Sunday, July 21, 2013

More of the Aligning....

So, here is the First Miracle of The Aligning:

Jay lives outside Shiprock in the tiny/miniscule community of Mitten Rock. I was sent to Shiprock to find him. He was baptized as a child, and then his family stopped coming to church, and he lost contact with the Elders who baptized him. He is a sweet man. A little rough on the edges, but a wonderfully devoted man. He is an artist, and I have found joy in his paintings and pottery for 2 years now. (YUP. 2 Years. Its been about 3 weeks shy of the day I met Jay)

We connected on a deep spiritual level, and when I got transferred out of Shiprock, I promised to keep in contact. I did the best I could as a missionary, but I wasn't the most speedy or consistent. To my everlasting shame, he lost faith in my friendship, and when I got home, he wrote a letter saying good bye forever.

I was devastated. I didn't know what to do.

Then I saw his art at the Shiprock Flea Market. And there he was. And there I was, standing there in blue jeans and sandals in front of his stand. It took him a long time to register it was me standing in front of him.

 I won't share all the details, because it was a very tender and private moment...but he had been hurt, and I probably didn't deserve his forgiveness....and somehow this man had his heart softened and we were able to reconnect.

He forgave me.

And we were able to actually give proper good byes (aka: I finally got to hug him)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Aligning Stars

My stars aligned a week ago. Something miraculous happened....

I got a "generic" email from a past companion that she sends out to her weekly "fan club" and she briefly mentioned Leonard had passed his baptismal interview. I know a Leonard. Is it my Leonard? My eyes flashed across the screen to the time stamp. She sent it 3 minutes ago! She is probably still on!

My fingers flew as fast as they could type. "Sis. R, is this MY LEONARD?"

(she isn't very eloquent when she emails)


Why did I freak out? 

Leonard is the very first person I taught on my mission! Sis Tsosie had me drop off my stuff at our trailer in Shiprock, and then we rushed off to a lesson. My first lesson. I can remember it perfectly.

The sky turned murky as we drove. As I stepped out of the car, a man slowly walked around a small pull-behind trailer. The wind caught my door, and it flew open with extreme force....but I was more preocupied with the fact that my skirt was now up around my face. By the time I got my skirt under control, I had sand in my eyes, ears, nose, teeth, EVERYWHERE. 

And I distinctly remember thinking, "What have I done? Why am I here! I just want to go home! ... NO! I can't give up on the first day, before my first lesson!"

So we taught him. And I felt the Spirit. And I did it. I realized I could teach. I could be a missionary. This would be tough, but it would totally be worth it. I would not back down.

We taught Leonard for 4 months. He was amazing. Lessons twice a week. He participated in Ward service projects. Church every sunday. Life was great. He was determined to stay sober (5 years without a drop of alcohol).

And then he told us he was moving. He moved one town over. Two days after he left I got a call... 4am...
....and he was drunk....

I cried myself back to sleep.

I sent in the Elders to find him, but by the time they got there, they said he was a lost cause. 

I gave up hope. I felt that this beloved man was lost to me.

But then Sisters got put in his town, and they found him, and they taught him.

And by some miracle, he moved to Farmington....WHILE I WAS SERVING THERE! I taught Leonard again for a month before I went home. It was beautiful, but he was definitely not ready to get baptized.

But something changed after I left...and he was finally ready.

All of my stars aligned. I got work covered. Sis. Tsosie nearly exploded from excitement, and offered to drive us down. And we did. 

We stopped at the Shiprock Flea Market, and I had another miracle, but that is a story for another time. We got into Farmington, and I got to see those I loved for an hour. Then the baptism.

She gave the opening prayer. I gave the closing prayer. Leonard was different. He was changed. He was ready. And now, he was forgiven and clean. It was reaffirmed to me: IT WAS WORTH IT. thank heavens I didn't quit that first day. Look at how your life was changed.

New friends. A best friend. Finding the other half of me. Knowing the meaning of Love. Using the Atonement personally. Maturity. Testimony.

It was worth it.

I was in town for less than 24 hours, but it was the most blissful 24 hours of my life. I have never felt more love. EVER. I stayed with the Gish family. I mean, I stayed with my family in Farmington. They have adopted me. And I will be forever greatful to be a part of their family. They are incredible people. If there is any family in the world that I want to grow up to be like, its them. (thank heavens I am a part of theirs)

They accepted me with open arms. They let me use their car (THE NICEST THING I HAVE EVER DRIVEN!!) They enveloped me in their love. Papa drove Tosha and I around in his hot rod....LOVED IT! 

And I got to see Sis. Isaacson. She is my sunshine. She brought me back to life when we were companions a year ago. And she brought light back to my life just now. I didn't even know it was dark.I didn't know I was sad. I didn't know I was lost....but a half hour with her was enough to change me. To help me see the light. (this is a photo of 4 generations of Sister missionaries....from youngest to oldest. Mothers and daughters, trainers and trainees....too bad my trainer was an hour away and not in the photo.)

There is so much I still need to write about this trip. I want to share my insights with you...but my fingers are starting to get numb from all the typing....and its lunch time, and my tummy is rumbling. I will share with you. I will.

Stars aligned.