Greetings from Slidell, the land of dreams. This week has been slow but full of many blessings that have been very apparent to us. The 4th of July really slowed us down because we really couldn't effectively work that day. But - we did get the chance to see the fireworks at Heritage Park (the big one in the middle of the city) that everyone goes to from the Zone Leader's apartment, and that was the extent of our celebration. Anyways, there has been a theme that has been clear to me throughout the course of the week - in the work of the Lord, miracles abound.
Our first miracle came about by working with members. I have written many people about the situation within our ward involving a man who has been diagnosed with cancer. Because of his medicine, he was at the point where his body was no longer functioning properly, and he was shaking and twitching constantly. Then in a sudden turn of events, he was able to walk into the specialist and was restored to a functioning level. His daughter (also a member in the ward) called to tell us the news, and my companion and I were touched by her gratitude and the impact that we had on her family. Through tears she thanked us for all the hours of service rendered, and over the course of the last few days he has stabilized in preperation for his upcoming treatment. A true miracle indeed.
The second came with a less active member who opened up in a way we couldn't imagine. Where months ago missionaries weren't allowed in, the dad has now openly asked for our help. Hearts have truly been softened, and hopefully we can successfully address the concerns that we have identified. Because of this, one of their children who was scheduled to be baptized before he refused missionaries will hopefully once again have the opportunity to make the decision to follow the example that our Savior set. A small change that will bring about a great result - once again a miracle.
Lastly, a former investigator. She dropped us the week after our baptism, saying "I'll call you." We took this in stride, and the other day we felt strongly that we should go see her again soon. When we did, she informed us that her family had faced some very unique and trying circumstances, and it was not going well for her. We shared a message of the Atonement and the peace it can bring, and she just started crying. A soft "I'm going to be fine" was all we heard in response. Her door, which was previously closed to us, was opened once again as she expressed her gratitude for our visit and invited us back for a return appointment this week. What a blessing. Once again, miracles abound.
The doctrine is clear - miracles will occur when faith exists. As Mormon wrote to his son Moroni,
"And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased? . . . Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." (Moroni 7:35,37)
This week has truly exemplified what Elder Holland has taught, that "God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face." The comfort from that promise is astounding, and it continually motivates me to continue in this work. Our Father and our Savior love us so much, and because of that love miracles can occur in each of our lives so long as we first have faith. The gospel is such a blessing in my life, and I wish that everyone could understand that joy and accept this message. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!