Church Flood! (This is Elder Stange)
When we went to the branch building to do some planning on Friday, we were surprised to see the entire kitchen and several nearby rooms flooding with water due to a burst. Following promptings from the Spirit, we were able to help and get more help to at least stop the flow of water.
It reminds me of the scripture from the Book of Mormon which says "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do." (1 Nephi 4:6). We didn't have a clue about plumbing, but we were able to stop the flood using the help of others.
When a gigantic emergency occurs suddenly, remember to stay calm and follow the spirit. Or in better words "...be still and know that I am God." (D&C 101:16)
Okay! Email Time for the week!
So technically, I already told you about Monday through Wednesday, since I didn't shoot out an email till Thursday of this past week. So I guess that’s a good place to start off with this update. Thursday we were finally permitted to leave the house but we were not permitted to drive.
Luckily it was a nice day to walk. As we started out (literally about less than 20 feet from our house) we were contacted from a semi-drunk guy driving a beat up red car. He recognized us as Mormons, and he said "Can I preach to ya'll for a second?" We agreed. Stumbling, slurring, and stammering, this guy gave what I have nicknamed "The Sunflower Sermon".
It went something along the lines of: "Y'see we are all sunflowers planted in one huge garden, and we are all tryin' to git closer to the Sun! Now Christ, He was not just an ordinary sunflower, but he was an extraordinary one..." It went on like that. He kept wanting to give us a lift, but we felt it best not to go.
However, against my better judgment, we agreed to sit in his car since it was bitter cold. As we sat down he guzzled about half a bottle of straight Vodka and to add flavor, took a swig of some kind of Snapple drink. THEN it got scary. His voice dropped from nice drunk, to scary drunk really quick. When we asked for his number for a return appointment, he slurred the number saying "Yeah it's 6... 6... 6..."
We got out pretty quickly, said our goodbyes, and watched as he somehow carefully drove off. We walked on over to the local library laughing and messing around, but it was about to get super serious real quick later on.
That evening, we went out with a member who took us over to visit with a couple recent converts where we had an awesome meatloaf and macaroni dinner. It was fantastic--until he got a call. During the call, his face immediately changed from happy to serious. He then announced that we had to leave as soon as possible. On the way over he explained that his friend's daughter had just committed suicide about 6-9 hours previously. The father had found her and essentially was understandably in a really, really terrible state.
On the way, the member asked me to write out as many comforting scriptures as I could from the Bible to give to him. I also included some stuff from D&C 121. It was probably one of the most intense spirit in that house I have ever felt. So much sorrow, so much pain, so much anguish. I could not relate to this man, and I felt that I could not give him any words of encouragement. I have not been through this kind of situation before, and have not lost anyone so dear to me as a daughter.
How could I help? The scriptures were literally the best thing I could come up with to offer him--stuff that had helped me through depression. I prayed very hard that night that the scriptures I gave him would help. The father was in tears and in a state of shock. He had gone through so much and the member was amazing support to him. We will check by on him this upcoming week.
Friday we were finally able to drive after about 5 days of nothing. We drove over to the branch building in Eldorado and when we got inside, Elder Stange heard water running. As he went over, he noticed that the kitchen, utility closet, and relief society room were all flooded ½ an inch. We quickly went to work and started rotating pots to stop the leaking. We also called on the members for help.
When help arrived, they turned off the water and the building wasn't damaged further. It was a miracle we had been there, but it was still a huge mess. Church ended up getting cancelled for that and even more ice yesterday.
Saturday was one of the more fun days of the week. Once more, we were told not to drive so we set out walking to McDonald's for wifi and food. (By the way we had not been able to obtain groceries at this point due to the lack of a car. Had it not been for my mother’s care package and the kindness of a few members, we would've been in trouble).
As we were doing Facebook, a guy in the booth in front of me spilled his drink. Pretty much on instinct, I got out some napkins and started helping clean up the mess amidst objections of "you don't have to do that." My actions aroused the attention of a most interesting man sitting nearby.
He pointed at me after I had finished helping and motioned me towards him. Very confused, I stood in front of him and had a most amazing conversation. First he looked at my name tag and said "Ah, well that explains it. You're a Warrior of Christ!" Now that's the coolest thing I've heard in a while. He told me who he was and said that what he is doing is telling people that God is building His church again yet not that many people know about it. He told me (and showed me) this story of how when his heart began to fail, doctors didn't expect him to live a year. His legs started to deteriorate from lack of power from the heart.
Eight years later he is still kicking and all due to prayer he says. He went on to tell me that the world needs more of people like me. I was very proud, of course. Later on he had me sit with him and we had a very interesting discussion on gifts, power, and the Godhead. He actually believed in the Godhead (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct beings and not one being altogether), and was grateful to meet someone like me.
He then asked me quietly, "Do you have the power to heal?" I answered, "Yes, I have that power as God wills it." Since I do actually have that priesthood power and authority to do the work of God according to His will and Spirit.
He suddenly almost jolted back saying "Oooh! Can you feel that Spirit? I just felt your testimony! Do... Do you realize that you are glowing right now? It's been many, many years since I've witnessed true power and belief. Thank you for this experience."
He also asked me if I had any spiritual gifts, which over the years I've started to recognize. I listed a few but he was mostly interested to see if I had the gift of tongues which I don't believe I have yet. I swear this guy was a dry Mormon, and I wish he weren't a nomad cause he was really cool. He also can’t read or write so we couldn't give him a Book of Mormon. However he did wish me luck in my "quest" to bring more souls unto Christ.
We later went over to Walmart to get some USB's since missionaries are replacing our iPads this week, and had to back up all our pictures and stuff onto something. Elder Stange's card wasn't properly working, and I realized that he didn't have enough money. Defeated, he purchased the new soles for his shoes which he really needed. After he bought the soles and was in a frustrated mood, he went to the bathroom.
While he was in there I quietly purchased a new USB for him on my card and placed it in his coat. Later on as we were walking, he noticed the new USB that he hadn't had enough for. Safe to say, he was very happy and wanted to pay me back, which I wouldn't let him. It was pricy, but it was so worth it to serve my companion.
Sunday not too much happened. Church was cancelled but we did want to start transferring data onto our USB's so we went to the branch building to use the FHC (Family History Center) computers. That took a bit. We went to see a couple of families afterwards. After that, we went back home for dinner and then went over to visit a less active old lady who was happy to see us. She was watching the Oscars, so that was a big distraction for me. Elder Stange made her some dinner while I talked with her.
Other than that not much else has been happening. It's getting a little warmer out which is great. I can't wait for spring here. I'm not sure what we're going to do today but we may be going snowboarding with an investigator. I'm not sure though.
Thanks for all your love and support!
So due to church being cancelled, I studied a lot more on the character of Jesus Christ. One thing I always marvel at is His determination to do whatever the Father asks. Especially in the face of temptation and adversity. Some think that the temptations of Christ ended when he was confronted and tempted by Satan, but in reality and just like in our lives today, He was tempted to the very last moments of His mortal ministry. "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." (Matthew 27:40). But He had a work to finish. And finish it He did.
Because of His example, we too can resist the temptations of the adversary and one of the best ways we can do this is losing ourselves in the service of others. For "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17).