Monday, April 28, 2014

A Child's Prayer

Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven, is far away, but I feel it close around me as I pray.
Pray, He is there; speak, he is list'ning. You are his child; His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer; He loves the children. Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n
As I reflect on my past week, this hymn comes to mind... Look for why as I attempt to explain all of my crazy adventures this week.
Tuesday was our Transfers meeting. Even though I'm not transferring, every missionary was asked to go. We had a guest speaker, Brother Dan Clark, whose words I just can't seem to re-express for you all. In a nutshell, he helped to ignite the missionary fire within me to a roar. I have a newfound energy of heart, and a greater determination to find the one person I'm here to help.
Wednesday's district meeting was a treat as my new Zone Leader, Elder Lovell, walked through the doors. Can I just say how cool it is to have said goodbye to a friend that was supposed to be halfway across the country for two years, only to see him a few months later in your own mission, and as your Zone Leader?! It was refreshing to exchange information we had on the welfare of our other missionary friends, and to reminisce on old times, and how these new times are even better! Aside from this surprise, we had a great miracle occur. You see, our car is only allotted so many miles, so we really rely on member help to be able to get to our destinations. The lady who was supposed to be going out with this day, canceled last minute. Sister Pinkston and I were freaking out, we prayed for a miracle! As a last resort, we determined to call Sister Tucker. Right as I went to grab the phone, it rang. Guess who? Sister Tucker asking if she could help us out today! It was awesome to see how the spirit was working in both parties to make sure the Lord's work could get done :).
So with this newfound missionary fire, Sister Pinkston and I were all hyped up to see some miracles happen this past Thursday. With a prayer for open eyes to those ready for the gospel, we danced our hearts out in the car to Hilary Week's "It's a Good Day" as we traveled to our first appointment.  ... They weren't home. However, that wasn't going to stop us! I reminded Sister Pinkston about that one day a few weeks ago when we had absolutely no plans, and the Lord directed our footsteps and we had a great experience finding people. So, we determined to repeat that day. We knocked on house after house, followed prompting after prompting, said prayer after prayer... all with no success. After a few hours it was time to head to our next appointment. Sister Pinkston suggested we walk to save miles. We parked the car at the church and headed out. On our way, I noticed the mailman of one of our old investigators getting in his truck to leave. I nudged Sister Pinkston and we prepared for attack. Just kidding! We're not that weird... but we did hurry over there and talk to him! He is a father of 6 kids, and has a rockin' beard. We told him about our message and he said he was totally up for learning more! Unfortunately, he doesn't live in our area, BUT we were able to get his address so we can refer the Elder over by his house to him :). As we continued on our way to our appointment I turned around and saw a lady walking up the street, probably just finishing with work. I hollered at her and we went over there and talked. We walked home with her, and she told us all about how God has played a role in her life. She's a mom of 2 sweet kids, and she said we could go talk to her sometime!! So continuing with our journey, we passed by some construction men and decided it might be awkward to stop them in there work. "But if it was Tuesday, then shame on us!" I declared. Sister Pinkston burst out laughing. We have decided to have a "talk a lot Tuesday" in which we talk to EVERYONE we see! But I guess after that we both felt kind of guilty, so we went back and met a man who was believe it or not, open to letting us teach him! Woohoo! We were on fire! We saw another man up the street who looked like a biker. Turns out, he was a self proclaimed "homosexual gypsy" who really wanted us to let him do our hair and nails! hahaha. While maybe not everyone we talk to is interested, I definitely have a newfound testimony for opening my mouth. OYM is a really big missionary phrase. It basically means that you need to talk to everyone, just like we did!
