Friday, July 24, 2009

Guatemala Vacation Scrapbook - As promised!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tender Mercies

What an incredible week this has been. I cannot believe how blessed and fortunate I am to have had the experiences I have had. After my last post, I felt I needed to post this one because it is something I never want to forget. This is a part of my letter I just wrote to Casey this evening. (Sorry this is long)

"So I've been feeling really down the last few weeks because I'm completely stuck in a rut. I feel like I don't have a sense of direction to go. I have lots of ideas and hopes, but none of them have fallen into place. I want to move out and hopefully buy a condo - but that hasn't worked out. School is difficult to figure out. I feel lonely and ready for a husband and to start my own life and family but that's hard to figure out too. Anyways, I felt very down this past week and I've learned a great lesson and it bore a new little testimony for me and for that, I'm forever grateful. I'm so touched by how much our Heavenly Father loves us. It's incredible that He's answered some "unasked" prayers of mine. Despite my lack in prayer for help, He STILl chose to reach down through others to make sure I knew I was loved.

This past Thursday (a day after I probably felt my worst), a member came in to me. Her name is Jovita, but we call her Jovi. She is from the Phillipines and the kindest old woman. She doesn't understand finances too much so it's required some "special attention" from me to help her out. Well, her problem only took a second, but we started chatting and she began telling me amazing experiences she doesn't share with many people. She told me when she lived in the Phillipines she was known as a "Healer." She was a massage therapist who helped a lot of people that way, but had a sense to know what the physical needs, mental needs, etc was of those who visited her. At this point I was a little bit wary wondering where this was going to go, but it didn't take long until I felt emotional and had goosebumps on my arms (in the middle of the CU lobby at my desk!). She told me she doesn't know why people came to this assumption that she was a "healer," but she made sure she told everyone that she was not the healer, but that she was a tool in the Lord's hand. She bore testimony to them that God has control - not her - but that she would help them understand that. Through her experiences, brought many others seeking her counsel that she developed experiments to demonstrate this. She then told me how this brought her to the Church. She said she had been a member of seven other churches who would teach her and confirm to her what she already knew that a God lived and that He loved each one of us. She hadn't found an exact one, but had settled on being Baptist. It was then that her sister came to her one day and said, "Jovi, youneed to meet these young men." Jovi told me she literally ran and hid from the missionaries trying to escape them, but ended up bumping into them while trying to run away! She agreed to listen and she said from the moment the Elder started speaking she began weaping and couldn't control the tears. This is what she knew and was looking for. A gospel that testifies that God loves us so much that He sent His son to die for us, and that the Church was restored in Christ's name today. It was sucha beautiful experience and she even welled up with tears re-counting the experience to me. It was then that she said, "I don't know why I feel I needed to tell you all this." I told her I did because I knew God needed me to hear that He loves us and that He has a plan for us - even when we don't see the answer or direction to go. Like her trying to RUN from the missionaries, and ended up getting caught! She then asked me to go get two cups of water. She wanted to show me her experiment. I was a little hesitant obviously, but I did. I watched her after I brought out these cups of water that she had said a prayer for me! I felt she did! She told me to sip out of one cup, then out of the other and see if I tasted a difference. I was a bit embarrassed but did as I was told. Nothing was different. She instructed me to try again. This time I only noticed that one water seemed "softer" but no difference really. I told her, "I guess I don't believe." and she said, "It doesn't matter - it's my faith that matters in this, but it seems to me you are confused in life. You are in need of answers for your life, and that will come Samantha. That is why you tasted no difference in water - you can't decide or tell." She told me that in the past when she'd conduct this "experiment," most people would tell her that the first sip of water tasted "bitter" and the other water "sweet." She would then tell me that yes they were sick or suffering with something, but that it was up to them and the Lord who would help them and heal them if they would believe. For the water is the same in each cup. She then used the water as an analogy and said when things are bitter in our lives, we tend to focus on the bitter and believe it's bitter when its really not. She said that we'd be healed by Heavenly Father and once we know we are, the water will then taste as "sweet" as the last cup does. It was her special way of teaching that it's not her who heals, but the Lord. If we set our minds so much on the world or ourselves, we create a bitter tast when in reality, it can be as sweet as the second cup. The Lord will make it that way.

Then today, I met with the others of the Primary presidency for our stewardship meeting with Pres. Murdock. Towards the end of the meeting, he as Tammy if we were having a meeting as just the presidency. She told him no, but that she would hold one if he felt we needed to. He said no, but that he was curious because he needed to visit with me privately for a few moments and didn't want to take me away from another meeting. We closed our meeting and the others left. Once they left, he asked how I was doing. He said he sensed that I was down and confused. We talked about my dreams, goals, and aspirations and he gave me a lot of advice to consider on. Of course we talked about a mission, but he also talked about school, and student/singles wards, etc. No direct direction was given, but that didn't matter. The only thing he said was, "Just stay close to the Lord and have faith and ask Him where He wants YOU." I felt emotional again and I said, "Thank you for being so in tune to know exactly what I needed to hear. I have sucha testimony now that God loves me because he's provided me with answers to unasked prayers."

I'm amazed little brother! Just amazed! How come I am so blessed in my life to deserve this? To have the life I have and to be complaining that nothing is falling into place?? Yet here comes Heavenly Father still sending people and blessings my way even though I'm complaining that I don't have enough (ansers or direction that is). I regret to tell you this, but I didn't ONCE offer a prayer to Heavenly Father last week asking for help. What a testimony to know He is STILL there and hears our heart of hearts and blesses us."

Thank you to those who prayed for me because your prayers sincerely helped. While I still don't have "direction" to go, I know that the Lord will put me where I need to be!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I am in dire need of change. Seriously. My life is so monotonous lately I am dying of boredom inside. I've gotten to the point that I'm stuck in a rut. I thought I've been in a rut for years, but not this bad. I'm right there at that age, where the majority of my friends are married with a child and I obviously don't fit in there and the other friends I have that aren't married are fulfilling lives. I guess it's partly my fault for not getting completely involved in school or student wards earlier, but hey, can't go back right? Don't get me wrong, I've had some awesome experiences in my life. I've done some things, and gone through some things my friends never have, but it's not where I saw myself being at this age I'm at.

I had hoped that by now I'd had accomplished many things, but the last four years... I've only worked and traveled a little. Most people in my stage of life have graduated college and started their careers. Or they're married. Or even have two kids. I'm no where near that! The other option I get hounded on a LOT is a mission. Believe me, a mission has crossed my mind multiple times the last few years, and I wish so bad I could say it's the right thing for me to do, because then something would be coming of my life other than just working.

I was so ecstatic the beginning of this year to shake things up, but none of my dreams/ambitions have come yet. I've been wanting to buy a house this year and the 'right one' hasn't come along, or things have fallen through. I'm completely ready to start a new ward, but I want to wait until I find a house/condo or even apartment before I make the change. I'm still in the home ward - which isn't bad - but I don't belong there at my age and stage of life. School is still on a high priority, but with me needing to work full-time, it makes going to school really difficult. I've found a great option for school, but I won't have the 'social experience' which I looked forward to. I'm ready for a change and don't know how to begin! I'm open to suggestions, prayers or even a few lucky pennies to shake me out of my rut!