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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hey you guys!  How is your week going?  Here are a few spiritual/fun experiences I had this week:

Experience #1:
We were able to go finding this week.  We went shopping.  When we were back by the camping supplies and tires.  We saw a man looking at some carabineers  I think, and we decided to start talking to him.  He started the conversation with, "I gather that you are on a mission of some sort, correct?"  Bingo.  We told him that yes, we were on missions.  He asked what church we were from and our basic beliefs.  He said that what we were doing was really admirable and that he respects and honors the calling.  Unfortunately, he was more than content with his own religion when we asked him if he would go watch the Because He Lives video.  But it really made me think about the reason I am truly out here.  I'm not here to convince people of what we believe,  I'm not here to just "dunk and dump" as some of the missionaries here say.  (Which means, I am not here to just baptize people, and then forget all about what I did here for a year and a half ).  I am here to invite people to come closer and to help people and show charity wherever and however I can.  Yay for learning new things!

Experience #2:
This week, we were helping one of my companions feel better because she had to go to the doctor and get a blood test and things and we also didn't have many miles.  So we were teaching a lot of phone lessons.  But the really neat experience when we had a returning member we are working with call us and ask for some specific scriptures he could read when he was having a hard time.  He said he wanted some scriptures that came directly from Christ, like in 3 Nephi.  So I told him to go to 3 Nephi 12.  He said that since Sister B and I were the two that originally found him, he really wanted my favorite scripture as well.  So I told him to go to Alma 37:36-37.  I didn't think much of it and figured that he would just enjoy the scripture and that would be that.  But the thing is, he called us the next day and we missed the call.  So he left a voicemail on our phone and asked for me specifically to call him.  So I got on the phone and he said, "Sister Irwin, I would just like to sincerely thank you.  I asked for a scripture that I could turn to in hard times and you gave me so much more than that.  That scripture, your favorite scripture, really touched me.  I just thank you for that and for all that you have done for me thus far.  You have changed my outlook on people and on church.  Just thank you."  Of course by this point, I was in tears.  It just fills my heart so much to know that I was able to help one of Heavenly Father's children, my Heavenly brother in such a simple way, that made such a tremendous impact.  I LOVE WHAT I DO!!!

Experience #3:
This one is kind of sad, but happy too.  Since March, we have been going to a nursing home in Shelby to visit a less-active that lived there.  There are two members that would go over to see her every Sunday and just visit with her and her family, because she wasn't physically able to come to church.  But one Sunday, they both got really bad colds and asked us to go.  So we went over and were able to share a video and a prayer with her before we had to get going.  But we instantly fell in love with her.  So we started going back once a week since then, if possible.  One time in particular, we asked her what we could do for her.  She responded with such kindness in her voice, "You girls have already done it.  Just coming to visit me makes me so much happier."  We said thank you and asked if there was anything that we could do when we come that she wasn't able to do by herself.  She said, "I would really like to read the Book of Mormon.  But since my eyes are so bad, I can't see the words."  We told her that we were more than happy to do that for her.  We would go over and read about half of a chapter with her and come back and finish it.  Anyway, on Tuesday, we tried to go see her, but she was not in the facility.  She was at the hospital.  Then the next day we got news that she had passed away.  I would usually be a lot more upset about it, but her husband just passed away two or three weeks ago.  So now they can be together again.  We were also able to attend the funeral with a handful of members from the church.  She had mentioned that she wanted an LDS funeral, but since there are so many members of her family, they wouldn't all fit in our building.  Something that I really respected though, was that her family respected her wish that she be buried in her temple clothes.  Also, they asked our bishop and one of the members to speak at the funeral.  And the member that spoke said that the member that had passed away told her that she had really appreciated us going over to read to her and sing her some songs.  I only hope to be as faithful as this woman someday.  She is the only member of the 170 people in her family.  (Kids, grandkids, great grandchildren).  Isn't that amazing?  She said she knew the truth as soon as the missionaries knocked on her door and began speaking to her.  And she tried her hardest never to miss a Sunday after that.  She was a truly faithful and "virtuous woman."  I had to say that because that was mentioned so many times in her funeral. 

