Monday, July 22, 2013

Fwd: Letter #16 - 7/22/13 (MIRACLES!)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 8:42 AM
Subject: Letter #16 - 7/22/13 (MIRACLES!)
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Helllllllloooo beautiful world! Man, I am on a spiritual HIGH! Prepare for a rockin awesome, miracle-filled letter. :)

First off, Tuesday afternoon. Sister Zaretskaia and I were in the church printing off some scriptures and quotes to memorize in Russian. It was taking some time, but we had about a half hour before we had to be somewhere. As I was sitting at the computer compiling these, I got the feeling, "You shouldn't be here right now" -- not in a dangerous sense but in the sense of, "There's somebody outside you need to talk to." I was putting it off because I really wanted to get the stuff printed and I wasn't sure if it was just in my head, but the feeling persisted. Sister Zaretskaia had to use the restroom, and when she got out, I just told her, "Hey, so the Spirit's telling me that we need to leave. I don't know why, but I think we should. So... let's just leave our stuff here, lock up the church, go outside for a bit, then we'll finish up here." She was a bit in shock but just said, "Okay. Let's go."

So, we got outside of the church and I decided to go right because there were more people in that direction. We got to the end of the sidewalk and I told Sister Zaretskaia, "And now... I literally have no idea what to do." We were sort of awkwardly walking around a parking lot area between buildings, looking for a person to talk to or a direction to go, when all the sudden a guy calls us out. He was in his 20's, standing with a bunch of his friends, but when he called us over his friends left and we proceeded to have a 15-20 minute gospel conversation with him (his name is Victor).

Well, I wish I could tell you that it was an incredible conversation and he's super interested in the gospel and that we're practically filling up the baptismal font for him right now, but it wasn't really. It was a pretty average conversation, we're pretty sure he was a little drunk and was a little bit hitting on us, and though we got his number, he hasn't met with us or the Elders since that exchange. BUT how ridiculously cool is that story?! I don't know why that happened or what will come of it, but "I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do" (1 Ne. 4:6), and I can't tell you how amazing that felt! And though it might seem like we didn't have much of an effect on Victor so far, he is nevertheless a son of God whose Heavenly Father led us to him, and let me tell you -- that kind of experience changes the way you look at someone. We're gonna keep trying with him... I'd really like to find out why we needed to talk to him on that day.

Second off, we had an amazing first Restoration lesson with an investigator named Looba. She's been coming to English class for like four years, and the other week I was giving one-on-one English tutoring to her, and at the end I just asked, "So, you know from English that we as missionaries like to meet with people and teach them about what we believe and why we believe it. Is that something you'd be interested in?" And she said yes! I was in shock. I mean... it worked! So yeah, we met and had a VERY Spirit-filled first lesson, and she said she'll be reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.

Third, Sister Zaretskaia and I were looking through old teaching records in our area book the other day and calling former investigators to say, "Hi, my name is Sister Montgomery from the Church of Jesus Christ. You met with our missionaries ____ ago, and we were wondering if you'd like to meet with us again." I did this last transfer too and called like a million people and got a million no's, but this time, the third person I talked to (Tatiana) replied to my request with, "Of course! When? Where?" Again, I was in shock. We set up the appointment, and apparently she said, "I'm so excited that you called," but I was still so baffled that I didn't even hear it or respond, so Sister Zaretskaia (who was right next to me), told me, "Say, 'We're excited too!' 'We're excited too!'" So I awkwardly said it and then the conversation ended. It was pretty funny. And now we're meeting with her hopefully on Wednesday!

Fourth and lastly, the biggest miracle of all: Elena and Alona. I shall tell this in story form:

Miracle #1: Elena (50-ish) walks into the Borshahovsky (Kyiv) church looking for help for her mentally ill daughter Alona (27 yr old, used to be totally normal but recently had some kind of nervous breakdown)

Miracle #2: They come back a few days later while I *happen* to be on exchanges there. I briefly meet them before Alona freaks out and wants to leave. I learn that Alona responds well to music, and that they might actually live in my area.

Wee little bit of diligence: When I got back to Voskresensky, I gave them a call and offered to come play guitar for Alona (a miracle in and of itself that I was able to find a guitar). Sister Filipovska and I met with them but didn't teach much of a lesson because Alona wasn't feeling well again. Then they had company over for a little while so we weren't able to meeting with them again.

