Monday, May 19, 2014

5/19/14 - Knock, Knock..

 We just barely received our transfer calls on Saturday and it turns out I'm staying... I figured, but the shocker is so is Sis Cox. It’s great, we both really get along nice (and I've been sweating thinking I’m going to be put with a completely deaf companion, but apparently not yet). We came up with a new nickname for our companionship… “The deaf leading the blonde!”  (we’re gonna make key chains)  Only bummer- I still won't be able to drive.... this week’s theme is humility.
   I am so grateful for a loving Father who trusts me to handle certain scenarios. But man, this has been the most amazing week, but also hurt my heartstrings a bit.  The first huge experience was with Marissa and her son, Isaiah.  He's 9 and has a heart problem, so he’s extremely mature for a 9 year old. Currently, they don't have a car & she cooks everything in the microwave or a slow-cooker because she can't afford to pay the gas bill. We originally me her to show support while Isaiah was given a blessing, and handed her to the elders since she's in their area. Well, Saturday she came to the Women's conference. We were talking w/ her afterwards and she starting asking us random questions like if women baptize other women and things like that. So, we started to explain and then offered to show her and her son the baptismal font. On the way we grabbed Bishop (we secretly had keys, but we wanted Bishop to come). It was so neat!! We resolved her concerns, she privately talked with Bishop, and afterwards she came out saying how she doesn't know why but has this desire to become baptized. If she could, she would do it on Monday. She was telling us over and over about how she wasn't planning on coming, but this morning she woke up and she just knew she had to come, didn't know why, but she HAD to go (hint hint:that’s the spirit).  So, that was amazing. I'm thrilled for her and her son and we are grateful for just being a tool in God's hands.
    The second experience, I GOTTA TEACH A FAMILY!!  This is the first time we were able to have dinner and teach the restoration to a family, a member referral at that! Their names are Behnan, Corinne, and 9yr old sharp-as-a-tack little girl named Jasmine. It was so spiritual, and the lesson went so smoothly (this was just after a training we had received on Tuesday). Jasmine practically explained apostasy, priesthood, and the restoration back to us. It was so cute. We invited the Father Behnan to say the closing prayer, and he starts of telling God thanks, and Jasmine interrupts him and says "Dad! Read the pamphlet, you gotta say 'Dear Heavenly Father'" It was soooo amazing. But, here is where my heart strings hurt a little bit - we found out they are not in our area. We have a family to teach, and now we have to give them to the other elders in the ward.  I'm gonna admit, I’m selfish, and I bawled. We have done so much hard work, trying to find people to teach, and we finally have an actual family that we've connected with, and they're not ours to teach. Deaf work is scarce, a lot of driving, and we have the more wealthy part of the hills, so it’s tough to not be able to teach this wonderful family.  But, I realized that to serve like Christ means you have one motive – to help God’s child.  If we play a little part in helping this family come unto Christ, then it doesn’t matter who baptizes them.
   On a lighter note, a couple of funny things happened this week - so I've seriously had to swallow my pride with Sister Cox driving. Yesterday, I’m looking at the GPS, and Sister Cox cuts into the other lane, and this car whales on its horn. Well this car pulls up to us, and it's a member in our ward!!!! He starts telling her about how she was an inch from hitting him. It was nuts!!!!  On Sunday, he was telling us about how he's glad he doesn't have to sue the church... couldn't tell if he was joking or not?!  Funny moment #2 – we are knocking on doors and one man opens the door and is very blunt about how he’s already saved and doesn’t want us to come back.  He’s also frustrated we interrupted his dinner.  Ok, our bad, so we walk around to the next door and this same guy pops open the door, sticks his neck out and yells, “Same house!”  Ooops… obviously the spirit is telling this man something, but he doesn’t want to listen!)
   Last, but not least, we were able to meet another deaf man, his name is Martin. Only problem is, he does Spanish sign language.... yes there is a difference... so we're excited to tackle that this week!!  This week was the toughest of my mission, but it was amazing and a testimony builder for me to be worthy to be part of the Lord’s work.  I love what I’m doing!  Love you all!
   Sister Jessica McNeill

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5/12/14 - Happy Mother's Day

We got to talk to Jessica for Mother’s Day and it was wonderful.  She looks great – just lights up the screen – and she is loving her mission, especially the people she serves.  She didn’t send her normal email this week, but sent a really sweet letter for Mother’s Day, with a memory card and photos.  So, here is a photo with her and two sweet ladies – Jewel (deaf) and Violet (hearing) that they serve each week. 
A little excerpt from her card, “Mom, how time has flown by.  This will be my 5th month out.  I already can start to feel the changes inside me.  Don’t know if you’ll notice them or not, but I’ve started to notice the things I do and say now that I’ve picked up… don’t worry though, I refuse to talk like a valley girl! The mission is changing me, and I can’t wait to show you the woman I’ve become when I’m done.  Oh, I love it out here.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem real.  But, I do my best to drink in every moment, good or bad, because I know it’ll make me stronger.  Love you tons!” 
Best Mother’s Day gift ever!
Thanks again for all you do – Jessica said she feels so loved and supported by everyone!