Monday, February 23, 2015

Hello po!!

Sister Japus, Sister Keleher, Sister Maagad, & Me
My beloved family....

What a beautiful week full of life lessons and miracles.  I am so grateful that I am STILL a missionary.  I get sad thinking how the time is flying and will soon be gone, but I know that I just need to make the best of every day and learn all that I can.

Well.... on Monday I was having a hard time, but then when we got home, Sister Keleher came home and started bawling because she found out 2 of her cousins passed away - one from a heart-attack and the other from an motorcycle accident.  I realized how petty my problems were and felt better trying to comfort her.  Then, later that night my companion opened up to me about things going on with her family... then did I TRULY REALIZE how petty my problems were.  I realized how grateful I am for my family - my mom and my dad who love each other and are strong in the gospel.  I am close to my siblings.  I truly am so blessed.  My setting-apart has truly been fulfilled which said that many of my companions were not blessed with a family like mine.  I think that part of the reason this has happened is so that I can learn to love and appreciate my family even more.  How blessed I am.

The next day, President came to our apartment and interviewed and gave a blessing to all of us.  I love President Mangum soooo much.  I am so grateful that he is my President - he truly loves and ministers to each one of us missionaries, and he is so consecrated.  It is unreal.  He gave me some good advice saying that judgement day is not going to be a popularity contest and that God's standards are high and they are fixed - they will not move... no matter how much the world tries to bring them down.  As soon as we take steps closer to God, Satan does everything he can to tear us down.  When we are already being disobedient, he isn't too concerned because we are already doing a good job of screwing up.  But it's when we truly make leaps and bounds that he gets concerned and starts bringing out his firearms.  He said it is natural to experience persecution and loneliness when you are trying to come unto Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ himself was the most perfect and experienced the greatest persecution - even unto death.  If we want to walk in His footsteps, we can only expect to experience some of the same thing - however small and insignificant it may be in comparison.

President then gave me a blessing which was one of the most epic and spiritual blessings that I have ever received... Patriarch status.  It was incredible.  It completely helped me to see life from the eternal perspective - starting all the way back to pre-earth life to the goal of exaltation.  He said that every area and companionship that I have had has helped me to learn very specific lessons.  It is as if Heavenly Father created a personalized tutorial for me in every situation.  I can clearly see the different lessons that I have learned and I can foresee the sort of lessons that I need to learn and apply in my life here in Sta. Cruz with Sister Maagad.  It is amazing that Heavenly Father truly is so aware of every single one of each of His children.  He loves us so much and He is the one directing His work.

The good news is that Aldine passed his baptismal interview!  He is so prepared and he will officially be getting baptized on Mom's birthday, February 28th.  When we conducted the practice interview with him our jaws dropped at his responses to the questions and the testimony that he shared.  Him and his wife France have such an awesome relationship and they support each other so much.  Whenever France is mad or frustrated, he is the one who tells her to take a brake and go read the Book of Mormon.  That is how deep his conversion is to that sacred book.

We had another small miracle with Jenellene.  Do you remember her? 20 years old, living with a 34-year-old, abused growing up, dropped out of elementary and doesn't know how to read?  Well we had taught her three times and she wouldn't even peep a sound she was so shy.  We were wondering how we would ever be able to help her towards conversion if she was to stay like that.  On Tuesday, her boyfriend, Raymond, was working and so after about 10 minutes of convincing, we held her hand and she came with us to teach her by herself.  It was like we pushed a button and she turned into a chatter-box that wouldn't turn off.  She basically only socializes with her boyfriend, and I think deep inside she really needs a friend and someone to talk to.  It became immediately apparent that she doesn't really know anything at all - not even the order of the months or the days in the week.  But we taught her a very simple lesson about the Godhead and taught her how to pray.  We asked her about 5 times, "Who do we pray to?" Every time she answered confidently, "Jesus Christ!"  And then we would explain it to her again.  On about the 6th time, when she finally answered correctly, that we pray to our Father in Heaven, Sister Maagad and I cheered!  Haha we were so excited and I gained a little bit of patience for all of my elementary teachers growing up.  It was a small miracle.  She is so humble and if she continues, I know she could learn how to read, build faith in Jesus Christ, and even become a powerful instrument for the Lord.  It is just the beginning... just a tiny little seed.

Another miracle happened when we were planning for a lesson for Connie.  Even though she hasn't drunk coffee for about 2 weeks, Sister Maagad said she felt like we should ask her when the last time was that she drank coffee.  We went to the lesson, we asked her, and she shyly admitted that she had earlier that day!! My companion was totally inspired.  It's amazing the way the spirit quietly inspires and guides us to help people to repent and come unto Christ.

We also had an AMAZING first lesson with Aldine's brother-in-law Raymond.  He had been telling everyone that he is not interested in listening to the missionaries.  Before we went to his house, he told France to not send the missionaries there.  But Sister Maagad and I still felt confident that we should go and try - his name has continually come into my mind for about 2 weeks now.  We went and Sister Maagad went right up to the window, "woooo hooo!! Hello brother!!! Tao po!!" Haha he couldn't hide from us now.  He let us in and we had a beautiful lesson about temples.  He totally opened up to us and had a change of heart.  At the end, he gave a prayer and asked for forgiveness for never praying.  Then in his sincere prayer, he promised Heavenly Father that he would change, be baptized, and GO TO THE TEMPLE!! It was awesome.  After the lesson, Sister Maagad and I tried to hide our excitement but we left and celebrated in the street.  Haha so many miracles.

One last miracle... Sister Maagad and I went on splits yesterday with members because we had too many appointments.  Apparently she went to teach Adrian Sosong, and at first he started in his sarcastic, prideful manner.  But in the lesson he all of sudden opened up with all of these questions and finally admitted that he doesn't know who God is.  At the end of the lesson, he finally accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon, and Sister Maagad said that the defensive, sarcastic face was swept away.  Although I wasn't there, I know this is an answer to our prayers that his heart would be softened.

I can't capture all of the miracles that I see and everything that I learn in one week in this little e-mail, but sufficient to say... this is a miraculous work.  I know that it is real.  I believe that Heavenly Father lives and that He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  He loves us more than we can comprehend.  His gospel is perfect.  I know that Jesus Christ is His son and that because both of them love us so much, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins.  Now it's up to us.  We have the agency to accept it or not.  I pray that you will do the little things every day in order to apply His atonement in your life.  I know that it is the only way to be happy and to return to them someday.  I love you!!!

Love, Sister Rasmussen

Sister Japus, Me, Sister Maagad and Elder Alos
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Sister Japus, Me, Sister Maagad & Elder Alos

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