Monday, October 21, 2013

Miracles EVERY day!

Heavenly Father is a God of miracles - I cannot emphasize that enough!!

We had a fun experience this week! Our neighbor is a Seventh-day Adventist, and she wanted us to come with church with her (their sabbath is on Saturday). She then asked us if we would perform a special musical number for their congregation during the worship service. We were excited for the opportunity! Pat (our neighbor) is the pianist for her congregation so we went to her home a couple evenings this week and practiced the song we would sing. We had a wonderful time with her singing hymns from the LDS hymn book and from her Seventh-day Adventist hymn book. Music has the miraculous ability to bring the Spirit into any heart! On Saturday morning, the congregation warmly welcomed us. Our names were even on the program! We sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" while Pat accompanied us. Our song concluded with many hefty "amen!"s from the congregation. It was a great experience! I am ever more thankful for the Spirit that is found in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sound and true doctrine is a blessing!

We witnessed yet another incredible miracle this week. N_____ has been investigating the church for over a year. She LOVES the gospel and she knows that it is true. She has a powerful testimony and solid faith in her Savior. She lives with her boyfriend who is a less-active member of the church (that is how she was introduced to the church), and she has desired to be baptized for a long time. However, as she was taking the lessons from the missionaries she found out she was pregnant. She knows that being pregnant out of wedlock is a sin, and she understands that living with her boyfriend violates the law of chastity. Therefore, she felt very guilty continuing to come to church activities while she was pregnant and did not want to get married while she was pregnant. Throughout the entire pregnancy she has eagerly looked forward to the day when she will be able to get baptized! We have continued to visit her, and she has expressed that her goal is the temple. She cannot wait for the day that she will be sealed to her husband and children in the Lord's temple. When she had the baby in September, the first thing she said was, "I can get baptized now!" She planned to get married three weeks after the baby was born, and get baptized that same evening. It was an exciting day when they got the court papers for marriage! We are so excited for her! 

On Wednesday we went to see Nakell, but our visit was short. She told us that we would have to take her off date for baptism; she was not sure when she would be getting married. The court papers are only valid for 90 days, and she expressed to us that she didn't think they would be valid by the time she was ready to get married. We left with broken hearts, our heads hung in discouragement, disappointment, and dark confusion. The ride home was heavy and silent. All week we have prayed for Nakell and discussed the possible circumstances. We finally decided to simply give her some space for a few weeks and continue to love and support her. The Lord, however, is a God of miracles, and He had another plan.

In PEC Sunday morning, after giving our weekly missionary report, Bishop Linger grinned and casually said, "We are having a wedding tonight." Sister Williams, Sister Snow, Elder Wright, Elder Esplin and I all looked at each other with furrowed brows and tight lips, imagining the unthinkable. Bishop continued, "I am marrying N_____ and her boyfriend tonight at 6:00 right here in my office." Unreal joy and peace flooded into our hearts as we grasped desperately to withhold the squeals of exasperation and disbelief that were fighting our throats! Confused and overwhelmed with happiness I began crying like a baby! Bishop explained that N_____ did not want a big wedding: they only wanted their mothers to be there, so they had kept it quiet, but N___ WANTS to make covenants with her Heavenly Father through the ordinance of baptism. Heavenly Father works in the hearts of His children who allow Him to.

N____ is a beautiful example of someone who acts on what they know to be true and right. She knows that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. She knows that the power of God, His Priesthood authority, is the only authority by which we can be baptized and sealed to our families for eternity. She has powerful faith in Jesus Christ and she knows what He expects of her. She is taking the necessary steps, although they are not always easy, to do the Lord's will. She is amazing.

I know that this is the Lord's work and that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ because the miracles that we witness each day are not the work of man. They are not the result of any person or thing on this earth. They are the power of God being manifest among the children of men in response to the faith of those who love and serve Him. "And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be" 
(1 Nephi13:37). We are each given the opportunity to bring forth Zion in these latter days.

 Exercise faith in the Lord and watch miracles happen!

I love you!
Sister Shumway   

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