Monday, November 18, 2013

At that moment of great alarm...

18 November 2013

Dear Family,

This week was pretty darn awesome! 

It was hard at first and is getting hard right now but, to put it in the terms of moms analogy, I definitely hit that wake during the middle of the week and had some great experiences. 

If there is something that I have learned on my is that God usually waits until that last minute of hope before he saves you.  Maybe it's that whole, "saved by grace, after all that we can do" concept.  Or maybe it's just like working out...those first few reps get you tired but don't make you's the last two after you don't think you can even do one more that breaks that muscle down so it can build back stronger.  Whatever the analogy...I have noticed that God will hold off on his "noticeable" divine help until you can't go any further, until you are just about done, until you just about can't take it any more...then there is always "subtle" divine help along the way, as we have been promised his constant companionship.  It always makes me think about the experience of Joseph Smith and the story of the first vision.  We all know what leads up to this story but this is something that I really feel is a principle of how God operates...   "at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

I have always been fascinated with this part of the story.  I think its amazing that one of the greatest events that has ever taken place on this earth, was preceded by an experience that had Joseph Smith inches from despair.  "At the very moment", "just at this moment", right when all else seemed lost is when that pillar of light (Heavenly Father) entered into young Josephs life and changed him forever. 
I have experienced this SO many times over the course of my mission, its crazy!  I realized this a long time ago, and sometimes it's frustrating to realize that you are struggling but you still have some time to go, some more effort to give, to get to that absolute last minute before His help comes. I hit that point this week.  It wasn't all that bad of a hard time but one that I was just tired working through. I hit that point this week, and then had some of the most spiritual experiences of my mission.  That light came into my view and I enjoyed it so so much!  Anyway...just a cool little thing I have learned over the course of my time in Ghana:), and something that I definitely experienced again this week. 

Mom, I don't think that I overlooked my answer to prayer in Koforidua.  It was more like I didn't really want to admit it that it was an answer because I didn't want to leave that place at all!  That answer helped me know it was coming but just didnt want it to admit it.  I realize now, that that answer was just like you said...was there to comfort me at a different time, which was now.

Things with Elder Nondala are going well.  We got into our first little argument the other night over some small misunderstanding.  Nothing too big, but we were both a little fired up. We got in the house and he sat down to plan and the only thing I could think in my head was, "there is no way that I am going to plan with him right now!" As I put something away in my closet, I had a little vision.  Earlier that same day...we had an amazing lesson.  The spirit was there, we were able to keep that spirit present through the entire lesson and really help our new friend, Cecilia, to come closer to Christ.  We were so happy!  The spirit was so strong!  And, after the lesson we just walked down the street together overjoyed. In my little vision...I saw us leaving our lesson that we had scheduled with that same woman the next day.  The spirit wasn't there. We were not happy.  The concerns that she had were not resolved.  And as we walked away, one of us was ahead of the other...and we were not happy in the slightest. At that moment...I almost began to cry.  I was so sad that all this had happened.  We were just starting to get things figured out and now things just wouldn't be the same.  But then it came to me... "just say sorry."  I paused for a minute, because I really felt that I hadn't done anything wrong.  I felt that I was actually the one that deserved an apology. But, because of this 'little vision'...I went back and sat down to plan.  As we did, I was filled with a love for Elder Nondala that I hadn't felt before.  It was infectious and it filled my entire body.  I knew that...yes, I was wrong for how I had handled the situation and I apologized. It wasn't something big or grand but I felt a burden relieved as I knew that our relationship had been saved and that we were back on that great path that we had been earlier that day.

The next day, we were walking down the road around that same area that we had contacted Cecilia and we got a phone call. 

It was Cecilia and she told us, "I have something I need to ask you, can you come to my house right now?"

Just by the tone in her voice, I knew something was wrong. 

As we arrived at her house, she was waiting outside holding the Restoration pamphlet that we had given her the day before.

She gave us a chair and we sat down.  She said, "Are you the Mormons?"

We told her that we were and she just said, "why? Why do you have to use this other book, why?!"

She continued to tell us that she had heard we were this and that and that she loved us...but hated our church.

We talked with her about her concerns.  As we did...that familiar spirit came into the lesson that we had felt the day before.  We, as missionaries, were guided by it.  Cecilia as a concerned investigator, was taught and comforted by it.

We left that lesson as happy as we had been the day before.  With one less Book of Mormon...and baptismal date for my new favorite investigator, Cecilia.

