Those 4 words (in the subject line) are the best words I have heard so far on my mission. Let me tell you about our AMAZING experience we had this week...
Tuesday night, we went over to see Maria DV and her husband, Danny. A couple of days previous, Hna Binning and I both felt very strongly that we needed to have a set appointment with both of them there in order to really help Maria progress and help their family. Maria had been praying about getting baptized on July 25 and told us that she didn't think it was right. We were devastated, clueless on what to do next with her, until finally we received the promptings to meet with them both. So we went over, she gave us dinner, and we got to talking. Our lesson was on faith and repentance. Danny had tons of questions about different things and then Maria turned to him and started explaining to him the same principles we have been teaching her for weeks about really just relying on the Lord for your support. As she explained it to him, I could see it all just clicking in her mind and she was really gaining a testimony of it. We went on in the lesson and talked about the blessings of the temple. We shared a story from the Feb 2010 Ensign (she LOVES the Ensigns) about a family who wanted the blessings of the temple but it says they weren't ready to keep all the commandments. It was so applicable to Maria and Danny's situation. As we read the story, I looked at Maria and said, "Maria, we have felt the promptings of the Holy Ghost to tell you that now is the time to get baptized and get your family to the temple. We fear that if you don't do it now, you never will. Now is the time to receive these blessings." After a little more discussion with them, I was looking down at my scriptures, wondering where to turn to next, when suddenly Maria said, "Ok, I'll do it." I thought I was dreaming it. I looked up and started laughing in disbelief and asked about 3 times, "Really? Are you serious? When?" "On August 1. I just checked the calendar and Danny has it off work. It hit me as you were reading that story. I just need to do this." So basically, to summarize that entire huge paragraph, Maria DV is getting baptized on August 1 and she has just been glowing!!!!!!!!!!
With the excitement of all of this, I have been thinking a lot about the tender mercies of the Lord that he gives us every day as His missionaries. We were clueless a couple of days before that lesson on what to teach her, but through diligent study and prayer, the Lord led us in our studies and planning to plan exactly what she needed to hear and blessed us with the spirit to touch her heart. Also, ever since I came back to Paterson, the members and other missionaries have been asking me, "Sister Jackson, when is Maria getting baptized? You know that you're back for her, right?" Yes, I knew, and I felt the pressure big time, especially when things weren't going as well as we had hoped. But the Lord blessed us. This is not a chance every missionary gets...to be able to serve in the same area twice. I know that it is another tender mercy of the Lord that he has given me to remind me of His love.
In other news, Eric (the 9-yr old) is also getting baptized on Sunday and we are way excited for him as well. Minerva, on the other hand, is having some doubts and will probably take several more weeks to be ready for baptism. I would rather have that though so that she is really doing it for her and not her son.
Oh, and just so you know, Mom and Cari, I think I like reading now...yeah, I know, it's hard for me to admit :) but I do enjoy reading and have this thirst to read lots of books after the mission...of course, that could just be because I can't right now, so I want to (maybe that's the rebel in me). Anyway, there's the update on me. :)
I think that's about it for this week. Prayers are being answered every day out here. I am so grateful for this time in my life the Lord has given me to serve Him. I'm humbled by the trust He has in me to teach and testify to my brothers and sisters about the doctrine of salvation. Our theme this transfer in our companionship is, "Love it. Every day." And I do. Thanks for all your love and support. I miss you tons but I love you more!