I went visiting teaching today. That doesn't sound like it would connect with my mission, but just hold on all of you . . . it does, it does. My partner, Britney(yes, spelled like the famous Spears) and I were at the second home and I was turned to the side listening to her talk about the lesson and what was important to her and as I was totally feeling the spirit and all of the sudden it was like a punch in the stomach that I missed my mission so much. I wasn't prepared for that, and I had to hold back the tears and sobs as I realized that I was feeling physical pain at missing that wonderfully hard part of my life that was the mission. It was such a bittersweet moment that I am grateful for because it leads me to want to be better and closer to the Lord like I was as a missionary. It got me to thinking about all the wonderful moments that helped me to grow in my testimony and as a daughter of God. There are so many things that come to mind to share with you today but I think that I will tell you about someone I met named
Cindy . . .
This is Cindy in the white and pink with her son AJ and her mother holding her newborn baby girl. I was told about Cindy before I even met her. My companion Hermana Guynn told me that she had been taught by every sister and elder since her parents baptism 3 years earlier. She told me that she even kicked some sisters off her parents property and told them not to come back(which is something Cindy later told me is true:) and that she had never felt ready to be baptized but here we were driving out to the desert of Montana Vista, Texas to visit and teach her with an Elder that was going home in a matter of weeks that had taught Cindy when he first entered the mission field a short 2 years earlier. Needless to say, I was intimidated. Showing up and meeting only made my fear greater as she has a certain "gruff - gansta homie" exterior when you first meet her and I ended up saying the most random dumb things that halted conversation each time I spoke and made me hope I didn't look as dumb and awkward as I sounded. Anyway, we began to teach her the lessons again and fast because for one she could basically teach them to us she had heard them so many times, and for another the Elder that had taught her wanted to baptize her but he was leaving in 3 weeks. The more that we got to know her and feel of her immensely strong spirit the more I loved that home and never wanted to leave. Her mom was a pillar of faith that has been through more than me in 10 lifetimes and continues to fight the tumor and cancer battle, the latest one in her brain and through it all she has a faith and testimony that can break any trial. This photo was taken as she waited to get interviewed for baptism. She was so happy and ready. Sadly though, after the interview we found out that she was going to have to wait 6 months to be baptized. It was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do to face that family and see their excited and eager faces drop when we told them that Cindy would have to wait and then try to explain to them why. We cried together and Cindy took it alright till the next visit when she shocked us by saying that she would never get baptized because we(the church, the Lord) had rejected her. She told us that we could come but it wouldn't make any difference. We decided with Hna. Guynn that we would just go and visit and not try to talk about the gospel for awhile. I kept that attitude through the 2 other companions that I had in the next 6 months and slowly with time and the Lord and her reading the Book of Mormon she realized that what she needed to do was get baptized. I have to say that it was one of the happiest moments of my life and there really are no words to explain how my spirit felt the day that Cindy was baptized. I came from the other area that I had been transferred to and they asked me to speak and it was my honor. Nothing, though was as beautiful as watching Cindy's father as he lowered her into the waters of baptism and she came up out of the water with the biggest smile on her face. It was pure joy and I realized today that that kind of joy only comes through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the gospel is true. Lives are changed through Christ and he alone . . .
4 generations - Cindy, daughter, grandmother, mother
(wow - sorry for the length of this gigantic post:)