So I haven't written in my journal in four days - SO BEHIND. Writing in my journal helps keep events and things fresh in my mind so now... my mind isn't so fresh. But there were a couple of times this week where the water works CAME. I'll take the time to talk about those :)
First, we saw Sister Grange again on Thursday! FINALLY! (Reminder - she's a less-active we saw a couple weeks back at her house, where she was having a Girl's Night with her friends).We knocked on her door and heard a voice trying to shut up the barking dog... but no one came. We tried once more. Then we started walking away until she showed up in the window and then opened the door! She had been NAPPING. ooooops. But like I said last time, she's such a chipper, funny woman. She didn't seem to mind at all!
So we walked in and sat down and started to get to know her! She's currently looking for work through the CIA or some other cool governmental agency. She asked some questions about us. Then we shared a message that we try to share with ALL less-actives - the Bible Dictionary definition of Grace. It encourages all to "access the Atonement" in their lives... AKA partake of the sacrament. So when we concluded, Sister Evans asked the harsh and scary words: "So Sister Grange, why haven't you been coming to church?" She looked at us and said very frankly, "I actually don't consider myself a Mormon anymore. It's a decision that's taken me about five years to make. It's a long story, but that's what I came to." Sister Evans and I were taken aback, needless to say. So Sister Evans asked, "What made you come to that decision?" And Sister Grange explained, "Long story short, it's been my career to go to these countries around the world and learn about their cultures and religions and the doctrine of the Mormon church just doesn't fit in many them. It just doesn't work." And that was that. There was nothing we could do because we knew she was closed off. What KILLS me is the sake of calling it the Mormon church, when all I really wanted her to say was "Christ's church". This IS Christ's true church - that HE established on the earth 2,000 years ago. Mormon is just a name! I hope all who read this realize that truth.
Well... Sister Evans told her that we wanted to keep coming by, at least to be friends with her! I couldn't have agreed more, but as I finally took that turn to speak... I just started to cry. My eyes welled up and I couldn't talk right. Sister Grange looked so confused like "Why is this chick crying?" But she was sweet and asked "Are you okay?" I told her yes and played it off like I normally don't cry. I looked at her and just told her that I KNEW God loved her and recognized her and situation. Then I said that we would really still love to come back because I know I feel the Spirit when I'm with her. She still has it! I hope that made her think. BUT MAN. I did NOT expect to cry that day! But seeing someone fall away due to such reasons just really broke my heart. I'm pretty sure, despite contacting many less-actives thus far, that THAT was the first time my heart truly broke for someone out here. It hurts - but like I told her... God is aware of her and will eventually help her find the way back to Him.
The picture attached is of the Bazzarone family. The husband is in our bishophric and his son is the one that had that AMAZING farewell, with Bryce Harper in attendance! Sister Bazzarone asked Sister Evans and I to come by and share a message with their son before he left on his mission. Turns out we were to come over the DAY before he was leaving to the MTC! We used Elder Bednar's talk "Converted Unto the Lord" from October 2012 conference, which explained the difference between having a testimony and being converted. We assumed that the people he'd be serving in Cape Verde, Africa would be humble souls who have testimonies of God and Christ - but may have a hard time being TRULY converted. It was a great lesson! Sister Evans had Brother and Sister Bazzarone bear their testimonies to their son and I just BAWLED. Because they BOTH did! It was a very spiritual moment that I will never forget. Brother Bazzarone is a convert and Sister Bazzarone has never had a missionary go out on her side of the family - so this was a HUGE moment for them. A lot of anxiety for their son. But they're both such wonderful people and have powerful testimonies! I'm grateful to have such great examples in my ward!
I'd like to leave the scripture Alma 13:24, which says:
"For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory."
There are angels ALL around us. They are preparing those people that I need to find and teach! And these angels aren't necessarily on the other side of the veil, but in fact, they are people like the Bazzarones who helped friends not of our faith know that there is more out there. And THAT is how we prepare souls. So be an angel! And assist those you know in finding out more about the gospel so that THEY can be a prepared soul for some missionary out there... just like me :)
Thank you all for your love and support. And your PRAYERS! I feel them everyday. Continue to be great examples to those around you!