Monday, January 5, 2015

There Can Be Miracles - Week 49

Dear family,

This week was filled with miracles but it was also a very interesting
week and ended with a pretty frustrating night last night. I'm so glad
today is P day haha.

First off: Festival of Lights! It's over! It definitely went out with
a bang. Tuesday night we were on shift after having a two day break. I
was put with a member for my companion which, to be honest, wasn't
what I wanted and I wasn't very happy. However, this lady was great
and we ended getting four referrals that night. One of them is from
California originally and we really connected. He's probably in his
40s and has that California demeanor and he reminded me a bit of dad
so we got along super well. After he filled out the referral card he
told me not to be afraid when I come to his house. I sadly thought
that he's going to be disappointed when it's not me coming to his
door. However when I was entering in our referrals into the computer
at the end of the night, I discovered that he is in fact just barely
in my area! So I get to teach this awesome guy after all. Miracle.

Wednesday we were at the VC all day long. From 9:45am to 10:15pm. I
was able to teach quite a few Chinese people that day.

Thursday was New Year's Day! And a HUGE miracle!!! So before Festival
began, we set the goal of having 800 referrals from Festival. Last
year they only got 299. It was a daunting task but we were determined.
By the time New Year's Day, the last day of festival, rolled around,
we had 730. We were short 70 and we only had one night left. The
highest we had ever gotten in a night was 50 on Christmas Eve. We had
so much faith and determination and went out there to teach, resolved
to get those 70 referrals. Everyone said so many prayers together and
by themselves and our faith could've moved mountains. Sister
Huddleston and I were able to get three referrals by ourselves which
was ok but not as many as we had hoped for. We ushered the first
performance of the night and there were tons of technical difficulties
all over the place to the point that the show started 30 minutes late.
During those 30 minutes, there were sisters all up and down the line
of people, teaching and offering to have missionaries visit and having
them fill out referral cards. When the final performance got out at
around 9:30, we all divided and conquered and went to work teaching
everyone that we saw. Finally, the VC had to close and we all went and
wrote down our numbers and put in our referrals into the computers. I
didn't think we made it. Not as many people came that night as other
nights and sisters who were usually very successful at getting
referrals barely got any. Basically it would take a miracle for us to
actually reach our goal that night.

After putting in our three referrals, I went into the back office to
talk to Sister Eyring about something. I was talking to her for a
couple minutes when I heard a bunch of screaming coming from the main
floor and a roar of, "we did it!" With complete shock and disbelief, I
and the other sisters back there ran onto the floor to see what was
happening. All of the sisters were jumping up and down and hugging
each other and screaming and crying. I and the others joined in the
celebration as word got to us that we had reached our goal. We
celebrated and hugged as we tried to comprehend the fact that we had
done the seemingly impossible. We then all gathered in a circle on the
floor and knelt down as Elder Eyring offered a prayer of gratitude.
After that we all bunched together into a big group hug and started
chanting "DC VC!" Next we called President Cooke and put him on
speaker and put a microphone next to the speaker so that it amplified.
Elder Eyring told him that we had reached our goal and then us sisters
all started screaming. President Cooke became very choked up and was
so happy and proud of us. After more celebration, Elder White, a
senior elder (who's not a senior but in his late 40s or 50s) texted
some sisters who had returned home to let them know the good news and
also texted a sister to find out Sister Johnson's number. Together and
with Elder and Sister Eyring joining us, we called Sister Johnson, the
VC leader who had helped set the goal and prepare us for Festival and
who trained me, and told her that we had reached the goal.

We ended up getting 80 referrals that night for a total of 810
referrals for Festival this year! And at least half of them are in
this mission. 810 people are receiving missionaries because of the
Festival of Lights! What a miracle. First, we had never gotten more
than 50 referrals a night the whole month and yet the last day we
exceeded it by 30! Second, that's more than double the amount last
year! Third, we all learned that faith can move mountains or help 80
people to accept the missionaries in one night. I believe we got a ton
of those during the thirty minute technical difficulty delay which I
have no doubt God had a hand in. I will forever remember Festival of
Lights 2014 and the incredible miracle that happened on New Year's
Day. What an incredible way to start off a new year. THERE CAN BE

Next item of business. President Eyring is coming to the VC this week!
But don't broadcast it because no one except the missionaries know. On
Saturday he is going to have a meeting with the missionaries in the
afternoon and then in the evening he is going to unveil our new big
cut out of the temple that they've been working on for 9 months. The
sisters are going to be at that and there will be a press conference.
And they've asked the sisters to sing for it so all the sisters are
singing a beautiful arrangement of "Where Can I Turn for Peace"
accompanied by me. So I will be playing the piano for President
Eyring. Never thought that would happen haha. I'm very excited but
nervous since its a tricky piece and during one of the verses I'm
playing a bunch of very fast 16th notes which needs to be perfect or
it will sound bad. Wish me luck and pray for me.

