Thursday, April 11, 2013

DC Week 9!

My my my!

Sounds like you have all been quite busy at home. Trek seems like it was absolutely awesome! Man I remember it like yesterday... I am glad you had such a great time. We'll definitely have to have more of a pow wow when I'm home Ma & Pa Graff and Caty ;) Oh and thanks for the pictures too! So cool. (Mom I also appreciate the pictures from Easter, and YES my package came and it was very happily received and gobbled by Sister Lawrence and me!

It has been a challenging but rewarding week. The Lord has certainly given me countless opportunities for growth, and I have been blessed, or humbled rather, by many of them.

Sister Lawrence and I had the chance to do some tracting this week, which we don't usually have a lot of time for. It was so neat. We went to check on a less active, (Mehdi from Iran). He has been here for decades. No family alive that he knows of. Never knew "love" growing up. Really rough life, but you would never know it because of his sweet considerate demeanor. Anyway, we have been slowly working with him trying to help him feel of his potential and his Heavenly Father's awareness and love for him. Well he wasn't home so we decided to knock some nearby apartment doors. While walking along, this gruff man called us over--actually called us out by chuckling loudly, "Hey you! Hey you're 'Mormons', right?" We acknowledged his comment and began making our way over as he beckoned for us to head his way. This man's apartment looked like more of a glorified storage unit/garage. He smelled thick with smoke seemed to be missing quite a few teeth as we sat down on the grungy lawn chairs he offered to us, (we sat outside). He said his name was Ben (and was about Daddy's age too), then proceeded to share with us his past exposure to the church, informing us that most of his family was actually LDS, but that the church wasn't for him. He laughed heartily about every 30 seconds or so reiterating that despite his opposition, the two things he like about the church were "their guns and food", then he would take another sip of beer from his plastic Ragu can and begin talking about country songs. Sister Lawrence and I need only ask one, maybe two inspired questions to get him rolling about his past life. After a few minutes, he confided in us that he once had a wife and a daughter, but that they were both dead now. We didn't ask why or how. Amidst all this conversation, his "friend" Lynn, wandered out with a toothless grin saying that she had been baptized Mormon and had met Sister Lawrence one day when she was out contacting before I came. At that, Ben laughed and said, "Oh you know what, Lynn, I bet you a million bucks, they'll convert us!" We were able to share our testimonies to them and no matter their current circumstances, they were real people. God's children. In that moment, in that instant, I could see them both in a very different realm. Ben in a suit and tie. Clean shaven and sober. Lynn sweetly laughing at some comment from a fellow Relief Society sister. My entire perspective of them changed. And I chastised myself for my reluctant attitude and assuming thoughts...

Everyone deserves to hear our message. There is no filter. As we all learn to see past the exterior, and view everyone we meet as our fellow brothers and sisters, as spirit sons and daughters of God, we will have the capacity to love as Christ would, with no limitations and no preconceived notions. God will place those we need to touch in our lives. It's just a matter of looking for those sweet fleeting opportunities.

In other news, did you all enjoy General Conference?? I really loved Elder Holland's address about being "True to the Faith that you DO have...and hold[ing] the ground [we] have already won...even if that ground is limited. Fan the flame of your faith...because all things [through Christ] are possible." So often in the mission field, I find moments where Satan will try to get me to feel inadequate, and worthless as a missionary. This is a tool of the adversary in attempts to destroy the work. THIS. WORK. CANNOT. BE. FRUSTRATED. Not if you are doing right by God. He will not allow it to be destroyed.  I know that when we are laboring with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, we will find success. God will guide us to those He has prepared. There is such a science about the way He works. It's really neat. 

I love you all so much. Thanks family for each of your sweet letters!!! I LOVED hearing from you. Made my day for sure. I will be writing back soon!

Until next time.
Sister Graff
D&C 88:62-63 

PS--Pictures still to come...

1. Don’t forget…
2. The center of Washington D.C.
3. Inside the Rotunda of the Capitol.
4. Hall of Statuaries. Look familiar?
5. Bits from the Berlin Wall.
6. Sister Lin wanted to be in the picture!
7. “Riding on the metro-o-o!”
8. Going up!
9. Oh, it caaame! :)
10. Peeps from my Peeps!
11. She didn’t believe there was one for her too…
12. “Sister Lawrence! SMILE FOR THE CAMERA!"
13. My Island Princess :)
14. fra-GEE-layy

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