Sunday, October 30, 2016

October has been rich with sacred events!  Miracle baptisms, uplifting counsel from President and Sister Rasmussen and always the heartfelt encouragement from fellow missionaries and loved ones from home.

Our Mission Motto - which is repeated at every meeting:

"Now behold a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.  Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.  There, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work; For behold the field is white already to harvest and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with all his might, the same layeth up in store that he parish not, but bringeth salvation to his soul.  And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.  Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.  Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"  Doctrine and Covenants Section 4

Sister Hammond who always finds joy in the work with her love of the gospel and being a missionary  We are all committed to our new standard of excellence.  Yes we can do it!

Seattle Temple trip Oct 15th.
 Farewell to these dear Elders and Sisters as they depart from their full time missionary service.  

We are so excited to welcome these new Sisters and Elders to our Washington Federal Way Mission!

Missionary Moments:

 Elder Lappalainen - "We started out our day praying that we would have miracles and we would find someone that would accept the restored gospel.  Then as we went out and started off that morning nothing really happened.  But, as we went out to lunch on the way to an appointment that we had set up my district leader asked if I had ever talked to that person and I said no.  With him following the Spirit we talked to this teenage girl and she showed no interest.  Then the grandmother came outside and we turned our attention to her.  As we did this we started talking about how life is going and she said fine and then changed to talking about God and she didn't really know what to believe.  As the conversation went on my District leader was turning the conversation like this. "Well, we see that you have been having a rough day and we know that God does exist."  Then Elder Lappalainen said, "Elder Graham would love to sing a song to you."  He was stunned that I knew what he was going to do and she allowed us to sing her a song.  We sang to her "I Am a Child of God".  It was the most powerful time that I felt the Spirit testify to someone, especially in a song.  This song made her tear up and cry.  "You boys were sent here today to sing this song to me" said Sister Gillespie.  "I know that God is real, you have shown his love to me through that song."
My district leader went to do a little bit of service of chopping wood as it needed to be smaller to fit in the stove that they used for warmth, while I talked to her about the Plan of Salvation.  She later told me about what she was going to do later that night.  "I was going to kill myself and my dogs and I knew when and where I was going to do it.  But now because of you two I can't do it.  God cares and I want to learn more about what you have to share."  We set up a return appointment and that was the highlight of our day.  Later we couldn't find a fellowship to go with us, so we just switched with the sisters for a lesson that they couldn't find a fellowship for either and that is when Sister Gillespie started to do the things that she needed to do.  She came to church, gave up smoking, coffee and even tea.  For her faith had grown to an immense mustard seed as she called it.  She later had to go through her husband dying unexpectedly and had to deal with that, but the sisters helped her through all of it and in the end she asked me to baptize her.
This is more than just an inspirational story, it is a story that truly changes what you think life is all about how important the gospel is.  It helps you see that God does truly know his children and knows when they are ready for the gospel.  No matter the circumstances, no matter the trials, and no matter the hardships or joyous times.  God is there and loves us."

