This picture is for Dad...animal from Africa!
What is it?
This week I got really sick. I had probably one of the worst colds I've ever had in my life! I seriously went through two packs of tissues a day and a zillion cough drops. I kept Sis A up all night with my coughing and I felt really bad. It started about Tuesday and has lasted until about now. I'm doing better but I still have a constant tickle in the back of my throat that will NOT leave me alone. I got a blessing from two of my ward mission leaders, Brother Farley and Brother Grant (They are AMAZING). The blessing was fantastic because not only was I sick but I was also really frustrated with myself about a few things. But when Brother Farley quoted my patriarchal blessing in his blessing, I felt this overwhelming peace. And even though I didn't get better right away, it helped me a lot more mentally than I realized I needed.
We had an amazing experience that night. We taught S, who is 15 and is a foster child in a member's home. They are hoping to adopt her eventually once the mother loses custody because she has come from a terrible home situation. She's been learning about the gospel for a while and wants to be baptized but can't until she's adopted, but she's really confused about the whole parental situation. We had an amazing FHE with her where we all bore testimony, including her and she started crying. (Which is really unusual for her because of her upbringing she doesn’t show emotion because that's weakness, so for her to get emotional was really significant) We are really hoping that in the near future we can baptize her. Then later that night we taught R who is a single mother who is less active. She's struggled with drugs since she was 18 and is now in her 30's. We talked to her a lot and she is an amazing women. She told us she's been angry with God and hasn't prayed to him in a long time. We kept talking with her and the spirit touched me so strongly to ask her to pray with us. She sighed and said "Somehow I knew you were going to ask me to do that." So she knelt and gave a really beautiful prayer. She started crying and then I got all emotional, and it was just an amazing experience. I wrote a poem because of it...I'll have to send it home to you guys.
This week we were supposed to go on exchanges, but because of crazy schedule stuff, we went on mini ones for like 5 hours, instead of overnight. I was with Sis H who is one of our new STL's. She is tiny! She's at least two inches shorter than my shoulder and she's from Mexico. The exchange was fun because I got to drive for the first time in 2 and a half months and that was fun. I thought I would forget but once I got behind the wheel autopilot kicked in and I was fine. We had a lot of fun meeting people who couldn't speak English so I just smiled and waved at them and said "Hola!"
We met with the stake presidency for one of our stakes this week about missionary work and we are really trying to step it up with our goals. (By the way, I have to speak in stake conference next Sunday ...and I'm freaking out!!!! I really need to write my talk....I'm nervous!)
Saturday we spent going to the temple and then to baptisms for other missionary's converts. Sunday was a crazy day.
Brother Hair is one of my favorite ward mission leaders that we have. We went to his house for Christmas Eve and we stop by and visit and eat dinners at their house all the time. His wife is one of our mission moms and she drives us everywhere. Well yesterday he got released from Ward Mission Leader and became the Bishop of the Cascade 7th ward. We went to go watch him get called and the whole meeting was really emotional. He is so humble and such a great man, I look up to him a lot. It really made me think about how much the leadership does and how much bishops do and sacrifice. Out here on the mission I interact with bishops all the time and I've realized a lot of new things about them that I didn't know that Dad did. They have a ton of responsibility and worry and love for people. I gained such a respect for what Bishops do and I'm so grateful for the blessings that have come to our family through dad serving as the bishop of our ward back at home. My testimony of their example and calling has been so strengthened and I'm so grateful that Dad has had the opportunity to be a bishop.
So last night was a rough night.
We went to this couple whose daughter is 7 and wants to get baptized. The mother is an active member, and her husband was a convert, served a mission, was one of the best missionaries in the mission, came home, studied English, Law, and assisted professors of religion before suddenly deciding he was atheist. Now he doesn't want his daughter to get baptized unless she fully understands what she's doing and while we teach her, he gets to be there, and give her the rebuttal for everything we say so that she can think for herself. Last night at dinner we seriously sat there while he went off on all his opinions, insights, knowledge, and studies of why there wasn't a god, how feeling the spirit is just a chemical reaction in your body when you've been raised one way all your life, and he also kept saying "Who knows if feeling happy and emotional actually comes from some great spirit guy out in the universe or if it's just you recognizing truth according to what you've been taught all your life and it just makes you happy." What scared me the most was that as he kept going on, he had a lot of sense, logic, and facts that stumped me. It shook my companion and me up pretty good. And he has a counter for everything we said, and we weren't even able to teach his daughter because he kept going off on anything we said. He was nice about it, but we couldn't squeeze a word in.
What it boils down to is this. I know what I know. I've felt the spirit. And if that's not good enough, I still know. I have faith. I've had experiences. I can't deny the fact that at girl’s camp I had to sing a solo and lost my voice right before hand. Brother Hazel gave me a blessing and within a half hour I was up in front of ever body singing at full voice. I can't deny the fact that Brother Farley who hardly knows me quoted my patriarchal blessing, or the fact that I've taught by the spirit and said things I never could have said on my own. In my patriarchal blessing it says specifically that Satan wants me and would rob me of my testimony if he could. Well guess what I have to say to him: "You can NOT shake my faith." I know. I know it. I stand by what I've said before. God knows that I know it. And I cannot deny it.
I may not be the best missionary. I may be forgetful. I may stumble. I might be annoying. But I know what I believe is true. And no smart guy with degrees and philosophies of man mingled with scripture can pridefully tell me that I'm wrong and harken not unto the council of God. I love this gospel and I will keep fighting on the front lines for what I know is the truth. I love you all so much.I miss you and I pray for you. I hope you know the same things I know.
Sister Lenise Diane Volmer
Letter is in the mail home and there are more to follow! Thank
Pictures of a Nativity a member sets up in his house every year....