Monday, November 21, 2011

Miracles Happen!

Dear Mom, Dad, Adam, Jake and Jordan :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!! It's so hard to imagine that this is my second Thanksgiving out in the field! I'm grateful that this time I won't have to deal with the snow in Idaho, but I'll also miss the delicious Thanksgiving dinner we had with our Stake President's family. At least we're going to have a Ward Thanksgiving Dinner here, but who knows what kind of food will show up :P It's going to be fun none the less!! :)

I'm so incredibly grateful for what a blessing serving as a missionary has been. Even though it's had many rocky times, my faith has been strengthened and I have such a strong testimony of endurance in faith and hope. I'm so grateful for each one of you and your loving support. Whenever I'm feeling down I remember how much my family loves me and it gives me comfort. Mom, Dad, Adam, Jake and Jordan, I love you.

I wanted to fill you in on all the details of Lin JieMei's miraculous conversion. She's the one who has cancer and is the mom of one of the Elders' recent converts. Three weeks ago I remember a bike ride when Sister Gibson and I were discussing her progression in the gospel. Her goal was November 12th, in two weeks from that time, which meant that she had to be ready for a baptismal interview in a few days. At that point in time Lin jiemei had been voicing a lot of concerns about keeping the commandments because of her circumstances and because of that we weren't able to teach her very fast since most of our time was spent resolving excuses. I have to admit I was a little frustrated with her attitude. Sister Gibson was expressing to me that she had a strong impression that we should do all we could to help her meet her November 12th goal and I remember turning to her and asking, "Just think about it logically for a second. Even if we DID finish teaching her everything, do you think she would really be spiritually prepared for baptism in a week? I don't want to get someone baptized who's not really prepared just for the sake of reaching a goal. She's still got a long way to go." She agreed that she wasn't where she needed to be at spiritually, but she couldn't deny the impression she had and still insisted that we needed to help her prepared.  

I  tried to humble myself and think of what we could do instead of what we couldn't. After all, this isn't a "logical" work, it's God's, and most of the time we don't know all the ways the Lord is working to make miraculous things happen. We thought about teaching her a lesson on spiritual revelation and how she should go to the Lord to help her understand how to apply the commandments to her particular situation. Personal revelation is meant to help God's children, "adapted to the circumstances in which His children are placed" (Preach My Gospel, ch.2). We thought of D&C 9 where the Lord teaches that we need to think it out in our own mind then ask Him if it be right. Then we move forward and He'll confirm or let us know if it's wrong through our feelings. Basically if she had an attitude of "how can I keep this commandment?" and then did all she could, she wouldn't have to worry about whether or not she could get baptized because of fear from not being able to keep the commandments due to any extenuating circumstances.

When we went to go teach her that lesson, it was completely inspired. By the end her heart was much softer and we didn't have to deal with as many excuses. Still, she had a long way to go in getting ready for her baptismal interview. We met with her every day that week trying to help her understand the doctrine and miraculously she accepted it all and was ready for an interview last Tuesday, before her possible chemotherapy on Wednesday. That was the big catch... if she had chemotherapy she would most likely be feeling to weak and sick to get baptized on Saturday, but there was the possibility she wouldn't be able to have chemo because her white blood cell count was too low. We never prayed that she wouldn't be able to have chemo, but we prayed that the Lord's will would be done, even though it'd be pretty miraculous if she could still reach her goal after getting chemo.

