Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Sunshine After the Storm

Well, this week has definitely been one for the books! I can't begin to explain how much of a roller coaster my life has been over the past two months, and it just keeps going! In all honesty though, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Let's just look at this really quickly. In the last two months I have left home for 18 months for places completely foreign to me, met basically my long lost soul sister (that's you Sister Aston!), learned how to communicate in PORTUGUESE, made some amazing friends through my MTC experience, found two of the greatest spiritual giants in the world (or so I'm convinced), left all of those amazing people to come to the other side of the country, and explored what is definitely the middle of nowhere (but I love it!). How many people can say they've done all that in 2 months?! Well, whoever they are, I can now say I'm apart of that elite group. Just thought I'd brag a little bit. Well, brag is the wrong word, marvel I think is a better word.

Anyhow, on to the weekly update!

We went over to a family's home for dinner and FHE. I love them so much and am so grateful that they're so willing to be involved in missionary work! Love love love!

We had two appointments that took most of the day, so not a ton happened, but our lessons did go really well!

I've had a problem for most of my mission of not teaching by the Spirit. I tend to plan a lesson and want to stick to it exactly, but that's not the way teaching is supposed to go. I decided I was going to try really hard today to teach people, not lessons, and it's amazing how the experience changes! Teaching by the Spirit brings a whole new feeling to me as a missionary and to the person we're visiting. Sometimes it's not about what Is said, but how the person feels after what you said. I'm trying really hard to rely on the Spirit when I teach because that's what missionary work is all about! We are not the real teachers, the Spirit is. We are just the mouthpieces.

First exchange! I went on exchange with one of the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Frame, and she's wonderful! We got along super well, right off the bat, and our 24 hours as companions was grand! I love her! I mean, I love all the people out here, but she's a pretty great one!

We also had two super great lessons! I have so much love for those we teach and I just really want to see them progress and feel that same joy that I get from the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Service at the soup kitchen is always so much fun! I love it there and being able to help people who need it is so rewarding. 

I had to give Sister Frame back to her actual companion, which was sad, but it's so nice to have Sister Davis back. I love her! 

I HAD BREAKFAST FOR DINNER! I didn't really plan it that way, but I didn't know what to make, so I decided that french toast is quick and easy. Thus, french toast was made and Sister McEldowney was uma muito feliz campista! 

Other than that, my weekly Friday accomplishment is surviving weekly planning, so that continued this week.

Did you know that singing and whistling for people to share a message about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is not all that effective? Well, we didn't either and it was a flop. A very fun flop, but a flop nonetheless! It was a different way to approach tracting though, and that was the purpose. On the bright side, we were still pretty successful in talking to people and invited 24 people to learn about the gospel throughout the day. MIRACLE!

I finally met a less-active we've been trying to contact since I got here, too! I was so happy! Technically he's the non-member in a part member family, but those are just details. Either way, I finally met someone that we've been trying to see. 'Twas grand!

Miracle after miracle after miracle! I love love love Sundays!

So, Aaron, our investigator, is now a recent convert! Aaron got baptized! Happy day! The Spirit was so strong during his baptism! I couldn't believe how it all came together. We've been stressing about the details for weeks and it came together for a beautiful baptismal service. My heart was filled with happiness as I saw the look of pure joy on his face after being baptized. It was incredible!

It was pretty special, too, because he asked me to sing. I sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" for the service. It was acapella and in two languages, so I was pretty proud of myself. I sang the first and last verses in English and the middle two in Portuguese. It was really neat and it helped to invite the Spirit back into the meeting after the excitement of Aaron coming back into the chapel.

We also found two new investigators! The stories are pretty great, too! One of them is a man that we see everywhere and we finally found a chance to talk to him! I mean, we had to pull over to the side of the road and run to him with a Book of Mormon, but it was so worth it.

Our second investigator is a woman, and possibly her daughter, who we met solely because of listening to the Spirit. So, we drove to one of the towns in our area that's further away because we had a media referral (someone who requests a meeting with the missionaries via media, internet, t.v. commercial, etc.) there. We got to the address and there was absolutely no way of getting in contact with him. As we left with this sister missionary being very discouraged, Sister Davis said that she felt like we needed to go knock doors on the street where we had parked. The first person we came up to was super willing to listen and we taught her the Restoration! I left with some seriously high spirits and a huge smile on my face! 

Experiences like the ones I had Sunday remind me why I'm a missionary. The pure joy that can, and does, come to people with the knowledge of the gospel is incredible!

I love this gospel so much! I know that this church is true. I know how much joy it can bring because it brings me joy each and every day. Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. God is our Heavenly Father who loves us with every fiber of His being. If He didn't love us, He would not have sent His son to earth to be our Savior. I know that Christ lives and that He is my Redeemer. I love this gospel with all my heart and don't know where I'd be without it.

I love and appreciate all of you so much! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Amo sempre, 
Sister McEldowney


From the keeper of this blog -

RE: Monday
"We went over to a family's home for dinner and FHE."

I know you know what dinner is, but what is this FHE thing? It's an acronym for Family Home Evening. The church STRONGLY encourages families to hold Family Home Evening once a week, preferably Monday night. I've included a link below that explains well what FHE is all about.

RE: Tuesday
"I've had a problem for most of my mission of not teaching by the Spirit."

"...teaching by the Spirit?" Again, a Mormonism that perhaps only Mormons understand. Here's some information to help explain where we come by it - 

First one must understand who the Spirit is.

So then what does it mean to teach by the Spirit? I found a great explanation given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This really rings true if you consider Kayla's age and experience as you read.

The Lord described the importance of teaching by the Spirit when he said, “If ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). One easy-to-understand illustration of the importance of that direction is to remind ourselves of this fact: When we go out into the world to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, many of the people we teach have much more formal education than we do. Every minister we encounter has more education in theology than we do. We have no professional clergy. We have no school of theology. Some of us have never even heard of some of the subjects in which professional ministers have spent many years of professional preparation.

A few years ago I encountered an example of this. I was talking with a Protestant minister who taught in a seminary. When I asked what subject he taught, he said, “Hermeneutics.” I had never heard that word, so I said, “What is that?” My minister friend explained that hermeneutics is the art of interpreting and expounding the scriptures. I smiled and said, “Well, yes, I guess I understand a little bit about that, but I’ve never heard it called that.”

Our missionaries meet people who have studied philosophy and metaphysics, world history and languages, science and the arts. They meet people who are better educated than they are. In view of that, if they don’t have the Spirit of the Lord and if they don’t teach under the direction of the Spirit, how can they expect to accomplish their mission?

We cannot compete with the world on its terms. If we are to fulfill our calling, we must teach the Lord’s way.

If we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide us, we can teach any person, no matter how well educated, any place in the world. The Lord knows more than any of us, and if we are his servants, acting under his Spirit, he can deliver his message of salvation to each and every soul.

RE: Sunday
"...we taught her the Restoration!"

The doctrine of the need for a restoration of Christ's church and the necessity of letting the world know and inviting all to learn of its truths for themselves is the sole purpose behind The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary program. I've found a couple of links that explain it better than I ever could.

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