9.27.2016

Baptism:: Greg

GREG GOT BAPTIZED!!!

You read it right!!! Greg got baptized this Sunday! It was amazing! and very unexpected!! :) So I will start off by just going through the series of events for this week! Because that is the only way it will make sense.

Cleaning the font!
Monday: I wrote my weekly email to President and explained the trials and challenges that Greg is going through. Then we went to the Zoo and had exchanges with the Liverpool Sisters which was a blast! :) At around 10:00 we receive a call from President Rogers. President is a doctor, so as I explained more of what Greg has been told is going on with the cancer spreading throughout his body, President made a big decision. We were going to baptize Greg as soon as possible. We were given some instructions and things that we needed to do to see how soon this could happen though. 

Tuesday: Finish off exchanges and send the Sisters back to their area. Then off to Greg's with Bishop Hargrove. After our meeting with Greg we asked some of the questions that President wanted to know and then asked Bishop if he thought Greg was ready. He said "Of course". I knew Greg was ready from week 4 it has just been the struggle of working around chemo. But, he was ready!



Wednesday: We call President and he gives us instructions to baptize Greg and to confirm him on Sunday! We start freaking out!!! That gives us almost no time!! Then we go and see Greg and ask him if he wants to be baptized on Sunday! Explaining to him that we do not want to have him leave on his trip without the amazing gift and entrance into the straight and narrow path. Greg says he would "Absolutely be baptized on Sunday." So from that evening on. We have a baptism on Sunday!!! I know Greg was so prepared. I felt like the Lord was teaching us all a lesson, but me a reoccurring lesson.. that I need to trust in His will and timing. 

So excited!
Thursday: We started spreading the word. IT SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE!!! Bishop told the ward council and by the time we were going to the church to post something on the Ward Facebook Page it had already been done!! It is CRAZY!! :) Everyone jumped in and supported Greg so much! We managed to fill the whole program in one day and we didn't do anything but occasionally lead the music :) It was AWESOME! This ward is amazing and really rose up to help Greg this week. It was awesome! Greg then had his interview! Which he passed with flying colors. Greg is amazing and truly bore testimony of each of the questions. His interview was 45 minutes long. It was amazing. He was so excited.





Making BIG plans!






Friday:
We taught Greg the rest of the lessons that he needed and he just soared through them. He was comprehending everything! It was awesome! We gave him a tie and taught the Enduring the the End principle :) Greg was so excited and all day long we received phone calls from the ward about how they could help out with Greg and if we needed anything. It was amazing! We also checked around for a baptismal suit and didn't have a big enough one.... so we asked the Zone Leaders. 200 miles later and after a mass text to the whole mission, the Zone leaders have a suit for Greg. Miracles were happening everywhere!! :) 

Saturday: We answered any questions Greg had and went through the program with him. He was so prepared. One lesson that we learned this week that was really amazing was goal setting. Sister Virgin and I during weekly planning decided to set a goal of 1 person to be baptized and 1 confirmed. We just wanted to have some faith and set a faith building goal. As soon as we did that Greg's schedule cleared up for us to be seeing him more frequently and then everything worked out for the baptism. It was awesome. I know that the Lord is willing to bless us with miracles if we only have the faith we need to have them. :) I love this work. EVERYTHING ALWAYS WORKS OUT, if we just trust in the Lord and have faith!



Sunday: The baptism. It was a little stressful ... filling that font, setting up the chairs, printing the programs. All of it, plus all of the stress was worth it when you saw Greg's face come out of the water so excited and so relieved. He had made it. He chose this path willingly and he has so much work that is waiting just for him. He is going to be a great asset to the kingdom :) I am so glad we were able to get him to this point. It was amazing for me to see the whole thing, from the first day- to the Baptism. Greg has become a disciple of Christ and it was all through the power of the Book of Mormon. He found so much comfort in the Book of Mormon and prayer and that is exactly how his conversion came. It was amazing! :) 
AH! This is what it is all about everyone!! It is about the peace that comes from sharing and living the gospel. It's about the joy that comes from repentance and baptism and the sacrament. The happiness that comes from sharing the gospel with others. This is truly why we are here, to help our Brothers and Sisters make it Home.