The morning of her baptismal interview came and it was such a humbling time for me. We found out that she needed a second interview and when she came out I could tell that the burden of sin was weighing on her. After the paperwork was done and the Elders left we asked her how she was doing. She said it's not very comfortable to finally face God with all the things you've done and confess her sins before one of His representatives.  We shared our testimonies of the Atonement and read the story in Alma 36 when Alma is tormented with inexpressible pain from the sins he had committed, but that it was all replaced by joy and peace after he had repented. I had never felt the power of that story so strongly. We testified that sometimes the repentance process isn't very comfortable, but that the end would be so beautiful and joyful. Through baptism all this guilt and shame would be washed away. When we knelt down in prayer she pleaded with the Lord to help her body by healthy enough to get baptized. I was so touched by her sincerity, faith and desire to be healed both physically and spiritually by the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Then it was the game of waiting. The next evening we would find out if she got chemotherapy or not and if she'd be able to get baptized on the 12th. It was torturous! When I picked up the phone to call her Wednesday night I was praying so hard that whatever happened would be what needed to happen. I was a little bit surprised and a little let down when she said she had gotten chemotherapy after all (and she said there was no way to have her second interview and get baptized on the 12th), but at the same time, I felt like the Lord wasn't going to let her slip through the cracks. As we kept in touch with her over the next few days we just tried to be as loving and caring as we could. We prayed our guts out, as well as all the other missionaries who knew about her.

In the end she really didn't feel well enough to get baptized on Saturday, which turned out to be a good thing because it was a really hectic baptismal service (Ruby, Wang jiemei, and a little girl from the ward) with a ton of people there. It would not have been good for her health or delicate situation. We were grateful for the Lord helping us understand that she needed a quieter, more safe and reverent environment.

Still on Monday she wasn't feeling very well, but we had confidence that the Lord would still help her recover quick enough so she could get baptized on the 19th, before the cycle would start all over again with her going in for another chemo treatment. The miracles started catalyzing when we called her for a normal follow up on Tuesday night. She told Sister Gibson that she was feeling a lot better and that we could go visit her! We knew we needed to take the chance while we had it... but the problem was that we already had an absolutely packed night with another baptismal service and 2 other lessons. We "you ban fa-ed" it and found some members who could help us peike and fen kai gong zuo (split up!) Needless to say, Sister Gibson did an incredible job teaching on her own, and she had a wonderful pei ke by her side :)

When I went to go visit Lin jie mei with our recent convert it was such a miracle that she was completely willing to set up for her second interview, although she wouldn't give us an answer about getting baptized on Saturday--she said she'd still have to see how her body was doing. Fair enough. We showed up the next morning with President Chen. The interview went really smoothly and when he called us back when they were finished he started giving us specific instructions on how to help her. He first said that  years before he had struggled with the same kind of cancer so he really understood exactly what she was going through, and it was really xing ku. I was floored at how much of a tender mercy that was that President Chen could relate to her in that way. He then proceeded to tell us that now the decision of when to get baptized was completely up to her and that we shouldn't ask her about it any more--she'd tell us when she was ready. I was a little nervous by that, but it gave me the opportunity to trust in the Lord a little bit more. He also gave us specific instructions for her baptismal service: few people in attendance, none of them could be sick, air conditioner off, and have sisters out with towels to dry her immediately after she gets out of the font. We were determined to follow his instructions.

Then another waiting game--she'd tell us on Friday whether or not she'd be getting baptized the next day. We followed up with her lovingly every day, and soon enough, Friday arrived. Sister Gibson had the impression to find a scripture that would help her feel inspired and open to baptism, and turns out the scripture she chose was exactly that. It was D&C 59:4 about loving the Lord with all our heart, might, mind and strength, and as soon as we read the scripture she started opening up and telling us that it was a miracle she was feeling so good (even better than she had in the past) and that she thought it was the Spirit telling her she should get baptized. We left that lesson in absolute awe at all the miracles that had happened to get her to that point. She was going to get baptized!!

I've run out of time, but needless to say, the baptismal service was beautiful. She shared one of the sweetest testimonies I've ever heard a recent convert share. The line that particularly meant a lot to me was that she was willing to keep all the commandments--that's exactly what our concern for her was in the beginning. She wanted to get to the Celestial Kingdom and she was willing to do anything to get there.

I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of such a beautiful miracle. Heavenly Father loves us and her so much, as well as her family. I'm so grateful to be a missionary and for the Lord's bounteous blessings.

I love you all so much and I hope each of you can have a wonderful week filled with gratitude for all the ways the Lord has worked miracles in your own lives and of those around you. I know Heavenly Father loves us, and works miracles every day because He loves us. :)

All my love,
Sister Morey :)

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