Friday was another day of following random promptings. That day, we had taken a new route to an investigators house so as to avoid the "prophet" of Sparta on the next street over (he's kinda  crazy). As we did, God led us to different people along our path (or completely off our path) who were open to hearing our message! We also talked to some who were not. I'm usually pretty good about letting those types of people roll off my shoulder, but I noticed that my companion was taking it kind of hard. We stopped and discussed Jesus Christ, and how as representatives of Him, we of course are going to go through some of the rejection and cruelty that he faced. We said a prayer for strength and continued on our path. That night we went to talk to an investigator who recently had decided, "I am who I am" and there was no use changing. We prayed to be able to speak by the Holy Ghost and call him to repentance. I was able to speak boldly to him about the importance of changing our ways to be more like Christ, and all 3 of us (me, my companion, and the member) were equally yoked in delivering inspired statements and asking inspired questions. At the end of the lesson, I invited our investigator to pray. He refused. I continued to persist until finally he gave in and offered a wonderful prayer with us. I later found out that that was the first time in Sister Pinkston's MONTHS of teaching him that he had done that. It felt good to know that my personality type really is just what some people need, and it made me more excited to go out and find the person that I'm here to help.
So Saturday was my 2 month mark as a missionary! I now have 16 months to get it right. That night we were supposed to go out with a member, but she ended up being in a LOT of pain and had to cancel (really bad hips and back). Sister Pinkston and I had to last minute change our plans and figure out where we could go that wouldn't require a lot of driving. There was a referral we could see that had never let us in... so we just kind of decided to go with that and see what would happen. Before getting out of the car I thought to myself "well this is going to be another waste of time".... oh boy. I sure did repent very quickly for that one. This lady that we taught was AMAZING! We shared with her the Restoration of the Gospel and she told us how she was so ready to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it was all true. Her neighbor, a lady whom we had taught but who didn't want to leave her own church, sat in on the lesson. It was so amazing! This investigator we taught had a lot of interests that I was able to relate to. We talked about fantasy book series, hair, fibromyalgia, and a few other things. It was SO lucky that we went and saw her! Actually, scratch that, it definitely wasn't luck. I know seeing her that night was all part of God's plan. Later that evening, she even called us and asked us to go teach her friend! Please notice that because of that poor members trial of health with her hips and back, we were able to do what God needed us to do. Sometimes we may be going through trials that we see absolutely no reason for, but we must have faith that it really is all for a reason. If the member hadn't canceled, we probably wouldn't have taught that awesome lesson that day. I myself have the trial of health problems, which has been a huge blessing to me on my mission. We went to see a lady who had literally been on her death bed that week. She wanted so badly to give up and quit living... because of my fibromyalgia, I was able to talk to her about the importance of finding strength to get through our trials, and how we can rely on our Savior not necessarily to take them away, but to help us endure them.  (Remember this woman, as she will come up later.)
Sunday we woke up way sore from having helped an investigator move in the other day. You see, they had once been taking the lessons and had dates to be baptized, but then moved away and didn't get to hear from missionaries any more. Now, they have moved back and we can hopefully get them back on the path of baptism! Okay so back to Sunday, it was fast Sunday and Sister Pinkston and I were really praying for a miracle. Fast Sundays in Sparta are said to be a little strange.... But God is good and he heard our prayers. It ended up being an AMAZING Sabbath. We had SIX investigators come! And guess what? One of them was that lady with the crazy health problems!!! She said she heard a voice tell her she needed to get up and get to church. She was in a lot of pain throughout those 3 hours, but at the end Sister Pinkston and I arranged for her to get a blessing. Later that evening when we came to visit her, she was feeling AMAZING! She had the faith to be healed after receiving a priesthood blessing :). Isn't that so cool?!
This week I really learned the importance of allowing God to guide you. He opened up those paths for us, and it was our job to go down them. It is the same with our journey back to the Father. Jesus Christ is the way, He has provided the path, and it is our choice whether or not we go down it. As we prayed this week for direction, He led us. As we prayed to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, our tongues were loosed to say the words we needed to say. As we prayed for strength, He lifted us up. This week, we met the goals that we set at the beginning of the week, and I know that's because we prayed for help. He provided the means whereby we accomplish everything that we asked of Him. It wasn't easy, it took a lot of effort on our part, but He heard us, and that's really all that matters.
Thank you to everyone who wrote me this week or took the time to read my blog this week. It is my prayer that my service is blessing you, as I know your prayers are blessing me.
Your friend,
Sister Hochstrasser

Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser
Tennessee Nashville Mission
105 West Park Drive Suite 190
Brentwood, TN 37027

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