This week has been wonderful and busy and good and crazy. :)
Sister Durrant and I were able to set some personal and companion goals to give us some direction for our missions and stuff. It's fun to be with her because we've been out for the same amount of time, so we're experiencing a lot of the same feelings and emotions. We're really going to focus on getting to know our members and having good relationships with them.
Tuesday night we had another lesson with RA. We taught her the Restoration, and it was just really nice to hear her bear testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. It's always good to see the fire and light come back into someone's life.
We had an awesome zone meeting on Wednesday. One of our zone leaders, Elder Hernandez, gave a wonderful training on covenants. We had a great discussion about that. Our covenants and daily acts of devotion anchor us to the Savior. We read Helaman. Truly our covenants are what bind us safely to the Savior. There were also wonderful and powerful testimonies shared about the basics of the gospel. I had the opportunity to train on D&C 123:17. I know I've talked about this before, but I love the concept of this scripture. We can cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, then we stand back and are able to see God's hand and his salvation -- his miracles and softened hearts. I found a talk from President Eyring, October 2002 called "Rise to Your Call" -- whether that be as missionaries or members serving in the church. His 3rd point -- God will magnify you -- resonated with me. Sometimes it is so easy to get stuck on the things that we are not doing, or we convince our selves that we are doing a terrible job because we have not lived up to unrealistic expectations that we have set for ourselves. Here's a quote from it. "You can have the utmost assurance that your power will be multiplied many times by the Lord. All He asks is that you give your best effort and your whole heart. Do it cheerfully and with the prayer of faith. The Father and His Beloved Son will send the Holy Ghost as your companion to guide you. Your efforts will be magnified in the lives of the people you serve. And when you look back on what may now seem trying times of service and sacrifice, the sacrifice will have become a blessing, and you will know that you have seen the arm of God lifting those you served for Him, and lifting you." I strongly encourage each of you reading this letter from me to go and read this talk and apply the principles found in it. It's so reassuring. The Lord is pleased with our work.
Thursday was the start of our crazy weekend. We saw ME, a recent convert. She had just gone to the temple the day before to do baptisms for the dead for the first time. She had a good experience and is excited to go back. We had a great discussion about the Holy Ghost -- she told us that at first she didn't really notice a big difference, but as time rolls on, she said that she feels like she is more calm, patient, loving with her kids and the people around us. I love that. This gospel helps us change our natures so that we can become more like the Savior. What a beautiful thing.
Thursday afternoon/evening was...... something else. We had an appointment with a less active family. The visit was awkward, tense, and contentious, and I was fighting back tears the whole time. We did extend an invitation to come to church and check out the ward, but it was hard. We left, got in the car, and I just started bawling. But I learned a couple valuable lessons that night. As the evening wore on, I realized how aware God is of me. He answered my prayer that I wouldn't start crying during the lesson. And as a tender mercy, we had dinner with a very kind family --the Spirit was very strong in their house. It was calming and peaceful. Also, I caught a glimpse of God's love for his children - specifically for these less actives we had crossed paths with. I began to feel love and concern for that family and how much I want to help bring the blessings of the gospel back into the center of their lives. I also learned that it could be beneficial to develop thicker skin. The final lesson of the evening would be that the success of a missionary isn't fully measured by the outward, immediate results such as baptism #s, activation efforts, etc. It's measured by how you live the rest of your life.
Then Friday I was able to go on an exchange to McKinney! That was crazy to be back up there, but good. We saw JE, an investigator I had worked with while I was there. The lesson was very led by the Spirit. It's always such a pleasure to be at lessons like that. The sister that I was with was able to testify of the blessings of having the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and I reflected on that. What a wonderful blessing it truly is.
Okay people --is where the miracles happen. First and foremost, that less-active family from Thursday? Yeah, well they came to church. Sister Durrant nudged me and LO AND BEHOLD there they were walking into the chapel. Wow. And on top of that, sacrament meeting was powerful. The talks were all about studying the scriptures -- what a great reminder for all of us. Then finally, we taught another recent convert (Sister Thompson). Her 15 year old son who hasn't been baptized came in for the lesson. We used "A Secure Anchor" video again, and he was all over it. Hopefully that will progress into something good!
Well, I love all of you! Thanks for all you do!