I love you all :) Have a great week! 

P.S.

Some other fun events of the week: We were invited to Syracuse University to participate in a Faith to Faith activity on Thursday and Sunday evening. It was so fun to get to know and understand other faiths and talk to them about ours. 

Ariel is progressing so well, she was fellow shipping all of our investigators that came to the baptism and church and she is still an investigator herself. She is practically perfect :) I love her!! :) 

The Young Women's Broadcast! :) I thought of all of you at home and how amazing it is that this is  one of the few times a year that I know, that we are all doing the exact same thing. Isn't our church amazing. Women gathered all around the world listening to what God is telling us specifically. This church is just beautiful :) 



    9.19.2016

    4 0











    BREAKING NEWS:::: Sisters DeVries and Virgin have just broke the record for lessons per week for the area of SYRACUSE *sound of air horns,cheering and sirens*

    Yup, you heard it right folks! Well at least in the time that I have been in Syracuse, we have broken the record. We taught a little short of 40 official lessons this week!! With many short 5 minute lessons on doorsteps and on the side of the street. We worked so hard this week, our hardest obstacle was time. We were running constantly and never had enough time in the day! It was amazing!! I truly love this work so much and this area. I think I taught more lessons this week then in my first 6 weeks of my mission. It was so amazing and such a huge blessing. I am so grateful for all that God is blessing us within this area. :) 





    We found 5 new investigators this week! So I will go through the main events of the week and then give you an update on the investigators but first main events and miracles :)

    So we met with a less-active lady who has hamsters, she is also blind. The first time we went to see her, I asked her to tell us what he house looked like and she said "I don't know I'm blind..." I was like.."oh.. don't worry we will find it!" Then during the next lesson with her, I went with Sister Lee on an exchange and she asked Sister Lee to hold her hamster. Well, we kept taking turns holding this hamster and I held it but then I dropped the hamster and I was scurrying around the room while we were teaching the Restoration to this lady, trying to grab her hamster. Right when I finally picked it back up and handed it off to Sister Lee she says "Now how is my hamster?" hahaha!!! I am so grateful that she is blind :) haha! She is the sweetest lady though and wants to get back to church so we will help her get there. Exchanges are the BEST! :) haha! Me and Sister Lee had a blast!! :) 

    FLU SHOTS FOR EVERYONE!

    Then Greg came to church! :) It was so cool, he looked so happy to finally make it out, however he got really sick and had to go back to the hospital. It's so scary.. He is so ready to be baptized he just needs church!! And now he is wanting to move to Utah to be with his family so you guys might get to baptized the most solid man I have ever met! I love Greg so much!! :) He is amazing and he has really become one of my best friends. He always is looking out for us and worrying about our safety! He is like my dad out here :) I love it! 






    Ariel had her interview!! She is going to be baptized on Oct 8!! :) AHHHHHHHH... This will be my first baptism!!! :) I am soooo excited!! Ariel is so amazing! we are becoming such great friends with her and she is becoming one of my favorite people! :) She is so ready to be baptized :) 

    Then we received a lot of referrals this week and are teaching a lot of the people! WE are just killing it out here! it is so much fun working with Sister Virgin so much!!! She is amazing!!! :) 

    Sorry I don't have a lot of time but I love it here!! :) and i'm going to the ZOO! so I gotta go!! :) Love you all!!

    Sister DeVries



    9.13.2016

    This week was AMAZING!!





    Lovin' Syracuse!

    This week was AMAZING!! It could have easily been one of the best weeks of my mission. It was sad to say goodbye to Sister Dillard, she really loved this area and I learned a lot from being her companion. She really helped me become a more bold and patient missionary. I loved being with her. She is loving Vestal as well and I am so glad that she gets to be there!!

