scheduled a lesson and had her feel the spirit of the Restoration again and not have burned any bridges. (Now, looking back at my thoughts, I know that I shouldn't have been thinking like that.) Luckily, Hermana Torres was the speaker in Sacrament meeting and she quoted one of my absolutely favorite talks from Conference and said every single word I needed to hear right then. She talked about how we can only be an example for those around us and we can't force anyone to do anything. We also can't think that we are solely responsible for helping others back to Heavenly Father. That is Jesus Christ's role and we are just His servants in this beautiful work! 
   During the talk she also talked about the lesson with Aaron. She helped me remember just how amazing the lesson was and I have confidence that the Lord is going to help him get to church, even though we can't go to their house right now. The Lord WILL find a way!
   I love this work! I love my family! I love my Savior. At the end of my life, there are only 2 things I really want to do in Heaven that will make it Heaven to me. I want to give the biggest hug to each of my family member and Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. That would be Heaven!
   I know that is what the Lord has planned! So... I am one blessed little soul!
   Hermana Phipps
PS We passed Francisco on to the Elders. His apartment only holds 5 people max and therefore it was impossible for us to bring Brothers from the ward as fellowship! It is for the best!!       

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