I don't know that I could be more grateful for everything that has taken place the last couple of weeks. I have mostly learned that when you do your part, the Lord will take care of you. He will watch over you, (and in my case, also my area.) We have been running around taking care of sisters, and going to meetings, and exchanges, and more taking care of people. And this has been the time that the most has happened.
So Dawn is absolutely incredible!! She is still planning on getting baptized on the 29th of this month. But, she needs to be done with her addictions two weeks before her baptism (This Thursday.) So we have had a couple of really great lessons with her. In fact, we went a couple days ago, and she had purged her movie collection, and taken posters off of her wall, and really gotten rid of a lot of things that she didn't feel brought in the spirit any longer. (She really love the band KISS, but took down anything to do with them of her own accord. Holy Moly!). So anyways, yesterday she went cold turkey to quit the last of her addictions (coffee and the electronic cigarette). Poor dear was stuttering and laid in bed all day from the coffee withdrawals. But she is determined. She knows that she is doing the right thing, and that she had God by her side to lift her up. She received a priesthood blessing this last weekend, and knows that she can do this hard thing so that she will be able to get baptized. Gosh I admire and love her so much.
Amber and Phil. They were a referral from a member. (We are working with Sister Walker, and her daughter, Golda, we are now teaching too! They are super cool, and Gold is so ready for the Gospel. We will teach her tonight, and I'll tell you more soon!) Anyways, we visited Amber and Phil. They are not married, they have four kids, and are super fun, and so prepared as well. They have tried a ton of different churches, but Amber and Golda have been friends for like, 11 years, and Golda suggested our church. Last week we shared the Restoration with them. We talked about Christ's church, and priesthood authority being restored. WE had another sister with us for the day, and she recited the first vision. The spirit was SO strong it was incredible. When we finished sharing the first vision, Phil's mind was baffled. He was amazed that Joseph Smith was able to see God the Father, and His Son at the same time. While the Spirit was thick, Phil left the room. When he came back after a few minutes, and just kept saying how huge it was that this could happen. He was so amazed. (In fact, my mind is still a little boggled by the experience.) He had left the room to pray. We have gone back to teach them, and are seeing them about three times a week, and they are coming to church on Sunday, and they are so excited about it. Austin is 10, and he and the 8 year old boy (Tay) boy have Book of Mormon's now, and are excited to read as well, and to come to church! We didn't set a date yet, but they said that they will get baptized, and are so eager to have that chance to have a clean slate. They are an incredible family. : )
Amelio and Nichole are another great couple! His dad is a member, so Elders referred us to them when they moved into our ward. They don't know a lot, but they have gone to church, and they know that it is good. We are bringing a priesthood holder this weekend to bless their home, and we will be teaching them twice a week as well. And again, no date, but they are planning on getting baptized if they receive an answer that this is true, and once they learn everything. they have three lovely kids, and are eager to learn. They too have tried out a lot of different churches, and so far have found the most peace and answers here. I can't wait to teach them too.
Dolly...she found us. We were at the library emailing, and she asked us if we were the LDS missionaries. (you bet!) Anyways, we finally met with her. Her uncle is a member, and we are going to teach her as well. She is in a rough place, and we are going to try and help her put everything back together. She wants to repent and start making the right choices, I think she just isn't sure where to begin. Sometimes it's really daunting when you have gotten yourself into a lot of trouble (physically, lawfully, emotionally, relationships, etc.) But she wants to do things right, so we're going to help her. : )
I just know that the lord is taking care of us, and helping us when we need it. We are so blessed to have people to teach. People that genuinely want to come closer to Christ. Nothing could bring me more joy, than to help improve the lives of others, by bringing them closer to their savior.
Pday was lovely again. we were able to convince the Elders to play an hour or so of basketball, and then come play ultimate frisbee with us. So. Much. Fun. I love it!! I think we're going to do that more often. : )
Oh, we had some boundary changes in our ward. With some minor deviations our ward basically just got split in half. Right where the mission area boundaries were before. So our area didn't really change, neither did our bishop of WML...but a lot of our other leadership did. WE had an awesome Stake Conference this last week...so I'm excited to really see what the new ward will be like.
One thing I'm seeing as an STL, is a lot of sisters going home because they are not ready. I just want to say, that if you are thinking about a mission, pray about it. Fervently speak with your Father, and wait for revelation. As much as I LOVE my mission, I know that it is hard, and it sin't for everyone. The stress is a lot to handle at times, and it is so hard for me to see so many wonderful sisters struggle so much, simply because they could have been better prepared.
So, back to the subject of my email.
That has kind of been my theme for the last week. Just slow down, and remember that God is there. For you. There was a talk in the last Ensign that you should look up. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/08/opening-our-hearts-to-revelation?lang=eng
I realized that even though I was doing a lot of really good things, I was staying so busy that I was forgetting to make the conscious effort to bring myself close to God. I was so worried about doing studies, and the sisters I'm over, and my investigators, and my companion, and everything else, that I forgot to take a minute to be still. Without realizing it, I was getting caught up in the "cares and clamor," and I was getting lost. As you go through your week, take a moment to "be still." Take comfort in knowing that your Father in Heaven loves you. And if you are falling farther from Him for any reason, He wants you back. Ponder the scriptures. Pray fervently and with real intent. Find joy in the little things.
Kay, I just realized that I wrote about that last week too. But keep it in mind. It's been dwelling with me all week.
Also, I went to a leadership training today, and something that really stuck out to me, was that we can't make excuses. We need to know what needs to be done, what is right, and then make a "therefore" statement, rather than a "but" statement. Know what you need to do, and then just do it, rather than coming up with a reason not to. No matter how good or reasonable your excuse may be. It's still an excuse.
One last thing...I just want to remind you to be happy. I have had a few people ask me lately how I am smiling and happy all the time. Truth is? I'm not. I have days where I am stressed. Overwhelmed. Grumpy. But I know that when I am happy, it's because I choose to be. I am obedient, and working my hardest to be consecrated. To stay close to the Lord. And when times get tough I put a smile on. I tell Satan that he's a bum, and that I am stronger than he is, and I tell myself that I am going to have a good day. I have decided that I want to be the kind of woman that when m feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan says, "Oh no! She's up!" And then I do everything in my power to make it so. and then at the end of the day, I reflect, and write down one thing that made me smile that day. Even when things were rough, there is always something that will make you smile each day. So just remember to be happy. It feels a lot better. Promise. : )
I love y'all bunches!! Keep up the good work, and know that I am praying for you. And I am so grateful for all of the prayers that are sent my way. Y;all are the greatest!!
PS-If any of you have questions, feel free to post them in the comments. My dad can forward them to me, and I will do my best to reply quickly. Or if it is more personal you can send me an email. love y'all! : )
(From Gina)--Here's a cute thought for you today...