I'm also playing "Through Heaven's Eyes" accompanied by Sister Eyring
and being sung by Elder Fuller the next night at Night of Music and
Inspiration. I played that nine months ago for Night of Music and
Inspiration as well. Last Saturday while I was on shift at the VC, I
spent about three hours straight practicing these songs because they
are tricky and I have a week to get them down. After a while, I became
extremely exhausted and the notes on the page started swimming and I
was completely drained for the rest of the night and my fingers and
wrists ached. I haven't practiced this hard in so long and I've never
had that happen before. I'm worried I might be killing my wrists which
my piano teacher used to warn me about. If you know any wrist
exercises let me know. I'm so excited to perform these pieces.

We have a ton of referrals from Festival in our area. We have received
almost 30. We've been trying our best to contact and teach all of

The craziest thing happened with one referral. Her name is Lisa and I
gave her a call and she talked to me for twenty minutes about how she
had been waiting for us to call and she is so stressed out and she
wants Jesus and she's a single mom of a nine year old boy. She is so
golden and we were so excited to teach her and so we set an
appointment for the next day. The next day we went to the appointment
and the lady answered and she was Lisa so we went inside and taught
her a lesson and she was a single mom of a little boy like she said.
However, she wasn't as golden as she sounded on the phone and she
didn't remember talking to us on the phone. It was kind of weird but
we later figured she must've been drunk or something because we had
called on New Year's Day. The next day, we got a call from our Ward
mission leader saying that a Lisa called him and said that she had
missed an appointment with us and wanted to meet with us. We then
realized that we have TWO referrals named Lisa and we accidentally
went to the other ones house and they are both single moms of nine
year old boys. I felt sick to my stomach so I called her Saturday
night but she didn't answer. She called me back at 10pm and usually
you're not supposed to answer after 10 but I did and I explained the
whole situation to her and she was very kind and understanding and we
talked on the phone for an hour and I ended up teaching her the whole
first lesson. She was going to get a ride with our Ward mission leader
the next day to go to church for an hour and I was super excited to
meet her.

The next day was Sunday and Lisa texted us in the morning saying she
can't make it to church so we asked if we could come by at 6pm and she
said ok. Before church we taught a referral who is cool but is leaving
to Mississippi for a month today. Great. Then we went to church and
only 2 of our 11 "progressing"(not anymore) investigators showed up.
Then the rest of the day went downhill. We went to an appointment with
a referral but he wasn't there. Then we went home and had dinner then
planned for a couple lessons. Then we went to Lisa's at 6 and we were
so super excited to see her. When we got there, her son answered and
said she was next door. He knocked on the door and she came out and
looked super ticked and said she had told us hours ago that she can't
meet. Confused, I looked through the phone and realized that she had
texted us three hours ago but for some reason it didn't pop up as a
notification so I never saw it. She was really annoyed and not very
friendly. Sadly, we walked back to the car. The three of us felt sick
to our stomachs. Sister Sundwall was feeling so bad that she asked me
to drive instead. Then Alba who is golden yet hasn't shown up to
church since I've been here texted us and cancelled her 7:30pm
appointment. We then spent the next 2 hours checking on every since
referral we got and either they didn't answer the door or told us to
come back some other time. All in all, it was a really bad night and
we were all so sad. I usually write in my journal at night before bed
but I was so sad that I didn't and I couldn't even eat and all I did
was sketch for 20 minutes to relieve stress and then I went to bed
early. The three of us were so grateful that today was P day. On a
mission you can't have the ups without the downs and we had had such
an amazing past few days and this week is going to be amazing so there
had to be a bad day in there somewhere. Last night I was so happy that
I had two companions with me who felt the same way and we just loved
and supported and understood one another.

Another cool miracle happened Sunday morning. I have a super hard time
getting up in the morning and on Sunday I was especially tired because
I had stayed up later talking to Lisa the night before. I was
struggling getting up out of bed and while I was half-awake and had no
energy, I sent out a plead to God to help me get out of bed.
Immediately, I felt this surge of energy come over me and I right away
sat up and then jumped in the shower. It was super cool. God is
waiting for us to ask for help.

That was my week. Very interesting and filled with miracles but also a
pretty bad day. But it's ok. God lives and loves us and this is His
work and we are happy to do it even when we aren't happy.

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not
afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee
whithersoever thou goest"(Joshua 1:9).

Love you all.

Sister Black

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