Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 4th, 2014

Family! :D
Holy cow! I'm sorry that I have not sent an email home for a few weeks, they have been very eventful! Heavenly Father has been pouring out the blessings on Sister Bradshaw and I! This has been a huge testimony to me of Heavenly Father's willingness to help us when we are in need and providing opportunities to accomplish the desires of our hearts to help fulfill his work and share His gospel. Last weekend, I got sick. It got to the point that my mission president's wife sent me to urgent care, and because they didn't know exactly what was wrong but my symptoms were worrisome I was then sent to the Emergency Room. It was not a fun experience, and I felt frustrated with my body! There were things that were much more important than laying in my bed at the apartment trying to heal! BUT I learned that by relying on Heavenly Father, trusting that it will all work out, and being humble enough to recognize that I can't always accomplish everything I want to - it all fell into place. Because of that experience, as frustrating and miserable as it was, it allowed me to see even more clearly the incredible blessings and miracles Heavenly Father was waiting to pour out on us!!
On thursday, Sister Bradshaw and I had the opportunity to teach a law student studying here at Penn State, originially from Cameroon. His name is Idriss and he is very concerned for his eternal salvation and is willing to commit to truth when he finds it. He is absolutely FULL of questions about every aspect of life and the gospel, which initially seemed like it was going to be hard to manage but as we opened the lesson with a prayer and invited the Spirit, Idriss was able to focus on the questions that would be most important at this time for him to know. We talked about the need for living prophets, the restoration of Christ's church, and the role of the Book of Mormon in helping us grow closer to the Savior and knowing Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It was so cool because at one point in the lesson, Idriss told us that he is hesitant to begin reading and praying on a daily basis because every time he has tried in the past he has had a hard time having the motivation. He said that when he would go to read the scriptures, he would begin to feel really sleepy or want to be on facebook instead! haha We all kind of paused at that moment, but I felt the Spirit nudging me because I felt I could really relate to him. So as I opened my mouth to help Idriss, the Spirit brought the words to mind that he needed to hear. I continued with a work out/gym analogy that had already been used for a different reason in the lesson and asked him, "Idriss, if you want to get strong and have big muscles, would you go to the gym once and expect them to be the way you want?" He looked at me with a shocked expression and laughed saying, "No, definitely not!" So I went on to explain how it would be hard the first few times going to the gym because your body wouldn't be used to it! But that over time your muscles would get big and it would become easier to exert yourself when working out - it is the same with reading the scriptures!! It is hard to develop the habit and pattern of reading and praying on a daily basis, but when we do our relationship with Heavenly Father grows stronger and it becomes easier to do it regularly - especially because we are able to see the benefits of it. The most gratifying thing as a missionary, is being able to feel the Spirit working through you and then seeing the recognition on someone's face as the Spirit helps them understand! :) Idriss committed to reading and praying, and the member who came to the lesson invited him to watch a Brigham Young video with him the next day!
Later thursday evening, I was talking to a girl on the bus when I saw one of our former investigators named Chris! Chris is a very strong christian that really only had a lesson with us for information, not because he was interested in joining the church. He came and stood right in front of me (the bus was full) and was very friendly, wanting to talk about how things have been going for us. We chatted for a few minutes and naturally the conversation drifted to the gospel. I asked him how an interview had gone for an internship he had wanted and he told me it had gone very well! He said he knew it was because of a large number of people who had been praying for him, that he was really grateful for! When he said that, I had remembered in my studies that morning I had read in Mosiah 27 about the dramatic paradigm shift of Alma the younger. I told Chris about it because one of the things I loved most about the chapter was how the angel specifically told Alma that the reason he was there was because of the prayers of his father! Then later when Alma is struck dumb, many more people were fasting and praying for him - and of course, their prayers were answered. As I shared that story with Chris, my purpose was to validate his experience with a teaching from the Book of Mormon. He looked at me and said, "yeah I'm sorry but I'm never going to read the Book of Mormon. The more I think about it, the more I don't like it!" .... I was so taken back! He went on to tell me that he has read things in the Bible that disprove the Book of Mormon and he encouraged me to read them. As I sat there saddened by the direction the conversation had taken, I felt Heavenly Father strengthen me and help me say, "Chris, to be completely honest, you know more about the bible than I do. I can't pull a lot of random things from the Bible to prove it's validity. But what I do know is that every time I have prayed about it, I have felt in my heart that the Book of Mormon is from God!" He smiled, and even though I could see he didn't agree, he no longer seemed to want to argue about it. I was so grateful! When he got off the bus and for the short minute between his stop and ours, I thanked Heavenly Father for that experience. No one can take away my testimony of the Book of Mormon or diminish it in any way because it belongs specifically to me! If we hold firm to the truths that we know, we will be blessed with the opportunity to learn more. I hope someday Chris will give the Book of Mormon a chance, but if not, he helped me strengthen my testimony :)
Friday we got to have a lesson with Garett and that kid is on FIRE! After his baptism, he decided that he wanted to read the Old Testment before the summer was over and he is currently in Isaiah - which has become his favorite book! Crazy awesome, right?!
After the lesson with Garett we got to do Forums in front of the Pattee library, where miracles happen :) We got to meet many wonderful people, and we even ran into Idriss! He had watched the movie about Brigham Young that morning and when we asked him what he thought this is how he responded (reminder* - he is from Cameroon and speaks french, so imagine him saying this in a french accent), "Well, at first I was little confused because I didn't realize that the prophet's name was BRIG-HAM Young! The first thing I ever heard about your church was about polygamy and someone told me that your prophet's name was BRING-THEM Young!" hahahaha was hilarious. We were happy that that was able to get cleared up!
Saturday... more miracles! :) The biggest news - DARIEN IS BACK!!!! There is SO much that has happened with him in the last few weeks, and my love for him has grown so strong! He is incredible!! Darien is desperate to find happiness and because of that, he keeps getting drawn back to the gospel and to the people here. So, you know how there are moments in life when you meet someone and you instantly feel a deeper connection? Well, that is how I feel! I know that Heavenly Father placed him in our path that day because I needed to learn something from him. Darien is willing to commit, to lay it all on the line in order to see for himself if God is real and if this is something that he needs in his life! We had a lesson with him Saturday night, he came to church on Sunday and our "break the fast" activity afterwards, and wants to meet with us everyday this week! I wish I could explain him better and the happiness I feel as I am testifying to him of the truthfulness of this gospel! I can FEEL Heavenly Father's love for him so strongly, and I know that Heavenly Father is ready and willing to work miracles in his life :) Just like He is for each one of us!
I know this gospel is true. I know that God lives! He knows each of His children on a personal level and wants us to feel confident that He is there. I know the scriptures can bring us answers to our prayers and will help us every single day in so many situations if we are trying to apply them in our lives. I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your prayers! I have felt them lift me up, especially in the last few weeks. Have a wonderful week!
Sister Walborn
p.s. Pictures: 1) the ducks on campus are our best friends. haha 2) Us huddling together as it randomly started pouring during one of our Forums - gotta love the PA rain! :) Oh! And Sister Larsen (my companion in Butler) is here serving in one of the State College family wards so I get to see her all the time! Tender mercy!!! LOVE YOU!!


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