BETTY & JASICCA
From my journal
7.6.2011Ha you can tell it was 2:30 in the morning with that entry! :)
It is almost 2:30 in the morning but I feel that I need to write.
BETTY: Sunday, as I was sitting in Rs pondering over what God would have me ponder over--I noticed two girls coming in the room. I wondered who they were. Well going into Sunday school I saw [someone] sitting by herself, so my thoughts were to sit by her, but as I (in very brief brief time) I prayed/wondered if God needed me to sit by anyone. I then saw two girls sitting by themselves. I spoke to them for a min. Soon the Jasicca ( girl from samoa) turned to me and told me Betty, the other girl, was not a member of the church
I felt impressed that I needed to sit by the girls. So leaving my natural thought of wanting to sit by someone who was sitting alone, I went over and plotted myself next to the girls.
Jasicca (far left) was sitting next to the wall in Sunday School and I sat down next to Betty (the robinhood gal next to me) and introduced myself. After a few moments, Betty's attention went somewhere else and in less then a brief sentence, Jasicca shared that they were roommates and that this was Betty's first time at church and we needed to find the missionaries.
Well-- from there the beautiful journey of these two girls in my life came into play! I invited them over to my house to have a chat about the gospel. I couldn't get a hold of the ward missionaries, so I decided to just have a small visit. Jasicca couldn't come over--but Betty could and she did!
I was pretty nervous and fears of what to say started to consume me. I knelt down and asked for the Lord to loosen my tongue and to bring me peace.
Betty and I chatted for a long time. Mind you this girl is amazing! She had just met me at church but still came over to my house to chat--and alone! That says something right there.
We talked for quite some time about everything. Then before her leaving I asked her if she would like to say a prayer. She had never really prayed out loud before and I told her it was no problem and that I knew she could do it. With some help in knowing where to direct her sentences, she addressed God and then thanked him for letting her have the time to meet with me. She then asked if God would help her come to know him and if he would make a way for her brother to receive/learn about God and the Book of Mormon. She then ended her prayer in the name of Jesus Christ and we both said amen. I was floored. This girl hadn't committed to reading The Book of Mormon, BUT she asked God to help her brother read/learn about it. Betty at this point wasn't even sure she believed in God--but that prayer she offered up in my place was powerful! And little did she know it was just a matter of time.
TIME! What a beautiful thing. Time to change, to work out our salvation. Time to forgive, work on weaknesses. Time to serve. Well Jasicca, Betty's roommate, had been using her time to pray to God for Betty's sake! For months Jasicca had been praying that some how Betty would let God enter into her life. Talk about Jasicca could totally be related to Ammon's dad in the Book of Mormon! For her faith and love and pleading for Betty to have the gospel in her life--was a powerful means that God used to help change Betty's life.
Weeks followed and we had a few meetings with the full time missionaries. The missionaries had hard core accents and even with me being formilar with gospel terms, even I had hard times figuring out what they were saying, and that meant most of the lessons were over Betty's head. But she met and every Sunday came to all of church with Jasicca. Betty was changing her life, and didn't even catch on at first, but Jasicca and I sure saw it!
Betty wanted to see a baptism, so I invited her to come to Afton (my niece's) baptism. That was awesome to have her there!
One Sunday I asked if we could set up another appointment with the missionaries and Betty turned that down. So unusual to my norm, I left it at that and never brought it back up.
WELL come to find out that the Elder that had a very think accent got transferred and the new elder and his companion were at McDonalds when Betty came in and they struck up a conversation. The new missionary was part of GOD's timing with Betty.
Unannounced to me, Betty started meeting with the missionaries again. One Friday came over to my place to watch 17 Miracles (I highly recommend the great movie) with Jassica and me. Betty told me she had some exciting news. She came over and told me she had prayed that evening after the missionaries left and felt it was right to get baptized! Here is a girl that did a 180! She went from never praying before/not believing in God, to praying and trusting enough in him ask questions. I stand all amazed!