    SISTER VIRGIN

    My new companion is Sister Virgin. She is from West Jordan, Utah. And we are best friends already! :) I love her so much!! She reminds me a lot of Rachel :) So that is fun! It's like college dorm room all over again!! :) We have had the funnest first few days together though! I am so grateful for her!! :) 

    So now, I bet you are wondering what made this week so amazing. Well let me tell you what it was. 

    Tired feet, soaking wet clothes and bags, round 2 of the soaking wet clothes and bags, annoying new york traffic, 5 minute lunches and dinnners, a phone that never stops ringing, wrong turns and late curfews, and most of all the Syracuse Members. I LOVE IT HERE! 


    We have been runnning around like crazy and each of these things as annoying as they may sound have been the best blessing this week. We have been able to see so many miracles. Sister Virgin and I have barely even had time to think and it has been amazing. I have never been so happy in my life because I truly forgot about myself and have just got lost in the work. :) 

    UPDATES: 

    We got to meet with CESAIRE this week and he is doing so well. We actually saw him this morning because he had some free time and it is his birthday! He is amazing! He LOVES the Book of Mormon and Church. he said that he should be able to make it this Sunday. His little son always says "Daddy, when can we go to our new church?" He is sooo sweet and his family truly loves it! He is ready to be taught too! He is amazing! 

    ARIEL had a little bit of a rough week. Which we told her is to be expected, Satan is going to try all he can to make sure that she is not baptized. But, Ariel is withstanding his blows. She is SO amazing! Everyone in the ward already thinks that she is a member and a lot of them are begging to let us take them to her appointments. I love this ward they are just begging us to let them do missionary work! :) 



    Wait till Shaggy and the gang get a hold of the Book of Mormon.

    Sister Virgin got to meet Greg this week. She was quickly amazed by the quality of investigators we have here in Syracuse. First Ariel was perfect. Now Greg is perfect! It is amazing!! We are constantly teaching and finding new people here. I definitely love it :) So the Greg update... Greg didn't get to come to church this week because he had chemo. But he is going to come next week. Greg learned some news that is going to change the timing of our events. It's very personal to him so I won't share very much. But he texted us unexpectedly yesterday and asked for prayers. We told him that we could get someone to come and give him a blessing and he said that would be great. We brought Brother Bond (his favorite member) who brought Brother Gage (a member of the bishopbric). When we arrived at the hospital Greg was very depressed. As he let out all that was going on we were able to comfort him and Brother Gage testified of the power of the Priesthood the spirit was so strong. Then Greg testified of the power of reading and prayer. The spirit grew even stronger. Then Brother Bond gave Greg a blessing and the spirit became so strong. The spirit in the hospital room reminded me of the temple. It was so thick, then Greg says that he already feels the pain lessening. I know without a doubt that Greg is going through this trial for a reason. The Lord is humbling him and has prepared his heart to accept the Gospel and to change others lives. Greg is the most prepared person I have ever met and I love him so much. I know without a doubt that I was called to Syracuse for a reason and that Greg happened to stop in Syracuse for a reason. Greg came into my life at a time that I now can see I so desperately needed. I loved missionary work before and I thought I was happy. But Greg has helped me have faith again. He has helped me truly have charity and never ending love towards everyone. He has helped me really read my scriptures. I know that I was called here for a reason. I am so grateful for all that Greg has done for my life and I am so blessed to be apart of his conversion to the Gospel. I never want to leave New York. I truly feel so much happiness as it says in Preach My Gospel "more happiness awaits you then you've ever before experienced, as you labor among His children"

    I love you all and I love it here!! Thank you for helping me get to the place that I am at today! Your prayers are definitely felt! :) 

    Sister DeVries


    9.05.2016

    TIME GOES BY SOOO FAST!!




