I hate to title this email with Bon Jovi lyrics. But as of Saturday, I’m officially halfway there! February 18 was my 9 month mark. Time is just soaring by. And well, I’m also living on a whole lot of prayers! Also Sister Wallace and I will be staying together for another 6 weeks in Whitechapel! Feeling so so blessed. This is the first time I’ll be with a companion for more than 6 weeks and not sending a companion home or training so I’m just super happy.
So I’m just going to start with the best part of this week. BOYA GOT BAPTIZED! Oh how I love her! I am so so so so so happy for her. It was a beautiful baptism. Honestly I couldn’t stop crying. She spoke after her baptism and concluded by saying, “I am proud to say I am now a Mormon!” I’m so proud of her. It’s been a journey! But she did it. And after the baptism, she seriously jumped into my arms so that was pretty funny. Ah! I love her.
On Wednesday I ate more food than I have ever eaten in my entire life. Sister Wallace and I have been trying really hard to have dinner appointments with the members in Whitechapel and well, it’s working maybe a bit too well! Basically Wednesday went like this:
3 p.m: We were on exchange with the sister training leaders (so for 24 we go to their area and work with them) and one of the members took us to a BBQ restaurant. Pulled pork sandwich, mac and cheese, cornbread, sweet potato fries, and a classic root beer (very hard to find in England) was my meal.
5 p.m: We had an appointment to visit a new friend we were going to teach. Showed up and she had made us pasta, salad, rolls, and cheesecake!
7 p.m: After jumping fences, losing my companion, and running after buses, we then had a dinner appointment (the only dinner appointment we had actually scheduled…and by the way, we can only have dinner appointments on Wednesday and Friday because of our crazy Visitors’ Centre schedule). A pasta bake, salad, and chocolate cupcakes was the final meal.
I feel very blessed to have been fed so much but oh my goodness, I have never been so full! Turns out we either have no dinner appointments or 3 in one day! Sister Wallace said I needed to roll her home. Same girl, same.
We had a wonderful lesson with our new friend David this week. Sister Wallace met him awhile back on the street and this week I began texting him a bit. I asked when we could meet up and he said, “I’m not ready to meet with you and for your faith yet.” I then said, “May I ask why that is?” For some reason this sweet old man was caught off guard and loved my question. And so he met with us the very next day.
We taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he was quite interested. We used an analogy of comparing a glass plate to the Great Apostasy. I’ll explain it briefly for you all:
1. While on the earth, Jesus Christ organised a church with the authority of God, known as the priesthood.
2. Jesus gave this authority to His apostles.
*Pretend the glass plate is this church with all of Jesus Christ’s teachings. Jesus is holding one side of the plate and His apostles are holding the other.*
3. Jesus preformed the Atonement and was crucified. So He is no longer on the earth.
*The hand holding the glass plate representing Jesus lets go.*
4. The authority of the church was left with the apostles, but the apostles were then persecuted and killed.
*The hand representing the apostles then releases.*So what happens? The glass plate drops and shatters.
5. Without the proper priesthood authority from Jesus Christ and the apostles on the earth, the perfect church Jesus Christ organised shattered. His teachings were scattered and many people attempted to pick up the pieces. However they didn’t have the full “glass plate” because that priesthood authority was not there. We call this time the Great Apostasy (& Amos in the Bible foresaw this time! Check out Amos 8:11-12). This is why there are so many churches today.
6. Therefore there was a need for a RESTORATION. Not a reformation, but a restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ with the priesthood authority, prophets, and apostles.
*The glass plate was brought back together & restored!*
After we shared this, David said, “Last night while I was texting you and wondering if I should meet you, I was doing my dishes. As I was washing them, a glass plate slipped and shattered all over the floor. I don’t know what that meant, but now…” and we were all speechless. Call it crazy, but it felt a bit like a sign. The rest of the lesson went great and David said he would read and pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true.
Since I’m clearly halfway there, I wanted to expand more on prayer. Guys. Prayer is SO cool. Back in November, Sister Kerr challenged me to focus on my prayers more. And it’s the best thing ever. God is real. So real.
Writing about something I’ve experienced spiritually is very difficult, and so I won’t try to make a real attempt at it. But I want each of you to know how powerful and important prayer is. God is our Father. He wants to commune with us. He simply tells us that if we but ask, it will be given unto us. Maybe not in how we always assumed or desired, but it will be given unto us. If we seek, we will find. If we will simply knock, it shall be opened into us (Matthew 7:7).
It seems quite simple. But I have personally found that prayer isn’t that simple. It takes effort. Just as any relationship does, we must work to strengthen it. God is always there and always listening, but are we doing the same? And that is why the Savior warns us to not have vain or repetitious prayers (Matthew 5:7). Rather we must approach our prayers with a real intent and open heart.
As we are Heavenly Father’s creation and children, He already knows of the things we have need of before we ask Him (Matthew 5:8). So then why do we pray? Prayer changes us. Through prayer we acknowledge our dependence on the Lord, exercise our faith in His ability to bestow desired blessings, and acknowledge that ultimately all blessings come from Him. Approached properly, prayer helps us evaluate our lives and align with the will of God. As we pray we will improve, and the process of learning to communicate effectively with Him will shape and change our lives.
I would invite each of you to try praying if you haven’t in awhile! It might be difficult at first, or feel like you aren’t praying to anyone. But the Lord is listening and He speaks back! Remember the Lord’s remarks in Doctrine and Covenants 9:7 to Oliver Cowdrey: “You took no thought save it was to ask me.” Just ask! He is there. And always, always be living on a prayer 🙂