Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Magical Mission Time (February 13, 2017)

I can't believe I've only been in Ephrata for 10 days. It feels like it's already been a lifetime.
I'm going to tell you all a story about Mission Time.
It's this magical thing that allows 18 months to 2 years have 10 years worth of experience into it.
For example:
Two Wednesday's ago I arrived in Ephrata. Since that time we have found, taught, and dropped 3 investigators, found another 5 or 6 that we are teaching, put three on date for baptism, taken one back off date for baptism, given a talk in church, taught Primary, had ZTM, helped in food banks, shelved books, attempted to plan two separate weddings, built member trust, volunteered to do a musical number, found a violin and a pianist, changed our entire schedule as a mission, lots of pretty normal stuff. From time to time I look back at what time even means and realize we have so little of it.

Barely 5 months ago I had just arrived in White Salmon where over the course of 4.5 months, found over 100 hispanics and turned the area into a Spanish speaking area, had 2 interviews, 2 zone conferences, 3 transfers, 3 different companions, accidentally acquired a fish, got a total of 6 feet of snow, built member trust, attempted to start a Spanish group, got stuck 4,000 times, planned a baptism, moved twice, tracted for 7 hours in one day, gave trainings in church and at meetings, relearned the Spanish language, all in a day in the life of a missionary.

Just under 14 months ago I received the mission call that has completely changed my life.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to be a missionary. Never before have I been so happy, have I felt so fulfilled. The past couple of months have been not only life-changing but self-changing (if that's even a word) and I am excited to see where the rest of my mission takes me.

Some of the highlights:
We found two of the most prepared people I have ever met in my entire life. We had found some men working on a car outside and started talking to them about why the heck there are so many churches. We had a neat conversation and were just beginning to get into the Restoration when the man who owned the house came outside. Almost immediately after introducing ourselves, not as missionaries, just our names, he invited us inside. Once there I casually brought up what we had been talking to the men outside about. Suddenly there was a flood of questions and we taught a good chunk of the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, gave them both of the pamphlets, talked about living prophets and gave them the website where they could look up talks, and committed them to coming to church.
Unfortunately they weren't able to make it to church or our return appointment. But all day I kept thinking about them. Finally at 8:20 at night we had a lull and we texted them, asking if we could stop by for just a minute. Jaime was asleep but Monica told us we could come over and we had an amazing lesson on the Plan of Salvation with them. Never before have I met people so prepared and anxious for this gospel. It was amazing!!

We helped an investigating family come one step closer to baptism with a really stellar lesson on the importance of baptism, goals, eternal life, and eternal families.

The Hernandez family is a part member family with only a couple that haven't quite accepted baptism. On short notice we invited ourselves over and sat down to hear that Ivan and Jeremy (the only two of age that haven't been baptized) want to be baptized! It was incredibly humbling.

I like to joke that I am a Finding Missionary. There are lots of Baptizing Missionaries, Teaching Missionaries, etc. But I'm kind of a Finding Missionary. The irony is that there shouldn't be a division in any of these, there shouldn't be different types. That being said, my whole mission, I've gotten really really good at finding but rarely see the BIG fruits from my efforts. I love it. I love to find, I love to knock doors, I love to get to know people and their lives. I love to share the gospel and invite them to have all of the blessings that come from it. I love finding.
So suddenly, I am in an area where there are people prepared. And I've learned a valuable concept that I've always kind of felt but never experienced like I have here.

"Some might say that baptisms are not determined by the missionary because it is a moral choice that every investigator must make. There is truth in that statement, but there is also truth in this one: There is a power that can cause things to happen that need to happen. There is a spiritual force that can stir a mortal soul toward the spiritual, motivating deeper study into the Book of Mormon and more prayer with real intent. Faith is a power, and it can cause things to happen that need to happen. It can cause a soul who is good but dormant to awaken to God."

Throughout my mission I have been learning and growing. But recently there was a switch that I can't really explain and since that switch, I have seen miracles that I haven't seen before. There are those that are dormant and need awaking, and then there are those that are ready and that you know God allowed you to be a part of their life because it's something that is going to change YOU and shape YOU more than you are needed to shape that person.

Missions are just actually the best thing in the entire world. I love it.

If you are even kind of sort of thinking about going on a mission - PRAY ABOUT IT. And then study the scriptures a lot. The trick to it all is that is has got to be with true intent. If you go into it like I did, praying with an answer already in mind, with the idea that you are going to do what you want to do regardless, you're not going to get an answer! Prayer works through faith and humility. Our humility allows us to ask with a sincere heart, bending our will to the Father's. Our faith is where our confidence in the answer that we receive lies. We trust that the Lord is going to give us the answer that is the best for us, that we need, not just what we think we'd really like to happen.
This applies to everything. EVERYTHING. Literally. That's why it's a thing.

Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week :)
Hna Baird

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