Sunday, August 6, 2017

Unplanned opportunuties

Monday July 17

This week was transfers! I was sad to have Sister Kirkham leave to Daleville, AL- I had such a wonderful transfer with her; but God knew my expectations were high so he sent me Sister Evensen! And I love her just as much! She is so joyful, motivating, and has such strong faith. She is from Alpine, Utah, just came here from Fort Walton Beach (woohoo!) and loves nutrition and health.

Funny experience of the week: one morning for our run during exercise time, Sister Evensen and I took a route that Sister Kirkham and I frequented. However, this time I wanted to lengthen our run, so I decided to take a left turn at the bottom of a hill. I figured that it would loop back and come around to reunite with the main street. As we entered this new street, I had a thought to turn around and go back the way we had come. "No," I thought, "we would have to go back up both of those big hills if we did that; this way will be easier." And at first it was, a nice constant slope. But it was sure a long street, and eventually I didn't recognize where we were. But I was confident that it would come out on the main road again. Finally we saw a street light ahead, and ran towards it with our might. We had not looped around to the main road, but rather found ourselves far north of it! To get home, we were required to finish the square, running along that parallel road, then down another long street that finally took us to that main road, near our apartment. We ended up running closer to 45 minutes than our scheduled 30 minutes. If only I had known how much more difficult that road would make our run! :D That day I learned a very valuable lesson: when we choose to ignore the promptings of the Spirit, we choose to increase the difficulty of our own path. 

Wonderful experience: We had dinner with Tristian at the Amares' home on Saturday!! (By the way, she is alive and well! She had just been out of cell range last weekend, unplanned.) She said they felt like family. The elders were there, too, and there was a lot of laughter. I love the Amares because they're fun, the Spirit is in their home, and they are real at the same time. You know they're not perfect, but that the gospel is working for them. They shared comments/testimony as we taught about prophets and the priesthood. Tristian is doing wonderful! She came to church, and she's already inviting people to her baptism. She has changed my life with her example of faith and recognition of the peace, understanding, and positive changes she is seeing in her life. I love her!!

Also, on the way home from that dinner, we decided to stop at the Fairhope pier (not planned) to show Sister Evensen. On the pier we met a woman name Daisy who shared with us the challenges she is experiencing in her family. The message of the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ's restored gospel gave her hope. God places us where we need to be as we simply desire and try to do good and be good. 

Last thing: the Jurgens family invited us over for dinner last night where their oldest teenage children had invited their friend Ben to come. He had been asking questions and accepted their invitation to hear our message. It was incredible to see the change in Ben as we taught the message of the restoration of Jesus Christ's gospel and Church- each family member helped teach simply and testified, which invited the power of the Spirit in a very real and tangible way. Ben changed from initially having questions and having an "I'm right" attitude to being humble, willing to find out for himself the truth, and being excited about the Book of Mormon. The Jurgens had been praying for 2 years to find someone who would agree to hear the message we missionaries share. What a joy to be a part of that!

I love you all! Keep pressing forward in faith!

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