Experience #4:
While we were in Ward Council on Sunday morning, Bishop Shaw echoed  something the new stake president, President H, said in one of their meetings that really stood out to me.  He said, "Power comes in praying for people by name."  That was just something that I hadn't thought about.  But if you think about it, it is true.  If we have specific people come to mind that we need to pray for, we need to pray for them.  Just thought I'd share that with you this week because it really stood out to me. 

I think those were mainly the spiritual things that happened this week.  But one of the fun things we did was help in a Mormon Helping Hands activity where we helped vendors on the city's court square set up tents for the farmer's market.  It was very.... Wet.  It had been raining all morning and continued to rain when we got there.  But it was worth it when you saw how grateful everyone was that we helped them set up so quickly.  Then of course, the best part was when Bishop and Sister S offered to take all 17 of us out to IHOP for breakfast to warm up!  Yum!

Other than that, our week was pretty slow.  It seems that when we have a fairly good week and our lesson totals are up, the next week is pretty bad.  But something that I really took away from exchanges this transfer is when Sister A said, "When I was in one of my areas, almost the whole transfer, we had straight zeros across the board. But we were working our hardest.  The numbers system is not directly correlated with the individual missionary's efforts."  So you know what?  *dramatic glass shattering noise followed by the sound of something flying through the air and crashing on the depth of the earth below*  I just threw the numbers out the window.  I am here to help, help, and help people.  And I am going to focus more on inviting people to be closer to Christ and in teaching them what they need in their lives and serving where I can, rather than stupid numbers.  Like I always tell my companions, "I would rather be able to name personally the people I am able to help on my mission, than come home with 1,000 numbers and not be able to back up those numbers with names."  After all, Jesus wouldn't have cared about numbers.  But enough of my rant.  Hehe 

You had Stake Conference this week?!  No way!!!  I hope it was amazing!  That was the same topic we had this last Stake Conference I attended.  It was also really good.  I think I took like 6 pages of notes.  Whoops.  ;)  I completely agree with your thoughts on He that loses his life for my sake shall find it.  That is essentially what we do as members of the church.  We are willing to put down everything we have to serve the Lord in various ways because we recognize all the things that we have been given.  And we know that we can accomplish nothing without him in our lives.  And like you said, it does require dedication and laying aside what we want to or could be doing, in order to serve him in our various capacities. Your second point from stake conference is exactly what I am talking about.  It isn't our job to convert people.  I seriously wish that more people would realize this.  It is our job to invite them to come and SEE FOR THEMSELVES!  All I care about is that people are personally coming closer to their elder brother Jesus Christ.  YAAAAAAYYYYYYY!   And I really liked brother Matthews' question about being aligned with the SON to accomplish what the Lord would have us do.  That is our goal while we are here on earth.  To accomplish those things that the father would have us do with the talents that we are individually given.

On another note, I am so jealous that Beth got to go to Harry Potter world and possibly WDW.  But I am glad that she is having fun.  She is so good at what she does in DECA.  Doesn't it just make you so proud?

And I enjoyed Paige's comment.  The thing is, Sister G always says, "God knew I couldn't handle a foreign language mission, so he sent me to the hardest English speaking one."  The gospel in the states is definitely harder to teach because everyone is so set in their ways and they have heard rumors and things.  But it is sooooo far past worth it.

The work is kind of slow at the moment.  We aren't teaching anyone consistently and it is becoming harder and harder to find people.  But we keep trying our hardest and doing what we can.  Yes, the next transfer day is the 12th of May.  I haven't heard anything about staying in Shelby again or not, we will find out on the 9th.  All we know is that Sister B is headed home because she has reached 18 months.  Woo!

The weather right now isn't that bad.  Two weeks ago we were getting flash flood warnings, hail, lightning, etc.  but the past week or so, it has been sunny with slight wind chill.  So not bad.  I am so sorry to hear about the earthquake in Napal.  But I am glad the missionaries are safe.   Oh my goodness the Payson Temple is GORGEOUS!!!  Thank you for all the pictures.  I can now say that I have been through the Payson Temple while on my mission.  Haha 

Sister Irwin (Finch)"

I really enjoyed the pictures again this week and hope that that will become a regular thing.  I am having a blast here in Shelby and can't wait for things to get up and going.  I love you supercalifragilistically!

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