    TIME GOES BY SOOO FAST!! I can't believe it is Monday again!! :) It's insane!! Also.. TRANSFERS!!! Sister Dillard is leaving (which is depressing because we only had one transfer and I still have no clue how to be a Sister Training Leader) but, she is going to VESTAL!!! :) I am so excited for her!! It will be amazing! So she will finish out there!! Which.. SISTER BAXTER is flying home on Tuesday!! That is so crazy!! I will have a companion home already! I remember when she got me she said "When I go home.. it will be weird for you because that means you only have a year left." WHAT!!! This has gone by sooo stinking fast!! But I love every minute.
    My new companion is Sister Virgin. She was in my district in Greenwich. So that will be fun! :)


    A WEEK IN THE 'CUSE :



    Love Yourself!

    So we have a few streets where our faces are pretty well known. The whole neighborhood is investigators or former investigators (who still think they are investigators... but they just think we are Bible Reading Jesus People...so we don't see them as much). This street is my favorite though because we are sooo loved and all the little children run up and give us HUGE hugs and ask for Jesus pictures. They must all have 10 each. I was thinking about turning them down when my favorite little girls said "Yesterday we were all playing and we saw our Jesus picture and we put him in front of us and all took turns praying." AHHH... Melt my heart!! These kids are adorable.. Then I proceeded to give them each 5 ;) haha! I love the little kids! :)




    Another cute little kids story! We went to teach the Rutagarama's (they are Recent Converts from the Congo) and cute little Maliea just hung on to me the whole time and gave me HUGE hugs and just held my hand. Ahh.. I love this area. The little children have my heart. It is a good thing that the white handbook says "do not get involve in adoptions" because...I would be in like 100 different cases by now. I love these chlidren! :)




    Also, we have these 2 little girls who are investigators. We read the Book of Mormon with them this week to see if they are understanding it and they LOVED it! They were making comparisons to their own life and falling in love with Nephi! It is so amazing how simple the Book of Mormon can be if you will just take the time to understand it :)




    EXCHANGES!!

    We had exchanges and I was with Sister Easthope. She is a stellar missionary. I look up to her so much and our exchanges are always such a party. She served in Syracuse at the first of her mission so it was fun because we got to see some of heriInvestigators again and pick them up. We are truly seeing some progress in this area. I love exchanges because you have 4 Sister Missionaries working in our little area ALL DAY long! We always see SO many miracles. :)




    New Investigator!

    Thomas: He is amazing!!! He really loves the Book of Mormon and all that we are teaching!! He is from the Congo! He has been here for 7 years. He is super sweet and just ready to learn more. His apartment complex though has led us to find 8 new potential investigators. SO THAT IS SWEET!! :)




    Carveion: CAME TO CHURCH!! We told him he had to start doing stuff if he wanted to see blessings. So he walked the 2 miles to church! It was pretty amazing!! :)




    Cesaire: He wants to start learning more again and wants to come to church next week! His mothers health is slowly improving so he will have more time to meet with us!! :) It is amazing!! :) I am so glad that we have so many people to teach!!




    Greg: Greg is just amazing! He is willing and accepting all the commandments and is quickly progressing towards baptism. Only problem is church. The hospital won't let him leave because of how intense his chemo is they want to be able to watch him at all times. But.. we will figure it out!! :) HE IS READY! We just need these roadblocks to disappear. They are just part of the Process though.




    THE DISTRICT
    Ariel: IS AMAZING!!! We took her to a lesson with NANCY this week! It was amazing!! It was cool to see how strong Ariel's testimony has grown because she has had this year to prepare for baptism. She is amazing. There is nothing better than bringing an investigator to another investigators lesson :) It was soo much fun! It was so powerful too! and Nancy said that she would come to church next week! So that is great!! :)




    Also we got in contact with a few new investigators this week and past investigators !! We really saw so many miracles!! I LOVE SYRACUSE!!!




    LOVE YOU ALL!!! HAVE A GOOD WEEK!!!




    SISTER DEVRIES