This week showed some miracles - not a surprise! We were able to expand our teaching pool by one great soul. His name is Jamal and the sister missionaries taught him for a couple months a year ago, until he dropped them due to the presence of negative influences in his life. But, a girl in our Ward brought him up recently and said we should go try him, so we did! And we discovered that he's willing to give it another try. We had a lesson with him last week on prayer and how the Spirit works within us. One question that he posed was, "Why do all religions center themselves on a book? Like the Bible with Christianity and the Koran with Islam, and now the Book of Mormon with Mormonism?" Very good question! One that I don't think I've had asked to me before. We are seeing him again tonight to answer that question more in-depth using the introduction to the Book of Mormon, specifically the last two paragraphs. I invite you all to read those and see WHY we truly need the Book of Mormon :)
I can't remember if I mentioned this last week, I think I may have. Our friend Bre, who we took to the Temple Visitor's Center in May before she went home for summer, contacted us randomly a couple of weeks ago. She was in need of spiritual guidance after getting in a huge debacle with her parents and sister. We met with her the morning after we received her text explaining what had happened, and she expressed her desire to return to full activity in the Church. Bre knew that the Spirit was what was helping her stay calm through this storm, and she wanted that to be there ALWAYS - knowing it would come through prayer, scripture reading, and coming to church. To give her an added measure of guidance, we invited her to seek a priesthood blessing from some men in the church and she was able to receive that this week. We asked her how she felt after and she said, "Happy, so happy. It was exactly what I needed." And yesterday, she met with Bishop of our Ward for the first time since she first met with the Braddock Ward sisters a year ago! Bre randomly opened to Alma 34:40-41 yesterday morning, when she was feeling down:
40 And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions; that ye do not revile against those who do cast you out because of your exceeding poverty, lest ye become sinners like unto them;
41 But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.
I love when the scriptures help us with exactly what we need! This scripture even reminds me of a struggle we had with a sister companionship that's under our stewardship. The senior companion goes home in about two months, but she's been suffering with feelings of inadequacy and weakness. It's even causing her to become physically ill. We sat down with them later last week and basically plead with them both to pray for patience! I know that we MUST be patient with the Lord and with ourselves and with others if we EVER expect to find happiness or feel "enough". If it's something we truly want/need, we have to start on our knees.
Thank you all for your love and prayers! My mission has truly been the ride of a lifetime and I can't wait to learn what God would have me learn in these last few weeks.