Now, I was trying to halt any panic y'all might have about the weather by not telling you about it, but it seems y'all already knew that the weather was crazy on transfer day! What am I gonna do with you? Yes, the weather was pretty nuts last week. The USM library closed pretty early, which was why I was unable to e-mail for very long. The wind was picking up, and the rain was pouring. We had two tornadoes in the Hattiesburg area (I think), but none of them came near the church building. All of the missionaries were either at their respective stake centers, or on a T-Van. As far as I know, all of the missionaries made it to their new areas and companions safely. There was one death in the Purvis area, as well as two in Louisiana. My heart goes out to those families who were affected by the tornado, and I hope y'all know you're in our prayers and that our Heavenly Father is watching over you.
Mostly, the missionaries ignored the storm. We spent some time gawking at the clouds and ignoring the sirens, but it was all fine! We were safe. The Lord watched over us, protected us, and allowed us to travel safely.
On Tuesday, I was able to meet my companion, Sister Barney! She's from Colfax, Washington, six feet tall, and absolutely hilarious. We have had some amazing adventures this week, and it's only been week one! For instance: we went to Catholic mass last night at USM! Our whole district went, so we were pretty conspicuous but it was great. It was a brand-new experience and it helped me understand the Spirit and how it differs. It was a fascinating experience.
We had a fireside at the church on Thursday. It was a "Why I Believe" Fireside. Members were encouraged to bring their friends, and we missionaries were definitely encouraged to bring investigators. We had a small group in the chapel, loaded with questions and curiosities. We made some new friends -- some of these friends we'd met tracting, and they showed up at the last minute and squeezed into the pew beside us! It was so exciting! I had the most thrilling night. We had a church tour, and learned all about the auxiliaries in the church. We then gathered back in the chapel to watch some videos and listen to the testimonies of two converts to the church.
Testimonies are such powerful things. If there's one thing I've learned on my mission, it's that you can throw facts at people all you want; you can lay down historical evidence that what you say is true; you can use as many scriptures, documents, videos, and quotes as you want, but nothing will compare to a true, simple, heartfelt testimony of what you believe. I have seen the light filter into someone's eyes as they listen to a testimony born by a missionary, and a light turn on as they begin to fill the warmth and guidance of the Spirit dually testifying to what that missionary is saying.
Do not doubt the power of your testimony. You could simply say, "I know this is true" and you could change a life. You have no idea. A testimony is a precious gift that has the power to change lives for the better.
I know that the Lord leads us to people at the right time, just when they need us. He also rewards us for acting despite of the fear we have. Many people say that faith cannot work where fear is present, and while that does ring some truth, that also implies that we cannot have faith if we're afraid. In truth, God cannot work with us if we are yielding to our fear. During a talk this Sunday, a returned missionary said, "I had a companion who told me to step out of my comfort zone and into my miracle zone." God can work miracles if we but take a step further and act in spite of the fear.
I've seen that happen multiple times since coming on my mission! Fear is our natural enemy, and Satan knows that. He knows we're afraid to talk, to speak up, to be hated, to be ignored, to be awkward. I will admit I have an aversion to awkward situations! But those happen quite a lot on a mission. If your mission isn't awkward, then you aren't doing it right. But, my companions have all been able to help me by the help of our Heavenly Father, and this week, I've been able to see miracles arise because of that.
We knocked on a door with the intention of talking to a potential and ended up talking to someone else entirely, someone we'd expected to shut us down and leave us hanging out to dry, but she ended up accepting a Book of Mormon and a return appointment. We knocked on the door of a part-member family, ready to face some serious adversity, only to be welcomed by someone who already knew in their heart that the Book of Mormon was true.
Do not let fear rule you, brothers and sisters. It won't reward you. Nothing will change; you won't change. We must always be changing through Jesus Christ in order to be the person our Heavenly Father intended for us to be.
Stay tuned for more adventures of Rose and Barney! Or, Brose, as we like to call ourselves.
P.S. If you haven't gotten an e-mail from me, IT IS DEFINITELY MYLDSMAIL. I HAVE RESPONDED TO ALL E-MAILS. Please tell me if you haven't heard from me, and I will attempt to fix it. Thank you!! Love y'all!
|My companion is super cool, guys.|
|She's super cool, guys.|
|Elder Paxton -- Elder Paxton GET DOWN FROM THERE.|
|Look at all that rain!|