Some special experiences from this week:
We were able to give away a Book of Mormon to someone who seemed very interested this week!
On Tuesday, we got to meet with Sarah (a less active). Wow! We have been so worried about her because her life is just so laid-back right now she feels that she doesn't really need church. But as we talked with her, and finally got on a gospel topic after 30 minutes, we really felt the Spirit. We talked about enduring to the end (which she knows she needs to do =) ) and the importance of church attendance. We bore our testimonies and the Holy Ghost really worked on her. She told us that after so many years, she was finally "out of excuses." Her daughter, she says, never says anything when she really really wants something. She only complains about things to "be a pest". She told us that her daughter mentioned once that she really really wanted to go to church. They missed it because they slept in, and her daughter never mentioned it again.
When we saw them on Sunday, Niah was glowing with excitement. They got there a little late, but we were in the back. I gestured for them to come sit by us and they did. I invited Niah to sing the hymns with me, and she did! She gave us HUGE hugs after Sacrament meeting, multiple times. She absolutelyloved Primary. She really likes to sing (I found out) and told me all about how they sang and then played and then sang again "like ten times". =)
What a miraculous blessing! What a testament that the Holy Ghost truly testifies and changes hearts.
We had lunch with a family in our ward on Wednesday. It was a little chaotic. The wife was getting ready to have the baby this Friday, and so she was a bit overwhelmed by everything. We volunteered to help her with her dishes, or anything she needed help cleaning. When we came by later, we discovered amountain of dishes in the sink. We diligently cleaned and talked to her about Visiting Teaching and her new calling, and about how she wants to change it up and what a benefit and strength that will be to the ward. It was a wonderful and inspiring conversation. I got to share my experience in how I chose to serve a mission - Sister Dodds had a similar experience.
I felt like Arthur from Sword in the Stone, cleaning and scrubbing away. =D
We had a lesson with Gayle this week!! Ai-eee!!! I was worried we weren't going to be able to see him, because we are at the mercy of how his wife is doing on a particular day. But we prayed so hard and the Lord blessed us that we were able to see him! We brought a member with us too. I felt like the lesson was so scattered and I was so confused and distracted (new missionary fog!) but at one point in the lesson, when Gayle was preparing to drop us (kindly), the Holy Ghost prompted me, strongly, to ask him to be baptised, like we had planned.
I looked him in the eyes and said "Gayle, will you commit to prepare to be baptized on?" The look of shock that came over his face! He said "You nearly knocked me right out of my chair!!"
We then discussed his concern of wanting to finish the Book of Mormon before he is baptized. Sister Lawrence shared that she hadn't read it at all when she returned to church, Sister Dodds explained that we're always learning new things. Next time I have a cake analogy for him. =D (I run a little slow on processing speed these days haha)
The idea of that commitment entirely changed his attitude. He no longer was considering dropping us. We commited him to pray about it. He was totally not expecting that question. Sometimes you just need to see where they are at, and inviting them to be baptized (even at the first lesson!) is a wonderful way of discovering that.
We got to see Kristen again. =D We talked to her about family history and about the temple. I again felt the Spirit very strongly. The temple is our little slice of heaven. Where we can feel that timelessness and that service and that Spirit that will be ever present in the life to come. I love the temple. Make a goal to always be worthy to attend, or begin to prepare to attend. =) I know that we have so much to learn and so much service to do in the work of the Lord, and that the temple is a place where we can do much of that! I love you all! Attend the temple as often as you can. =) Prepare and take your own names! What special experiences and blessings you will have because you have done that work and made those sacrifices to do so. =) I love you!
Friday and Saturday were exchanges! Our sister training leaders swapped companions with us - so I went up to Norfolk for 24 hours!! I wish I had taken my camera, it's a gorgeous area. (even if it's kind of ghetto in the area we were) I FINALLY got to see some water even though "it's only the bay". It's grey and looks like it stretches on forever. =)
Last night we saw a Lion King style sunset and a parchment-colored reddish full moon. It was amazing. Dratted light pollution, otherwise I'd have some amazing pictures to share. =)
On exchange, I got to go see someone else's investigators. It was interesting. =) We saw a few really cute families who are struggling to get on their feet. We taught two adorable girls about the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon, using flannel thingys. they really liked it! They even talked about how important it is to keep the commandments. Wow! I've been learning just how much we can get out of scripture stories, and likening them to ourselves. I'm looking forward to doing more of that as I study.
I studied the story of Joseph in Egypt today. It really taught me about the importance of being prepared, and also following spiritual promptings. As we can read in Amos 3:7, the Lord doeth nothing save He reveals it to His prophets. In the footnote, we receive some clarification. We are taught and warned and have things revealed to us through the prophets so that we can prepare like Joseph in Egypt. The Lord will always make sure that we know His commandments and laws, so that we can follow them. I am so grateful for a loving God who gives us this "probationary state" as a time to prepare to meet Him. I am so grateful for knowinghow to prepare, and that the Lord will help me as I try to do what is right.
We saw an investigator of Sister Barnes' who is preparing to be baptized. Wow. That's what they mean by the wheat ready to be harvested! She called the missionaries over on the street because she knew she needed religion. She wants to change. She readily accepts the gospel, because she knows it's true. She wants to learn and know everything. I haven't yet gotten to a point where I teach an investigator the difference between Elder and President (etc) so I let Sister Barnes do most of the talking. =) Wow! I really learned a lot from Sister Barnes on exchange. She even wrote out cute little lists of what to take to her baptism, and other cool stuff! =) They're now preparing to teach the lady's little son Lucas. =)
That afternoon, we had lunch together (wish I had pictures =/) and exchanged back. Sister Dodds and I went to see an older lady who is wheelchair bound. She's a less-active who's not interested at all, but she needed help so we went to serve. =) We set up some phones for her and talked with her about her family. She's really so sweet. We talked about prayer. It made me sad to feel the emptiness in her apartment. The absence of the Spirit. She was trying to fill that hole with a gospel music program, but I could feel how that wasn't working. As soon as we came in, she turned it off (which no one ever does here). She couldfeel the Spirit that we brought, and the Spirit that came when we prayed together. I have hope for her. =) I love her sweet love she has for Jesus Christ, and hugs!
Yesterday we went to see a potential investigator named Brandon. He'd been on our list of potential investigators for the longest time, so we finally went. My goodness! Sister Dodds didn't remember giving him a Book of Mormon, but when we got there, it was brought to her rememberance. He's a guy in his thirties, with a cute little toddler named Camden! He said he had read! he was willing to schedule an appointment with us, and we're going back in a few weeks! Wow!! =D I'm so grateful for those that the Lord has prepared, and that I am privliaged to teach them by the Spirit! =D
Yes it has been a wonderful week, full of miracles, and lots of learning expereinces. It's going to take a while to really feel comfortable with the lessons, and to get the missionary pattern down. But I will! It'll just take time. =)
I love you all!!
I would like to invite you to make daily scripture study a part of your life. Itreally changes and improves your life and will help you to feel the Spirit that much more strongly.