Another wee little bit of diligence: Sister Zaretskaia and I called Elena a lot this past week trying to set up an appointment with her. She wanted to but nothing was working. We were persistent and finally just said (this past Saturday), "We're going to be in your area at about 8:00 tonight. If you're free, we'd love to see you." And lo and behold...

Miracle #3: We met with Elena and had an incredible lesson with her as we were walking through the forest near her apartment. She was looking for psychological help for her daughter, but we told her, "We don't have psychological help, but we know something else that will help your daughter: it's called the Priesthood." We bore testimony of Jesus Christ as our Savior, how He performed miracles (including healing) when He was on the earth, how He gave that same power and authority to His apostles, and how when God restored His gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith, those same apostles gave that Priesthood authority to Joseph Smith, and that's how we have it on the earth today. I felt prompted to read Alma 15:5-12 with her (wee little bit of diligence: I had discovered that passage as I was studying for her that morning), an amazing story of healing that applied so well to her daughter.

Toward the end of our time together, I felt the Spirit tell me to say something very specific. It was bold, so I double-checked with Him, and I could feel Heavenly Father smiling as He told me, "Yeah, you can say it." So right before we ended, I told Elena in the power of the Spirit, "I testify that if it is the will of God, and that if you have faith in Jesus Christ, your daughter WILL be healed." The Holy Ghost was incredible (reminds me very much of D&C 68:4-6). We prayed together right then and there, in the middle of the street as we were waiting for our bus. I knew that Elena was feeling the same Spirit because she told us, "I feel so much better now. I just feel so good being with you." We told her that the Elders would be over the next day to give Alona the blessing, and to read the Restoration pamphlet before the blessing (a commitment that came from the Spirit).

Wee little bit of diligence: We talked to the Elders about it the next day, checked our and their schedules, and let Elena know we'd be over at about 6:30.

Miracle #4: The Elders and Sister Zaretskaia and I came to Elena's humble apartment where she fed us like we were honored guests. When we were done eating, we went into the other room where Elder Romney explained to her the same thing we had the night before about the Priesthood lineage and the reality of miracles. When we asked if she had any questions, this faith-filled woman had only one: "How can we get her to sit still enough for you to bless her?" She is extremely unpredictable and hard to control, and we couldn't get her to come inside from the balcony and actually receive the blessing. Feeling the same Spirit as the day before, I simply said, "God will help us."

Wee little bit of diligence: We tried so many things to help her trust us and sit long enough for the blessing. Elder Seitz calmly introduced himself, Elder Romney told her about the Priesthood and how it would work, I suggested that we sing "I am a Child of God" together (which so invited the Spirit and made Elena cry), and Sister Zaretskaia suggested that Elena receive a blessing first so that Alona could see that it's okay (brilliant idea). So they gave Elena a blessing first, which was not only good for Alona to see but for Elena to feel. Also, I felt prompted to share an experience with her about when I received a Priesthood blessing (Dad, I'll let you know sometime exactly what experience that was; I wonder if you'll remember it). Nonetheless, nothing was working. Elena called her son out to help, but that only made Alona move from the balcony to the kitchen.

Miracle #5: Elena went into the kitchen with Alona to talk to her and calm her down. I didn't catch this, but Sister Zaretskaia told me later that when Elena was talking to her, she said, "When they were giving me the blessing, I felt so warm inside. This is something that will help you. They can heal you." Elder Romney and Seitz went into the kitchen and continued to talk with her while Sister Zaretskaia and I were in the other room, heads down, eyes closed, praying harder than I think I've ever prayed in my entire life. I don't know how long we were there, but Alona finally allowed Elder Romney to give her a blessing, and when he was done, she was calm and even told him, "Thank you." The Spirit had saturated that home. It was miraculously, beautifully everywhere.

It was late so we couldn't stay longer, but Elena walked us back to the bus stop again and we kept talking about it. She said she felt such peace and warmth when she received the blessing. She asked me about Dad and marveled when I told her that he has that exact same Priesthood. She thanked us again and again and was eager to meet the next day (tonight).

I know that was a long story, but I haven't had time to write in my journal about it so I wanted to make sure I wrote it here. Everyone reading this, just know this: miracles are real! The power of God is on the earth today, and it works! Words can't describe how grateful I am to be here, witnessing such amazing things, not only feeling the Spirit of God but bringing that incredible feeling to others. Jesus Christ lives, and He still works miracles for those who have faith on His saving name.

With so much love,
Sister Montgomery

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