This has been one of the stranger weeks of my mission, that's for sure. Since we received iPads last week, there are some fancy apps that we get to use, one of which being the Area Book Planner. This app combines our area books and planners into one convenient place (as you can probably gather from the name....). So we had a meeting on Thursday where we learned about the app and started entering in ALL the data and records of people who have been taught, who we are currently teaching, and who are potential investigators. Needless to say we have worked for about 10+ hours and are still not done. Once it's finished though, it will be really nice. :)
We had a really good lesson with JU, a recent convert. We talked about the Spirit World, and she asked a ton of good questions. I love when the people we are teaching help out with the lesson so much. It certainly makes things nice. :)
This summer we get to help out with some children and youth family history camps that the McKinney Stake is putting on. We've just helped with one so far, but it's really cool to see the kids get excited about their families. I love family history. Also, there was the news conference that Family Search did to launch the Freedmen's Bureau Project. Our stake hosted an event for local ministers and leaders to come. A sister from our ward was in charge of the catering, so we got to help her with that! It was a wonderful service opportunity.
We were able to see JO again! We reviewed the Restoration focusing on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. JO said, "If someone were to claim that they had seen God and He had given them a record to translate in these days, they would get locked up!" We were able to explain to him that that's exactly what happened to Joseph Smith, that righteousness and goodness is often persecuted. We helped him see that opposition will always come to truth and good things and that Satan will always try to persuade us away from doing good things like reading the scriptures, praying and attending church. It was a good visit. Also, he came to church again!! And he brought his two daughters with him as well. OurSchool lesson was very powerful once again - a great discussion about the freedom to choose. It's amazing how it all just flows together. I am grateful for members to help bear their testimonies. One kind of crazy thing that happened: during Sacrament Meeting, a youth speaker mention Heavenly Parents. JO pulled us aside, and asked about it, saying "Heavenly Parents, like a Heavenly Mother?" With the help of our ward missionary, we were able to explain it to him and testify that the family is ordained of God. He said, "I always believed that it only made sense for there to be Heavenly Mother since there was a Father and a Son. It makes sense." It's amazing to see how receptive he is. He definitely has his fair share of struggles, but it's cool to see the wheels start turning and to have the ward just reach out and love him so much.
Also, I am so grateful for fathers! At dinner last night, we shared the Mormon Message Earthly Father, Heavenly Father . I was thinking about my wonderful dad, Scot, and also our wonderful Heavenly Father. I love the quote, "Of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that are given to deity, He has asked us to address him as Father" by the Quorum of the Twelve. How true is that. We have the opportunity to pray daily to the Supreme Being in the universe, and we get the privilege to call him Father. I love that. I love that we are children of God, that He loves us perfectly, that our whole existence is because He loves us and wants us to be able to return to live with Him as exalted and perfected beings. How I love Him!
Sister Gretchen Gilbert