Monday, May 8, 2017

Beyond Blessed!!

Bonjour family and friends!!

This week was another week full of humbling experiences. One of the best parts of serving is a mission, is the people we get to meet. Especially here is Europe, they come from all different backgrounds and cultures. They are a lot of people that are from Africa and have had many trials and struggles in their life that I could never imagine going through. This week I was once again reminded of how blessings I have in my life and many tender mercies Heavenly Father has blessed me with. 

Castle in Clervaux!!

We started off the week by seeing Ines. She is someone I talked with on the train a couple weeks ago. Before I even got the chance to ask for her number, she had already written it down and handed it to us! We called her a set up a rendezvous for this week. We started off by asking her some questions to get to know her. It ended up leading into a discussion about her childhood. She grew up in a small village in Cape Verde, during at time that there had been in a drought for 20 years. She said it made it really difficult to have food and they were often very thirsty. She said it was a 3 hour walk to the closet water source. She told us that there were nights she really felt like she was going to die. Eventually her dad left to Portugal and brought her along so that their family could have a better life. She always maintained a positive attitude, despite her difficult circumstances. She said people always asked her, Why are you happy all the time? Her response was simply, "I know good things will come." As she was telling us this story, I was overwhelmed by her example and faith. We left her home knowing that Heavenly Father put us in her path so that she could teach US something. I definitely learned a lot about humility and gratitude.

We had another lesson with our favorite ami James! He is progressing so well. He came to church again and he even fasted with us for fast Sunday. We had a really powerful and humbling lesson with him this week. As we were teaching him he opened up a little more about his life and the reason he is in Europe. He often says, "My situation is difficult", but we never quite understood what that meant because he is usually very reserved. This week he told us that a couple years ago he was on a boat on the way to Italy and it ended up sinking and hundreds of people died. He was eventually rescued by the Italian government and given a visa. He has been rejected by his family because he has converted to Christianity. Despite all his challenges, he continues to have strong faith and has a huge desire to "give his life to Christ." He is an incredible example. He hasn't let the hard things in his life weaken his faith.

knocking in doors in a cute village!

To end the week, we had an incredible lesson with our amie Melanie. We taught her the plan of salvation and as we were teaching she said, "This all sounds like stuff that is familiar to me but I have never heard it before." We were able to set a baptismal date with her for June 25.

I also read an amazing talk on faith this week. (April 2004, "But if not.." Dennis E. Simmons) It talks about the importance of having faith that God will help us and deliver us from difficult situations.. but even more importantly, having faith when God doesn't take us out of difficult situations. That is often a lot harder to do. All these investigators are great examples of demonstrating faith, even though they were not immediately delivered from their trails. "Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him." I remember a quote that I read in seminary a couple years ago that has always stuck with me. "Faith is not what you demonstrate to get what you want. It is what you demonstrate no matter what you matter how long, no matter how hard."  

I am so grateful for the chance I have to meet so many amazing people. Church is true! 

Love, Soeur Johnson

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