Hellooooo family!!! Long email, watch out!
Wow, this week has been awesome! We've been working hard nonstop, and a lot of great things have been happening. I have a new sense of determination, it feels like!
Before I forget, I finally saw the Tillet's at church yesterday!!! Daniel and his wife :) they look like they're doing so well, they now have two kids, and they're big! He asked how each of you were, and I asked about his family. :)
First off, my new companion's name is Sister Lund! Turns out she is not really from Utah, but is actually from Virginia! This is her second area, and she's been on her mission for about 6 months. Every transfer is a new change and it takes some adjusting to a new area and companion, but this is going to be the best transfer ever.
Second off, I'm sending out a mass call for help: My companion is gluten free AND Vegan. So, no breads, butter, milk or dairy of any kind, no eggs, no cheese,.... and no meat. That's the hardest one, I think.. I gotta have me some MEAT D: My call for help is, WHAT CAN WE EAT?! Would you all mind looking for some ideas that members could use to make us meals? My companion is fine with beans and rice or a potato every night, but... she's used to that... and I seem to feel bloated or fat or sick when I eat a lot of those. But any suggestions from anyone would be very very much appreciated by yours truly. Because I really don't want to have beans and rice or a baked potato or taco salad EVERY night... any ideas, especially variety, would be FANTASTIC. THANKS ONE BILLION! :) And it would really help out the members.
Well aside from all of that, this week was super PACKED! It was awesome! God has helped me a lot this week, and has enabled me to take over the area with more confidence. So this week we managed to at least meet most of our investigators/ people we've been wanting to work with.
Tuesday morning, we picked up Sister Lund from the Benson Transfer site, but the transfer van wasn't going to be coming back to pick up Sister Freeman until like that afternoon... So, we were awkwardly a trio for the first half of the day! Haha. But I did get to see a couple of the missionaries I have served around probably for the last time at the transfer site, as well. That was a real tender mercy. But the morning was pretty productive, we had a lesson together, and we met a lot of people in the area!
Wednesday, we drove down to Sierra Vista for a zone meeting, which was really good! Elders Dustin and Starnes are our Zone Leaders, and our Sister Training Leaders are Sisters McMaster and Bergeson. We were trained on effective companionship study, and how crucial it is that they are focused and spirit led, and especially relevant in preparing us for the people and experiences we will be having that day. The Spirit was strong. Something that was said was, "How much you have changed by the end of your mission is a good indicator of how much you stepped outside yourself." Or in other words, how much you put into helping others progress, rather than just seeking to improve yourself. IT can happen either way, but the greater change happens when we give selfless service.
Thursday was another awesome, productive, and successful day! We volunteered at commodities, and that was fun! We could just serve and meet the people that came in. I was in charge of organizing and distributing the breads, and I've noticed on my mission especially that I like to organize things! I'm not necessarily organized in other ways, but I do like to organize and categorize things in order to get a flow going. I also go to practice my people skills and just greeting people. It felt good to serve.
That afternoon we had a lesson with a girl named Tiffany. She's probably in her mid to late 20's and is recently trying to return to activity in the church. Her gospel knowledge is minimal, but her testimony of God is strong. We taught the Restoration and helped her feel the Spirit, which is what she said she needed!
We had a lesson that night with our investigator Hailey, and we reset her baptismal date for ! She really wants it. We asked how she felt about that date, and she said, "Either I'm not gonna be a Mormon, or I'm gonna be Mormon on the 8th!" Haha. :) She has some struggles, but the Atonement is real and she can change! She struggles with the Word of Wisdom, which a lot of people around here seem to, and Satan keeps hitting her hard with trials. He's been working especially hard on the people in this area, it feels like. probably because he KNOWS something good is about to happen.
