Friday, January 30, 2015

Some Ups, Some Downs

Virginia had its first snowstorm that "stuck" and Mariah says that it is BITTER COLD in DC! She did mention though that it has been a pretty mild winter so far compared to what she was expecting. She says that it snows often but it hasn't been sticking to the roads so it has been nice for driving. She is now the designated driver as her companion didn't want to be the one driving around in the snow and bad weather. (Her companion is from Vegas where they just don't have weather like that). I actually think Mariah welcomed this first snowstorm.  I personally haven't realized how much I have missed snow until we haven't had much of it this season. Below is a picture of Mariah in front of her apartment building while it was still snowing.

A couple of weeks ago Mariah was told who her new Mission President will be.  His name is David Huntsman. He has eight kids and is the brother of Jon Huntsman Jr. who was the Governor of Utah. She hasn't met him yet but has heard a lot about him. She asked us all to pray for him and his family as they get prepared to move to the Washington DC mission in July. She is sad to lose her current Mission President because she just loves him so much but she knows that the new one will be good too. She is looking forward to meeting him:)

Missions always have ups and downs like that and it was sooo sad to hear that Mariah had one of those downer times just recently.  But luckily for Mariah, that downer moment has turned into something positive. Here is what Mariah shared about the sad/happy experience...

"One of our investigators, (Name), who is 15 years old left back to Puerto Rico this morning for forever. We stopped by his house last night to say our goodbyes and give him a new Book of Mormon that we had written our testimonies in as well as some of the members of our ward that were close to him. We were super close, so it was really sad to see him go. He is an awesome kid, I hope the best for him and have faith that he will make good decisions in his life"  

This investigator is the one that they had a baptism date for a little over a month ago and he was getting a lot of flack from his family (especially his grandfather), about the church. His grandfather said that it was of the devil and they wouldn't support him in being baptized. So, after there was nowhere else to progress they had to let him go as an investigator.  She was so sad about it.  He still continued to go to Mutual and Church activities so they still had contact with him. Right before Christmas break she and her companion did a Family Home Evening lesson for a family in their ward and they invited this investigator and his father to the lesson. Mariah mentioned that his father refuted some of the stuff they were teaching but she said that the spirit was so strong and that it turned out really well. So, over Christmas break this investigator and his little brother went back to Puerto Rico to visit their mom (I guess they both have been living with their dad in DC). Mariah was hopeful that after this investigator returned from Puerto Rico he would be able to commit again to baptism as she was able to see his father soften a little during the FHE lesson.  But, when he returned from Puerto Rico he came back to say that he had to go back and live with his mom :( In her letter to us she shared a little more detail about how it all went down when they said their goodbyes. She said, "(Name) flew home to Puerto Rico this morning, and so we visited him last night and gave him a new book of Mormon that Hna McMillan and I, and a bunch of the members in our ward wrote our testimonies in in the extra white pages in the back. It was REALLY hard to say goodbye, for both us and (Name). I definitely cried a bit after we left, and he said he would probably cry later that night and on the airplane. We met his little brother a few times, they both came to church yesterday, and his brother is flying home with him too and he just cried when we were leaving. It was so sad."

She told us that they shared all of their social media account contact info and she gave us his info so that we could accept the friend and follow requests for her. They promised to stay in touch after Riah gets home from her mission. As for now, all they can do is send a referral to the missionaries who live in his area in Puerto Rico. I hope he can find a way that he can still be taught. BUT, upside to all of this, THEY ARE NOW TEACHING THE LESSONS TO HIS DAD and he has told them that he wants them to keep coming back! Riah has asked us to pray for him because he is having a hard time with his sons moving away. He misses them terribly.

After sharing this sad/happy news with us it was so awesome to read that Mariah's testimony has continued be strengthened even though there are ups and downs. And although things didn't turn out the way that she had hoped with the investigator that returned to Puerto Rico, she understands that it's all in the Lords hands. Here is the testimony she shared with us: “I know that the Lord watches out for his children!! Whether or not you are searching for the gospel, the Lord will find a way to help you come to the fullness of truth and joy this gospel can bring! I believe everyone has a different moment in their lives in which they are ready to receive the gospel, it is so amazing to see God's hand in everything. I can't even wrap my head around the greatness of His plan, but I know that He knows what is best for us, and that if we will just ask with sincerity for help on ANYTHING, He will be able to provide a better answer than anyone else could on this earth because He knows all things and He knows what is going to play out.” 

Mariah just had her first baptism on Jan 18, 2015. He is 9 years old. His parents are not members but Riah is hoping that they will listen in while they are doing the follow up lessons with him. This little boys uncle is in their ward so at least he has someone to attend church with. Below is a picture of her and her companion with her first convert. There is another baptism scheduled for the 31st of Jan. Details will be posted on the next blog.

Mariah absolutely loves her mission! She tells us all the time what an awesome experience it has been for her. So, to end this blog I thought I would share with you what Mariah has to say about her mission in her own words.  She says:

“I love the mission! I love mission conferences, district meetings, being able to study and teach, the members, meeting new people, and just everything, but most of all, establishing my relationship with Christ, and figuring out where I truly am in my conversion to the gospel. I know that at this point in life it is SUCH a selfish world, it is getting pretty crazy out there, and I have to admit before my mission it was starting to suck me in. Being out here on my mission has really taught me what it means to focus and give up your time to do something completely self-LESS. Rule of thumb for life is that as you are doing things for others, you end up helping yourself. It's just like that old Chinese proverb that goes something like.. Once you have stopped to help someone else's boat along the way, and you get them to the other side you look back and realize that you have made it too. It is such a neat thing to think about, AHH I love this gospel!”

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