Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter Everyone!!
My first week with my new companion has been pure bliss. The Traveling Sisters were with us for 3 days, so all four of us in one flat..and one shower. But we managed to all be ready by 8:00 a.m. no problem. We all had a great time and we got to go on exchanges.  I was with Sister Wolfgram for most of the time. Funny moment: we were tracting and started talking to this man on his doorstep and kids were running around the house and Sister Wolfgram is like..."Wow, how many grandchildren do you have?"  He replies..."These are my children....." hahaha. So embarrassing. If ANYTHING, you ALWAYS guess the other way first!
We had so many funny experiences, as well as spiritual ones. We knocked on a door and talked to this woman, she wouldn't open her screen door so it was hard to see her (pet peeve) but we started talking about her beliefs and she told us she doesn't believe in anything, that she's tried the whole "believe in God" thing and she was not impressed. But Sister Wolfgram talked about families and I bore testimony of our Father in Heaven and the plan that He has for all of us, that He knows her personally and understands her struggles. Though it was hard to see through the screen, we saw her wiping away tears from her eyes. You could see she was battling with herself, wanting to believe but not allowing herself. We left her with our phone number, hopefully we will hear from her soon.
For Easter, all four of us went to a Ward Easter Picnic.  On our way back to town, we ALMOST ran right over a turtle! How random, a turtle. Of all things in the outback...haha.  We all screamed as we drove over him and quickly looked back to see if he was still alive, not smushed. As we watched seven more cars behind us run over him as well, but the lucky little guy didn't even get touched. So we turned around on a rescue mission to save him.  We moved him safely to the other side of the road. As missionaries we feel it's our duty to save ALL souls :) haha.
My district leader is Elder Lafaelle from Samoa, and in District Meeting on Friday he shared the most amazing experiences that some missionaries had back home.  I'd like to share with you...
These two Elders were knocking on doors and came to this fairly large home. They rang the doorbell...no answer.  Rang again...still nothing. So they were about to turn to leave, when a girl around the age of 15 answered the door. They introduced the Book of Mormon to her and ended up having a good 45 minute chat. She said they could come back the next day to share more. So the following day, the missionaries come walking up the driveway and a man upstairs sees them coming and yells out for them to get lost and get off his property.  They turned to leave but one of the Elders felt like they really should keep walking towards the door.  Infuriated, the dad comes down to meet them at the door and he's yelling and telling them to leave.  The missionary notices the Book of Mormon sitting on the table inside the doorway and next to it a picture of the girl they spoke to the day before.  So the missionary quickly explains that they spoke to his daughter (pointing to the picture) and left that book. The man then begins to cry, and explained that his daughter died 5 years ago....The entire family was baptized a few weeks later.
As he told this story, the spirit was so strong in the room, all of us in tears. The church is true, these experiences are REAL.  I'm so grateful to be a part of this great work.
I have been so humbled this week by Sister Thaong, she is amazing. Like I mentioned last week, she is from Cambodia. Some of you may already know, but around the 1970's, Cambodia was taken over by a group of people.  Those who were educated were killed, and you were also killed if you didn't know how to work. Everyone was taken from their homes and put into the provinces to work. You weren't allowed to refer to your parents as "mom" or "dad" - everyone was to be "equal".  Sister Thaong's grandfather was a pilot, he was killed. Her grandmother was a teacher, but she lied to the leaders and pretended she didn't know how to read and she survived. Her parents were 12-14 years old at the time when her mother accidentally said "mom," calling to her mom one day.  So they tied her to a tree and let the ants bite her legs; she was left there for 24 hours. All the schools were destroyed. Cambodia has literally had to rebuild from scratch.  There were hardly any educated people left in the country.  Her parents joined the church when she was 4 years old when the gospel first came to Cambodia. She has such a strong testimony, she is so humble, so loving. I'm learning so much from her, our upbringings obviously have night and day differences. I'm telling her I miss peanut butter cups and she misses coconut juice from the trees..haha. So different, I love her.
Book of Mormon reading for the week is Alma 40-48, I love you all. Have a great week!
Sister Raitt

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