Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Week 54

Hello there! Sorry I've been slacking at writing! I don't even know what to say anymore! haha, buuutttt I will think harder, OKAY!?? 

Okay, so....this week was great! We went on exchanges with some Sisters, and the Sister I was with is finishing her mission this week. She is an AMAZING Sister. The Spirit was overwhelmingly present when she was with me. I learned a lot from her. Missionary work isn't just a chore or a job or a duty, but it's a privilege. This Sister taught me to make it a part of ME. I can't really express it in words, but it was a great 24 hours. 

We had a woman from our ward come out with us to a lesson, and when we knocked on the door, the lady very strongly expressed that we could not come in, sooooo we just left and figured out where the Lord needed us! :) We drove to try an investigator we haven't been able to get a hold of in a while. We knocked a few times with no answer. His neighbor opened her door, and she told us where he is and what not. We appreciated the information, but we also talked with her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can strengthen families. We're going to go to her house this week  :) It felt good to find the person the Lord needed us to! 

Another highlight happened Wednesday. I don't know what it is, but we always end up teaching foreigners! No complaints here though! They're so humble and so open! We're teaching a man from Nepal who doesn't speak English very well. In our past zone training we learned about teaching the Savior's way. In PMG chapter 10 there are teaching skills we must drive to develop! Our zone leaders committed us to practice a teaching skill every single day of our mission in companionship study. The morning we taught this Nepali man, we practiced "Teaching for Understanding." The Spirit was there as we practiced, and it proved to be successful! In the lesson, we taught him simply about prophets. After we discussed it, he said, "A prophet is like a translator for God." YES!!! Can you imagine our smiles? We also taught him about baptism, and he said he wanted to be baptized! We talked about making a goal to work toward, and he agreed to work toward being baptized on May 9th!! We're so excited!!!! 

We started a Book of Mormon class in our ward every Wednesday night. We were out and about Wednesday, and I was going through our phone contacts. I came across the name of an investigator who sort of dropped off the face of the earth since November. I just felt that we should call him, so I did. I was SO SURPRISED when HE ANSWERED!!!! He came to the Book of Mormon class AND we met with him on Sunday. Yeah...inspired of God. 
Remember the man I talked about up a few paragraphs? We talked to his neighbor instead of him? 
Well, we also felt inspired to call him (he hasn't answered his phone in almost 2 months). I almost dropped the phone when I heard his voice on the other line! My voice went super high pitched and loud as I yelled, "ERIC!? How are you!???" I think it startled him hahaha. Anyway, we're hopefully getting a call from him this week to set up a time to meet! 

We went on another exchange this week! It was also very good! We saw many miracles happen :) One of my favorite things was working at a Fish Fry! There are a lot of members of the Catholic Church over here, and (I think during Lent?) they eat fish on Fridays. We volunteered at a few churches to make and serve fish and other foods. It was SUPER fun! Everyone tried to get me to eat fish, but I couldn't haha. Seafood is where I draw the line! 

Saturday night during planning, I felt like we should plan some backups for church, but I just ignored it thinking it wouldn't be cancelled. During our studies the next morning, Bishop texted and said all meetings where cancelled due to snow! I love Pennsylvania, but they freak out over snow haha....I miss good ol' stubborn Idaho where neither church nor school is cancelled for ANYTHING. 
We went with the Elders in our ward to bring the Sacrament to a lady in a care center. We were also able to partake of it. It was much needed! I'm so grateful for the restoration of the Priesthood! By taking the properly blessed bread and water, we can receive a remission of our sins. We renew our baptismal covenants and are purified by the Holy Ghost. Something I read this week really stuck with me. I studied about retaining a remission of our sins. SERVICE is a huge part of retaining remission. I found this poem that I really liked:

"I knelt to pray when day was done
And prayed, 'O, Lord, bless everyone.
Lift from each saddened heart the pain
And let the sick be well again.'
And then I work another day
And carelessly went on my way.
The whole day long, I did not try to wipe a tear from any eye; 
I did not try to share the load
Of any brother on the road.
I did not even go to see
The sick man just next door to me. 
Yet once again when day was done, 
I prayed, 'O, Lord, bless everyone.'
But ask I prayed, into my ear
There came a voice that whispered clear.
'Pause now, my son, before you pray. 
Whom have you tried to bless today?
God's sweetest blessings always go
By hands that serve Him here below.'
And then I hid my face and cried,
'Forgive me, God, I have no tried; 
But let me live another day
And I will live the way I pray.'"

Awesome huh!? Okay, I have to go, but I want to encourage all of you (I will do this too) to pray for service opportunities! Look for ways you can bless God's children, and you will receive the Spirit in your heart! I promise you will have a greater desire to follow the commandments of God, and if our hearts are right, we can retain a remission of our sins. Have a good week!!!

Sister Sparks

p.s. I've been on my mission nine transfers (nine sets of 6 weeks). The missionaries in my district brought cupcakes to District Meeting for my birthday....they challenged me to eat 9 cupcakes. Well, at first it was 21, but I could only do nine, so they took pity on me. I felt soooo sick afterward. It was so hard to walk hahaha

watermelon in winter


 would ya look at that

 cannot believe I just did that

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