Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter Pageant

So, somehow on Saturday I managed to get both a sunburn and a cold ... don't know how I got a cold in Spring in Arizona, but I guess I'm just talented that way. I've been struggling with that yesterday and today, I look forward to sleeping it off during P-day!  Other than that, my health is pretty good. I had a few attacks this week, but we're figuring it out. I've sworn off all nuts and ice cream (yeah ... that second one was a hard one) and am being more and more cautious about what I eat.  It's been frustrating thinking that you have it figured out and then all the sudden doubling over in pain again, but I know the Lord is supporting me.

This was a crazy week full of awesome experiences and miracles! The Easter Pageant is going on at the Mesa Temple, and this past Saturday was Spanish night, so we were inviting EVERYONE to it! The person we really wanted to be sure went, though, was Luis, so Friday night we stopped by his house to make sure he was still planning on it and to have a quick lesson with him. We decided while we were there to watch President Monson's talk from conference, and prefaced it by explaining how sick President Monson is and that he can't speak for very long. When it was over, Luis just stared at the screen for a long moment and then said, "I'm really surprised." We asked him why, and he quietly explained that knowing that this man was a prophet, he expected to hear something more profound, not so simple as reading the Book of Mormon. Also, he's been wondering how to get answers for so long, and he said, "And this man, who's so close to God, is telling me to do the exact same thing that Hermana Garner and Hermana Cedeno have been telling me to do from the beginning." He even admitted that it scared him a little bit, because he hasn't been doing it, and because he knows that he's been making excuses. But very humbly on Friday he acknowledged that he needed to read the Book of Mormon, and even said, "Right now, I can't even think of any of the questions I have, I just know I need to read!" The Spirit was SO strong, and I could see his desire and his motivation to act change in that moment. And every day since then, he HAS read! It's hard for him to understand, but we're encouraging him to keep going and that the Lord will help him and we're here for him along the way as well.  It was a special experience being able to go to the Easter Pageant with him.

He brought his cousin as well, who we might start teaching (he seemed interested when we were talking at the pageant). It was such a beautiful production, and really moving! What really impressed Luis was that it was the same stories and the same thing he's always believed in, which I think helped to increase his faith that he's not turning his back on what he's come to know about God, only adding to that knowledge. 

I personally really enjoyed the pageant - as soon as I saw the stage, I felt like I was home! Pageantry is slightly different than theatre, but still.

We've started exploring some of the less explored areas of the branch as well, trying to find new people, and are having fun with one another while doing it. I just keep loving my companions more and more, and whether I like it or not, they're always looking out for me. On Friday, they used the 'How to Begin Teaching' points from Preach My Gospel to get me to eat a carrot ... it was surprisingly effective.  Hnas Anderson, Hanson, and I are working on a musical number for the branch. We found a beautiful arrangement of "Abide with Me," but it's a little complicated, so I need to practice every spare chance we get! (I'm the only one who plays the piano)

So, funny story for the week - we've been working hard on contacting less actives and reaching out to them. We met with this older brother who has cancer and has a hard time getting around at times, and while we were there his pet bird suddenly flew into the room. It started walking on the floor towards us, and I put my finger down to let it climb onto my hand. Well, it climbed up my arm and onto my shoulder, and I was totally calm the whole time and was just continuing with the lesson. Then, all of the sudden, it starts ATTACKING my lip! It bit and pulled at my bottom lip and I put my hand up to keep it from continuing, but then it just started attacking my fingers! We were all laughing about it later because I got a peck on my mission ... :P 

Hermana Weyand gave Hermana Garner a new haircut

 In addition to my regular scripture study, I've decided to implement something that was talked about at General Conference. I believe it was President Nelson who said that he'd challenged the members in a CES fireside to read through every scripture listed in the topical guide under every single heading about Jesus. I was struck by that and decided to try that exercise, and I've barely scratched the surface and already learned SO much! So many questions I've always had have been answered and I feel like I'm coming to know my Savior in a way I never before imagined I could.

One thing that really struck me was reading through all of the scriptures under "God, Creator" in the Topical Guide. So many people look at us like we have three heads when we say that Jesus Christ created the earth, but ALL THROUGHOUT the New Testament it is written very plainly and clearly that this is the truth. In fact, there were more direct references to Christ as being the Creator in the New Testament than any other book of scripture.

I was also really struck by 1 Corinthians 10:4. It reads: "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." That phrase - "drank of that spiritual Rock" suddenly brought to my mind remembrance of the story of the Children of Israel when they were in the wilderness and Moses smote the rock and out came water. I've always understood the symbolism of Christ as living water and also the symbolism of him as a rock or foundation, but I never really realized how deep that symbolism went in that story - that out of the rock came the living water. It blew my mind a little, and I realized just how much more symbolism there is in the scriptures and how much deeper we can learn the principles of the gospel as we come to understand it more and more.

Also, this week we got some fortune cookies. I opened mine and it said, "Hear with your ears but listen with your heart." I immediately thought about missionary work and how important it is to listen with the Spirit so we can truly discern what our investigators need!

 Hermana Garner

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