So--November 5th brought Betty's day making/showing God that she was/IS willing to keep his commandments and remember and have faith in Jesus Christ--she showed this to God by being baptized!
Mauricio, Betty's brother--whom she prayed for the very first day she came to my house-- came to her baptism.
The next morning what a beautiful thing it was to see Betty's family sitting in church. They had never attended a sacrament meeting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before. Betty's mom speaks a little English. The Sunday was Fast Sunday. I prayed that her family would feel the spirit even with the language barriers. How choice it was then - when God inspired a kid in the ward to bare his testimony--and at the very end of his testimony, he started talking in Spanish!! For the time that I have been in this ward, I have NEVER heard someone bare their testimony in something other than English. And the kid could have never known that Betty's family was there, and that they were not members, that this was their first time, nor could he have known that one of them doesn't understand English 100%!! I seriously wanted to cry. God is GREAT!
So Betty is now a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Here is a shot from the day at my Niece's Baptism--and then Betty's big day.
A few days after Betty's Baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost I asked her how she was doing. To which she replied, "GREAT!" I asked her why that was, to which she responded that she was great and happy because she was a member.
So what does this mean for Betty? will she ever have hard times, struggles, times where she feels the sun may not be shining. OH YES! We already talked about life's fierce storms beat on both the foolish man and the wise man house. Equal storms. The difference is the foundation=power those men have to draw for strength while in the midst of a storm. Betty has built her foundation on Christ. She has built her foundation on a ROCK!
My heart is still swollen when thinking of Jasicca's desires for her friend to find happiness. We can not force others to change. And surely God won't make/force anyone to change. But through our love and faith, prayers and hope--God can work the miracles needed to help bring one's heart to a condition to recognize truth/seek truth and then act on the revelation/truths they have found.
Two amazing woman!
LESSONS NOT LOST
I have been pondering and take great value in some truths that have been taught to me the last few weeks.
HOW HE USED HIS TIME
In preparing for Stake Conference, I went to a Stake Temple night. A brother in the Temple Presidency shared a profound statement. He said that for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... one of the worst things one can do is become casual to God. Be casual with keeping covenants, commitments and commandments. WELL ISN'T THAT THE TRUTH! Satan doesn't need me to kill, cheat, swear, lie, etc--BUT if he can just get me to be casual in my prayers, my church attendance/duties, my scripture study--casual is just another word for complacent and/or numb. BEWARE!
HOW IS MY VIEW?
Bishop Lifferth, in an email shared with me a conversation he heard on the radio that he felt, and I would agree, was profound. The statement was: "People have a tendency to judge people on their actions but we judge ourselves on our intentions. If we do judge someone let's make sure we judge them on their intentions." He sent this statement at a perfect time because I was still pondering over something Danny had shared at his Dad's funeral the Saturday before.
Danny made the observation/posed the question why is it that when someone dies, everyone seems to focus on all that person's strengths and what was good about them. What they "did" rather than what they "didn't do" in life. He shared that when someone is living right before us we tend to be critical and sometimes only view/focus on their weaknesses and the things they "don't do" or the things they "aren't". Danny brought up this observation of how death seems to melt away negative feelings and helps one view one's life completely positive. Revering and truly honoring that person for what they "did" do for who they "really"were. He shared this observation and then said how great it would be to live life and treat everyone as if they had just died... to see and focus on their strengths and what they are doing good.
I remember being in the hospital with Dad during the long nights with cancer. And although the times were often bleak and we had no idea which direction things were going to go--as a family, we often commented on how little things didn't matter anymore. The stuff that seemed so huge and pressing, had become grains of sand blowing in the wind, compared to the time we were taking "being" a family. Cancer brought us back to basics. To what was REALLY important and what REALLY mattered.
So if I judge someone on their intentions--basically meaning have more patience with them and truly seeing them as the being they are, as a child of God (without having to bring death into the picture) -- what a way to live life!! How is my view of someone/situations now?
