Monday, February 11, 2013

My Heart Is Full ...the last post

I felt like this week was a very full week. More like, my heart was full. 

We met with Arnie. His heart has truly changed. He brought out some very good questions about Joseph Smith and his role in restoring the Gospel. A strong and sweet spirit was there the entire lesson. He talked about wanting to share this Gospel with others, even though he is not a missionary or a member of the Church, but just "as a Christian" he feels a desire to extend God's love to those around him. His heart has this soft, gooey, spiritual center. We got his parents' address to send missionaries to them--Arnie feels this is the will of God, and he hopes to be baptized with them. He said, though, that if they don't accept, he would still step forward himself (to be baptized). The Spirit was so strong. It was one of those lessons where I felt incredibly blessed to be a missionary. I told Arnie at the end that I wouldn't be seeing him again, and he shook my hand with the most warmth and love I have ever seen in his eyes. He said he was grateful that he got to meet me. I cannot believe the warmth I saw in his eyes, and I will never forget it. 

There is a less-active member named Melba that we've been visiting lately. After several years of being away, she really wants to repent and come back to Church. We visited her and only got to speak with her at the doorstep (she is a domestic helper, so it's not her house), but we talked to her about the Atonement and God's love for her. She expressed a desire to do her family's Temple work, and we talked about that for a while. It's hard to describe, but I felt the Spirit really strongly as we told her that Heavenly Father loves her deeply and would strengthen her as she takes steps toward full activity in His Church again. It was impossible not to feel incredible love for Sister Melba.

Sunday was really emotional for me. I got to see Julius (new member I taught, the one from India) in the hallway before church, but I didn't get to talk to him because Sacrament Meeting was starting and he is in another ward. So we just waved and smiled goodbye to each other. I then sat down and cried through the opening song, praying that God would continue to take care of Julius. I was already weepy and then Bishop Osumo announced that it was my last Sunday, and he asked me to give a short testimony, which I weepily did. My heart was just full of love for these people and a heartfelt prayer that God will take care of them, that they will take care of each other.

I'm so grateful that God sent me here. I feel so blessed. I know that God loves each and every one of us. Jesus is the Christ. He lives today and guides this Church through a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. The heavens are open.

Sister Gopinath

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tender Mercies

This week was different. I spent most of it sleeping and trying to recover. I was blessed to be able to go out after three days and teach a lesson with Sister Ballantyne, though I barely made it through the lesson and even then, I only made it through that lesson successfully because of divine help. My head was so "clogged" and I was so drowsy (my ears were even stuffed so I couldn't hear) but somehow I was able to teach and Sister Ballantyne said that the investigator opened up a lot more than he had their first lesson. So that was a miracle. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and receiving answers to prayers. Even through my fog of sickness, I could feel the Spirit guiding the lesson and what I was saying/asking. I felt happy to teach, and also happy to go to bed that night. Tender mercy.

Church yesterday was great as well. Arnie, an investigator I talked about a few months ago, has decided he wants to send missionaries to his family (his family is moving to Ohio very soon) and he wants to all be baptized together. It is a steep goal but it's a breakthrough because he came out and told us that himself, without us probing at all. He was saying how he comes to church every week and learns something new every time. He also faithfully attends Institute every week with his girlfriend (a member), and finds it very inspiring and enriching. It's taken him over a year, but he's now come out and said that he'd like to be baptized. Now we have to work on his family and help him with any concerns that come out of that, but it's such progress from where he's been. I was so happy and excited. 

I will save all of the mushy and painful feelings about leaving soon for the next email. Haha. It hasn't really, really hit me. I still feel like a missionary. At church, I felt and acted like I always do. I'm grateful to be here.

Sister Gopinath