I've seen many miracles this week! 2 of them in particular I'd like to talk about. The first technically started at Smith's grocery store. On Thursday all the missionaries in our stake had an appointment with the stake president and his counselors. We were just there to talk about missionary work in the stake and what not. We were at Smiths to carpool from there to the stake presidents house, trying to save miles. While we were at Smiths we saw this super jacked guy. We were like, "wow it'd be cool to baptize that guy" and thought nothing of it. When we tried to contact a less active lady the real miracle happened. We found the house that matched the address given to us and knocked on the door. The same jacked guy from Smiths answered the door! It was kind of funny, we immediately went into a tracting approach. He said he was Presbyterian or something like that and only believed in the bible. His little boy was standing by him and he mentioned how hard it was to raise a family in today's society, we talked a little bit about families and just made small talk with him. He said he's originally from San Antonio, Texas but went into the Air Force and got stationed here in Great Falls. He said while he was in the Air Force he wanted to stay out of trouble so he started lifting weights. He plays football for the semi pro football team here in Great Falls. Check this out though, He's a running back, the head coach of the football team is one of our progressing less actives! We invited him to play ball with us on Mondays and he said he would. He said he'd dunk on all of us white guys though. We then asked him again if we could just borrow 5-10 minutes of his time (It always works, I mean just 5 minutes right?). Always say 5-10 minutes, then of course it goes longer, it always works. So he said yes and we got his information and we gave him a mormon.org card with our number on it. As we started walking away he asked if we would like to fill up our water bottles and I said yes. I was dying for water. So we walked in and his grandma or his wife's grandma? Someone's grandma was there basically. She was from Japan! It's crazy how he's from San Antonio where dad served and the girl was from Japan where grandpa served! His name is Matthew, he has 2 cute kids ages 2 and 9 months.The second miracle came after dinner. We were upset because we had dinner at a members house (the 1st counselor) and he invited over one of his friends to hear the gospel. He dominated the whole lesson and we had to keep bringing it back. After dinner we just told them we'd walk home even though we were offered a ride. For a reason we didn't know at the time, we just felt like we needed to walk home. As we walked home we saw this odd looking family outside but we kept walking. The next house there was a lady outside on her porch. Elder Cooper felt prompted to say hi, so he did. Just kept walking though. She called us back, "Hey guys come back!" she yelled. So we went back to talk to her and she's like, "My neighbors need help, they smoke marijuana and shoot up drugs. They need God badly. They're messed up (she used a choice word though)." So we told her we'd stop by, but then we asked her if she "needed God" and she said yes. She said she's been actively searching for God and for a good church for awhile now. She said she just got remarried and her husband loves her so much. As she showed us the huge diamond on her hand. She said that they're moving to New Mexico in about 2 weeks. We offered to help with the move and she absolutely loved it! She said they'd pay us each $50 or so but we graciously declined the money and told her we work for free. Then she offered to feed us! We accepted that because dinners with investigators are huge! We'd be able to teach them a lesson after dinner as well. We exchanged information after that and went about our way home. As we were walking home I was frustrated because We'd have to refer them to missionaries in New Mexico. We were talking about contacting the bishop in her area in New Mexico so when they get there members will help them move in. When we got home Elder Cooper and I were talking about who we could call to invite to church the next day. We decided we'd call the lady we just met. We called her and invited her to church. She was very grateful for the invitation but declined. She said she'd go to a different church with her mom this week but next week she'd go to our church! This is a miracle because next week is stake conference where a general authority will be present, as well as President & Sister Mecham and the Temple President! She was very willing to take the discussions. At the end of the phone call she asked us to contact our church in New Mexico to help her and so she can go to that one.
Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe that things happen for a reason? I told Jake that I felt like the connection with San Antonio and Japan was a tender mercy from the Lord. Elder Bednar has said:
We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Ne. 1:20).
I guess I don't really believe in coincidence. For me, I believe the Lord's hand is in everything. It is awesome how the Lord works. I am grateful that Jake can recognize miracles and/or tender mercies in his life - it will serve him well. There are mighty miracles and there are smaller miracles - each have their purpose. They teach us to have faith in the Lord and to recognize the spirit in our lives.
And sadly... Jake has a very busy week coming up. He said:
We have 24 hours of meetings this next week. That's a full day! We have 6 on Saturday, 6 on Sunday, 7 on Monday, and 5 on Tuesday! It's gonna be a great weekend! Crazy but great! I will be in Helena for the 7 hours of meetings on Monday. I'm still curious as to who will be there from the authorities. I will get to see a lot of the missionaries I came out with so that'll be extremely exciting. Monday is a mission tour. So some of the missionaries that served here a year or 2 will be here. Usually an apostle comes to these as well. So that's exciting! I won't be emailing on Monday though because of that. Helena is like 130 miles away.
That means I won't be getting my email tomorrow - sad, sad, sad. It's okay though - I know he is doing great! I love him and I am proud of him.