Monday, August 19, 2013

No Coincidences

Family!! Friends!! Followers!!

Hey that sounds kinda catchy.

Hello! This is Sister Fox!! Still on cloud nine from yesterday! Y'all would not believe. What happened. This week. This week rocked. Remember that boulder I talked about last week? It budged! I'm so excited I may just set the keyboard on fire with my maniacal typing! I've lost myself to an uncontrollable fit of giggles way too many times this week. I think I just might pass out.

In all seriousness, this week was one of the most incredible weeks I have ever seen. I attribute all of it to the Lord. He has blessed us so abundantly this week, and I thank Him every day for it. I don't know what changed all of a sudden, but I know it was all the power of God that helped us this week. The gratitude I feel is perfectly beyond words. I just love missionary work.

I guess I'll start with MondayMonday was a good day. After doing emails and such we went to lunch with the Sister Training Leaders. We went to a tasty smoothie place and then drove down the street to have fried oreos. Sister Paxton insisted that she absolutely had to taste a fried oreo. It was the funniest thing ever how excited she was. So we bought them. Except I didn't eat any because I seriously can't handle putting those things into my stomach. But, from what everyone told me, they are quite tasty.

Monday night Maryanne fed us dinner, and it was delicious! It tasted like Thanksgiving. And she made us peach cobbler, which was so delicious it made me want to cry tears of joy. It makes me excited for fall! The weather lately has been much less humid, and some of the trees are starting to speckle! I am so excited for Fall here. I'm kinda sad I only get to stay here for one Fall instead of two. It's my favorite season! The weather has actually been so good this week, it has sustained us during our plentiful tracting. Because we lost all our investigators last week, we had to tract basically all week. But the weather was perfect for it every single day. Coincidence? I think not.

I don't remember what happened Tuesday.

Wednesday we had District Meeting and went to lunch together at a really tasty cookout place. Then Elder Lynn told us we had to take a park day. Basically we had driven too far and had to spend a day out of the car. I originally wished he had told me on Sunday so we could've taken one on our P-day. So at first I was a bit frustrated. But we decided to just stay out of the car and walk around after district meeting. We changed our plans for the day (we had no appointments anyway) and decided to tract around the apartments right next to ours. Oh my heavens. We found a gold mine!! Right up the flippin street! We taught 12 other lessons during that escapade and made 7 return appointments! In one day!! I've never seen that before. Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday we finally got into the door of a less-active. Her name is Leslie. She says we're the first set of missionaries she has not told to go away. We knocked on her door right when she was prepared to come back. Coincidence? I think not. What a story. She has been less active for quite some time, but she doesn't even remember why. She has long-term memory problems, so she can barely remember the past decade or so. She doesn't remember joining the church, getting married, any of it. It's so sad. She knows she worked in the temple because she found a nametag in her closet. It started coming back to her a little as we spoke with her. Coincidence? I think not. It was an incredible thing to see. She still has a solid testimony, she is just intimidated to jump back in. She came to church on Sunday though!! She wants to come back. I love working with less actives just as much as I love working with investigators. I love seeing that light come back into their lives. It's the neatest experience!

Thursday evening we decided to return to our gold mine, where we were able to teach 5 more lessons and make 5 more return appointments. Then we met with Ralph. He seemed kind of open when we taught him, but then he dropped us the next day. It happens.

Friday we lost some new investigators because some return appointments fell through. But it's okay. Because everything played out really well. We continued to tract basically all day, and we were able to teach 9 more lessons and found 4 more investigators! I've never seen this before. At the end of the week, we found a total of 19 new investigators. 19! We lost a few, but that is still an amazing number. God has blessed us so abundantly this week, and we have been brought to our knees over and over in humble gratitude. The time of greatest prosperity and success came right after the week of greatest loss and frustration. Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday we got to attend a baptism! The Assistants had a baptism and let us come watch. I love the spirit at convert baptisms. It was incredible. After that spiritual boost we had our first appointment with an investigator named Janette. Back story on Janette. We were actually trying to visit a less-active family in her same neighborhood. They drop their appointments a lot. So, they dropped another appointment. Frustrating, right? Well, on our way back to the car we run into a 9 year old girl, and she is absolutely adorable. Kids are so loving and open-minded; I wish everyone embraced us the same way kids do. Anyway, she invited us to her house. Note for all missionaries: take kids up on those offers. We went over and met Janette. She talked about how she had been taught by missionaries in the past and had been to church a couple times. She loved it, but she had to stop because she started working on Sundays. We had no record of her in our area book at all. She doesn't work on Sunday anymore and she is looking for a church. Coincidence? I think not. Anyway. Saturday was our return appointment, and we read Alma 32 together. It was amazing! She was being taught the Spirit like no investigator I have ever seen. She got so much out of that chapter, and by the time we were done reading she said she wanted to nourish her seed by reading the scriptures and going to church. I just sat there wide-eyed, like a little child looking at a giant Christmas present. We invited her to church, and Sister Paxton followed the advice of Elder Kopischke and asked Janette to write down a question. She promised that her question would be answered.

