Hey y'all! This week was full of highs and lows, but so goes missionary life!
Last Monday evening after our fishing adventure, we had dinner with Brother Tew and the elders at Bamboo Sushi, and then we visited with the Corliss's, an older couple in the ward. They're darling! For their family home evening, we shared a lesson about the importance of daily scripture study and prayer. Those things, along with coming to church each week, really bring the Spirit into our lives and help us to keep the commandments. It's the small and simple things!
On Tuesday we had district meeting. Then, Sister Vause picked us up; we saw Sister Henderson, who is preparing to receive her endowment at the temple! She's worked super hard to get to his point. She is so excited for the peace and joy she knows she'll feel there- and I'm so excited for her! The temple is such a healing place. Sister Vause promised she will help her finalize the last little details to make this actually happen!
After dinner which was dropped off to us at the church, we met with Joe. We did a little family history, then I asked him about his Book of Mormon reading. He had read 10 chapters, but hadn't prayed about it. We explained again as we had several times before about how if the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was truly called as the prophet through whom Jesus Christ would restore His church in its fulness to the earth again. I again testified of the Book of Mormon, how I have come to know it's true, and the joy and peace it has brought to me- but Joe continued to share experiences about how he "already knows Jesus" and has been in his Methodist church his whole life. Then, Brother Hicks who was working at a computer (he comes to open and close the family history center) turned around and began to speak with Joe. To be honest, I was a little concerned at first- what is he going to say? I wondered. Then a thought came from the Spirit: if Joe is actually prepared to receive the gospel, God won't let anything someone may say keep him from receiving it. That was big slice of humble pie. So I ate it and sat quietly. Brother Hicks shared with Joe how he met the missionaries when he was studying to become a Baptist preacher, how the Book of Mormon brought a whole new spiritual power into his life, and how he felt the Holy Ghost tell him in his heart it was true. And he powerfully promised to Joe that if he reads and prays about it sincerely, intending to act upon his answer, that he will also receive an answer. And Joe responded so humbly and much more receptively than he ever had. He said he would pray about it. So I ate some more humble pie because Brother Hicks' testimony was powerful and affected Joe in a way that ours the missionaries' didn't. Never underestimate the impact of your testimony! Often that is much more impactful than trying to persuade with explanations and such, because testifying brings the Spirit which carries the truth of our message unto people's hearts, where they then have the choice whether or not to let the Spirit into their heart.
Wednesday was our zone training in Niceville. We talked a lot about having the faith and hope to find those who are prepared to follow Jesus Christ by repenting- which they do by making and keeping commitments to repent by keeping his commandments- and by following the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized so they can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which is what allows us to be cleansed and strengthened from morally weak to Christlike.
For dinner we had the fish we caught with the Steeles!!! Gerald and Legrande had fried up the catfish and brim and made hushpuppies, baked beans, coleslaw, fried zucchini, cheese grits, chocolate pecan coconut cake, and classic southern banana pudding. IT WAS ALL SOOOO DELICIOUS! WOW. It was such a satisfying thing to be able to eat something I caught myself! The elders were there, too, and three of the Steele brothers, their sister Marcia, and Sister Steele, Johnny's wife. It felt like a big family get together. So fun!
On Thursday, one of my dreams was fulfilled! I got to be companions with Sister Whatcott for a day!! She and I met each other in ninth grade when we were stand partners in the second violin section of the Utah Youth Philharmonic!! We played in that group together all through high school, and then we were in the Utah State University symphony together. We both received our mission call to the same place close to the same time last year, to report to the MTC June 1st. And we got to go on an exchange together! Super fun!
Friday I was sick with a bad cold, and we decided it would be better to knock it out that day than to have it get worse over several days; so I took a nap, and Sister Saunders organized our apartment while I did so. She's awesome!
Saturday we found out the bitter sweet news that Sister Saunders is being transferred to Brewton, Alabama where she will be white washing, and training a new missionary!! I am sad for her to leave, we all are, but I am excited her new adventure. My new companion will be Sister Crosby, who I have met before at conferences. She's fun, and I'm looking forward to continuing to learn, hopefully learning what God wants me to.
Have a blessed week!