I am so grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, I have learned to use it more and more over the last few months than I have in my entire life! For not only the major wrong doings...but even for the small little arguments and mistakes of our day to day life. I know that the Atonement is there for us...and WILL take away the effects of sin.  We had contention in our companionship, and we were able to avoid the consequences of the next day by partaking of the great gift of the Atonement today. It filled each of us with a greater love for one another and healed that wound that we had caused.  I know the atonement works and that it is real. I love, appreciate, and understand it more and more each day. 

Ha ha yeah my companion does kind of have a fun name to say...Nondala. When he first got him, I had a hard time remembering it...but I realized it sounded kinda like Mandela, Nelson Mandela.  So that was my little story that I used to remember his name.  It kinda backfired on me during our second day.  It was one of our first lessons, and I introduced him as, "my new brother, Nelson Mandela..."  Man...I was so embarrassed, but it was hilarious!  His name is way fun to say when you add his first name...which is Bubele...Bubele Nondala...he's a great guy.

I loved the analogy of water skiing!  I was going to relate mission to water skiing this week as well....  Every year at Lake Powell, Dad will come up to the top of the house boat on about on the third day...early the morning and ask if I am ready to go out for the morning ski run.  And I will always reply, "I hurt too much."   And without fail...his reply is, "the best way to not be sore is to do it again!"  And it's true!  It works!  When you are sore and you keep going, you push through it, it gets easier and it doesn't hurt as much.  This week I was hurting spiritually.  I was on a high, physically...I was just tired of working!  I wanted to sleep in, I wanted to take a rest, my mind was so tired of thinking and worrying about this and that I just wanted a break.... But I thought of the water skiing, "the best way to not be sore is to do it again."  That's what I am doing, and as I push really does get better:).  Thanks Dad for teaching me lessons that you never even knew you were teaching:).

K...and now for some questions...

Most spiritual part of the week?
-Had an awesome lesson with Cecilia!  I'm about out of time but so I won't get into too much detail, but it was just one that I felt very close to the spirit and very guided by it

New contacting tactics?  Ward member relationships?
-just talk to as many people as possible!  We only got to watch 45 minutes of General Conference but I heard someone say, "Elders and Sisters, if you want more people to teach, you must talk to more people" so we are just going to contact like crazy this week and talk to everyone!

-I got one from Little Lexi, who is no longer so little, and holy let her drive!? 
Things with companion?  Roommates?
-things are good!
Funniest thing?
-there was a baptism for a man named Evans this week.  The bishop was giving a talk and he told him that he was reading about Nephi being asked to build a boat...and Evans, under his breath, goes, "actually that was Noah, but its okay!"  Totally serious.  It was hilarious! 

Also, we extended a baptismal date to a man named Eugene and his response was, "well I don't want to go to Hell, so yeah!  I'll be baptized!"  Well, may not too funny...but I got a kick out of it.

Pday fun?
- I went for a run this morning, that was kinda nice.
What are you grateful for this week?
-the companionship of the spirit and the Atonement

Dad you asked how many people we have in the district, We have four sisters and four elders.  It's going pretty well.  Our district is in a bit of a slump right now in terms of numbers...but we are climbing :).

Well, I love you all so much.  Take care of yourself, keep reading The Book of's awesome!  Zack enjoy the new companion...I am praying for ya like crazy!

Love you all.  Thinking about you like crazy.  Praying for you constantly,


PS...(from Kim)...Here is the analogy that we sent both our missionaries this seemed to fit!

Here's a fun analogy for you...
This mission can be related to a water skier...actually more like Grandpa Bradshaw water skiing, you'll see what I mean here in a minute.  When you was like when you jump into the cold water at Lake takes a minute to be able to breathe (in my case) and you move around and warm-up and soon your are comfortable...that was you at the MTC.  Little bit of a shock...but you adapted and were comfortable. 

When you left for the 'real' was like when you say "hit it!" when you are holding on to the end of the rope behind the boat.  First thing that happens after that is that you get pulled under water and have to fight it for a while, water going up your nose...getting sprayed and pulling with all the strength that you have...and then finally coming up out of the water, still a little unstable and shaky...and then finally, you begin to plane...and you begin to look around and see the scenery and it becomes a little easier just staying behind the boat.  Now...I'm going to add here that there will be times when you make a deep cut and have to hold on tighter because there will be more pressure and more resistance, but then will come out of that deep cut and fly again.  And that, my my analogy of your far.  You are up and behind the are just in a really deep cut right out...the wake is coming up!

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