I hope you all are doing well and that life is treating each of you good! Christmas is right around the corner and I pray we are all striving to find ways to bring the true spirit of Christmas into our lives. If you haven't watched "He is the Gift" yet at christmas.mormon.org I encourage you to go and watch it right after you finish reading this! Also my dear friend Nicole Sheahan just put out a beautiful song called "He Has Come for Us"- youtube it! It is amazing!
This week has gone by fast, but it has been good! We had two baptisms that we were a part of, so that was very neat! The first one was for Jon, a 19 year old and the second was Sonia’s baptism. I have been lucky enough to be able to teach Sonia these last few weeks and I have loved seeing her testimony grow. I love seeing how much enthusiasm these two new members have for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was very special to be able to be a see each of them take that next step in trying to get on the right path so they can better prepare themselves to return home to our Father in Heaven.
Last Tuesday, the 9th, I had my first Zone Conference. It was actually a gathering of three zones—so lots of missionaries! They asked me the night before if I would be willing to lead the music at the conference. I told them I would be more than happy to (however you have to understand I really don’t know how to lead music, but I was willing). The next day no one knew what we were singing so I had no way to practice conducting. They announced the song and then next thing I knew I was up there in front of a whole chapel of missionaries. I have to say I felt a bit silly and those missionaries that knew me were getting a big kick out of me up there, but in all honestly I actually wasn’t too bad. Mom you would be so proud!
Best part of zone conference was seeing my old companions Sis. Steadman and Sis. Zimmerman.
I sure miss my girls!
Wednesday, Sister Bone and I were able to go and teach a man by the name of Bob. Bob had bumped into the missionaries in the past and had told them that we would love it if they came over, but with busy schedules and different conflicts it never happened. As we were going through our area book this past week we came upon Bob’s name. We called him up right then and the next thing we knew we were driving over to his place to teach him with another member of the ward. It was neat to see how God puts things right in front of us. Bob was very open to our message and we look forward to teaching him more.
On Thursday, we had our weekly lunch at “Snuffy’s” with Brother Longstreet and you all will be very happy to know I finally was able to have a yummy grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup. I had been craving that since the MTC so it was good to finally get some ;) We talked with Brother Longstreet about courage and how it is the ability to conquer one’s fear or in other words to exercise one’s faith. It was a pretty neat chat. I encourage you to think about how you exercise courage in your own lives.
Tonight we had the chance to go over to a recent convert’s home for dinner. Isaac just got baptized end of October. Oh my goodness, let me just say this man can cook! My goodness, I felt like I was at some fancy shmacy restaurant. The food was amazing and the presentation was even better. Isaac definitely set the bar high for the rest of the members who feed us.
Really though, we are so blessed with meals from the members. We eat in a member’s home almost every night for dinner. In fact, we usually are given food multiple times at night. It is starting to become a problem. My stomach will be completely stuffed, but then when you are over at someone’s house and they dish you up something- you have no other choice than to pound it down. I am always so excited when I see a simple, light, healthy meal on the table. Someone made stuffed peppers for us this week and they were perfect! And the whole time I ate them I thought of my bestie Bree back home because she would always make these when I was over! ;) Despite being stuffed with tons of food, the Minnetonka Ward is amazing! The missionary work in this ward is booming! There is so much love for one another and they really do a fantastic job taking good care of their missionaries.
Later this week, we met with one of our investigators, Melony, and sadly we had to drop her (or in other words stop teaching her). It was hard to let her go because we know how much Christ’s Gospel could bless her and her family, but we understand that not all of God’s children are ready at this moment for the truth. I have to remind myself everything works on God’s time. However, it was neat how she explained to us that she felt like she had grown closer to God from our visits and from hearing our lessons. I can only hope and pray she continues to strive to strengthen that relationship with her Heavenly Father and grow closer to Him and maybe one day she will be ready to open her heart and listen to our message again.
Friday, the 12th, we went to drop off a little bag of goodies to one of our part member families, the Floes. Mom and Dad weren’t home, but Grandma was babysitting their son. Our visit was quite funny—in fact every time we bump into Sister Floe’s mother it is pretty funny. You see, Sister Floe’s mother doesn’t speak any English, but she just talks and talks to you in Spanish as if you know exactly what she is saying. Too bad Sister Bone and I both don’t know any Spanish. We smile and nod and try our very best to communicate, but let’s be honest it’s a total disaster. But she is always so kind and loving towards us. She welcomed us in with hugs and kisses and before we left she gave us something she made. I think she gave us some scones (not really sure) ;) Bless her heart! She is such a sweetheart I just wish I had some idea of what she is saying. Oh well, what can you do?!
Saturday, 12-13-14, (kind of a cool date) was packed! That was the day for both Jon and Sonia’s baptisms. And it was also our ward Christmas party. The primary did such a wonderful job putting this on. The kids all dressed up in the different parts of the nativity and they had lots of different music numbers. I loved it! I always saw little things like this on TV that people did in the movies, but this was the real deal.
That afternoon, we went to visit Sister Whitlock. She is in a very hard situation with her daughter and it just breaks my heart that I can’t just fix everything for them. But we know God’s plan for this life wasn’t to make it easy but to make it where we will be pushed so we can humble ourselves, turn to God and grow. Any who, before we went to visit her I was struggling with some thoughts in my head. Satan was doing what he does best and he was trying to make me think I wasn’t a strong enough missionary and that my testimony wasn’t good enough. While we were sitting there talking with Sister Whitlock she told me that last week when we came over to visit I had shared my testimony with her. She told me how powerful it was to her. She explained that many people come over to visit and share thoughts, but nothing had hit her as hard as my testimony did that day. She went on and told me how she hadn’t stopped thinking about my testimony all week. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! What a tender mercy of the Lord! Sister Whitlock told me exactly what I needed to hear in that very moment! I know that my testimony can always be strengthened, but I also know that it will be strengthened each time I share it with someone and that we only Satan wants me to think I am not enough. I AM ENOUGH! You better back off Satan, this missionary is unstoppable!
Love you all! Pray for you often!
PS- THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL OF THE SWEET LETTERS, CARDS, AND PACKAGES!!! I feel so loved and I am so grateful for each one of you! My heart is so full of gratitude for the love and kindness you show me. I am trying to get back to each of you, but I only have a limited amount of time on Mondays when I can write letters. PLEASE be patient with me! I want so badly to write you all back the moment I get something from you, but sadly that just isn't how it works out here in the mission. Letters will come they just make take some time. I have a file system set up for sending back replies... they will come, but in the mean time know I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH!!! xo
Me, my trainer (Sis. Bone), her trainer Sis. Jenkins, and her trainer Sister Smith (4 generations I guess).
Mercy's little girl Blessing. Blessing is trying to be a mini Sister Larson.