Emily sent us the following email on Monday, November 18, 2013:
How are you doing? I miss you!
I'm having a great time in Santa Clarita! It is totally different here than in the valley. I got into a little slump of comfort where I'd stopped approaching everyone and making friends with them. After about a week and a half of that, I wasn't feeling right and knew that things had to change. I knew that we needed to be finding more investigators so that we could cycle through the people that weren't progressing. We needed to find the people that were prepared and that were perishing by the wayside. I studied finding [How do I find people to teach?] in Preach My Gospel. I wrote down all the things that I could pray to have help with. (Examples: to have the courage to be bold and open my mouth, to have the faith to find, to trust that Heavenly Father would help me teach them the right thing, the spiritual sensitivity to know who to talk to, etc.) I was actually pretty down and I had no choice but to study and pray and plan and act. I had my list of about 10 things that I could pray for and then I would pray before either leaving the apartment or the car. We found SO much this last week. It was incredible. I didn't passively walk past people, but I stopped every person and chased after some people. The lady we chased after in Jakes way (Tina) told us that she knew she needed to give more time to the Lord and loved the story of the restoration and wanted us to come over to her house Friday to explain it more. She shared two little sandwiches she had that she was bringing home from work with her. She is one of our new investigators.
The man at night that was checking the mail box--His name is Miguel. He was very impressed that two blancas could speak Spanish. We joked about the mail, flossing (he works as a dental assistant) (Yes, I have the flossing technique/gospel analogy) and then he invited us to sit on his porch with him and tell us the difference between Catholic beliefs and Mormon beliefs. About twice he told us that he was Catholic because his parents were and that is how he was born. We taught him the Restoration (our unique message as latter day saints). He was really curious to have a Libro De Mormon once I'd told him that was the gift of God to us letting all his children know that Joseph Smith was chosen by Him to lead and guide us. Miguel is a new investigator.
Once Heavenly Father knew that we were going to be diligent and talk to everyone in our path, he knew it wouldn't be wasted efforts to put people that were prepared into our paths. It's cool how there are things that you can do to gain the trust of Heavenly Father. Let me give you some examples. And they all almost have to do with being diligent.
- If Heavenly Father knows that you will always be obedient, then he knows he can trust you and he can set up situations that you will fall into by being obedient.
- If you humble yourself and just do roleplaying, then Heavenly Father knows that he can trust you with investigators because He knows that you truly care for them and will take the time to prepare for them. (role playing is like cutting around a grapefruit for someone: a true act of love)
- If Heavenly Father knows that you will go where you planned you would be the night before, then he can have someone else in that general vicinity even if the person you think you are looking for isn't there. (we could probably be better at this one)
- If you promise to talk to everyone you see, he will open your spiritual eyes and let you see the one that needs your message.
- If you study preach my gospel, opportunities will present themselves throughout the day for you to use the things you learned. He is showing you that he is in control.
Man, it's just so cool! There is a lot of repenting (changing) I need to do! I repented during sacrament yesterday and recommitted myself to being a more diligent and trustworthy agent for God! I love that he lets us start fresh in his eyes every week and doesn't hold things against us. I'm trying very hard to make Him proud and let him know that he can trust me. I'm trying to show him that I will treasure up the things of Him so that when called upon, things can come into my memory. I'm trying to be his tool, and that brings me such great joy.
Ok, I have got to tell you about Anayeli! I love this little girl so much! Anayeli is such a sweet girl. she is only 14 years old, but if you met her you would think she was at least 16. She has a difficult life. She is always sacrificing for everyone around her. She hurries home from school so that she can be there to help take care of her nieces because her sister leaves her kids there and goes out. She spends the time she has with them.
She has a baptismal date for the 1st of December. She is acting in faith to find more comfort and strength in her life.
The other day we taught her the word of wisdom. It was SUCH a cool lesson. We talked about how Satan wants people to fall and he wants to cut off their communication with Dios. When fighting a war, the enemy knows that the best chance they have to overtake the others is to cut off their communication. That is exactly what Satan tries to do with us. He will do anything he can to keep us from having that connecting, unifying communication with Heavenly Father. The second that we choose to break the Word of Wisdom and put a drop of anything into our body, instantly, we forfeit the presence of the Holy Ghost. When our bodies are drunk or high, it acts as a barrier in between our spirits and Dios. Because our spirits have to dwell in these mortal bodies and be subject to all consequences of being human, we have to work hard to keep our spiritual receptiveness up.
Anayeli would've had a different childhood if she'd had parents that had lived the Word of Wisdom. When we taught her this law she cried. I asked her if she could see why God had given us this law and if she thought it was from him. She said that she could tell it was from him.
The Word of Wisdom is a law of health from God. It is supposed to keep us healthy physically and spiritually. There might be things that we don't think will hurt us physically, and maybe they won't, but that is really beside the point. They hurt us spiritually and there is no way around that. We also have the Word of Wisdom to show that we are going to be obedient. If none of these benefits even existed and it wasn't a commandment from God, the Word of Wisdom alone, would still save many marriages. I told Anayeli that she will be able to marry someone in the temple that will keep the Word of Wisdom. With that she will know that her husband will not spend money on drugs, get drunk and be mean to her or her kids, waste time bumming around, leave her to go smoke with his buddies. If nothing else, the Word of Wisdom is meant to save marriages and help people live up to their privilege as children of God. Drugs rob you of real happiness and leave you empty. She's young, but not that young and she's seen a lot of things. Now she is more aware of the adversary and his tactics. We have another set of eyes that we can open to see that we have the choice to either follow God or to let the adversary have his way. Ana's eyes are opening and it is so cool to see her seeing this life for the test that it is. I feel like my eyes are opening to this too.
I felt prompted to tell her that all the things she was learning right now were because she would have people put into her life that would need her and they would need her to help them with the knowledge that she was learning from the Holy Ghost right then.
She told us that she felt something. That it was warm. Like a hug.
Emily also sent this photo with the caption, "I built this temple." It appears to be quite a feat of engineering!