I’ve learned a lot about the concept of ‘nevertheless’ in the past few weeks. Hard times come, nevertheless, the Lord blesses us. That’s how the past few weeks in Studio City have been. We work and work and work, rain or shine, and sometimes (most times), things don’t go as planned. We get discouraged, but we forge ahead, knowing at some point we will see the miracles. I love that the Book of Mormon starts from the very beginning with the concept of ‘nevertheless,’ in 1 Nephi 1:1 – “…having seen many afflictions in the course of my days,nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days…”

I love it especially, because it sums up how our week has been. We worked and worked and worked, most of the week in the rain (California rain is cold, did you know that?), soaked to the bone. We were getting discouraged, honestly. We weren’t seeing much success, and we were feeling pretty low about it. Then all of a sudden, the weekend came, and the blessings just started chasing us down, it seemed. We had an incredible lesson with Andrea on the Plan of Salvation. For a while now, Andrea has been having concerns about prayer – she feels that she isn’t expressing herself well to the Lord, that her prayers aren’t “beautiful enough.” But it clicked this week with her that it doesn’t matter if your prayers are as eloquent or beautifully worded as another’s – all that matters is that it is sincere and heartfelt. We were able to teach that principle in tandem with the first half of the Plan of Salvation, which is really special to Andrea. She lost her son, Danny, just over 15 years ago, and hasn’t been able to really cope in a way that she wants to. She already knew in her heart so much of the Plan, we just gave her the words and the testimony of it – that we come from a loving Heavenly Father, and it is to that same Father that we will return after we have been tried, tested and refined. I love teaching Andrea, the spirit is always so strong in her home, and she is so prepared to receive the Gospel and follow the example of Jesus Christ.

We got home after our lesson with Andrea to find out that our circuit breaker had somehow been on the fritz, meaning that our fridge had gotten messed up. We spent a good hour trying to figure it out, thoroughly frustrated, before giving up and going to bed. It was, to most people, a little thing, but to Sister Cox and I, it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. We trudged into ward council the next morning at 7:20 with half of our groceries stowed in the Church’s fridge, frustrated and upset. Ward council isn’t exactly the most fun way to start a morning, but the Lord I think wanted to prove how many miracles He will perform if we just keep moving forward. We had a guy show up to church who wants to continue learning with the missionaries (he’s been studying with the elders in Arizona for about a year, but just relocated to California). He is so excited to continue, that in and of itself cheered us immensely.
On our way home from church we were able to contact a referral who we’d been trying to get in touch with for over a month, and were able to teach them, and invite them to continue learning. Sharif and his wife Benafsha just barely moved from Afghanistan and were reunited after several years of being apart. They are Muslim, but are so open to the message of Christ, that in and of itself is another miracle. And they are so sweet. Benafsha had hot tea and sweet biscuits prepared for us when we arrived, and although her English isn’t the best (it’s way better than she thinks it is), she made us feel welcome as we talked with her and Sharif about the basics of Christianity. I love how open they are with their questions, and love learning more about their culture. I think reading all those books about the Middle East over the past few years has come in handy, because I was able to follow quite a bit of what they were saying about the politics, culture, and society in Afghanistan.
The common theme of the week was prayer. Literally every lesson we had revolved for some reason or another around prayer. It is a principle I love teaching, because I think prayer is often pushed to the wayside in a world where technology reigns supreme. As missionaries we have an acronym that ‘saves spiritual lives,’ called CPR (yeah, we’re dorky) – Church, Pray, Read. Attend church regularly and participate in worship as a congregation. Pray often, as individual

Giraffe whisperer

Giraffe Whisperer

s and as families. Read the scriptures daily, studying and feasting upon the word of God. Prayer is definitely my favorite part of CPR, and I’ll never get tired of teaching it. So many people we work with have either never prayed, or feel that they don’t know how to pray. The feeling that you have when you teach someone to pray, and then hear them do so for the first time is incredible. It’s indescribable. At the end of our lesson with Sharif and Benafsha, we asked Sharif if he would be willing to pray, and he accepted, praying in his own native language of Pashto. It was beautiful. You don’t have to understand the language to understand what they’re saying. That is one part of why I loved serving with the Korean branch when I was training Sister Dame in Chatsworth. I had absolutely no idea what they were saying, but I knew the spirit of it, and was able to participate in that way. Prayer saves lives!! I love being a missionary, because we are literally always praying. We pray when we get up, when we go to bed, at every meal, each time we leave the apartment, before every lesson, with members, with people on street corners, with investigators, with each other. We are a praying people. It has brought me so much strength over the past months, and past several weeks especially, as I have been learning about what I like to call ‘The Principle of Nevertheless.’ Prayer brings hope, and hope brings light and happiness, which the world is in dire need of. In my book, we are out here in the world to teach prayer and faith. I’m so thankful to be a part of that.

On a non-missionary-esque

Los Angeles Zoo

Zoo Adventure Time

note, we were able to go to the Los Angeles Zoo today with our district, which was a lot of fun. The zoo is absolutely huge, and we just barely got back after spending a good 5 hours there today. It was a crack-up to see the elders acting like little kids, especially around the monkey exhibits. I think half the day was spent with chimps, gorillas, and your assorted monkeys. :) We had lots of fun.

Well, I’m just about out of preparation day time. Until next week!


Sister Redner


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