Sister Gafa and Sister Richardson -
The first thing that should be noted about Rasoul’s conversion is that we had absolutely nothing to do with it. Rasoul was a referral sent to us from the Kent Hermanas a few weeks after we’d started learning Arabic together. He and his family were faithful Muslims but had, by some miracle received a Gospel Principles book in Arabic from two Elders who had served in the area three years prior. Even though he didn’t speak any English, he still wanted to learn about the church, and we were blessed with the opportunity to teach him!
     There’s a saying common to missionaries that states “when you love big you hurt big,” and that’s kind of what it was like teaching Rasoul. He was prepared from the beginning, even if he didn’t know it; he was reading the Book of Mormon at an average rate of 3 or 4 hours a day, and completed the entire book in less than a month! But it seemed like every point of doctrine we would teach to him would take him two steps forward and one step back. He accepted all of the commandments we’d teach him without any question – he gave up smoking the moment we asked him to – but he could not fathom how Jesus Christ could be the Son of God, or how we could personally receive a witness of that through the Holy Ghost, which would be sent down from our Heavenly Father, who loves us and has a body. Every time we would teach that doctrine he would exclaim, “Kebir mooshkila!” Big problem!
     The Spirit of the Lord drove us as a companionship to our knees, and we began to fast and pray within every prayer that Rasoul would have a dream that would testify to him that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that he would know what we’ve taught him is true. All the while, his faith began to dwindle. He began to read the Koran again and didn’t want to come to church. He'd read the Book of Mormon and the missionary pamphlets so many times (without asking God in prayer if what they taught were true) that he was beginning to turn away, so the ward ordered and delivered to him a Bible in Arabic. Our prayers for him increased. Nothing seemed to be working.
On September 2 we went to teach him English and our lives changed. He sat us down and with tears in his eyes told us that he had had a dream that night, and that by the course of events that had occurred in his dream, he knew that what we’d taught him was true, and he was ready to be a part of it. He knew the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and he was ready to give everything to become a Christian and a missionary! From that point onward, he flew. He was baptized on October 8 with a stronger testimony of the truth and divinity of this gospel than anybody would have ever believed. At his baptism he thanked everybody for coming and proclaimed that he felt like it was his birthday. We’ve never seen a man more thankful. He has strengthened our testimonies and is ready to share the good news with everyone he meets – and he does.
Although Rasoul speaks minimal English, and we spoke equally minimal Arabic, he was still able to make this incredible decision to be baptized. A member of our ward once explained it to Rasoul as “understanding by the language of the Spirit.” There is literally no way Rasoul ever would’ve been converted had this not been the Lord’s work. Granted, his nine and ten year old daughters are incredible translators with amazing testimonies as well; they and their mom, who recently became interested in learning about the gospel after Rasoul’s baptism, are now also working towards baptism with the hope of being an eternal family. This is the Lord’s work! It can humbly be said that one of the greatest lessons we learned with Rasoul is that God is still a God of miracles. Because of this man’s testimony, we will never, for the rest of our lives, be able to doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the church on the earth today with the fullness and entirety and authority of the Lord’s gospel. This could not have happened if it weren’t.
Like we have previously mentioned, nothing we did on our own had anything do to with Rasoul’s conversion. One day he was hardened, and the next he was asking for baptism. That was solely done through the power of God. But we’re also equally convinced that if it weren’t from the efforts of all who helped Rasoul along the path, it would not have been such a joyful experience for this man. The Hermanas who found him, the missionaries who helped him three years ago, the members who fellowshipped him, our district who prayed and studied for him, and every other missionary who has prayed for baptisms and soft hearts and miracles in this mission made the difference for Rasoul. We can truthfully bear testimony to that, because there is no other explanation for his change of heart. We just got to witness it, but the Lord and His people did everything else. It’s for moments and experiences and souls like this for why Jesus Christ performed the Atonement. The worth of every soul is great. Thank you for all of your help in bringing this family home to our Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Sister Kakuda’s farewell dinner  with President and Sister Layman, Sister Stevenson, Elder and Sister Knowles, Sister Kakuda, Sister Johnson, Sister Beck, Sister and President Rasmussen and  President Campbell.

Mission Leadership Council October 2016

Sister Training Leaders at MLC in October  S.Gafa, S Richardson, S  Lewis, S Beazer, S Erickson, S Woolsey, S Stewart, S Rasmussen, S Huhem

Sister Beck from Alberta Canada with her companion Sister Stevenson cooked an amazing Thanksgiving dinner on Canadian Thanksgiving (October 10th) for the Skyway Ward Family Home Evening group and the Canadian missionaries.  It included all the traditional Thanksgiving foods and more!  Thanks for a fun evening of food, a message from Elder Nelson from British Columbia and great company.

Sister Rasmussen's Scripture Focus for October 24, 2016:

This weeks scripture to ponder - 2 Nephi 11:4-7
Nephi declared that his soul delighted in proving "the truth of the coming of Christ" (v.4).
Identify some of the things Nephi delighted in.  What do you delight in as you teach about Jesus Christ?

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