Monday, August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011.

Good Morning!
The weather is cooling down here and I can hardly believe that summer is nearing it's end. It has been a great week. First I will start with the biggest news since last week. We are putting on a musical fireside on August 28th!!!!! I am so excited. The idea came about during District Meeting on Wednesday. I texted some elders asking if they really thought it was possible to do it and they said yes. So I have been busy busy ever since. Due to transfers on September 5th, and the fact that it will be Labor Day weekend (everyone will be gone), we are doing the fireside on August 28th! It's soon but it's going to be great. The theme is "We Are His Hands." Each member will trace their hand on paper, cut it out, and pray for an opportunity to be the hands of Christ in the next couple of weeks, whether it's through service, missionary work, etc. Then they will write it on their paper hand and bring it to the fireside to tape it to a big poster. This will really unify us as a ward as we ALL can be the hands of Christ. I've been busy doing crafty things for the fireside as well like posters, flyers, writing out quotes, etc. There will be many songs with quotes, scriptures, and/or testimonies inbetween. Many of the quotes are taken from President Uchtdorf's talk "You Are My Hands," from the May 2010 Conference Ensign. Sister Yi and I are going to Hamilton today to practice the music with some Elders. I also have assigned a few members to be doing musical numbers. I am so happy that everything is falling into place and I know the Lord's hand is in it. I have been tearing down the walls that I have put in front of myself all week. Thoughts of "I can't do this," "I don't know what to do," "What if nobody comes?" etc. have filled my mind. I've been able to push the thoughts out, stop thinking so much, and just DO! Sometimes that's my problem...I'm a master planner haha. But it's often best to stop making plans and just start taking action. Then I am able to figure it out as it comes. So the Lord has really helped me more forward with faith this week.
I had a really neat experience on Wednesday after District Meeting. Sister Yi and I were tracting and I was singing away as we walked. I prayed in my head that I would have the opportunity to sing to someone since it very rarely happens in Burlington. I KNOW that Heavenly Father answers prayers! We knocked on a door that had a sign on the front saying something about keeping visits to one hour. I figured the person inside was either very elderly or sick. A home care nurse answered and invited us in. In a back bedroom, we met Sheila. She is a painter from India but has been in Canada for 40 years. She was diagnosed with liver cancer in March and said "now all I have are my pain killers and my faith in God." She was amazing. I was able to sing her "I Need Thee Every Hour," and "I am a Child of God." It was a tender mercy from the Lord. The best part was that I was able to serve others, not just get blessings for myself. Heavenly Father will bless us much more in life if we are willing to give what we receive to others. :)
I had the neatest experience yesterday while on the phone with Brian. He had been avoiding our phone calls and messages for about two weeks but finally answered yesterday. He began to say how he wanted to talk to me, probably to say he wasn't interested. He said "I have a question for you. Be honest with me. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way back to God?" I testified that we do and told him why. I actually was able to use the third Article of Faith (We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all manking may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel) because I had read it on Saturday night. I mentioned the Book of Mormon a couple of times. Brian got pretty upset and started asking why I always referred to the Book of Mormon and not the Bible. He mentioned that he had been drinking. He may lose his house and is going through a really rough time. Remember that Brian is the one who is so afraid of going to false churches. He doesn't want to be deceived. This began about a five minute testimony from the Holy Ghost through me because I don't know where all of it came from! Here is a little summary of what I said: "Brian, you are very special to Heavenly Father. You are one of the few people on the earth right now who is searching for truth. Most people think they already have it figured out and their hearts are closed. You need to replace the fear that you have with faith. Doubt, confusion, and fear come from Satan, not God. Take a step into the unknown and God will shine light on the path! The Spirit will warn you if you are going in the wrong direction." I said many more things, but that's just a little bit. When I stopped, Brian said "Wow." I said "How do you feel right now?" And he said "I'm bawling like a baby." When we were ending our conversation, he said "Call me again." Later he texted us: "Thank you for calling. I need God in my life, the more the merrier. God bless you." I testify to each of you that the Spirit changes hearts! My heart was burning with the Spirit after this phone call because I KNOW that Brian felt the truthfulness of what I was saying. Feeling the Spirit of God is NOT an imagined feeling or sensation. It is the most real feeling that can ever be felt because it deals with our whole souls - our spirit bodies and our physical bodies. The Spirit can fill us when truly nothing else on this physical earth can. Of course I am not talking about love...put that aside because God is Love, so in a sense, that is all connected to the Spirit as well.
I'm looking forward to a fun week with many dinner appointments, district meeting, a sister sleepover at the mission home (yay - all 23 sisters!), more fireside preparations, and of course: Finding, teaching, and baptizing!!!!!!!! :) In the words of Elder Holland: "My mission means everything to me!" Thank you all for being who you are! You amaze me :)

I love you!
Sister Barton

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