Monday, February 2, 2015

"I'm a baby Jesus!" -Estevan

Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.  -Moroni 7:37

Apparently Sister Thomas' and mines faith has increased A LOT in the past week because we saw a whole plethora of miracles and blessings this week! [Yes...a plethora.] 

Miracle #1
First off last Monday we started doing Family Home Evenings with the Anitaks and the Bellus. [Some wonderful Marshallese families in our area] It was amazing! First off it was a miracle that all of them were there. That has never happened before. We taught about the importance of families and how the gospel can strengthen our families and bring more love and joy to them. At the end we had them do a little activity where we had them pass a ball of yarn around but hold onto the string. Whoever they passed it to they would have to tell them something that they loved about them. At first you could tell they felt a bit awkward and that this wasn't something that they did often. [Telling each other that they love them] But slowly the spirit came into the room and they shared the most tender and heartfelt things with each other. There was so much love between them all. It was such a sweet experience for us to witness. When all of them were done and they were all holding on to part of the string, we talked about how when we show love in our families it connects us and draws us closer together. They loved it and then after the closing prayer Isaac goes, "Now you will eat with us!" Oh no....we had already had dinner. They gave us plates that were heaped with food! Plus a HUGE piece of chocolate cake. Oh man. We downed what we could of it and left there feeling about 20 lbs heavier. [At least] #lifeofamissionary

Miracle #2
We went to the Family History Center with a less active sister that we have been working with for a long time and had such a great experience! She has such a strong desire to work towards going to the temple and we are helping her to quit smoking and take the steps to get there. This was the first time that she had really done family history work and she sure did catch the Spirit of Elijah! When we first started her off on Family Search she just had her name on there with no connecting branches. Each time we would add a family member she would get teary eyed. We were able to find more information about her ancestors including some pictures. {'s awesome for Family History work!] She started crying and told us, "I'm connected to something now!" She has kind of a rougher family background and she was so touched and felt so much more love now that she knows who her ancestors are and can work towards being sealed to them. We are really hoping that this will help to motivate her to get to the temple sooner. 

Miracle # 3, 4, 5 
Now for Saturday; our day of Miracles!! We were so worried and so stressed because Amy [who we actually found out is Emmy but it just sounds like Amy....we felt dumb!] and Jeje's baptismal interview was that afternoon. We were praying SO hard that 1) they would remember to come and 2) that they would pass. When they got there they were both so nervous. It was so precious. When went over the questions again with Emmy while Jeje was being interviewed and had Jelmen say a  prayer that she would be calm and everything would go okay. I know that prayer sure made us feel a whole lot better! [Even though we had no idea what was being per usual.] We came out and Jeje had passed!!!!!! When Emmy went in for her interview we ended up having another miracle. Back story: We got a referral from some members way out in Medina for a guy that lives in our area who apparently has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot and the Gospel Principle Manual....umm awesome!! So we had called him earlier that day and left a voice mail. While Emmy was being interviewed he called back. HE CALLED BACK!!! Do you know how rare that is in the missionary world?? We were stoked! And he was even stoked! He was so happy that we called him and said that he really wanted to meet with us!! He asked if we could come meet Tuesdaynight because that would probably be the only good time for him. Which happens to be the night that we are in Coldwater meeting with the Rilometos anyway. It was too perfect. We are so so so so stoked to meet him! Then two minutes later Emmy finished and she had passed too!!!!!!  So many miracles in the space of about 10 minutes!!! Now we are just praying SO HARD that we can work everything out for their baptism this Saturday. It is going to be even harder that we didn't have church yesterday. [It was cancelled because of bad weather.. :( ]

Miracle # 6
We met with Estevan [or Steve...but I just like calling him Estevan better :) It fits him....] Saturday evening at the Joos' for dinner again and had such a crazy and awesome lesson with him! I kind of explained him last week but I'm telling you, now words can explain Estevan!! Honestly he is kind of  [a lot] crazy but hey, he embraces it! So we were planning on teaching the first half of the Plan of Salvation [we knew that there was no way we would be able to get through the whole thing]. He goes off a lot on these crazy experiences from his life [where we are just trying so hard to not bust up laughing. Ohio has taught me how to keep my cool so well.] where sometimes we kind of question him....but then other times he says things and we are so astounded at how prepared he is!! For example: He believes in Heavenly Mother [of course we didn't expound on that one too much, just thought it was awesome], he understands that the Fall of Adam and Eve was all part of God's plan otherwise we all couldn't come here, and he understands how the Atonement makes up for the Fall, etc. He is awesome! Anyways, when he first got there he goes, "I've been reading that book you gave me.....I figured it out." " figured what out?" "It's the Native Americans!" Haha yep!! Then he told us how he had gotten all the way to 1 Nephi 16! He is a truck driver and he connects his phone up to the bluetooth in his truck and just listens to it while he drives. SO great! So we asked him in our lesson if he knew the Book of Mormon was true and he goes, "Are you kidding me?? Of course this is true! How could it not??" YES!!! I love when people get their answers and come to that realization!! My favorite part of the lesson though was when we were teaching about our purpose here on Earth and we had him read Alma 34:32 [classic] and after he reads he goes, "What labors do I need to perform?? Tell me girls!! What do I need to do?!" Ohhh Estevan... let us tell you. :) So we started to talk about how there are a number of different things that God has commanded us to do in this life in order to return to him, but the first of those is baptism. We reviewed the priesthood from our last lesson a little and talked about how God has asked us to be baptized. We invited him to be baptized and he goes, "Yeah! Let's do it! Elder over here is going to lay his hands on me tonight and baptize me!" Whoaaaaa cowboy! Not quite yet!! So we explained how there is still lots that he needs to learn and how we will help him along the way to prepare for it. So he now has a baptismal date for April 25! We were not expecting that at all!!! It was so awesome!!!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!

Holy hannah....this email is really long....and I haven't even gotten to the Ninganing Party!!! Well, to sum it up, in the Marshallese Community when a baby turns one it is a BIG deal. They throw a huge party for them and go all out. Kind of like a sweet 16 for us I suppose....but they are 1. Baminta's son, Jasper's, birthday party was last night and they invited us to go! It was wonderful. I want to be Marshallese so bad!! It was so fun! They had singing and dancing and everyone gave the baby money! For about 97% of the time we were so confused and felt so awkward...but it was great! [Once again... #lifeofamissionary] Best part....we got Marshallese mumus!!!!!! All of the Marshallese women and girls wear these awesome mumus that look SO COMFORTABLE and we all got one!! It was quite the experience! 

Okay wow, this email is going to take the next week to read, so I better wrap it up. But all in was one MIRACULOUS week :)

Sister Amber Olds

Sister Thomas put her tag on Gloria and she was so excited and just kept going, "I'm a missionary! My name is Sister Thomas!" And that she was my new companion. They are all so precious!!!!

Their delicious Marshallese food. Looks funky...tastes amazing.

Awesome Marshallese birthday songs. [Drop a beat!!]

I am so glad they all came because there would have been no way that we could have given it justice in trying to explain it to them...

This GINORMOUS tub of rice they had

["Ninganing" = "baby" in Marshallese. It is my favorite Marshallese word :) ]

Their awesome dances

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