Sunday, November 2, 2014


You know why you do your family hsitory work? When you know where you come from, lots of things make sense. We come from outspoken pioneer-missionaries with a big-- sometimes sassy-- mouths. Sayin' it like it is since... whenever we joined the church. (Another reason why you do family history work? Exact dates.)
So this week was better. Life wouldn't be life without its trials! It adds salt.
GOOD NEWS: ED AND WOAH GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!! They shared a program! And it was so cool!!! Haha, Satan REALLY did not want that baptism to go down.... The master key did not work and when we tried to open the accordion doors so that the audience could see the baptism, that didn't work either. We waited for like 10 minutes while we got some stake member back-up who had a key. Woah popped her head out of the side door where she went through to get to the font and said "guys, I just want to be baptized! I promise!!" Bro. Reyes, the member that baptized her, kept saying "LIFE IS GREAT, LIFE IS AWESOME!" and it helped me relax a bit. Just gotta let stuff roll off your shoulders. They got baptized and confirmed and then later that Sunday, they both signed up to go on exchanges with us this week. Such spirits!
SIDE NOTE: Ed is from India and we looked up his home state and how the church is doing.... It's really cool. In India they mostly have little  branches of the church, but where Ed is from, they have a WARD. We got a little side-tracked and started looking at temples around the world... it is so cool. Ed's gonna go back to India and convert his family and friends and one day, we're gonna have a temple there. I also REALLY want to serve another mission when I get home... can I do that? I'm doing that. 14 year mission? Nobody misses me THAT much...
On the sad side... Sweet Soul and Weightless and Song aren't doing so well in their progression. The worst part is that they ALL know it's true, we know why they're not growing, THEY know why they're not growing.... and they still won't fight off the buffetings and temptations of Satan to experience the greater gospel light. Sweet Soul told us that he's trying to get his freedom.... And when we told him to read his scriptures, he read the chapter heading only and then wondered why he didn't feel better. When I asked him why he didn't read more, he said that a missionary in the past told him to take baby steps. And now he was using that as a crutch.
Well...... Baby steps didn't cross the Delaware. Baby steps didn't break down the Berlin Wall. Baby steps won't fight off Satan. True, by small and simple means are great things brought to pass... but chapter headings do not exactly divide asunder the cunning wiles of the devil.

I'm reminded (once again) of my own personal search for truth. I wanted freedom from darkness SO BADLY, I accepted the terms the Lord gave me.
The Lord has never asked for a grand show-- just to take 7 baths in the Jordan river, or to look up at a snake on a stick. NOT THAT HARD.  (Janet's note:  these are references from the Old Testament.  Stories of faith and healing.)
I went on an exchange with my Sister Training Leader and we visited a less active sister. She had texted us the night before, saying that something had bugged her, so she spent an hour in the scriptures trying to figure it out and would like to go back to church some day. We ran over that morning and invited her to share... she had an experience a lot like one I had had before.
She wanted faith. She wanted to pray. She wasn't praying because she felt turned away. She felt denied because she was listening to that enemy of us all who told her she was a disappointment. My STL and I teared up. I felt such a swell of love for her. And I told her with absolute conviction that Jesus, as the Christ, loves her. And there's nothing she can do to stop that love. Pharisees tried that already-- worked out GREAT, wouldn't you say?
I'm grateful for the experiences that gave me such conviction. Even now, coming out of a brutal week, I'm able to look at this sister in the eye and tell her that once she finishes her repentance process, she'll KNOW with unshakable faith that the Atonement is REAL. Because I know.
I'm re-reading the Book of Mormon (like ya do..) and when I got to Alma 26, I prayed to know why this chapter hits my mom so hard. She'd told me the story before, but I'd forgotten details. I still don't know her experience, but I know what it means to me.  (Second Janet's note:  Go read it!  It is the most motivating, joyful chapter!)

"... this is my LIFE and my LIGHT, my JOY and my SALVATION, and my REDEMPTION from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God who has been mindful..."
This gospel is freedom. This gospel means the world to me. I love the Book of Mormon. I wish I could give you my testimony so you would know exactly how I feel.... but honestly, if you're curious about how I feel, the Lord can show you. Just ask the missionaries-- they can help.
Love, Sister Gunson

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