I don't think I'll be able to stop crying soon. I don't know what the tears are for.. Because everyone's fine and I'm not scared or worried... I think they are gratitude tears for how merciful Heavenly Father was in protecting my brother. This is just a huge testimony of how real the gospel is and that Heavenly Father DOES exist and He knows us each so personally. Cory would not have survived without divine intervention. God has greater purposes for him on this earth. And He protected Cory because He knew my soul would be crushed to pieces if he left this earth. Cory will come closer to his Heavenly Father through this experience and he can learn the importance of obedience. I can't even imagine how he feels. I'm so sad that the one thing he's worked his guts out for is now destroyed. I would feel horrible if my car was destroyed and if I didn't even do it... All I can think of though is how amazing God is. I'm so grateful. And for this, I'm going to work my guts out this week till I'm so exhausted that I can't move. I owe God. He saved my brother. I owe God everything I have to offer. Golly.. My face looks like a puff fish. This is one experience I'm so glad I'm not home for. These are the times I'm grateful to be here serving. I know y'all are ok and I know I have to work. I use these as times to strengthen my testimony and work harder.
Well.. Let's see if I can muster out an email now.
Matthew boycotted our appointment. Well actually he showed up 55 minutes late and we talked to him for a few minutes before the next appointment came. Our next appointment was a Less-active who wanted to be taught the lessons. Matthew asked him "how'd you get roped into this?" He said "I volunteered." Haha perfect response. I don't know if I told you but Matthew believes in multiple God's and really doesn't want to meet up with us. He said he read the whole Book of Mormon and when we asked what he thought, or parts he liked, or things he learned... he couldn't give us an answer. He tried flipping through and looked for stuff and he was looking in the index! And then he opens to a random page and points to a scripture and said "yeah that's a good one I liked." Half the scripture was on the other page! He liked a random half of a scripture. .... I don't know if he'll meet with us anymore.
For FHE on Monday we played just some simple games. J. is still angry at the world. I've learned some lessons this week. Lesson #1: Most things aren't worth getting angry over. There is so much drama in the YSA and they all ask us to help and be on their side. All I want to tell them is "why does it matter!" It doesn't! I use to be the cause of a lot of contention in my branch at school and I'm not going to do that anymore. I also know how much it stresses out the leaders. So, lesson learned.
Tuesday was a day full of miracles. We had called a couple YSA who we knew were active in their home ward. We got an appointment that day with two sisters, Britney and Sharlette. We went over and they are from Guam. They love activities and so we invited them to be on the Activity Committee and they said yes! We have our first Activity Committee meeting tonight before FHE. They are a lot of fun! They are going to play a huge part in a luau that we’re planning for October. We also had a meeting with Richard and he brought someone for us to teach! Her name is Amelia and she is 20. They were both at the bus stop and Amelia asked Richard for help. He brought her to the church, we taught her the Restoration and she agreed to read the Book of Mormon. Amelia is great!
Another miracle happened that day. When we were stuck in the car shop a couple weeks ago, we added a lot of Less-actives on Facebook. Sister Frampton found one name, Luke, and added him and sent him a message. No response. Well Tuesday we get a text from him asking if he can take the lessons from us. Of course!!!! He came and we taught the Restoration. He opened up a little at the end and said he had served a mission four years ago and now he's lost and doesn't know what to do. I felt prompted to show him the "Because of Him" video. Then I looked him in the eye and I don't exactly remember what I said... But the spirit spoke right through me. I teared up a little and he did too. It was incredible. At the end he said he was stubborn and would need homework. So immediately I thought what to give him. He's going to read 1 Nephi 8 and 11 and write down what each of the things in Lehi's dream mean personally for him. He hasn't gotten back in touch with us yet.. But we won't quit working on him. So, lesson #2: By small and simple means, great things really are brought to pass. A small simple Facebook message caused him to re-think his spiritual status and get help. A small visit to say hi to another Less-active caused her to come back to church on her own. Talking to a member and her mentioning her Less-active son caused him to show up at church Sunday because we listened to her and responded with love. The Lord can do so much with the small seeds we plant. It makes me have faith in the little things I'm doing like tracting and leaving a pamphlet with those who say they're not interested. It's incredible.
On Wednesday I gave a training in District meeting. The topic I was given was D&C 4:2 and I was told I could take it in any direction. Well... I pulled out the Consecrated Missionary talk from Dad. I talked about how precious this time is and how we can use the guidelines in this talk to be able to put all our energy into the work. I was only given a day to prepare so I mostly just talked and read parts from the talk.. It was lame but I felt good about it. I learned more than anything. And I've really been excited for this last week of the transfer to just put all my energy into the work. It's hard but I really want to do it. I really want to serve God with everything I have!
Thursday I went to Hopkinsville for an exchange! I went with Hermana Reed and I'm so glad I got to because she's been a role model missionary for me since I came out. She has one more transfer left. We taught a couple of Spanish people which is always awkward for me and when we left we got Spanish graham cracker treats. Then we taught a crazy Less-active lady... We walked away so confused. She has been attending another church so she can worship through dance but she knows our church is true. The dance she does is really weird.... And she lives with her fiancé that she's planning on running away from soon... It's really weird. After that appointment we went to dinner. I wasn't even hungry... But we went and we ate with the sweetest couple! They've been married for 2 years and got baptized almost a year ago. They live in the most humble place ever. It's basically the attic of a house and there's scarcely any furniture and they just don't have much. Their car is an orange moped. After that we went tracting and I thought my stomach was going to explode!!
