Closed for Construction

The VC was closed for an entire WEEK.  Now, that may not sound like a long time, but I didn't fully understand what a blessed life I was living until I had to tract every single day, in the cold, in Kentlands.  Here's what I've learned:
1. To appreciate the elders more because this past week for me is every week for them.
2. The Visitors' Center is a sanctuary in more ways than one.
3. Sister Wankier is incredible to put up with me 24/7 for a whole week!
4. Full pros (full time proselyting) really isn't that bad.  It's interesting; I wasn't as tired at the end of our full pros days as compared to the days when I'm at the VC and in the area.  And it was a fun challenge. I learned a lot.
5. Our area needed this time.  We saw soooo many miracles.  I'll try to include them all. 

On Thursday, we saw Claudia.  She's been taught for over a year now, and she's SO close to accepting the gospel as part of who she is.  She actually took us through the baptismal interview questions (because she has them written down somewhere) and she knows it's all true. And she's living the commandments.  She's just keeping herself back.  But I had a neat realization this morning.  I was reading the story of the 10 lepers, because I was studying gratitude, and I realized that Claudia's situation is this story.  The lepers were Samaritans, 'enemies' to Christ's people during that time, and Christ even called them strangers.  They had lost everything that was valuable to them, but had come to Christ and he had healed them by taking their leprosy away.  Only one returned to thank Him, and as he did so, the gratitude he expressed probably helped him to let go of any bitterness in his heart.  He could have been very bitter for the lost years, lost family, lost job, and everything he didn't have, but because he was grateful, Christ pronounced him "whole".  To me that means that he was whole inside and out. His body was healed from the leprosy, but his heart was also healed from a spiritual leprosy.  Claudia is also a leper in her own way, but Christ has already taken her 'exterior' leprosy away from her.  She's lost all of those exterior, material things and there is nothing that is physically in her way from being healed and part of the congregation.  Just like the lepers, she's at ground zero.  But, she has to choose to thank Christ for what he's done in order to lose the resentment in her heart and experience the healing that only Christ can give.  Then he can lift her by saying, "Arise, go thy way."  Christ would only command us to go our own way if it was also
His way.  The paradox is that we have to be grateful for what he's taken away, in order to give him more - our hearts - so that we can inherit all of the blessings and promises He offers.  It reminds me of a quote from the Nauvoo pageant: "To give more than we had, we gave of ourselves."  And just as Elder Maxwell said, "Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory."  We are healed inside and out through giving ourselves to Christ, truly, through giving thanks to Christ. 

And I have faith that Claudia will reach that point very soon.

Friday we met with a mother that's been less active for years.  The ward made it sound like she'd be a little bitter and difficult to reach, but when we went to visit, her heart was ready.  Her oldest son is 8 and after visiting with them they agreed to go through the lessons together! It's not what we were expecting, but it's what they need.  We're actually teaching them the first lesson today and I can't wait. 

Saturday was a day full of appointments. And most of them kept!  Andrew, our Polynesian tragically said that he's not ready for this yet and asked us to not come back.  We were so shocked that we didn't know what to say to him.  Kristy, from the Chinese branch, was with us too because she's going on a mission soon and wanted the practice before she goes out.  This is the second time she's come out with us and she always stays for as long as she told us she would (so usually about an hour) and I felt bad that she had to witness the rejection, but we stayed positive, went to lunch afterwards, and told miracle stories from our missions.  Looking back, I do just remember the miracles, and not the rejections as much.  It's like I told Sister Wankier: every day on the mission is a good day.  Even if it's a hard day, it's a good day.  I hope that Kristy keeps her excitement because she is going to be a great missionary.

So the appointments that did keep: Wachen and Brittany.  We had members for both of those, and both were great.  Brittany finally opened up to us, and she is ready for this message.  Her soul is searching.  I finally felt peace about her after our lesson with her.  Wachen, our 30 year old Chinese investigator, was a hoot.  I don't remember if I mentioned that he has a learning disability and gets distracted very easily.  In our lesson we talked about who God and Jesus Christ are.  We have to start with the very basics with him.  There was actually a moment in this lesson that was priceless.  (Well, there were a few...but this one was the best.)  We were sitting in the lobby of the church, looking at a picture of Christ, as we were bearing our souls and our testimonies about who Christ is to us.  All of a sudden Wachen says, "Can I ask you question?"  We said, "Of course."  Then he looks right at me and asks, "Are you Irish?"  Hahaha.  I did have to laugh and then had a fun time trying to tie 'not being Irish' into my testimony of Christ.  But, the spirit was there, so I hope it sunk in, but we had to be very simplistic, and that was a little harder than I thought it would be.  Sister Shawen was a great help, though.  And the best miracle actually came after the lesson.

Wachen had left when Sister Shawen started talking to us (I don't have much time left, so this will be the condensed version...)  and gave us two incredible referrals.  One is her son's friend, who he brought to church.  They were texting afterwards and his friend said that he doesn't have to keep his side of the deal and come to her church, because his is way better and she's thinking about converting!  Then there's this family that has had so much contact with the church and just needs to come and feel the spirit and she's sure they'll be ready to join.  Ah! I wish I could write the whole conversation in detail because to me, member referrals like this are almost as good as baptisms.  It was a blessed day.

Then Deedee and Margaret.  Best miracles of the week, but I'm out of time!  Bah! Remind me to write about them next week. 

I love you all!!!  Stay true to what's eternal!

-Sister Welch

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