Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hey hey.
Happy New Year! Another one gone. Our New Years Eve was spent deep
cleaning our apartment.. So we've had a good clean start to the new
year. And thanks to my fam we had our own New Years Eve "party," haha.
Thank you so much, love you guys!
     New Years Day we had to celebrate the PA Dutch way by having pork
and sauerkraut with some members. Apparently it's basically a sin here
not to eat it on New Years Day, it brings "good luck and prosperity."
I've had enough pork and sauerkraut to last me a lifetime... or maybe
a year. Anyway not a fan. I also had to lucky chance to eat hogmaw
this week........... a PA traditional as well. Stuffed sheep stomach.
Dang amish.
     So it was a good week work wise here. We broke ground with quite
a few people we're teaching. Here are some highlights with our special
people here.
     Faye. This week we decided to teach sabbath day observance, one
we've been avoiding because she has been obviously unavailable to
attend church. So we decided we'd focus on the things she can do to
keep the sabbath rather than what she can't. Anyway we were talking
and when we mentioned church had moved from 9am-11am, she told us she
can make it at this time, that she couldn't do the early because of
some of her medications, but if we supplied an isolated room away from
people and germs, she may just be able to come. We showed her how to
watch a broadcasted sacrament meeting from BYUtv online every week and
for now that's what she's been doing. Haha the day Faye gets to come
to church I think I'll just cry. You would understand if you had just
one conversation with her.
     Laura y Juan. Yo solo les quiero mucho. This week we also taught
them Sabbath day observance, another one we had been avoiding because
we knew they both worked sundays. We were also so scared to tell them
that the ward here in English speaking only.... and that the branch
they would attend was not only an hour away but had an attendance of
ten or less people. But when we broke it to them they weren't even
shaken. Juan's response was
"No hay sacrifico demasiado grande para Dios."
"There is no sacrifice too great for God."
      So if that tells you anything about this family...  They are so
accepting of the gospel, they read el Libro de Mormon every week as a
family and always have many questions. Whenever we teach something we
ask him if he understood everything and he just says "claro." - "Of
course," or "clearly."
     This week we had such a breakthrough with Becky and Jeremy. We
were completely at a loss with what to do with them, so we went to
visit them to try and feel the situation out, we've been fasting and
praying about it for weeks now and getting nowhere. So when we went
over, we hadn't seen them for weeks. It felt completely dark in there.
Yes, the curtains had always been drawn shut every time and there was
always a thick cloud of smoke in there, but it just felt so so dark.
We decided we would start going over every other day for 20-30 minutes
just to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon with them in hopes we
could invite the spirit into their home. So we returned, and it was
just Becky. We began reading and she ended up sharing with us
everything their family is going through right now. Mark, her
boyfriend is in prison. That day after our lesson we asked her if she
would let us clean, and we did. That night we went back to bring
dinner and play games and spend time with she and Jeremy to take her
mind off things. She and Jeremy both even accepted a priesthood
blessing from some men in the ward. While there the member who gave
the blessing realized he had done Jeremy's baby blessings when he was
young. Becky even found the picture from that day.
     Liz. So we were planning on teaching the plan of salvation. And
so we began. We got halfway through the lesson before she just stopped
and said
"This is a lot. I don't understand." She was clearly overwhelmed and
Earlier in our visit we had been getting to know her and I had asked
her about when she was younger and she had mentioned how she loved
fairy tales, how she always thought life was supposed to be like our
fairy tale.
So gears started grinding in my mind and it clicked.
     I taught the plan of salvation in a fairy tale for Liz all on the
spot. Beginning with a King (God) who sends his child (us) out of the
kingdom to live and learn on his own, (earth) but sends a 'knight in
shining armor' to save him. (Jesus Christ.)
I explained how the plan of salvation is our real life fairy tale- how
we can have our 'happy ever after,' and return to our Heavenly Father.
     She was quiet a minute, but with light in her eyes looked up and said
"I feel like this might be it, what I'm looking for."

     Lastly, sacrament meeting on Sunday was so good for me. So...
Pennsylvania testimony meetings are notorious for.... Rambling and
sharing things you really shouldn't over the pulpit hahah. So I always
secretly hope investigators don't show up those days. So this week the
first persons got up and starts going off and I just start
thinking.... 'Why does God trust our sacrament meetings... And the
church to random people who will get up and tell 20 minute stories
about their cats and what their cats did that week and what their cats
ate that week etc etc etc...?"
     Well the sacrament meeting was my answer, it was great. One woman
got up with mental health issues and talked about at first I cringed a
little but then she went on to talk about how the church is the only
place we can come to be healed. She said people like her fill the
"emptiness" with either good things or destructive things, she had
tried both. But this was the only place that could ever fill it.
     The next that got up was John Remington. The one who has suffered
from giomboree. This week we got the news that he has digressed
severely, he got a cold from a grandson and had lost his entire left
side again, the strength he had just began to get back after months
and months of intense physical therapy. When I heard my heart just
sunk. But there he was, Sunday morning. They were told the van they
use to transport him in his wheelchair would be unavailable, but he
still came. Somehow his wife had managed to get him there by herself
so he could be there to bear his testimony like he wanted. He bore his
testimony on the power of prayer. He said that all throughout his
illness prayer was the only thing that strengthened him. Of course
there were no dry eyes on the room as his wife held the microphone for
him up there.
     The next was Sister Varga, a convert in the ward who comes out
with us weekly. She's just....... Completely herself. There's only one
of her. She shared about her atheist background. Her husband is still
atheist. She shared her conversion story and how much light the gospel
had brought into her life.
     The next was out Hannah... She bore her first testimony! It was
simple but so sweet, she talked about her sister missionaries and then
her love of the Savior. Then she came down from the stand and hugged
her crying sister missionary on her way back to her seat. Best moment

     So my question was perfectly answered. By way of testimonies from
many different perspectives of the members that make up this unique
ward. Whether from the perspective of a former atheist, someone
experiencing mental or physical challenges, a recent convert, or a
returned missionary, each one had an impact on every person
differently. And that's why God knows exactly what he's doing.

K that all this week. All is well. ✌🏻
Hermana Sears

Ps. Here's our New Years party. We made 2016 with ourselves. Enjoy

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