Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welcome, Sister Noorda!

Hello! What a week this has been! I had a blast in Singapore picking up Sister Noorda. I got to see President and Sister Clark right before they left, which was a huge blessing. And I got to be there for and participate in the orientation meetings (as well as the trainer orientation meeting), which was a joy. It was kind of surreal to be there as a trainer, and think back on my experiences since I was a new missionary. It made me aware of how much I've changed, because of how differently I felt being in the same type of meeting. I'm really grateful for the experiences I've had, although difficult, for making me the (still-developing) person and missionary I am today. 

I was nervous to be training, but now having been in it for a week, I realize I didn't need to feel that way. First of all, because Sister Noorda is awesome. She and I have a lot of fun together, and she pushes herself out of her comfort zone on her own, which is really admirable and helpful. Even though she is nervous to talk to people, she still does it. She is going to learn a lot really fast. I am going to learn a lot from her. On Sunday we taught a lesson to a girl we had just met (she came with a member to church), and the lesson was basically about being clean from sin through Jesus Christ. It led perfectly into teaching the doctrine of baptism. To any new missionary, bringing up baptism is intimidating. But there came just the right moment to extend the invitation to follow Christ by being baptized, and I backed off a little. After a second, Sister Noorda stepped in and invited the girl to be baptized, and she accepted, saying that she felt a need and wanted to become clean. It was wonderful. (We will not be the ones to continue teaching that girl, because she lives far away, but she is going to be meeting with the Elders who are near her house.) I was really proud of Sister Noorda.

Dr. C came to church for the first time on Sunday!! It was a great fast and testimony meeting too. He absolutely loved it. Sister Noorda asked him after church if he felt the Holy Ghost, and he said emphatically, "Yes! Did you?!" He was glowing! Then he was telling us how he'd been reading the Book of Mormon last night in Alma and Moroni, and he had been deeply moved and inspired. He is a very spiritual man. He has been trying and looking forward to coming to church, and he finally did and had a really spiritual experience. I am humbled that I get to teach him.

Also, someone new came to church. His name is Jack, and he is from Nepal. He works as a security guard near where the missionaries used to live, so he has met many Sister missionaries in the last few years. He's kind of like a young troubled artist, with many unanswered questions and inner struggles he doesn't tell anyone about. He is a really great guy. Sister Pinkston and I had invited him to church two weeks ago, but he slept in instead of coming, but he told us, "The time is coming. I know I have to go there." He comes from a Hindu background, but finds his heart drawn to Jesus Christ. This Sunday he came to church, and it was his first time in a Christian church. He seemed to enjoy it, and had to leave in a rush but told me, "I will come again! Are you going to visit me later?" Of course we were!

So yesterday we met him (first lesson), and as we were sitting down, we simply asked, "How has your day been today?" He replied, "Excellent. It's been a great day." We asked him why, and he told us, "I haven't smoked or drunk since June 30th (Saturday)." Apparently he has been a chain smoker (25-60 cigarettes a day) and a frequent drinker for the last 14 years (since early teens). But he said that on Saturday, he decided within himself that since he was going to church that Sunday, he didn't want to smoke or drink anymore. And he stopped cold-turkey. We never even told him to do that! It was incredible! I asked him why he did that, and he said he didn't know. But he's tried before and has never been able to overcome his addictions, but now he has found motivation. God's Spirit is so REAL! He is working among us constantly, even when the missionaries are not there. 

He told us that if he could, he would spend hours in church every single day so that he could have his heart and mind in the right place. We talked about daily prayer, to which he committed. He asked us, "So, what's next?" and we taught the doctrine of baptism as the way that Christ has invited us to follow Him. He knows he is going to be baptized, to commit to being a "1000% a disciple of Jesus Christ," as he put it, but he wants to learn and fill his mind with the Savior first so he can be ready to share His testimony of Him to anyone who asks why he became Christian. He is amazing and such a prepared soul. We are really excited about him and hope to help him set a baptismal date very soon.

So as a spiritual thought, go and read Ephesians 6:10-20.

I know that God is real. He lives and loves us. I love being a missionary and sharing the Gospel of Christ. The Spirit of God is real and has incredible, very real power to touch the hearts of God's children. I know that through Christ's sacrifice, we can become completely clean, without spot, eventually even as He is so we can inherit God's kingdom in Heaven.

Sister Gopinath

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