Sunday, August 23, 2015

Aug 17th: Miracles are happening here!


Today I aim to focus mostly on the progress of my investigators and the food I've eaten. 
Okay really though, that's what I talk about every week X)

I think it can begin with the miracle of Mary and Michael. To make a long story short, they have been attending church for a long time now and have finally been able to live all the commandments. Because of past choices, we have to get special approval for their baptism. I'm just blown away by them though, they're probably more spiritual than half our Ward. Amazing people. So we called president and he said to contact his counselor and see if we can't get them interviewed. So we did, and the counselor said he could come down THAT NIGHT. Ok sweet. We also called bishop and he said we could meet and discuss the situation THAT NIGHT. So President's counselor drives like an hour and a half at 8 at night to interview Michael, and he passed! The NEXT DAY President had his request to the first presidency in the mail. Now we wait. Meanwhile, working through the bishop, we got approval for Mary to be baptized! Oh it's the coolest thing. They have this goal of being sealed in the temple ASAP. We have a goal to get them baptized ASAP!  Prayers that Michael comes back okay to be baptized too! :) 

We have been working with Randy who knows the Bible better than his preacher probably. After much study, he just received confirmation that we did indeed exist before this life :). Score! One principle at a time. He came to Gospel Principles Class (Sunday school) this week, too. 

I'm really grateful to serve in the Bible Belt. 

Brenda, a sweet lady with short-term memory loss, had an incredible experience recently. She said she reads her bible every morning, and after our visit she read it WITH the Book of Mormon. Just exuberant, she told us that she had had a really big break through! She said as she read the two together it was like a door opened and her burden was lifted off her shoulders. She wants to come to church and is so excited to keep reading. If having short-term memory isn't a good excuse for not reading your scriptures, I don't know what is. That was a great lesson to me. EVERYONE needs to read the word of God. 

So we went to contact a potential and the family seemed pretty nice. Then the wife got REALLY fired up about the Bible being the only thing we need and it's blasphemous to have anything else. Having learned all that I have about the scriptures, and particularly about their history in coming together as a book, it was incredibly interesting to watch this woman go off. I knew that despite her passion, she was uneducated. It's not even that she was misinformed. She was just totally uninformed. 
However, she was just so adamant about her point I knew it would be hopeless to try to teach her. I feel like that's how God sees me sometimes. He has so much more wisdom and perspective than I do, but unless I'm humble enough to hear it he won't bother making it known to me. 

Every six months we can go to the temple, so Sister Gale and I had the opportunity to go this week. While there, I prayed to know if I was doing what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. Particularly about my plans for going home. I wanted to know how I could be better, and express gratitude for my chance to serve. While in the Celestial room, I opened up the scriptures to these words:
(Keep in mind I'm heading straight to a church school after my mission and working on a student living counsel as well as my major) 

"And now, verily I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment that you continue in the ministry... And when you have finished... you shall from thenceforth preside over the affairs of the church and the school;
And from time to time, as shall be manifested by the Comforter, receive revelations to unfold the mysteries of the kingdom;
And set in order the churches, and study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.
And this shall be your business and mission in all your lives, to preside in council, and set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom.
Be not ashamed, neither confounded; but be admonished in all your high-mindedness and pride, for it bringeth a snare upon your souls.
Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another."
(Doctrine and Covenants 90: 12-17,24) 
Need I say more?

The temple was a wonderful experience. We brought our friend, Carol, whom we've been teaching and she was able to study in the waiting room while we did a session. She adored the place, and told us in the car she knows for herself it's all true. Carol was the wife of a Methodist minister for 25 years, and so the only thing keeping her from baptism is just making the choice to cut social ties at her church. She will lose friends and she will lose position, but I know she will make the right choice in the end. 

After the temple we went to the Wild Cow.... An AWESOME vegetarian restaurant in Nashville. This my friends, is sweet potato black bean tacos. It was fabulous. 

We've also been going to this place called the Yellow Deli. It's run by this religion called "the 12 Tribes". They live sort of like the Amish, and everything is from their gardens or local and home made. It's fabulous. They know us well there ;). Haha. 
We also went to another place that is all natural and local called Bliss, and we went with this guy! My investigator from Nashville totally took his Harley down to visit! It was a blast seeing him! 

I don't know if I've already told you this, but my area goes all the way down to the Alabama state line. So now I've served in Kentucky, Illinois, Tennesee, and practically Alabama! It's a huge area, and we need to get rides with members a lot to save us gas. One member who drove us to our district meeting out yonder was just quite the experience. Essentially she was so wrapped up ranting to us about how the insurance was paying for her denture implants we almost died several times... Hahaha

We had a miracle one day because we tried really hard to be obedient to our power hour (finding for 1 hour a day) and we just had so many set appointments we didn't have time. We prayed for it to work out but it just didn't seem possible. Then, our member who was coming with us at 8:00 canceled. We went by ourselves to our appointment. She opened the door.... And was sick! She canceled! We had exactly one hour left before it was time to go in... And we could use it for finding! :) it was awesome. 

We had dinner at Sue's kitchen which is a place everyone goes to for a big pot luck, live blue grass music, and line dancing. So fun. 

Doug was taught the plan of Salvation and loved it :). Miracles are happening here! 

Sister Hochstrasser 
Sister Jennifer Hochstrasser

Tennessee Nashville Mission 

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