Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Holla! Sista's In The House!

It is Spring and boy do the Californians feel it! We have had several hot days. I got sunburned just this past Saturday from only a couple hours outside, but it was amazing to feel the Sun that much! I really have missed getting that much Vitamin D! Speaking of Saturday we, the Sisters, had a service project that involved several people from the ward. We had a former investigator we contacted to try and meet with. She had expressed a lot of sorrow over not feeling the ability to trust the Elders before because they never kept appointments and never followed through on their offers to help her with her fence. We felt very strongly that if we were to get in with this investigator it would be through service. So we organized a service project. We were there and ready to go and we even had the youth leaders there. It was an amazing time and I think it really softened her heart. One of my favorite moments was when we discovered a tree needed to come down. A member ran home to go get a chain saw. When they were talking about how to cut it down I remembered a summer where Dad and I took down several tall,tall trees in our yard. I simply suggested that we find a rope and lead it in its fall. You should have seen the Elders faces!!!!! I think they were shocked that a girl knew a little about taking a tree down and avoiding serious damage. Well we found a rope and we got it all tied securely. I took the rope and lead it the way we needed it to fall. As we were cutting the tree I started pulling to guide it. I must have been pulling harder than I thought because the rope snapped and I heard the crack of tree bark. I was running at that point. It wasn't a tall tree but because the rope was so short I was directly in the way of the trunk. The tree missed me but we got a great video!!!!!!!! I will try and have the sister who filmed it email it to me. It was awesome! I don't know why but being able to take a tree down made me feel so empowered in my abilities as a girl/sister. I must have been feeling lately like the ward and some of its leaders don't hold us as Sisters very high, or our opinions. The reason I say this is because of what happened at church yesterday. We have been working with a LA family to get them to church. They have a 9 year old grandson who lives with them and isn't baptized. They haven't been to church in a good solid 10 years and want their grandson to make the decision to get baptized when he is older. I have my own opinion about it but I'll keep that to myself. They are also converts of 15 years. Almost everyone in the ward told us it wouldn't happen and that you can't push someone to make a decision like coming back to church, they have to do it themselves. This has really bothered me because as missionaries we are the loving push to get people back to Heavenly Father no matter what stage in life they are in. Well I am here today to tell you they were wrong..... Who came to church? The Anders family. Who stayed for all 3 hours? The Anders family. And who said that they were excited to come back next week? THE ANDERS FAMILY! Oh and we brought another LA that we knocked into and our investigator family (Rock and his kids) made it to church and also stayed for all 3 hours. All I have to say is:HOLLA! SISTA'S IN THE HOUSE! I am pretty sure our ward mission leader was in shock. Now that I have been a little disruptive of the spirit of missionary work let me tell you why I felt this was such a big thing. Its been so frustrating at our coordination meetings to discuss the progress of our work. Its all about the Elders area. The ward mission leader never asks us what is going on and when we bring up the things we need help with the Elders butt in and take over the conversation again. AGH! I am about ready to pop with frustration but I am restraining myself for my companions sake. =) So they deserved the shock and horror that Sisters actually can do work too. I felt very validated yesterday. Whether or not that is a good thing I will have to get back to you on that. It was just amazing to see everyone there. One of the less actives that came to church had a very touching spiritual experience. In the last ten years she has not lived her life in accordance with the church's standards. When that happens you start to become unworthy of having the Holy Ghost with you. Yesterday she felt it and it was powerful. I think she received an answer that coming back was a good idea. 
This week we were able to teach Rock again and his kids. I sincerely love this family and hope to see them baptized in the near future. Last week things got really thrown off in our lesson and they had to leave before we were done teaching. I walked away less than happy with the appointment. We talked a lot about what to focus on this week and decided to just ask Rock what he would like us to review. He asked us to teach how Christ provides and protects us. I realized we got to teach the Atonement again!!! I was super relieved because this was one point of the previous lesson I felt needed to be retaught. We broke it down into 4 main principles. As we were teaching they had more questions. I am pretty sure his kids have more deep doctrinal questions than an adult can come up with. They are truly teaching me how to answer simply. At one point Rock asked a question that lead us straight into finishing teaching them the plan of salvation. After just having talked a ton about Jesus Christ this couldn't have been more perfect. As I was teaching about the judgement and Christs role in it I told them that when our lives are being reviewed and we are found to be imperfect that is when Christ steps in and shares with Heavenly Father he has forgiven us of our sins and we have done all that we need to receive His forgiveness and that his sacrifice of His life is enough to pay the cost of our sins. Suddenly one of Rocks boys blurted out, "Oh man! I want that! I want that sooo bad!" As I looked at his son I knew that he had felt the spirit very strongly and I could see the tears in his eyes. I continued to explain that with Christ's sacrifice we can live with Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom but that the first step is Baptism. Earlier in our lesson Rock told us that his sons had asked last time (after our failed attempt at a baptismal commitment) if he would force them to be baptized if he was. We told them that we weren't going to pressure them just invite them. Well this time as I explained the importance of baptism and why we invited them to be baptized understanding came to them. Rock's son gave a very affirmative Yes to our commitment. Rock and his other son agreed but also received the special assignment to pray over baptism and see if it is something they feel Heavenly Father wants them to do. When the lesson ended (it was very spiritual) Rock's son who wants to be baptized was asked to give the closing prayer. His prayer went something like this (remember he is 10 and very excited and just felt the spirit really strongly) "Heavenly Father, Oh Man! I am so excited! Tonight was just amazing...uh...I'm so sorry! But tonight was just...oh.... so good!  I hope all the other lessons can be like tonight!..." I made a special point to tell him that he had felt the spirit and to ALWAYS remember how happy it made him. It was a night to remember. =)
Well I think that is it for this week! I hope you all are doing well and that as Easter approaches you take the time to think about what Christ has done for you and what His sacrifice really means to you. I know it means a world of difference in my life. I know that without Christ we would be nothing and this life would mean nothing. I love my Savior Jesus Christ.
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

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