And it's Monday again...
There are so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind I honestly don't even know where to start. It's been an exhausting week, with the last 2 zone conferences, and planning trainings for our Mission Leadership Council, but I've never been happier! I came to realize just how much I love all of the missionaries, members, and people we're teaching here. I never thought it would be possible to get to know so many people, let alone develop a deep love and respect for each of them. Everyone is so incredibly different, but everyone's testimonies of the Restoration, and deep gratitude and love for the Savior are what bring us together. Looking around the room filled with a bunch of 18-22 year old young adults, who are there to forget about themselves and serve others for 18 months-2 years is seriously mind blowing. We are so different from the rest of the world! Also thinking about the countless hours of service and hard work the members of the church around the world spend to fulfill their callings and continually invite others to come unto Christ is a huge testimony builder for me. There is no way any of us would be so self-motivated to do such things if this wasn't the Savior's church, and if He hadn't called us all to do so. It no longer seems like a sacrifice, but a privilege to assist Him and our Heavenly Father in their work and glory! And the blessings, and feelings of complete love and peace we experience as we serve makes it all worth while!
Well I'll do my best to give a summary of who we've been able to teach this past week!
First off. We got to go to the temple and watch 5 of our recent converts do baptisms for the dead! It was THE BEST. My heart was so full I thought it was going to burst. The spirit was so strong, and the converts were so grateful and privileged to help others make a covenant with their Heavenly Father and receive Eternal Life! I love the temple.
We're still teaching Serena and her boys, and they are really starting to progress! The spirit in her home is completely different from when we first started teaching her, and her boys now sit in and listen/pray with us. She even thanked Heavenly Father for guiding her to His church in her prayer! She was able to stay all 3 hours at church this Sunday and the Relief Society lesson was absolutely perfect for her! As I thanked the teacher at the end, we both ended up getting emotional, as she explained how she had felt very impressed to share certain things that were exactly what Serena needed to hear. I know that revelation from Heavenly Father is very real and it is the only way we can truly minister to and teach His children the way He wants us to! Serena is working for being baptized on October 3rd! (May have to take a roadtrip.....)
Melissa is also really starting to progress! She called us the other day and said: "I have 2 questions for you. First, where can I get some scripture highlighters/sticky tabs so I can start marking my scriptures up? Second, who can pick me up for church on Sunday??" Talk about the best kind of questions to hear from an investigator! The spirit is also refining her and helping her be a better mom, and have more peace and direction in her life. It is so cool to see!
We've been teaching a lady named Hanny who we miraculously came in contact with last week right when she was really needing guidance. She was crying on her front porch, and had just received some terrible news just 5 minutes before. We had prayed to know where to go, and both felt that we needed to go to the apartment complex, where we met Hanny. It was amazing. She has been reading some from the Book of Mormon and is starting to understand that Heavenly Father really is aware of her and loves her personally. She is so prepared!
Julian is doing great! We read Mosiah 3 with him, and it was so cool to see the wheels turning after each verse. He really is soaking in everything we teach him, and the spirit is testifying to him that Jesus Christ really is the Savor and Redeemer of all mankind. Teaching him is one of my favorite things ever. He fasted again as well to receive extra guidance on making some work decisions. (though he expressed to us that he kind of cheated because he ate a bowl of ice cream an hour before he was supposed to break it..haha.)
We're also still teaching Aurora. This little missy is seriously 15 going on 30. She is so mature and knows the answers to almost everything we teach. She will be moving soon, and it looks like she'll be holding off on her baptism until she gets home to North Carolina, but she has progressed a ton and has such a strong spirit! She will be an incredible sister missionary some day!
There are lots of other really neat new people we're starting to teach! Heavenly Father really does guide us to those who are seeking the truth, we just have to be open to promptings, and be brave enough to open our mouths and act immediately! We cannot hesitate.
I love love love being a missionary. I may be coming home in a week, but I will never go back to who I was before my mission. I have a greater sense of who I am, and what my purpose is in this life. I have such a love and deep respect for my Savior Jesus Christ. He is so kind, tender, and sensitive to all of my needs. I have felt him walk with me, and give me the strength to keep going countless times over these past 18 months. I know His atonement is fully accessible to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We must use it and change a little everyday to become the sons and daughters our Heavenly Father knows we can become. More kind, more caring, more selfless, more patient, more humble, and more filled with love for all those around us. I know He knows my spirit better then I do, which is why it is so crucial we always have His spirit in our lives to guide us back to Him. My heart is full. I think I need a bowl of ice cream and a nap.
Love you all. See you soon!
Pic. 1. baptisms at the temple!
Pic.2. Got to go on exchanges with one of my favorite Sisters ever! The one and only, Sister Sandoval!.