So the funniest thing happened this week. A few weeks ago we met the Bell family. This family is hilarious, the father is always working hard doing something. The father is especially interested in learning more about the gospel. He has lots of questions and he told us that his heart is open to the LDS religion. About a week ago we tried to go over to teach the father. Instead the younger son answered the door. He said his parents were in Florida with his brother because his older brother was participating in a Nike photo shoot. With my Nike roots I proceeded to ask questions about this photo shoot. In a few brief moments we came to find out that his older brother is a starting running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His name is Laveon Bell. (I probably spelled that wrong). After making that sweet connection we proceeded to teach the brother about the gospel. We invited him to watch the "because He lives" video. He later texted our phone and told us how much he appreciated the video and the power it had to inspire and uplift him. Just yesterday we went back to visit the family... Turns out Laveon was here in Pickerington just the day before!! We were a day away from teaching an NFL player..it just about killed me haha. Who knows what will happen but we will continue to go over and teach the family and maybe one day Mr. Laveon Bell will hear the message of the restored gospel. I just secretly wish that day was two days ago. It would have been epic!We had the coolest and one of the most spiritual experiences with the Kamara family, our sweet family who moved here from Liberia. We had a lesson with themnight. The lesson began and the mother was the only one who was in the room ready to listen. As we prayed and invited the Spirit and began to testify of our Savior Jesus Christ, she paused us and said, "My kids need to be in here for this. Let me go get them." Our group had gone from one person to three. Then there was a knock at the door. It was Sister Kamara's sister who came to join us for the lesson. As we taught about Heavenly Father's plan of happiness, I was amazed at the words that filled my mouth. Recently I have been reflecting on the scripture that says "open you mouth and it shall be filled." I believe that God will keep His promises to us but I somewhat struggled with this scripture. I have been fasting and praying to see the fulfillment of this promise in my missionary efforts. Not every time I talk do I feel like my mouth is being filled with the words to say. In fact a lot of times I feel like I'm waiting and waiting for the perfect words to come and they don't, but during this particular lesson I felt like everything I said and relayed to them came straight from their Heavenly Father. By the end of the lesson their father had joined us and we were teaching the whole family! What a beautiful thing it was to testify of eternal families to them. At the end of the lesson they could not adequately express how they felt but they just kept saying how beautiful the plan was. The Spirit worked with them, hearts were touched and we were amazed at how much they understood. They have all grown up in church but they felt as if something was missing and finally the puzzle pieces were fitting together. Sister Rogers and I have high hopes for this family. I told President Daines in my interview this week that this was the African family I have been searching for my whole mission!With that little story being said, I know of the power prayer has in our lives. Recently I have tried to change my prayers and make them more heartfelt. I love in the book of Enos when his soul hungers and he kneels down before His maker and cries unto Him all the day long. When I read his words I reflected on my own prayers, my personal communication with the Father and questioned if I really have this spiritual hunger to talk to Him and seek guidance and answers.President Uchtdorf in a recent talk titled "the gift of Grace" addressed this topic and said, "When we kneel to pray, is it to replay the greatest hits of our own righteousness, or is it to confess our faults, plead for God’s mercy, and shed tears of gratitude for the amazing plan of redemption?"I love being able to talk to my Father in Heaven, and that the omnipotent Creator of the universe delights in hearing from us, His beloved children.
Bella's BaptismLastly Bella's baptism was absolutely wonderful. As I sat there and watched her participate in such a sacred and beautiful ordinance I reflected on my Savior Jesus Christ and the immense gratitude I have for Him and the perfect example He set. He has showed us the way, He being Holy was baptized to fulfill ALL righteousness. How close we can feel to Him when those sacred ordinances take place. As Nathan offered the words of the baptismal prayer, the Spirit was incredibly moving. It was a very neat service.I am so humbled and grateful for this precious time I have to serve. Sitting there watching Bella take a big step toward her Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ made me feel such a love for this sacred work. I have reflected with great fondness on this wonderful mission experience. There is nothing more sacred then watching those you love come to know their Savior. As Oliver Cowdery said, "these are days never to be forgotten." I love love love being a missionary.Love Sister Mathis