Monday, August 5, 2013

She Looks Like Quasimodo

Look who she found! Briana with Sister Harline, one of her close friends from high school who is now serving in the New York Rochester mission.

What a week!  I started doing something new in my journal this week.  I've experienced so many miracles on my mission so far, I decided to start writing at least one down each day.  With everything happening out here, though, there's always a lot more than one.  Here are a couple from this week-
1.  I've really been trying to learn how to incorporate effective questions into our lessons, but felt like I'd run out of sources, well, except one.  I prayed and asked for help, and seriously, the next day at district meeting, we were handed our Ensigns for the month.  On the front cover was "Teachers, One Question Can Change it All".  I'm still in shock over this one.  Never have I recognized a prayer as being answered so literally and quickly.  Perhaps I shouldn't make Heavenly Father my last resort?
2.  Wednesday we had dinner with the Hogans.  Sister Hogan is this wonderful old lady who has such strong, quiet faith.  Her husband and none of her children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren are active, but she has always gone to church every Sunday by herself, and continues to invite the missionaries over for dinner every week.  She is such an inspiration to me.  As a side note, Dad- you would be so jealous of this meal!  They live on 100 acres and have a huge garden.  Fresh corn, fresh zuchinni and squash stir fried with steak, straight from one of their own cows, and brown rice.  Also, homegrown green beans, old fashioned corn rolls, and yummy yummy berry cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  Soooo pampered!  We experienced two miracles, though.  One was that Brother Hogan actually liked us!  He's never opened up with missionaries before, but I got to talking about how my Dad served in the Air Force and my brother-in-law's over in Afghanistan, and he actually started making conversation!  Even at the end of the visit, he came out, shook our hands, and said "drive safe!".  It's a small thing, but with someone who's shown no interest in the gospel for decades, it's a great step in the right direction.  My favorite miracle of the week, though, came from Sister Hogan.  Just randomly in our conversation, she mentioned that her neighbor is from Sao Paulo Brazil.  WHAT?!?!?!  After dinner, Sister Hogan drove us over in her '65 mustang to introduce us.  I got to hear all about Belem and Brazil and even share my testimony in Portuguese!  She said my language is really good even though she had to correct every other word.  I feel like all Brazilians say that...  I totally cried on the way over, I was so happy and excited.  Can't wait to go back with a Book of Mormon!
3.  Sister G., one of our inactives who's struggled with some really hard things, told us as we were walking in her door the other day "I think I finally have a testimony of the gospel".  Holy cow!  On Sunday, she even got up and bore a beautiful testimony on how she can finally accept Christ as her Savior and now knows that the things she suffered wasn't because she was a sinner.  Sometimes I feel really underqualified to be trying to teach people who have been through so much.  I am not a trained therapist.  But I do know there's healing power in the atonement, so we share what we can.
4.  Our family of investigators came to church on Sunday!  I'm so happy!  I love these girls so much, I just want them to get baptized right now!  All in the Lord's time, I suppose.
I'm being so blessed out here in New York.  Sometimes I wish I could transfer all my blessings to my investigators, but I know Heavenly Father knows best.
I love you all!  The family reunion sounds way fun.  Let's have another one in, say, a year and a half?  I know Heavenly Father loves us all so much and really answers our prayers... so don't forget my visa!
Muito amor,
Sister Barkdull
Some funny things from this week-
I got bitten by a huge bug on Friday helping someone move.  I hated that.  Well, we think my companion must have been bit by a bug too, except on her face.  She woke up the next day with the whole right side of her face swollen up.  So, while she looks like Quasimodo, my right bicep, except for the redness, is looking huge and awesome.

There's this really funny, cooky Native American man in our ward.  He told me yesterday that as soon as he gets his new passport, he's going to Holland to preach the restored gospel to the the remnant of his people, the Lamanites.  After that, he plans on heading down to the Mayans.  After telling him I myself would hopefully be heading down to South America soon, he told me not to worry about my visa, he'd write to President Monson about it.  Don't worry people, we're in good hands.

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