Sunday. Was. Awesome!! Best. Day. EVER! Janette came to church! With her two kids! And she brought Suellen's daughter!

Sacrament meeting was the perfect meeting for all investigators present. We had a speaker from the high council, and he talked about coincidences. He said coincidences are God's way of being anonymous. He began with the story of Moses; how he was spared as a baby, found by Pharoah's daughter, and raised by his own mother. Then he told an incredible story about how he himself met his wife, how he was baptized, and how his parents were baptized. As he talked about all the details of his story and how everything fell into place, he bore a powerful testimony about how there are no coincidences. He also told a story about how he and his wife struggled to have kids. He gave her a blessing and received a powerful prompting that he needed to tell her three times that she would bear children. He wondered why, but he followed the prompting. A few months later they found out they were having triplets  With the Lord in our lives, there are no such thing as coincidences. Coincidence means that you are on the right path. Then he said, "It is no coincidence that you are here today." I looked over at Janette. She was crying. Leslie was crying too. After Sunday School Janette said that her question was answered in Sacrament Meeting. She has been looking for a spiritual family and she said she found it here. She knew God had answered her question and she wanted to be baptized. Coincidence? I think not.

After Church we had our correlation. We usually have correlation at our Ward Mission Leader's house so we can all have lunch together. But this happened to be the third Sunday. And the third Sunday is our mission fast. So, to spare our miles, we decided to meet at the church. Church gets out at noon, usually, and we're gone by 12:30. Well, we had our correlation and we were done by 1:30. And it usually goes until about 2:00. But we ended early. So we got out just in time for the singles ward. As I walked out of the church building, I found myself looking at my older sister.

Coincidence? I think not.

That was the coolest thing I have ever experienced. That made my life. She was the last person I expected to see. I knew she would be coming to Tennessee for school, but I never thought she would have stopped just a few hours short of her destination to come to church in my same building. She had no idea I was there either. It was the best thing ever. I burst into tears and we had a joyful reunion. And because we didn't meet up on purpose, it was entirely guilt-free! I totally needed that. Beyond words. Coolest. Thing. Ever. When God is in your life, there are no coincidences.

We taught the Restoration lesson 3 times yesterday to 5 of our new investigators. Each of them received the message really well, and one committed to be baptized in September! Her name is Maddie. She recently lost her husband and she's looking for a church for herself and her family. We found her at the perfect time.

Coincidence? I think not.

Y'all can probably tell that I really like saying that. As I look back at this email, and back at my mission, I see so many things falling into place. As we work, we may not be able to see the fruits of our labors, but as God gives us a preview of His grand design, it is overwhelming. When God is in our lives, and we do our best to align our will with His, there are no coincidences. We find guidance, blessings, and success not only through significant spiritual revelations, but by simply being good. As long as we are leading good lives and following God as closely as we can, our lives will fall into place. Our futures are secure when they are in God's hands. Things just come together so naturally as His story unfolds for all of us. That has been the coolest thing to see out here. So many times I was led by the hand of the Lord and I didn't even know it. I love this Gospel. I love my Savior. I am so grateful for everything that He has done for me, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to give back just a little. I love serving Him. Through the good and bad times. My heart goes out in gratitude to Him daily. I know this Church is true.

Well friends and family, my time is running short. I hope you all know how much I love all of you! I am so grateful for all of you and everything you all do for me. God bless you! Until next week!

-Sister Fox


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