Oh my goodness, I feel like I'm going to faint! So the Pastor family has been so amazing! We set a baptismal date with them for the 22nd next week! President told Hermana Ihler that next weekend we would be baptizing the Branch President of this area- meaning that this is the first huge step to us starting a Spanish Branch out here. Crazy! These past two weeks Hermana Ihler and I have been calling people all over the place and having members do research to help us figure out how we can get Santa and Domingo married before their baptism next week. Some side notes that will help you understand why we needed a miracle so badly- Domingo works everyday and can only have work off if it's raining because he does construction. For reasons I won't go into the only place they can receive their marriage license is in Nashville Tennessee- 2.5 hours away There are a few things that have made it a bit more complicated then it could be so Sister Ihler and I fasted and prayed yesterday and asked Heavenly Father that if it was His will that he would provide a way for them to be married this week. . Okay, that's enough preface, now onto the story:
We woke up this morning stoked for Pday and played some sports with the Elders and later in the morning we went to help the McCrady's because they had to move out of their house because of the water damage. While we were packing up their kitchen Sister Ihler looked at me with her eyes as big as Boo's from Monster's Inc and said that it was raining outside. We got the craziest feeling to call Domingo and he quickly answered and told us that he was NOT working today! We scrambled to call President McKee but he was in a meeting and did not answer right away. We called any member we could think of to see if they could take the Pastor family to Nashville last second. Well, no one answered or they said no! Hermana McCrady was listening and watching us run around trying to figure things and she so so kindly volunteered to drive them even though she was in the middle of moving! We got a hold of our Bishop and he was so incredibly kind enough to pay for their marriage license and the gas money to get them there and back! Then President called us back and told us to find a Bishop or Branch President there in Nashville who could marry them right after they got their license! We called the Assistants who found a Bishop who said he could meet them at 5 and perform the ceremony! So Sister Ihler and I met Sister McCrady at 12:15, filled out some of the paperwork for the marriage license, collected the family's photo IDs and birth certificates necessary and set up our GPS to hook up to Hermana McCrady's car so she could find her way there! We waved goodbye to Santa, Domingo, Anna, Manuel and Sister McCrady holding our breaths saying a million prayers that everything would go smoothly. Oh and I forgot to mention that Hermana McCrady is from Costa Rica and is terrified of driving a car! We just got a call an hour ago that by some wonderful miracle they didn't have any trouble at the court house and they received their Marriage License!!!! They should be at the church as I type being married now! Wah! Miracle miracle miracle miracle!! This was the biggest challenge we were facing with their baptism and somehow on some random Monday with literally 32 phone calls and a billion texts and people donating their time and money we somehow have managed- well with the help of the Lord- to get Santa and Domingo married! We're going to have a huge fiesta with them tomorrow to celebrate!
It is such an incredible feeling to be a part of helping families become eternal and truly building up the Kingdom of God here on the earth! I feel so lucky to be a part of this work at this time and in this place! Who knew Paducah was full of so many miracles! We just put together a shot gun wedding! Wahoo! Or as Hermana Ihler would say- Booyah! We know that this is only a small step for this family and we cannot wait until next week when they make such an important and special covenant with their Heavenly Father through baptism. My heart yearns for the day that they will be able to enter the temple and be sealed as a family for time and all eternity. This has been a very overwhelming experience because I feel that this is not only an incredible blessing and very important step for this family but for this area of the Lord's kingdom. We will only continue to see miracles from here. The Lord has great plans for the Hispanic people here in Paducah.
This has not been easy but it has been so so worth it. We've been having a bit of a hard time as well because the Sisters that we live with are......interesting and they make it hard for us sometimes to feel the Spirit and to always be happy in this work. I have learned an important lesson this week that we really need to do our best to not let other's effect our happiness. It's been a struggle to get past some manipulative and sneaky experiences that we've had with the Sisters but the Lord knows our hearts and knows that we're doing our best. We've definitely had to do some repenting and we've come so much closer to our Savior and to our own personal purpose in this work at this time. We can't control how others are and we can't worry about their intentions but we can choose to be genuine in all that we do and choose to treat others as Christ like as we possibly can no matter what. If we let other's moods or decisions or words effect us then we are going to be just as miserable as they are. Choose to be happy and choose to love everything and everyone! You will find so much peace when you come to the Lord and ask him for the strength to rise above these kind of situations in your life. I know that the power of the Atonement is so real and we can use it in every part of our lives!
We had an English class this week that no one showed up to BUT a miracle happened. Remember Venencio? Well we thought he dropped us because we hadn't heard from him in over 3 weeks but he randomly showed up at the church Wednesday night while we were supposed to have English class! Miracle! An RM Tyler Harper in the ward is home for the summer and he helped us teach the plan of salvation to Venencio and it was so amazing! We can't wait to see Venencio again next week- he is up to the end of Mosiah now and we only gave him the Book of Mormon 5 weeks ago and he works 65+ hours a week! This man is amazing!
I love you all so much and wish I had more time to write you individually!
I sure do appreciate y'all!