Mission Conference was incredible.... On tuesday of this week our whole mission (unheard of) was able to gather in the Kirtland Temple for a special Christmas mission conference! It was a historic event and the spirit their was unlike anything I have ever felt. I was really praying that it would change my life and really help me to be more focused and diligent on my mission and it did exactly that! I learned so much and then to wrap it all up Pres. Vellinga delivered the most moving message on how we need to re-dedicate our mission! He asked us to get our apartments and cars clean and on sunday evening asked the whole mission to dedicate their homes to be sacred, holy places. They have all of course been dedicated but it was so neat to recognize that al though as a mission we have been doing really well...we have a sacred responsibility here in Kirtland to build it up so that prophecy can be fulfilled. He said "every missionary loves their mission...and thinks it is the best place in the world, and it is! But, We are in an absolutely unique mission. The things that happened here are without comparison. And we have a responsibility to tell people about it and to bring them here and to build up Kirtland!' There has been an incredible spirit in this part of the world as an Apostle of the lord (pres. ballard) and the area mission pres have challenged us to bring people to Kirtland.
With the nativity exhibit going on even more miracles have been happening. Soooo many non-members come in and it has been incredible to talk with them tell them what we do here and invite them to take tours. The other day Sis. Jones and I took Nathan on tour, he is we think 24 yrs old, had just taken the GRE that morning and had stopped because he had been telling his boss that Kirtland was a big gathering place for the mormons and his boss didn't believe him..so he stopped to take a picture of our sign and then decided to come in! We had the most amazing tour with him and he recognized the spirit and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and gave us his number so we can follow up. He lives in Akron which is about an hour away but his parents live in Madison which is in the Perry ward!!!! He is the coolest guy ever! I also talked to couple who came into see the nativities and thought nothing of it until as they were leaving I saw them take a Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith pamphlet....I gasped and said "Sis. Jones we HAVE to go talk to them some more!" so we rushed out to the school house (where all of the international nativities are on display) and cornered them and asked them all about themselves. They were so cool and promised they would bring their daughter back here and come take a tour. We have had so many experiences like that, It's hard because we can't proselyte with the non-members that come in for nativities but I know seeds are planted and then I just pray pray pray that they will let the missionaries in when they knock on their door and will someday find their way back to Kirtland!
This week feels like it has been a long one, but that is because we are trying our best to work as hard as we can! And because of it I know we were blessed to see some of the fruit of our labors....Bro. Mejia came to church this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so amazing, I couldn't believe it but it really happened...he hasn't been to church in over 10 years and has really been struggling with so many issues....but we have felt prompted to be very patient with their family and just love them and it has been working! It all started to change when we began focusing on the Atonement...then he received a blessing and we have noticed a huge difference in him and when he came to church! He said "at first I felt really lost..but then I remembered it and it felt like coming home!" He said he wants to bring his wife and daughter with him next time....this truly is miraculous...they have been so bitter against religion and people and the church for soooo long and to see them begin that healing process has been life changing. We were able to see Tessa and Bro. Molynuex this week (bradley was sick) and watched Finding Faith in Christ with them because they really don't know much about Christ. It was amazing...the whole time I was praying for them to feel the spirit and then I was thinking..."I need to be more specific" so I started praying for Tessa to be able to say yes to the question we planned to ask them after...if they believed that Jesus Christ was their Savior and the Son of God. So I prayed and prayed and prayed that Tessa, who is so logical and has been dragging her feet a little bit through this whole thing would be able to say "YES" .... after it was over we asked them if they believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world and she said YES! They both did! And it was the best day ever! The lord hears and answers our prayers! After she said yes I asked her "how, how to you know that?" and she smiled so sweetly and said so confidently "Faith:)" The Lord is truly at work in our area and I am so grateful to be His instrument!
And to top off an already incredible week...in Ward Council yesterday the bishop told us that our desire to see a working temple be built in Kirtland was getting closer. He said when Elder Ballard was here, that is one of the topics discussed with him and the stake presidency. He told us Elder Ballard said "I will do my part, I will go to the brethren and ask for a temple here, but you need to then do your part, you must weary the lord with your petitions for a temple in Kirtland!" and so that is what Bishop Dew challenged us to do, he said..."in every single prayer, every single day plead with the Lord for a temple!!!!" They then talked about what we need to do to show the Lord we want a temple, plans for more Indexing, family history work and temple attendance are being put in place and I feel so privileged to be a part of what is happening here. The beginning steps, being faithfully taken, to have again a working Temple in Kirtland Ohio!
Hope you all have a great week! Merry Christmas!
Challenge: As a family, kneel down and Re-dedicate your homes to be a place of safety, refuge, peace and joy. A holy place for your family to feel the Spirit and the Love of God always....I am going to follow up next week so DO IT!
Sis. Hannah Newren