Friday morning we had an awesome lesson with Elizabeth, our other investigator, who just got married to a member on Saturday! Our lesson was on eternal marriage and following the prophet. We talked about how the prophets tell us how to be successful in our families, and testified that when we applied the things that the prophet tells us we should do, then our families are strengthened, and we then qualify for all of God's promised blessings, in particular, eternal marriages and families. We shared with her The Family: A Proclamation to the World and she really liked that. She said she and Jared (her fiance at the time) had been talking about how they want the gospel and church to be the center and foundation of their home and their marriage. She shared with us that she has felt that the more she learns about the gospel, and the more she lets her spiritual side show, the better her relationship has been with Jared. Isn't that awesome?! Even before they were married, they already were preparing to have a strong foundation, and they have found that the Gospel has strengthened them individually, and as a couple. She said that it was a testimony builder to her! The next morning, she was married! I am so excited that she is already progressing so well, and that she wants this happiness in her life. I can already tell she is going to be a success story, and I can already picture her in the temple. Next step, Baptism!
Saturday was a little rough at some points, but overall a good day. We did a lot of weekly planning and it went really well. We should be having another super awesome week! :)
But an experience I wanted to share is kind of a disheartening one, but it does have a good learning experience within it.
We called our investigator James, you know the one we though was Golden and randomly showed up to church one Sunday? Well we called to confirm that we were still on for our lesson with him, and ended up having a longer conversation about finding the truth. He said, "I've been thinking about it,... and I think we should stop meeting. I really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk to me about God, and I know you really believe it, but the more homework and research I do, the less convinced I am. I'm really sorry girls. I am finding out more and more, and I just.. I can't. I'm sorry."
Well that's not what we wanted to hear. But I knew I wasn't supposed to give up. That I needed to keep trying, and at least testify of what I know is true. So, I prayed in my head and in my heart to know what to say to this man, and also to have the courage and strength to say it with the Spirit.
I asked him if he had even read out of the Book of Mormon. He said a little bit.
So I asked him, Well then how are you supposed to know if it is true or not if you haven't even read it? The entire reason we are here, is because we know it is true. It has blessed our lives immensely, and ALL we are asking you to do is to learn more about it and find out for yourself that it is true. We want your life to be blessed by these same truths.
"I know that you both believe it with all your hearts, and I know that you both are wonderful human beings. I just don't know that I can believe all of this. i started reading, and I didn't like what I found."
Me:What did you find?
He said, "I'm just seeing a lot of plagiarism."
Me: Plagiarism? What do you mean?
"So I was searching and found out about this guy named Edgar Smith, who wrote many of the same exact things that Joseph Smith wrote DECADES before the plates were even discovered. And I am even learning that there are missing books out of the Bible. It's been CHANGED. There are things that have been taken out! What if everything that I have ever grown up believing isn't true? Look this guy up. You'll see what I mean."
Me: Unfortunately, we can't look that up. We don't even have access to most of the internet.
"Well that's not very fair to me. What if I showed you what it says and what I found...?"
Me: James, I have searched. I have read the Book of Mormon. I have studied it. I have taken a college course on it. I am reading and studying it again. I have prayed about it. I have learned more and more as I continue to search. But I don't need to look all over the internet to try and prove it wrong, because I know that the only way you will be able to know it is true is if you turn to the Book of Mormon. There are a lot of people and sources out there, especially on the internet that will give you lots of false information and tell you all kinds of things that are not true. The ONLY way you are going to be able to know if everything is true is if you read and study in the Book of Mormon, with a real intention to know if it is true and act upon it, and pray and ask God, who is the source of ALL truth. You can search the internet and find all sorts of untruths, but I know for a fact that if you do not look to the Book of Mormon to find it's truth, you will not ever know.
A short pause. "So you think Satan is trying to stop me from learning the truth?" What the-?
Me: Yes, I do. I know he is. The same thing happened to Joseph Smith before he came to know the truth. And I know that everything we have told you is true. If I did not know 100% that this was true, then I would not be out here right now. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I know that you can know this too.
Anyway, he still cancelled on us, because he just needed some time to think. There were a few more things said, but I don't have much more time.
But yeah, those were some of the experiences I had this week, and I am grateful for them. I am grateful that I was able to feel the powerful witness that the Spirit gave to me as I testified of what I knew to be true and what I believed was true to someone who was about to give up the search.
I hope you have a wonderful week, I love you all! Thanks for the birthday wishes and prayers!
P.S. Tell Dom I said hi, and also tell him to email me. Thanks :)