So, a ton of stuff happened this week, but I just want to write about one single story that blew me away.
So, this story starts before I even left for Mexico. About eight weeks ago, a man saw Sister Harris and Sister Bradshaw in Walmart and talked to them. Just a nice casual conversation.
Fast-forward to this past Friday. Hermana Chandler and I were walking down a sort of busy street when a man stopped his car in the middle of the street trying to say something to us. He pulled over and then reversed back so he could talk to us. We ran across the street and he looked at me and asked if I was the missionary from Idaho that he had talked to in Walmart. Me: uh....no. But he was talking about how much he loves the missionaries, so we got his info and drove away with all of his kids in the car. Since he spoke English, we had to send it over to the Little Lake Sisters which kind of bummed me out. He stopped driving in the MIDDLE OF THE STREET to talk to us, and we couldn't even teach him.
That night I had my first exchange, so I went with Sister Nai, who is from Australia and is the coolest human being I have ever met in my life, to her apartment with her trio. Can you guess which trio it was? The Little Lake Sisters.
So, as Sister Nai and I were out doing your typical missionary stuff Saturday evening, we finally got to our time to go contact Emmanuel. I was so excited, because I was actually going to have a chance to teach this family!! However, once we got to the address we realized it was a HUGE apartment complex...and we had no apartment number. We had two options: a. go to the next backup in our agenda b. go knock on random doors
So we looked at each other. Sis Nai: "My trio has been PRAYING for a family to teach, and I know Heavenly Father follows through on His promises." Me: "There is something special about this family and I want to find them." So, I said a prayer. I prayed knowing that we WOULD find this family.
We started with the front-facing apartments, and the first one we knocked on was a woman who said she didn't know an Emmanuel or an African American family, but that that inside and around the corner were some African American families and maybe we could look there. We went inside and there was a huge square plaza with a ton of apartments. We spent the next HOUR just going door to door knocking...looking for this family. And no one had ever seen this family before!! However, during this whole process we got two contacts, so I said to Sister Nai, "There is a reason we are out here knocking on these doors. Even if we don't find this family tonight, we were meant to knock on those two doors." And Sister Nai kept going on and on about how she was going to knock on every single door in that complex until she found this family. Even if it took a week.
So we finished that one section of that complex, and it was already 8:00 pm, which was the time we were supposed to be back at the Little Lake apt to get ready for exchanging back. However, we decided we were going to finish the last few front-facing apartments, where we started. So we went to the apartment right next to the woman who told us to go check more inside at those apartments. The one we skipped over. And I said, "How funny would it be if we wasted an hour searching when the family lived in the next apartment over?" And Hermana Nai was like, "I feel like this is it..." And the door opened and it was Immanuel's son who was sitting in the passenger seat the day before!!!
I have never smiled so hard in my life. He probably thought I was insane. I even said, "We have been searching for an hour for your family!!!!!!!!" We got his dad's number and as soon as the door closed I just cried. And maybe fist pumped. And then cried some more. We found a family WITHOUT AN APT NUMBER.
What does this mean?
That woman didn't even know a large African American family (like legit the dad has an African accent) was living right next door to her. She didn't have to point us in the wrong direction to look for this family. But she did, and there was a reason. There were more people who needed our message. Heavenly Father wanted to see how badly we wanted this family and how hard we were willing to work to find them. I feel like His question for us is always: "How hard are you willing to work for it?" We wanted it. We wanted it bad. It was also a test of patience. We had to knock on doors for an hour to see if we had enough patience to know that our prayers are answered on His time, not ours. Heavenly Father always answers our prayers if we don't sit around expecting. We pray fervently, and then go out and do. He always follows through though, and I have a testimony of this.
He doesn't answer our prayers with the second door, he makes us work and grow until we finally open the last door of the night. then at that moment we can marvel at the love that Heavenly Father has for each of us individually and how personally he knows us. He loves His children and has a plan for each of us. I know it.