Ok so here's a cool story - Before we left, we had prayed about where to tract. They had divided up their area into quadrants and we prayed about which one to tract in. Oh I was pleading so hard for inspiration in that prayer! Technically it was still my area because we cover the stake. I prayed and felt strongly about area 3. Then I questioned 4..... I went back and forth and decided to just choose area 3. When we came back together we revealed our number and Hermana Reed said area 4! I told her how I couldn't choose and she couldn't either. So we looked at the area in both 3 and 4. We found a little area and wrote down the street names. After dinner we tracted on those streets. The 4th house we knocked answered and Hermana Reed gave the spiel. The guy looked confused and not Mexican. She asked if he had ever met with missionaries before and he said he had. She asked his name and he said Ricky... Then something clicked for her. This was their Investigator! He was a referral from an Investigator but he had only talked with them over the phone! They had no clue where he lived! And they found him! And he does speak Spanish! Lesson #3: The Lord knows very specifically where you need to go and what you need to do. He will tell you if you listen. I've been really trying to listen to the spirit this week to know what to do. God is so specific, so be specific in your prayers! I learned a ton from that exchange!!!
I also got a text from Sister Frampton that night and she said Richard passed his baptismal interview! Well.. They were teaching Amelia while Richard was in his interview and Amelia said he had been texting her a ton of inappropriate things and she showed them the text. So Amelia was trying to avoid Richard the whole night. When Amelia left, Richard wanted to walk her home. Sister Frampton ran to distract him. That's when he confessed. So he didn't get baptized on Saturday.
On Friday we had weekly planning and I have to admit we planned a great week! I'm so pumped! We met with Richard and he said he didn't want to get baptized anymore. He was just so discouraged. He had no light in him again. We just encouraged him and told him he could do it. He said he knows it's true but he doesn't want to be baptized. So we talked a lot about living what we know. He's working towards baptism this Saturday.
Friday night was pretty rough. We were getting ready to tract and the Sisters were home. They came in at 8 pm. We were so worried about them... One of the sisters is really struggling right now and I don't know what to do for her. She breaks a lot of rules. She said if she could be a hermit the rest of her life she would be happy. She doesn't have a desire to be here and to be changed to become better... It’s so sad. So we talked about what to do. When Sister Frampton asked me what we should do, I just cried and said I don't know, I realized the only things I wanted was for her to experience the overwhelming joy that comes from obedience. I've seen that abundantly this week from obedience and I don't see happiness in either of the sisters. I want so badly for them to have the spirit and for their area to do well. They don't have Investigators and I know that's rough.
Saturday: We were texted by the Zone Leaders on Friday night asking if we were home and safe. We were and wondered why. So last year a movie called The Purge was made. In the movie it shows where one day a year for 12 hours, all illegal crime is made legal by the government during that 12 hours. And it's coming to life. It happened in Louisville and it's happening here. Friday night people went nuts! And members posted things on Facebook that it was supposed to go all weekend. I heard that some people were killed. We live on the safe side of town though. This is all going on far away for where we work normally. But it's crazy! And it's going nation wide. Second coming soon anyone? These times are getting as bad as Lamanite times! So we were really scared to go out on Saturday. But we were safe.
Oh and we taught Richard. We told him yesterday that it was up to him to meet and continue. We don't want to force him and so he can choose and he has to set up appointments with us. He was scared to go through life without us and called us today. We talked about staying in safe situations. He was making up excuses that he couldn't come to activities if Amelia was there because it would be a temptation. We promised him it wouldn't be because he couldn't do anything in a church, especially with all of us around. He promised to read the scriptures. One thing I love about YSA is we can be bold and loving and they can take it. In Illinois I was always scared because I don't want to hurt an adults feelings! YSA is easier to tell them what's up and to show them the blessings that will come from it.
Sunday I wasn't feeling well all day. I just woke up sick and remained that way and I was sick today too. It was hard to sit through church. I felt terrible. Church was good though. Sister Frampton talked and she did such a good job and Brother Frogue mentioned showing love to all those who weren't at church. Sister Frampton later showed me a quote that said we count the people who are always at church. Christ doesn't care about that number. The number he really cares about is all those missing. So next Sunday, look around and see who's missing. Send them a Facebook message, a card, a treat, text, call, something! Show them they are missed and loved. Notice who they are. Remember: small and simple things go a long way. We went to the 2nd wards sacrament after our church was done. They had Ward Conference and the Frogues asked us to go. They got a new bishop and as I looked at that man, I got chills. God specifically chose him to be bishop. God chose him. Not man. God. And I knew that as I looked at him! It was incredible!
Lesson #4: God knows what he's doing!
I read a talk during studies about keeping an eternal perspective. It was so good! I love reading the scriptures from modern day prophets. We finished the evening by contacting some lost Investigators and we contacted Jay again. He had gone to training in Louisiana for a month and now he's back and he said he still wouldn't mind learning.
This week was great and I'm ready for another one. So full of lessons to be learned and applied in life. I love missionary work so much. As me and Sister Frampton were driving home yesterday I was thinking about how much I love his area. We love it because we feel needed here. The people desperately need us. And it's nice because we stay busy serving them and doing all we can for them! I love it here. I never want to leave. I had a dream this week that I went home and Mom was so glad to have me back but I just kept crying and crying and crying. It was terrible. I never want to leave my mission. Ever. I'm so glad Cory is ok. I'm so glad. God is good and I will serve Him with all my might this week to show my thanks for protecting my brother. Thank goodness he's alive. I love my family and I'm beyond grateful that we have been sealed together for time and all eternity. I love this gospel. I love you.
Playing games at FHE with the Young Single Adults
Me with Hermana Reed during our exchange this week.