Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Nauvoo always takes some wiggling into before things settle, especially when all the missionaries are moving in and there really is not a schedule or routine to settle into. But most of the hubbub is over and we're getting closer and closer to putting on our Sunday night sociable for all of Nauvoo (June 20th ) and then Pageant. Sister Ludwig and President Ludwig are amazing. The Seniors are outstanding and each Sister here (and each missionary) is here for a reason. There is always something new to learn and something old to change. Such is life. Speaking of changes, this is the last week of this transfer. I can't believe transfers are already here. Chances are that the Lord will be splitting up Sister Cordoba and I. I love her. We may not be companions through all this but we will be dear friends for the rest of our lives. Maybe I can convince her to teach my children Spanish.
I have been very specific in my prayers lately, and very candid also. It has been a very sacred experience. I feel like my relationship with Him is more defined and that I have moved closer to Him in my life. My testimony of prayer has grown immensely.
This week has been an incredible week, but I am at a loss as to what exactly I could share with you.
The interview that I had with President Ludwig was a very interesting one. I didn't have much to talk to him about, but he had thought of some things he wanted to talk to me about. He asked me questions that required me to look back on my entire mission and it was quite the experience. I appreciated the opportunity. He asked me about the ways in which I had changed. There are so many. He had me pick three. Then he listed some things that he had observed. It was an incredible experience to have and I am so grateful for priesthood leaders. I am so grateful and blessed to be born at a time period on which the priesthood, the authority to act in God's name, is on the earth today and causing truth to go forward at an unreal pace. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that we have a prophet today, and that God is in the details of our lives. He loves us so much. He will provide the way, but we need to take it.
I love you all. I know that this letter is short, but it is how I am feeling at the moment. Thank you for your prayers. I feel them everyday. I feel and see them answered.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
We went to the temple today. We didn’t go last week because on p-day it looked as though we would be able to attend on Thursday. As the week played out however, it didn’t work out that way. We were able to at least go and stay for a very short time, but we didn’t have time for a whole session. I was so thankful to even be there, but I had planned out a whole study that was going to be awesome. I was SO thankful to be back in the temple today, doing a session. I did do my study. It was very insightful, but the best thing about the temple today was seeing Bonnie. I met Bonnie this week in the Visitor’s Center before a showing of “High Hopes”. I noticed her over many of the other visitors, which is what caused me to go strike up a conversation. She had told me that she liked the history here and that it was all “very interesting”, but that she had no expectations for her stay here. I felt very impressed to change her view, which was weird to feel because I didn’t think she had a horrible view by any means, but I heeded the prompting and told her that it was not adequate to simply expect to hear interesting things. She should be expecting a spiritual experience here. She was entitled to it! What’s more, Heavenly Father wanted her to have one here. I committed her to pray for one, to pray to have her heart open and to pray to recognize the spirit more acutely in Nauvoo. I walked away feeling a little bold, especially to be demanding such behavior from someone so my senior, but I ultimately felt content about what had been said. Every person in Nauvoo SHOULD expect something great, even life changing from their visit here, no matter the duration. Two hours later the next “High Hopes” was going to start and I was seating for it. She walked by me and her name tumbled out of my mouth, “Hi Bonnie!”. Her face lit up and she waved as she was ushered around the corner. I was surprised how quickly I had remembered her name. It hadn’t really even felt like me saying it. It was confirmed to me later, when she found me after the play to thank me for remembering her name, that it was not I who had drawn it from my lips. It had meant a lot to her, or at least it seemed like it had. I momentarily reflected on how mindful God is of his children and their needs and how wonderful it is to be able to help Him in reminding them of that. I never would have known, when I asked for her name, that it would later be something of worth to her. But God did. Anyway, getting back to this morning... I saw her at the temple! She was in my session and I made a point to say hello and ask how she was doing as we left, “Hello Bonnie! How are you?”. We ended up walking out of the building together. Sister Cordoba and I stopped to talk with her for a little bit and she welled up with tears. She went on to explain what a wonderful session it was for her. She had had a very powerful spiritual experience towards the end. She mentioned her and her husband’s recent call as ward temple missionaries and that her father had passed away recently. I couldn’t exactly understand what in prayers had been answered, but she hugged me and thanked me for asking her to pray for a spiritual experience while she was here. She said she never would have asked for one had I not taken the time to tell her to do so. It was a very humbling experience. I think that as missionaries, especially as Nauvoo missionaries, we forget, or fail to realize, the power of our influence. I felt so blessed to first, be able to be an instrument in His hands and second, to be shown a bit of the results of being bold, and heeding the promptings of the spirit.
Another wonderful experience that I had in the Visitor’s Center was with a man named Jason. He is the only member of his family who is not a member. He was very candid about it. As we got to talking I was able to testify of so many truths to him, particularly of the Book of Mormon and eternal families. His wife has taken him to many of the Church history sites, but he has never been to the sacred grove - Where Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I told him that I wanted to go there someday. He mentioned that it might be cool and we talked about how strong the spirit must be there. I told him that I wanted him to e-mail me when he went to tell me how it was. He then told me that he probably wouldn’t make it before I did, so instead we exchanged e-mails and made a pact, who ever makes it there first has to e-mail the other one and tell them how it was. He also had mentioned that he had started the Book of Mormon what felt like hundreds of times. I told him to read 3Nephi 11 and to pay attention to how he felt as he read. Sister Cordoba and I were both able to have a wonderful conversation with him about the Gospel and how it blesses families and double testify of every principle we taught. It was fantastic! And, I have even more incentive to go to the Sacred Grove after my mission now. I am praying that he reads and follows the spirit in what to do next. We told him to contact the missionaries when he feels he is ready. He kept saying that he didn’t feel ready.
Sister Cordoba had an very inactive former missionary make a rather contentious comment to her in the Visitor’s Center about our mission. Sister Cordoba followed the spirit instead of her pride and was able to minister to her the way the Savior would have had He been there. She was broken and down trodden and Sister Cordoba lifted her up instead of kicking her back. She is such an example to me. She is fantastic. All of the new Sisters are. I sometimes feel as though they are training us. I am so excited for the next 18 months of their lives. It so strange to be on this end of it.
I am in continual awe of all President and Sister Ludwig do for us every day. They stand in the Savior’s stead for us. I am so grateful that I have been able to serve under their direction and love.