Monday, October 14, 2013

Miracles :)

It's been a week of some miracles! I knew some better times were coming!
Monday we took a beautiful hike up Bishop's Peak with the entire zone. Imagine 25 missionaries hiking up a small mountain. When we finally reached the top, some of the Elders loudly proclaimed scriptures from the top of the mountain. We also took lots of pictures! It was incredible. You can see all of SLO from the top. By the end, we were sweaty, sweaty, sweaty and covered with  quite a bit of dirt. It was a wonderful break from the usual schedule and it was amazing to meet some of the other missionaries in this mission!
Tuesday we had a lesson with Sarah who has some interesting beliefs. It's incredible how invested you become in lessons. It's kind of like watching a movie; something breaks your focus and you realize an hour has passed. As usual, we've elicited a number of reactions while knocking on doors. One lady answered while on the phone, we asked when we could come back, and she said "You Can't." The person on the phone laughed and she smiled and quickly shut the door. One of her neighbors answered and began to lecture us on her church and how it was the first to accept gay marriage. She was so proud of how liberal it was. Walking away from her house, Sister Anderson leaned over and said how grateful she was for a prophet today. A prophet is so important. He really keeps the church on track. It obviously states marriage is between a man and a woman in the Bible, but look at how much confusion there is about it. A prophet is one of the amazing tools and guides Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given us in our lives because He LOVES us. That night, we had dinner with a family in the ward. Their daughter has been bringing her friend to church with her and she wants to be baptized! We are planning to start work with their family soon.
Wednesday. 1 MONTH OUT IN THE FIELD. Crazy. To celebrate, Heavenly Father decided to give me an amazing miracle. Sister Anderson and I were walking back from District Meeting when she decided she needed to go to the bathroom (I think she goes more than you, mom! It's an accomplishment on her part I guess). So we stopped at a shell station. These 2 men walked in and we figured out they were from Brazil. WE RAN INTO A MOTOR-CYCLE GANG OF BRAZILIANS AT A SHELL GAS STATION IN SLO. Tell me that is not a miracle. They are from somewhere near Rio. They flew into Las Vegas for a 22 day motorcycle ride mainly through California. I got to talk a little in Portuguese with them and tell one of them a little about the church. So amazing. It made me excited to go to Brazil again.
Thursday we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader and Ward Missionaries. Sister Anderson and I had really been trying to figure out how to best help this area, because as far as numbers go each week, we are struggling because it is difficult to find people to teach. It comes down to the members. Knocking on doors is just not effective here. The Lord tremendously blessed us this week of ideas to help members get more involved. The Ward Missionaries all agreed, so the work should be moving along better soon. I cannot tell you how important members are in missionary work! I am going to be such a better member missionary when I return.
Friday we did some street contacting on our way to an appointment and ran into Brandon and a couple of his friends. Brandon actually started talking to us because he had dated a member of the church for quite a while. We were able to invite him and his friends to church! Just after saying bye to them, we began to talk to a girl named Lexie, who was standing behind us waiting to cross the street. She has a background with the church as well! We invited her to church and she said she would come! She said that this is just what she needed because she'd had a really rough day. We each gave her a big hug and told her how excited we were to see her Sunday! Later that night, we had a lesson with Alex (college student as well) who is agnostic. I think he really is searching to know if there is a God. I want him to know so badly that there is! He is our Heavenly Father! He loves Alex!
Saturday we visited one of our dear member friends in a nursing home. After our sweet visit, we were leaving when 2 women in wheelchairs started talking to us in the hallway. Their old age had kind of taken their memories. One of them even asked us if we were her daughters. We helped them the best we could, then got a nurse to help them find what they were looking for. He took one of them and the other wanted to come too, so he said "come on Levon!" She said, "How did you know it was Levon?" He replied, "I took a guess!" Old people are so cute and funny. Levon turned around and called out a "Thanks girls!" as we walked away. We got Chipotle for dinner. It's probably a little sad how incredible happy it made me. Oh, well :) Sister Anderson and I really enjoyed our burritos and chips after a good week.
Sunday! LEXIE CAME TO CHURCH. It was a miracle. We had invited her to the Single's ward, which the Elders are over. We were waiting outside for her when Brittney arrived to church late and came to say hi to us. Here is the story of Brittney: 2 weeks ago, we were rushing home on foot after failing to find an apartment of a referral, so that I could get home for a full hour of Portuguese study. While walking down the sidewalk, we heard a "Hey Sisters!" We turned around and met Brittney, a member of the Single's Ward. We talked to her for a few minutes before continuing on our way. Now 2 weeks later, we explained we were waiting for an investigator and Brittney asked if we'd want someone to walk in with her. It's amazing how the Lord work. Lexie arrived, we ran to her, introduced her to Brittney (they are like instant friends and had some common friends as well), and prepped her to go into Sacrament Meeting. We heard later that she had a wonderful time and the Elders have an appointment with her Friday with Brittney as well! Miracles. Heavenly Father knew that Lexie would need Brittney far before we knew about either of them. We saw our investigator Lee, later. She is having a really hard time right now. We walked her dog, Tanner. I had only walked a dog twice before my mission... Now I can't count how many times we've walked that dog. Missionary work is walking dogs sometimes, just thought y'all should know. We returned and visited with Lee and sang what we remembered of "Be Still My Soul" and it's amazing how quickly the Spirit came and how immediately Lee calmed down.
Heavenly Father really is amazing and there are miracles all around us if we will just look around and see! Especially after hard weeks, the light comes. There's a better day ahead. Always. There is always something to look forward to.
I love you all! Thanks for the prayers. I really feel them. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Shipp

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