weird huh?? Do you feel like its already been a week for you??? ...I guess when I think about all that transpired throughout this week- it feels like eons but I guess that makes sense with the whole Mission time warp schtuff.
The lesson that stands out to me in my mind this week happened on Tuesday. It colored the rest of the week but seriously I pray it will influence the rest of my mortal probation ;)
Every Tuesday we volunteer at a Battered home shelter. We go in and bake for the residents there-- a member of our ward is an Advocate for domestic violence stuff.... It is an awesome opportunity. This week was a slightly different experience. There was a Puerto Rican woman that came into the kitchen and stood in front of us as we were making some carrot cupcakes. I asked if she liked to bake-- which resulted in about a 30 minute conversation about her life. She was police escorted from out of state for safety-- I will refrain from using name/places for her safety. She has lost custody of 2 children because of abusive boyfriends. Her mom is a coke addict and has custody of her children. Her 1st boyfriend is a gang chief and has almost killed her several times-- She spoke with more profanities than I have ever heard. She was hardened. So tough until she started talking about how much she loved and missed her kids. She spoke of murders- how she wouldn't flinch to kill her pursuers. She looked right at me as she said these things and I knew she wouldn't bat an eye if she wanted to end my life-- I was taken aback. I was so badly wanting her to stop describing this life so foreign to me. What hit me the most is that she is 21. She has her first child at 13. She is my age-- As we left the spirit began to direct my thoughts to gratitude. Gratitude for a safe neighborhood to grow up in. For a family that loves me and doesn't plot against me. For an environment to learn and grow without FEAR!! Man. The lesson I learned was the INFLUENCE of the Restored Gospel. I did not realize fully how the commandments of God keep us safe. and HAPPY!! I saw in stark contrast This woman and myself/any Latter Day Saint. Its just the basic commandments. Chastity, Word of Wisdom, "Thou shall not kill"-- They FREE you. They release you from bondage. Commandments prevent pain, heartbreak and despair. I know because of this gospel I have full hope that I can attain all my dreams for my future-- there is not one thing holding me back. That is the power of this gospel. The ability to use our agency to follow Christ back home to our Father in Heaven. For that I am ETERNALLY grateful.
I also determined not to watch and movies with gang violence/any violence.... cause man. How aweful is that? we sit and watch people killing one another for entertainment. To relax and enjoy each other's company we sit on our couches and watch as human beings- God's children kill. I just so desire instead- to do something about it... No clue what. But something-- anything to help violence end. Even if it is just not watching movies that depict it-- or teaching my children to love others. Anything.
God is so good... I was studying the Book of Mormon during my personal study and he taught me what I need to do with this.
Moroni 9:25- the whole chapter depicts cruelty and violence and barbarianism- which is happening right now in the world today. Patterns eh?? Mormon is speaking to Moroni his says after he describes this yuckiness--
"My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever."
We must increase our faith in Christ. Because of him- we may have hope.
Also- We have been working with a woman named Kristy-- she has a Ph.D in Microbiology? and a medical degree--- in her 3rd year of residency-- extrememly smart. She didnt believe in God when she first started meeting with missionaries a year ago. She has had quite the journey-- recently President and Sister Porter have driven up to teach her a couple of times to help her with her concerns. ALL her questions are so good!! Makes me really think. Please pray for her on Tuesday-- We are all fasting in preparation for our lesson that night!! She knows its true-- We just have to take that leap of faith and choose faith over doubt.
Love you family!! Keep the commandments and you will be happy!! Mosiah 2:41.
Going to Church...
Sister Pratt's husband... we bought him this shirt..
Indiana's country side
SISTER DUNFORD'S BIRTHDAY!
Photo opportunity during Personal study:)