DON'T MESS UP YOUR SACRED PLACES
At our Stake Conference, our Stake President, President Owens, challenged us to not desecrate those areas that have become our sacred places. The places/areas/locations where we have felt of the spirit and have had moments with God. Satan would like nothing more than to destroy those little areas. So for a room, instead of being a safe haven with scripture study and prayer, if immoral acts are preformed/viewed in a place that was once sacred to us, those areas will be desecrated. He then challenged us to each build up our own "Waters of Mormon" areas. If Satan, is allowed because of our opening the door, destroys the moments in life that were sacred to us--he will rob us of places where we might have gained peace.
POWER IN KEEPING COVENANTS
Jen and I were talking the other day about going to the temple. Jen then shared a very profound statement with me that has rung so true.
When she was first striving to go to the temple once a week--mind you this is quite a task for a mom of six--she said that the morning she would plan to go EVERYTHING would go wrong. Melt downs with the kids, literally all would break loose! After hours of struggling Jen said that she almost said out loud, "FINE! If this is what happens with going to the temple I am not going! It is not worth it!" Beautifully, however, Jen caught the "trap"! She realized that Satan didn't want her at the temple, and by her giving into not going was his very plan...he wanted to keep her out of the temple. Once she realized what was really going on, she decided that that was it! That NO MATTER WHAT, no matter what powers broke out, that REGARDLESS--she would be going to the temple. NO matter what!
Jen said the most amazing thing happened. When she finally committed with a covenant to attend the temple and was 100% set on keeping that covenant (no wavering), Satan's tactics couldn't frustrate her into NOT going. And even if and when the world fell apart, she would still go. She said some mornings did still fall apart, but the difference was in how she handled the opposition. She didn't become angry or upset for she was still going no matter what, so it was just a matter of getting through/over the obstacle so she could be in the temple that day. And with that commitment, she said her burdens were literally lightened! Whatever went wrong, went wrong. But she didn't let it affect her mind set of going to the temple or not. We then made connections to other covenants we make in and outside of the temple.
SO once I make and keep with a full soul a particular covenant, like we learn in the temple, Satan really can have no power over us. Keeping covenants WITHOUT wavering provides one with innumerable power! Great truth!
NEW TACTICS BROUGHT TO LIGHT
Another PROFOUND thought was shared with me by a friend who was seeking a blessing. She is not one to ask for blessings a lot. In the past when she has felt to get a blessing, the day comes up and her life eases up just enough that her situation doesn't seem as dire as it had felt when she thought to get a blessing. So, because life was not AS dire, she didn't get the blessing because after all she was "doing better".
This week that friend made an amazing inspired observation. She felt to get a blessing, but had to wait until the next day to get it. The day she felt to get a blessing, her life was a mess and her burdens almost too heavy to bare. The next day, things didn't seem to be "as bad". She was coping with things a little better and found that she really didn't need to get a blessing... BUT her mind was led to behold a tactic of Satan she had never thought caught on before. Why is it when ever she commits to getting a blessing, that the day the blessing is going to be given--her burdens seem more under control and less heavy. In the past she just hasn't gone through with getting a blessing. HOWEVER!! Does Satan want her getting a blessing? NO! And why is that? She will be given power/comfort/revelation even or other items to bless her life and the situation she is in. SO wouldn't it make sense that Satan, when seeing we are going to get a blessing tells his devils, "Lay off a bit today. We need that individual to be "okay" long enough in life to help them think they no longer need/want a blessing." HELLO!!! Doesn't this tactic make sense! Truly brilliant!
My friend said that when this idea was brought to her mind, she figured she was even MORE in need of that blessing for Satan to let up a little so she wouldn't follow through with getting the blessing. And sure enough, when she received the blessing--the things said she needed to hear and have in her life. WOW! Never caught this angle of Satan before. It makes perfect sense! I have even stopped the process of getting a blessing because at the moment, I was "fine" so therefor it would be silly to still get one. Oh Satan is GOOD (in the sense that he is soo good at what he does)!! BUT!!!!!!!!! God is SOOO much greater!
I told you--I have had some amazing few last weeks. :)
Lessons NOT LOST ON ME!